April 23, 2010

Wildfire App for Facebook Contests

I decided to again this year offer a Fresh Faces contest for kids. I've seen a lot of other photographers offering contests on their Facebook business pages. After some research, I realized that Facebook has a lot of guidelines in place if you want to run a contest within the site. There have been photographers who have had their pages suspended because they didn't follow the guidelines. I didn't want to get my account suspended, so I was on a mission to find another way to conduct my contest and not break the rules. (Read more about their guidelines here: http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php)

Enter Wildfire - a third-party application that manages contests and promotions that are web-based. I decided to test drive Wildfire for my contest. Depending on your personal needs, there are 4 versions of pricing. You pay a base price per contest or campaign then an additional dollar amount per day. I first planned on using the basic plan, but once I started creating the details of the contest I needed to upgrade to the standard version. The good thing about the app is you can start creating your contest in basic form and if you want to make changes, it lets you know the difference in pricing before you pay.

I did have some issues with entries being incomplete because people were having issues uploading their photos. Since this was a photo contest, it was a big deal. I contacted the Wildfire customer service - they responded promptly, tested my contest and said everything was working fine. I continued to have incomplete entries, so at that point I had people email me all their information and child's photo and I uploaded them myself. Extra work, that's for sure. The other snag I hit was that people could only enter the contest once, so if they had multiple children they had to pick one, I didn't like that idea so yet another reason why I was entering them myself.

I only gained a handful of new Facebook fans, so contestants weren't letting the application post on their Facebook wall that they had entered. I did have a few entries from California. People were somehow finding the contest but not reading the rules that the session would take place in Ohio. I was able to disqualify entries based on the fact they were more than 3 hrs away from me. I could have set the contest to be only Ohio entries, but I know a few folks that live out-of-state that come to Ohio often and wanted them to have the chance to participate as well.

I didn't love the Wildfire App and I didn't hate it. For me, it didn't do exactly what I wanted it to do for the budget I had to run the contest. It sounds like they are always looking for ways to update the application and make changes to suit users' needs, so maybe down the road it will work better for what I want it to do. If you're set on finding a workaround to running a Facebook contest, then this may work for you if you want to deal with the bumps in the process. I plan on running future contests on my blog, which is free!


Anonymous said...

I'm a web developer currently working on a Wildfire project. Way too many surprises, not enough documentation, all sorts of bad news.
Did you happen to research anything similar to this, besides just using your blog? Are there any alternatives? I'd really prefer to never work with them again.

Neil Creative said...

I wasn't able to come up with any other cost effective alternatives to run on Facebook. I believe there were a few other options, but nothing that fit into my budget.

Anonymous said...

We are also working with Wildfire for a photo contest... lots of surprises, unknown up-sales, compatibility issues between the Wildfire app & Internet Explorer, extensive CSS programming needs requiring additional fees - delayed contest launch due to so many issues.

We are sincerely hoping that we don't have the same issues as you had with photo uploads once the contest is launched.

In doing further research for future reference (because of these issues), we have found a NEW photo contest app that is certainly more cost effective, but yet to be tested by us. It may not have all the needs we require and may be more suitable for an individual or smaller business such as yourself. I would be interested in finding out if/when you try it and how it works out for you: http://offerpop.com/SiteProduct.psp

This company seems to offer several FB Apps that are more cost-effective than others I've seen out there, but specifically the Photo Contest App.
I'm sure we'll be testing out a few of the other Apps in the near future.

Anonymous said...

I posted the previous comment last Wednesday.... the following day, I decided to start a back-up 'Plan B' to create a Facebook Photo Contest, since we were having so much trouble and running into so many issues with Wildfire. We were already 1 1/2 weeks past our contest launch date and I figured it wouldn't hurt to just 'test the waters' of Offerpop - just to see how they compared & how easy their FB Platform was to work with.

After waiting yet another 1/2 a day on Friday for an email response or return call from Wildfire, I decided to go ahead and call Offerpop.com

Let me tell you - they are amazing! I am SO impressed, not only with the platform, but also with the staff. I spoke with them Friday afternoon about tweaking the contest for a little more customization & now, this Monday morning - they already have a complete photo contest READY TO LAUNCH today!

And... (2 weeks into it) We still have an incomplete photo contest with several outstanding issues with the Wildfire campaign.

I've heard many great things about Wildfire & many people who have not had any problems with them what-so-ever. However, you must be prepared to PAY for any 'extras, including things you might think would be inclusive of the campaign. Make sure you understand exactly what is included BEFORE you sign a Contract/Agreement or make a payment!

After the last two grueling weeks with Wildfire, then an amazing weekend with Offerpop.com:
We'll certainly continue our services with Offerpop! The service is exceptionally superior. They know their program inside out and are quick to respond to our needs, and can make tweaks or adjustments expeditiously! They have the WOW factor & we are most certainly impressed!

And thank you Neil for sharing your story - so that I could share mine! :)

Anonymous said...

Nearly went down the Wildfire route. OfferPop looking a much better option now. Thanks everyone for sharing. Cheers, Jon