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Old 06-03-2011, 08:03 PM   #1
DarkStarr
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Default Techgage Hardware Giveaways?

What happened to all the hardware TG was giving away, I saw a couple systems and some smaller stuff but nothing recent, whats up with that?
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:11 PM   #2
Rob Williams
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To be honest, there are a couple of reasons we don't hold contests all too often.

The main one is the fact that none of our recent contests gained much traction at all, and in the end, most contests come off as being a wasted effort. We look at the big picture after we hold one and see no change to our traffic, no retained forum members, and half of the time end up awarding the prize to someone who doesn't even seem to care about the prize being given. Even when we give out $2,000 computers we don't feel like the time we put into the contest was worth whatever gain we see.

In effect, as a small team here, our content generates a lot more traffic/benefit to the site than any contest would hope to. It sometimes feels like that even if we gave away a car, the effects would be the same.

That said, I have meant to kick off more regular contests just for the fact that we like to award our regulars, and for that reason in a couple of recent contests we've had community member entries worth 2x. If we hold regular contests, at least once a month, we might begin to see regular benefits to the site... I'm not sure.

I do have a couple of ideas for some contests to post soon, but offering things like PCs won't likely happen too soon, just because those contests take a -lot- of effort (I wouldn't be lying if I said it could suck down an entire 24 hour day). We also need to figure out how to better draw attention to our contests, because I don't think a lot of people know we're holding a contest when we do
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:47 PM   #3
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A thought occurred to me...

With some web coding you could come up with something like this:

1.
Include in the contest a referral system in which anyone coming up being referred by a forum member gains an additional .5 points, while the referrer gains 1 more point. Necessarily, if that new person ends up referring someone too, then they'll get 1 point per person referred.

2.
Establish a ceiling for points any given person can accumulate. Maybe 10, 15, or 20. Dunno. Just so there's an incentive to refer, but no one can draw such a high score their chances at wining come off the charts.

3. Call these contests Pump the Gage Contest, or something silly.

...

Anyways, I certainly like the potential of ever winning a contest and that usually putting me on defense mode when it comes to... letting others know of a draw-based contest I promise however, next ones I'll spread the word.
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Old 06-08-2011, 03:06 PM   #4
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marfig: You have some great ideas, but to be honest, coding something like that up would just be another time-sink for us, and I don't think that'd improve the overall effect the contest would have for the site (it might instead invigorate contest whoring, which we'd like to avoid). Thing is, when we hold contests, we want those who enter to be interested in the product being offered. It shouldn't, but it bothers me when people enter a contest who have no interest whatsoever, but rather are just entering for the sake of it. We'd like to get a prize to someone who loves it, and at the same time benefit the site. That's hard a hard blend to pull off ;-)

The biggest problem with our contests might be A) exposure and B) they're simple in design. When we hold a contest, I write an occasional news post about it, but I don't think that's enough. We've had ad banners in the past, but that's not ideal either since a lot of people -still- won't acknowledge them. We don't want to go the route of a pop-up dialog upon visiting the site either... tacky and incredibly intrusive.

One idea (attached as image) might be to push the center article column down just a smidgen and put in a special dialog that might stand out a little more, acknowledging that there's a contest going on. This would have an "X" that people could click to close (cookie-driven, I suppose).

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
I promise however, next ones I'll spread the word.
Thing is, I don't expect people to go out of their way for this, because you're right... why lessen your own chances of winning? It's kind of absurd, but it does happen. We've had a couple of contests where we've asked some semi-difficult questions, and we saw that on some forums, people weren't just linking to the contest, but even giving out the answers!

That said, spreading the word does of course help out quite a bit. If we hold a contest and no one enters, it just feels like a waste of effort, know what I mean? Still, I have a couple of contest ideas in mind, and hope to launch one in the next couple of weeks. As I mentioned before, we're asked all the time by vendors to hold contests, but when we don't see too much traction from them, it's hard to commit.

Click image for larger version

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ID:	1190
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Old 06-08-2011, 03:46 PM   #5
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It's really a shame that what Rob's saying is so true, but it really is. A lot of times, our contests aren't just some bit or bob that we have lying around - they're systems or items that we go out of our way to get. We really like to reward our regular readers, but it's difficult to do that and not seem like we're not appreciative of the nice passers-by who happen to stop in and drop a note. Not to mention, many of our very active readers aren't forum-goers (look at me, for instance!) - they'll post an occasional comment, usually anonymously, and they'd lose out. But then when we open it up to everyone (which we usually do), we end up on "sign up for free shit" pages instead of RSS feeds or daily bookmarks.

It becomes even harder because I'm sad to say that there have been many points where the winner either isn't really a visitor to our site (either before or after) or is just so rude to us about some aspect of it that it's hard to muster up the effort. Hell, we've even had people win prizes and then show them to us with an AD-BLOCKED version of our site - which is a real kick in the teeth, because it's kind of like saying "Hey, thanks for all your hard work, I'm stiffing you with your own kit!"

