Overall it seemed that everyone was thrilled with the Google Docs entry method I used previously, save for a small minority that still preferred the comment method.
When Rafflecopter was introduced, lots of people asked for it and I delivered. However, I’ve heard burblings here & there (not from my readers though) that people do not like it, so I wanted to ask everyone what they think.
Here’s why I like form entry:
- Super easy/fast to enter, assuming minimal entry methods. Definitely easier than leaving comments, especially when the blog uses the blasted captcha and/or “you’re posting comments too fast” messages.
- Your information stays private, no posting your email address in “public.”
- Very easy for me as the blogger to check for duplicate entries by sorting the form.
- Easy for me to gather info for the sponsor about entrant responses, unique entrants, total entries etc.
- I love that people can leave genuine comments on the blog post, vs. only comments to get an entry.
Here’s why I like Rafflecopter:
- If an entry is offered for a Facebook “like” you can see right on the form if you already “like” the page, and “like” it right from there if you don’t.
- I know people like to see their odds of winning, so with Google Docs, I was updating each giveaway many times per day to number entries and update the post. Rafflecopter does this, in real time.
- Rafflecopter makes it even easier to check entries. With Google docs, I sorted by name and email address to look for duplicate entries. With Rafflecopter, I can also sort by IP address.
- Random.org is built right into Rafflecopter, which makes selecting a winner even easier.
Here are a few things I don’t like about Rafflecopter:
- It is in its infant stages, so there have been issues with the form not working occasionally.
- It tracks using cookies, and sometimes will let you enter twice.
- Can’t customize the look or change the ending time; the default ending time is 12:01 A.M. I think if there has to be a default, it should be 11:59 P.M. since it makes the end date not exactly right. Lots of bloggers don’t list an ending date on their giveaways, so I have to whip the calendar out to figure out when it ends for my roundup post. I would love to see it countdown by hours in the last day, and minutes in the last hour, but only if the end time can be changed. Right now it still shows 1 day left when there are just a few hours remaining.
- It seems that the ease of entry has encouraged some bloggers to add even more entry methods. So it can still easily take 5-10 minutes to get maximum entries, especially when you have to continue to leave the form to complete tasks.
- Some bloggers make you leave a comment, which means leaving the form, reloading the page etc. Rafflecopter doesn’t allow you to make the “extra info” field mandatory on the first entry, so people are confused and sometimes leave a comment on my giveaways rather than using the extra info field.
- Rafflecopter allows multiple mandatory entries, but since they are listed independently, it will allow you to enter with one or the other. It just won’t let you complete bonus entries until you complete all the mandatory entries. Will the blogger view the list and disqualify entrants who didn’t complete both?
- Rafflecopter offers minimal customization for the entries…it gathers the title of a Facebook entry from the Facebook URL, which makes it : ”’like’ changediapersblog” vs being able to write it how I want: “Change-Diapers.com.”
- You cannot have more than one form on the home page of the blog, so you have to use the “read more” feature and require an extra click.
Concerns I’ve heard about Rafflecopter:
- Other than the things I’ve already mentioned that bloggers and entrants both don’t like, the big one is that “sweepers” are concerned about cheating, since they cannot see the entries. Especially because they will see the total entries at a huge #, but only see a couple of comments. This is even more confusing since 25 entries could come from a single person the way many bloggers offer entries, so 10 entrants could create 250 entries. So did all the entries come from just a few people? Did people not leave a comment? Did they put the info in the extra info field instead? Will the blogger disqualify them or let it slide?
- Can’t edit your entries if you make a mistake.
- Issues with the form not working, form allowing you to enter twice etc.
- Causes issues with drop down menus on WordPress blogs. I don’t use these, so it’s not a concern for me.
- Form becomes broken when the post is edited. The same is true with the script I use to add the Facebook button at the end of my posts. I edit my posts in HTML mode vs visual mode, so this is not a problem for me either.
The cheating isn’t an issue here since my entry methods are so minimal that it takes me only a few minutes at the close of a giveaway to sort the entrants by name, email address and IP address, checking to make sure there are no duplicates. I can see this would be a big problem for giveaways that offer 10-15 methods for a giveaway, sometimes with 5-10 entries for a method. This would lead to huge lists with tons of entries to sort through. I don’t expect sweepers to believe that I do this, and that there will be no cheating going on here, but hopefully you all believe me!
The other “problem” with form entries in general for me as the blogger, is that my “page views” number is far lower than bloggers who have a page reloaded 25+ times for one person to enter a single giveaway. I’m not really concerned about this, but it could affect bloggers who are paid for ads by the # of impressions, and sponsors could potentially look at me as far less successful than others if they focus on a single number.
On the same note, my minimal entry methods make my giveaways look less successful to companies. I may have a giveaway with 250 entries and 250 unique entrants, but that looks unsuccessful compared to a blogger with 125 entrants, but literally thousands of entries for daily tweets, voting, leaving comments, entering other giveaways, 6 subscription options, blogging, grabbing multiple buttons etc. I entered one giveaway where I counted over 100 potential entries per person between the methods that got you 5+ entries, daily tweets etc.
While I am happy with my Rafflecopter entry forms, it’s not about me, it’s about you.
Do you like Rafflecopter in general? How about how I use it? I am doing my best to keep entry methods even simpler (making it name & email only, no mandatory comment/add’l info or bonus entries) whenever possible. I of course have to do what the sponsor asks if they’re not comfortable with that!
If the majority wants me to return to Google Docs or comment entry, I will certainly do that, though I’m doubting that will be the case. I’m sure there are some sweepers that see I use form entry, then just move on without entering or actually looking so see how I run the giveaways. While I value the traffic I receive from sweepers and sweepstakes sites, I’d really rather cater to my readers who come here for the information and community.
So this is your chance. Tell me what you think! What entry method do you prefer? What issues do you have with each method?