The Giveaway Tool Shakedown: Rafflecopter vs PromoSimple vs PunchTab [Reviews]

Date Thu, October 25 2012

RaffleCopter

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.

Rafflecopter Point System

Rafflecopter Point System

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.

PunchTab

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.

Punchtab Dashboad

Punchtab Dashboad

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
  • Tweet
  • Comment
  • 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

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.

PromoSimple Campaign Campaign Comparison

PromoSimple Campaign Campaign Comparison

 

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.

  1. It looks nicer than Rafflecopter
  2. It has the most entry options
  3. It offers complete customization
  4. 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!

19 Responses

  1. Silverdrop October 25 2012 @ 11:39 am

    Thanks for this review! I’ll probably be running giveaways on my site in the future, and I’d wondered how they worked from a webmaster’s perspective.

    Unfortunately, as an entrant, PromoSimple just doesn’t work for me. I tried it in both Opera and Firefox, and it let me make a few entries on your Eden giveaway, but it didn’t show that they’d gone through. I only knew they did because you told me in the comments that they had. And when I went back to do the daily tweet, the tweet popup never loads.

    Hopefully its just me having this problem, as I’d hate to think you’d be losing entries and interest in your giveaways.

  2. secdoover October 25 2012 @ 12:18 pm

    I always have problems entering giveaways that use PromoSimple. :/

  3. Cole October 25 2012 @ 2:20 pm

    Entries have definitely increased since using Promosimple, so most people don’t have problems. However, it isn’t compatible with Opera as of yet. Most people Use Firefox, IE or Chrome so it shouldn’t affect most people. However, I completely understand your frustration as Rafflecopter so frequently doesn’t work for me but it seems like other people don’t experience the problem. Makes you feel crazy, right?

    You should know, though, that I’ve been in contact with the developer of PromoSimple and he’s even read this post. I forwarded him your comment. He’s been really receptive, so I hope whatever problems you have in the future are sorted out.

  4. Silverdrop October 25 2012 @ 4:28 pm

    Actually, I didn’t try it in Firefox, now that I think about it. I have a whole different gmail, twitter, and facebook identity that I use in Firefox, and I don’t enter competitions with those accounts. So maybe it just is Opera.

  5. secdoover October 26 2012 @ 12:53 am

    I think my issue may just be my crappy internet service. I’m stuck with satellite internet because of where we live and frankly it’s horrendous.

  6. Cole October 26 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    I completely understand the identity thing, but it could be that. You might swap Opera for Chrome? I use Chrome and FF, personally. Either way, I appreciate your feedback!

  7. Cole October 26 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    Unfortunately, that could be it. I’m sorry for your pain! ;)

  8. sam November 3 2012 @ 9:42 am

    i use rafflecopter

  9. Jamie Martin November 3 2012 @ 1:00 pm

    -hugs Cole- Thank you for writing this, and I’m going to go share it with all my friends. I wish more people used PromoSimple. You forgot GiveawayTools, but that’s because it sucks anyways.

  10. Beeb Ashcroft November 3 2012 @ 3:36 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, very interesting! I have seen PunchTab before, but this was my first introduction to PunchTab. I’m very curious to see how these applications will develop and evolve over the coming year.

  11. SassyShopperCJ November 3 2012 @ 7:38 pm

    I learned a lot from this post that I didnt know about before. Really interesting and helpful for blogging, thanks!

  12. Cole November 3 2012 @ 9:07 pm

    Aww, thanks! I didn’t forget, though. You need to be invited to Giveaway Tools’ beta program. I put in my email around the time I started using all these tools but haven’t heard anything from them. Can’t write about what you can’t try.

  13. Jamie Martin November 4 2012 @ 3:20 am

    You’re welcome. Yeah, it is horrible, anyhow, and didn’t really deserve a spot anyhow.

  14. Auset April 30 2013 @ 9:07 pm

    Thanks for this practical, honest, fair & thourough review. I have’t launched my site yet, and so far I have decided either rafflecopter or promosimple. Promosimple looks soo professional & Raffle copter just doesn’t look modern at all. I will try promosimple for sure. It’s April 2013 and I wonder are you still happy with promosimple or has punchtab improved?

  15. Cole April 30 2013 @ 9:19 pm

    You’re welcome. I really haven’t used PunchTab in quite some time, but if I have some time, I’ll take a look at it again.

  16. Alicia Taylor May 1 2013 @ 8:13 am

    Updates: PromoSimple DOES offer a free service. I’m not sure if they did when you wrote this, but they do now. Their PRO service is $75 a month. I am looking at giving them a try. They are the most customizeable of the free services – and even have a widget.

  17. Arun Prasath September 9 2013 @ 5:22 am

    That’s a nice review, i to vote for promosimple. Now iam planning to conduct a giveaway, as a result of which i landed on your page :)

  18. JC March 13 2014 @ 12:09 pm

    It is 3/13/14 and I just found your site and review. I am seeking unbiased, honest opinions about Rafflecopter – after reading your review, I think I will try Prosimple. We just launched an affiliate site and are working on 4 more. Obviously, we’re trying to establish trust with our visitors and to establish an email relationship via obtaining qualified leads – hence, the reason why we’re running a contest. You have an interesting site and your honest approach is refreshing. Thanks and we’ll give Prosimple a try! :)

  19. Cole March 13 2014 @ 1:12 pm

    Thanks for reading. If you or your visitors don’t like Promosimple, I’ve also recently written about Gleam. There are some perks for businesses there, too.

3 Pings

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