Wednesday, February 05, 2014

4 types of online contests not waste to your time on

Every brand that has a facebook presence invariably resorts to some kind of contests to increase its fan base and gain stronger foothold into the world of social media. We see our friends participating in various contests and sharing updates- some posted under their identity by the apps themselves.

While the prospect of winning something for free through online contests is tempting, it is not easy. Not everyone who participate wins. Almost all contests involve you liking their pages, promoting the contest among your friends and securing their votes. You have limited time to spare and if you're giving free publicity to a brand in the hopes of winning something, it better be worth it. How do you focus your time and efforts on contests which are worth and have some reasonable chance of winning?

I've listed 4 different types of contests, which are not worth your time and effort. If you feel an online contest is falling into one of these, it is better to move on, or at least, not to waste too much energy and time on these contests.

1 When the prize is not really worth your time and effort

Some contests have rewards not worth your time and effort. When contest organizers are not liberal on giveaways or are tight on budgets, value or rewards goes shrinking. There could be situations where the prizes are announced in a covered up manner and only fine print will reveal the net value. Be careful about such campaigns.

Some examples:

  • The promo says you stand to win return tickets, but fine print says only base fare is reimbursed and winner has to pay the rest? This implies to utilize your prize worth say 500 Rs, you’ll have to spend another 10-15k (rest of the airfare, hotel stay and other misc expenses)
  • The promo says winners will get a voucher of Rs 1000, but can be redeemed only on purchase worth Rs 3000 or above
  • Winners get a prize only if they make 3 other people sign up, participate and buy something
  • What you get after participating is not real reward, but some points, which are useless unless you amass so many of them to redeem against something practical

2 When your chance of winning is directly proportional to how much time you can waste on facebook
Some apps, such as a recent ‘Park the 380’ have game based contests- prospective winners need to play the same game again and again to build up their point tally and eventually win something. There’re millions of jobless folks on facebook who don’t mind playing a stupid game again and again without getting bored or feeling the value of time spent on it. When you have something else more important to do than spending hours on a facebook app, you can’t afford to compete with these folks and win something.

3 When you enter a vote based contest little too late
Lot of (almost all) contests involving you promoting the contest and seeking votes from others. If you’re entering such contests pretty late and lots of other participants have already amassed huge count of likes or votes, probability of you beating that score within remaining time will be very less, unless you have huge online following who’d vote for you instantly.

This happened with me during keralablogexpress. I submitted my nomination little too late and when it was approved, only 5 days of polling was left. With several bloggers already having 200-300 votes, I didn't see much chance of beating that in remaining days. 

4 When the app asks too much permission and or spams your contacts without your consent
Almost every app needs your permission on facebook to access your personal info, post on your behalf and do many other things, not really required for the participation in the contest. If an app is posting updates on my profile or sending invites to my contacts under my identity with contents like "I just enjoyed participating in this greatest contest to win great prize and invite you to do the same", without my consent and even before I participate in the contest, I consider such apps trying to steal and feed on my credibility. I am fine if an app asks if I want to share with my friends, after I have checked out what the app has to offer. But assuming my endorsement of the app and self profiferation to my friends list is not acceptable. Such apps should be handled with caution

Meanwhile Nisha Jha has this interesting post on an online contest which picked up two bloggers as winners, claiming it to be random pick.

Also you should be aware of fly by night contests- who vanish without announcing the winners once they get their share of likes and backlinks. Difficult to predict them before hand though. Once practice is to periodically review your facebook account for app access and revoke access to apps you no longer use.

If you're a social media agency building apps for your clients, I suggest you comply with below guidelines
-Do not steal user's credibility. Don't post on their behalf unless they approve it
-Do not include misleading prizes
-Let there be some intellectual action/effort from participants, than a mere call for votes.
-Give some weight-age to quality over quantity
-Be accountable during and after the contest. Do not make promises you can't fulfil on time.


Nisha said...

Very valid points. I do not participate in any contest where voting is required. In fact, I do not participate at all.

Thanks for mentioning my post, it was long overdue... looking at the way things were going.

BTW, do you know what contest I was talking about & who are the winners? :-)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

I know. I did some R&D and figured it out. the Australia one

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Voting is somewhat unavoidable. Almost all contests have voting or getting likes or things like that