I guess, overall, it's just a hard, fine line - we want to think of everyone as friends and loyal readers, and we want to reward you guys who help us do what we do...but at the same time, there are a lot of people who just want something for nothing, and at the end of the day, we ARE trying to run a business. Being the small team that we are, devoting the manpower to choosing, sourcing and disbursing freebies while coming up with fun ways to do it is time consuming and at times feels like a waste compared to taking that time to write another article, particularly when the odds of it going to one of our real readers is so slim now.

That being said, I know Rob's been wanting to get a couple new contests up - maybe we'll try to think of some new way to do them.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, guys. I hope this doesn't come across as just a whine about how hard it is being us, but more of an honest dialogue of what we see on our end.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:14 PM   #6
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It did not come across as a whine, for sure. I certainly can feel your pain. I wouldn't be happy either.

The idea of joining a contest just for the sake of it -- without much interest on the prize -- is totally alien to me. So I'm not even sure I could discuss the motivations for this behavior and, with that knowledge, try to find ways to overcome it. But having a contest to try and draw traffic to the site and hope some meaningful percentage of that new traffic eventually stays, is something I can surely empathize with.

In that context:

- The image you produced Rob would go a long way to help someone like me be more aware of contests. That would work for sure. Do not ever place them on ad locations, or design them as an ad-look-alike. I suspect I'm not the only one who has developed through the years a visual and mental barrier to ads that completely eclipses them when looking at a site. I'm very good at this and, I'm sure, many (many) others are too.

- Have you guys considered introducing a few synergies to help draw more traffic? When you are holding a contest you are effectively promoting a product in one of the most complimentary possible way (usually also linking to what have been your own positive reviews of the product you are offering). I can't speak for everyone, but I'm a business man and I know for a fact that if you informed me by email you were holding a contest for one of my products I might be interested on announcing just that on my own business web site. Should you consider always informing the makers of the products you are about to hold a contest for one of their products, regardless of the results you might get from this?
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Old 06-08-2011, 08:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
The image you produced Rob would go a long way to help someone like me be more aware of contests.
Had some quick input from the staff also and there seems to be agreement around that. Simple, but sweet. We're in the process of testing out alternate site software and plan to move over to it in the next couple of weeks, so we'll implement that as a feature after-the-fact. I reckon we'll hold some other contest before we're over on this new software.

You are spot-on regarding the ad locations and that's the reason we need a more unique spot. Where it is in the example, it's right above the article title, where people will look. It should help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
Have you guys considered introducing a few synergies to help draw more traffic?
Well, this is an area where things are improving, thanks to Facebook and the like. All of the prizes we tend to receive are given to us by the company itself, so it's well-aware of the contest. Sometimes it's easier to get on their Facebook/Twitter feeds than others though. Easier with a smaller company, extremely difficult with a larger one. When we offered an Intel-related prize last year, we were lucky enough to get on Intel's Twitter... friends there really had to pull some strings. But, the difference in traffic to the contest were huge, so it's worth the effort in that regard.

Thanks a lot for the ideas, man!
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Old 06-09-2011, 08:00 AM   #8
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Or you could just make all of the regulars staff members. Then they get to play with toys all the time.
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:31 AM   #9
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For the record, I came for the contests and stayed for the Rob.

And because I follow a lot of hardware contests, I have to agree with him.

You don't want to encourage sycophant posting competitions. Board traffic does impress sponsors but they should be aware that where the signal-to-noise ratio is higher (like here) the opportunity to influence purchase decisions is much more credible.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Optix View Post
Or you could just make all of the regulars staff members. Then they get to play with toys all the time.
Haha, you're a chore to deal with as is; I couldn't imagine adding more people to the staff at this point!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eunoia View Post
You don't want to encourage sycophant posting competitions. Board traffic does impress sponsors but they should be aware that where the signal-to-noise ratio is higher (like here) the opportunity to influence purchase decisions is much more credible.
I couldn't agree more with that.
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:58 PM   #11
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I actually found the contest where you were giving away the gaming computer with the i7-980X on some random website about computer tech. lol.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
I couldn't agree more with that.
Haha, fooled ya! That was just more ass-kissing...NOW GIVE ME SOME FREE STUFF!!
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Old 06-11-2011, 05:15 AM   #13
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Yea I joined for one of the contests and ended up sticking around. Maybe you guys could give away review items every once in awhile, but only to members, not just one post people who join for the contest. (I don't know if you guys could or not but it is an idea) I joined Kitguru for a competition and they have so much stuff they give away, its insane. They seem to have a decent forum, it just seems like most people don't join forums these days and the ones they do are the big names. (OCN/HardForum)

I don't really know what can be done but these competitions just seem to end with some undeserving person winning. Especially full computers, they just join and enter or just enter and that's it. The other thing is some people just sell it.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:48 PM   #14
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Just an FYI... we're soon to have our first contest after a long drought, offering up Thermaltake's Level 10 GT. I'm just not sure how we're going to conduct the contest. We'll see
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:30 AM   #15
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T'is delicious!
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