Now, everyone has heard of this. If you’ve entered more than one giveaway in the past year or so, you’ve probably used Rafflecopter. It’s easily recognizable with its green and white design. It’s also the most established of the tools on this list. With more experience under its wing, Rafflecopter does a great many things right, especially when it comes to administrating giveaways.
Once you log in, your dashboard has clear links for maintaining giveaways or adding new ones. When you click to add a new giveaway, you can add more than one prize, which is probably why the group giveaways all use RC. It’s easy to set the start and end date and add specific terms. For example, only Americans might be eligible.
Rafflecopter’s creation form doesn’t show all of the entry types right on the page, which means you have to click a bit more to see them. The “Add an Option” menu includes a blog post comment, FB like, Tweet and Twitter follow by default. As you can see, this is a pretty short list of automated entry types. However, there’s an option for adding custom entries.
You can mark specific entries as mandatory. Rafflecopter also includes point values, while the other tools give the same weight to all entries. On the one hand, some entries obviously require more work, so this is a nice option. In practice, Rafflecopter giveaways simply wind up appearing as though they have thousands of legitimate entries when they actually don’t. I never set any entry as more points than any other.
Rafflecopter has a single page for all the options, then you’re given the widget. The service has recently added an option for removing Rafflecopter branding to add your own for a small fee. This isn’t something I would deem worth the price, but many people will. After creating a giveaway, it’s easy to find it to edit the options or moderate entries. There’s an option to export entries to Excel. You can also preview the spreadsheet in your browser to delete entries.
A big, green button lets you easily add winners, which is nice. You can click it multiple times to add multiple winners to your giveaway. RC relies on Random.org to define the winners, and it provides you with an email link to easily notify them and all the information about the winning entry. Thus, if someone hadn’t completed it, you could click the “X” and re-draw.
Rafflecopter feels very well put together but a little simple. However, my real complaints are as an entrant. I always use my name and email, but the form doesn’t let you autocomplete. I’ve had plenty of trouble logging in, and this happens on different websites and in multiple browsers. Rafflecopter is also hideous. The color scheme is just a real eyesore.
Although so many things are simple, Rafflecopter is probably going to wind up charging users for essential customization, which is why I think it’s not the best option on this list.
It it wish a heavy heart that I write this review because I love the way PunchTab looks. It takes up less space, so you don’t wind up scrolling so much. It looks so professional and fantastic. When I enter giveaways, there’s no confusion. I get to go through , step by step, and perform the entries I’d like. PunchTab then lets you go through and do any entries that you may have skipped the first time around. I believe the form remembers your name and email if you use that method, which I always do. You can enter via Facebook, too.
However, PunchTab isn’t set up for webmasters. I mean, the dashboard has a clean UI. I love how it displays stats for your ongoing/ended giveaways. It’s simple and to the point.
But PunchTab might just be too simple. You see, the service offers a very limited number of entry types. You can have visitors do the following:
- Follow on Twitter
- Fan on Facebook
- Like a Page
- Add to Google+
- Answer a question
- Visit a website
- Download a file
There’s no custom entry type, so you can’t request a pin, Digg or Stumble. Furthermore, you can’t rearrange entries, which I like to do. How do you ask someone to subscribe to your RSS? Dunno. As far as I can tell, you can’t duplicate them either, so I can’t have someone follow me and a sponsor. It’s kind of a pain. The limitations are exactly why I don’t use PunchTab, but if they offered custom entry types, duplication and more control for the giveaway host, I’d only use PunchTab.
PromoSimple is the tool I decided to go with, but I almost didn’t. You see, you can register and setup your campaign, but you can’t publish it until you pay for a subscription. I thought this was a little misleading, and took to Facebook to gripe. The developer of PromoSimple heard me loud and clear, and he took the initiative to provide me with a three-month subscription for free. In addition to that, Dan let me know that PromoSimple will be free for individual bloggers like myself in the future, and subscriptions will apply to businesses and large websites online. If it weren’t for this fact, PromoSimple wouldn’t be on this list at all, and I’d probably stick with Rafflecopter.
PromoSimple has a clean dashboard. The campaign list doesn’t take up a lot of room, which I appreciate. You can easily edit your giveaways from this screen. There’s handy links to duplicate giveaways, which is what I do to start a new one. You can also view all the reports (entry lists), pause or delete each giveaway.
PromoSimple offers so many options when it comes to your giveaway. I really use the default widget, but you can completely customize it to your website. By default, it sets all giveaways to one month, and I’ve been going with that. It’s just convenient. Paging through the options is easy. You can’t move on if you’re forgotten something that’s required.
Default entry types are varied, ranging from Facebook likes to RTs. You can ask for a comment within the form itself, but there’s no button specifically for blog comments, so that will fall under “Custom Entry.” PromoSimple has a few unique entry types, including RSS, newsletter subscription and questions ,which you can ask in drop down menu and multiple choice format. I’d love to see them work in more social network options, but the custom entry type means I can essentially add any type of entry you’d like. Each can be bonus or required, and viewing your widget exactly as it will appear is easy.
One feature I do like is the ability to ask for a variety of contact info. You can get your visitor’s full name and address or just a first name and email. I frequently change this up, depending on the giveaway. If I ask for full address right away, I don’t need to ask for it later to send to my sponsor contact.
PromoSimple includes a variety of style options, which have the potential to make your giveaway look more unique or even less clutters. The white and blue color scheme is, in my opinion, far easier on the eyes than Rafflecopter, but you can change just about every color on the widget. I especially like the ability to upload an image to the widget, and I always do. Publishing is easy, but I do wish the widget came with code that let viewers click to view just the widget page. Rafflecopter has this feature, and it’s great for mobile users.
You can export entry lists and moderate your giveaways in much the same way as the other tools.
With PromoSimple, you get some pretty advanced reporting, and this might set it apart for some people. If you click the “Reports” button from the overall navigation, not individual campaign reports, you’ll see comparisons between your campaigns, and this is quite interesting. According to this, my Mia Mariu giveaway had the most unique entrants by a landslide.
Each campaign has another report button, which shows graphical representations of where your entrants are coming from (surprise: most of you guys are American), when your most active days were and entry count over time. It also shows a breakdown of entry types. People are likely to like a page on Facebook, but Twitter follows are much less likely, in case you were wondering. Some people might use these statistics to better cater to their audiences. I simply find the information interesting… but not entirely necessary.
I wound up going with PromoSimple for a few reasons.
- It looks nicer than Rafflecopter
- It has the most entry options
- It offers complete customization
- It works most consistently than Rafflecopter
In my mind, PromoSimple is the best solution for single-prize giveaways. Rafflecopter might work a little better for group events with multiple prizes, I’ll give you that, but I don’t often participate in those. PunchTab is cute, but it needs to catch up to the competition.
As I wrap this up, I just want to say thank you to all the developers. I don’t love all of these options, but I love that options exist for bloggers like me!