• Editor Rating
  • Rated 2.5 stars
  • 50%

  • Contest Domination Pro Plan
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: June 23, 2016
  • Company Reputation
    Editor: 60%
  • Customer Service
    Editor: 70%
  • Features
    Editor: 50%
  • Function
    Editor: 30%
  • Value For The Price
    Editor: 20%

Contest Domination is an online service used for running contests and giveaways.

Growing your online exposure and brand reputation is a huge aspect in the world of Internet Marketing today. One of the most effective ways to lure in potential customers or readers is to offer occasional promotions like giveaways or contests. By putting a valuable item or some form of monetary compensation up for grabs, you can capture valuable leads, push traffic to your website, and increase your brand's user engagement levels.

Using a service called Contest Domination, you are able to create your own contest in a matter of minutes using their easy to use setup wizard. There is no coding experience needed and by utilizing your choice of three pre-made contest templates, you can have a professional looking contest running in a very short period of time.

Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 11.38.26 AMContest Domination offers three plans with each tier offering more features and compatibility. The free plan has no monthly cost and allows you to run unlimited contests with unlimited entries. It hosts your contest for you on their ‘contest.io' domain and is “mobile optimized” (I'll get into how this is not true further into the review). All free contests must display “Powered By: Contest Domination” on their contest pages.

When you upgrade to the “Pro” ($29.99/month reoccurring) or the “Pro Plus” ($99.9/month reoccurring) you will receive additional features like integration with popular auto-responders & mailing list services, the ability to view detailed analytics, domain mapping, the removal of the “Powered By: Contest Domination” portion, custom CSS, and custom fields.

We recently decided to start running monthly product or gift card contests in order to grow our social media fan base and give back to the loyal visitors that allow this site to continue to put out valuable contest free of charge. Having seen the Contest Domination service and it's advertised features, we though we would give the service a try and signed up for a month of the “Pro” plan. We chose the “Pro” plan in order to take advantage of the ‘Like Gate' feature that is supposed to only allow users to enter the contest if they have liked our Facebook Page.

Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 11.59.45 AMLogging in and getting our first contest setup was a fairly simple process. I'll admit I was a bit bummed that the HTML allows within the contest description was limited and did not let you put in links or any intense formatting. The spacing and format of the paragraphs looked a bit off from what I had hoped for, but it was acceptable for the time being.

Since you can add your own custom image above the opt-in box, I decided to whip something quick up in Photoshop. I was also able to add our logo above the contest title and description to give it that professional look. In the end, I think the contest opt-in page looked decent, but I was disappointed could not customize the “Enter Contest” button as it comes off cheesy to me personally and I'd rather change it to something simpler and cleaner.

I had it setup to capture both the name and email of future entrants in which they will automatically be sent a confirmation to link to opt-in to the contest as well as opt-in to our website's MailChimp account. When an entrant enters in their information and submits it, they will need to confirm both emails in order to join your mailing list and successfully gain an entry into the contest. If they do not confirm either email they will not be added to the mailing list and they will not gain any entries into the contest.

I setup the contest so that future entrants could choose to share our contest on Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter in order to gain an additional 10 entries for every successful referral they bring in. I thought this would be a great incentive for entrants to increase their chances at winning the giveaway while increasing exposure & growing the contest itself. I enabled the contest to a “live” status and promoted in it in multiple ways (social media pages, online contest listings, banner ads, etc) to see how many entrants I could get within the next two days.

Here is the outcome of my experience with the service:

Issues I Ran Into While Running The Contest Domination Service

  1. The FB “Like-Gate” feature was not an effective way of increasing likes for our Facebook Page or any other social media pages. The reason for this is that the Like-Gate feature only works while people are accessing the contest through Facebook and not through the traditional Contest.io link. I tried to get around this by only sharing the Facebook contest link and keep the Contest.io link private, but found the Facebook contest link did NOT work whatsoever when using a mobile device. This was a HUGE flaw as I was unable to successfully allow people to enter the contest while utilizing the Like-Gate feature to boost the number of likes we had. The primary reason I upgraded to the Pro Plan was to utilize this feature, therefore it was a MAJOR disappointment.
  2. After the first day I had 46 unique visits, 6 direct leads, and only 2 of those leads had successfully confirmed their accounts. I reached out to some friends that had tried to enter and I found out they had never received the confirmation email. They checked their SPAM folder and still found nothing. Under the “Contest Links” function, they give you a lead confirmation link that is used “If a lead claims that they never received the confirmation email, it's ok to send them to the confirmation link above”. Sure, I could sent them this link, but how do I know if entrants who I don't know personally are missing the confirmation email as well and thus getting jipped out of being eligible to win the prize?
  3. The low amount of leads in comparison to the number of unique visitors was also a big problem and I think it had to due with the layout and format of the Contest Domination's template. Entering the contest required most users to scroll down to the bottom of the page to enter their information. Also the lack of formatting options for the description (though necessary for ethical and legal reasons) made it look like a long and complicated process when it really was not.

After only 3 days, I decided to cancel the contest and postpone it until next month as I was not happy with the Contest Domination service. I wanted to give all of our readers an equal chance to enter the contest without any bugs (such as no confirmation emails) or disadvantages (aka accessing the contest link via a mobile device). I immediately contacted Contest Domination and asked for a refund as I did not think the services rendered warranted the high price tag. It is important to note their customer support was very easy to work with and immediately issued a refund without giving me any trouble. They even offered to continue my Pro Plan service for a free 30 days though I respectfully declined as the service provided no value to our company or our readers.

Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 12.41.05 PM

Engadget's recent Rafflecopter Contest

Instead, I have found a more versatile and robust contest service called Rafflecopter. Rafflecopter is also free to use while offering a “Blogger” plan for $7.99/month and a “Business” plan for $59.99/month. Rafflecopter offers advanced features like a mobile friendly FP app, the ability to require entrants to like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest pages in order to enter (or gain more entries for these actions), and the ability to easily embed the contest on any of your web pages. Our friends over at Engadget just ran a giveaway using the Rafflecopter service and managed to get 13,457 entrants!

In the end, I was very disappointed with the Contest Domination service and I can't recommend it to others. The setup wizard was very easy to use, but the limited features and poor performance make this service not a worthwhile investment. We will be switching over all of our future contests & giveaways to the Rafflecopter service as it provides greater stability, more features, and much more reasonable pricing. You can try out the Rafflecopter service for yourself by visting this link.

Please note this review is not sponsored by Rafflecopter in any way. We are not being compensated to promote them and they have no idea we are doing so. We are just trying to steer our readers into a service that is more beneficial and provides more value on your dollar spent.