Entries Tagged 'features' ↓

No more Waiting List!

I think it’s safe to say that the waiting list has outlived its usefulness.  When we first launched LookContests.com, I wanted to make sure that the site would be reasonably fast and responsive, so the waiting list was a way of managing the number of users and ensuring that new users were added only when I was comfortable that they wouldn’t negatively impact the existing users.  So far, the site is holding up very well, so I’ve approved everyone who was currently on the waiting list, and I’m comfortable with the idea of opening it up to anyone who wants to join.  Tell your friends!

Also, the old way of creating an account was, admittedly, confusing.  You had to go to our partner-site, ContestCanada.net, and create an account there.  This has been changed.  Clicking on ‘Register’ now lets you sign up directly on LookContests.com, and your account is active as soon as you hit the ‘Submit’ button.

Lastly, you can now request a password change by going to the Login page and clicking “Password Reset”.  I’ll be adding more functionality for maintaining your account soon.

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.



By Request: New Features

I’ve just updated the site with some new features which are, for the most part, geared towards power users. I’m just going to give a quick run-down of the changes here, and I’ll try to elaborate on them in the next day or two.

  • On the Settings page, there is now an option to exclude ContestCanada.net contests from your listings. This if for people that like to enter all of their contests rather than using the ones that are automatically included from ContestCanada.net.
  • On the Settings page, there is now an option to select which page should be used as your default start page. In the past this was always set to “new” contests. Now, you can choose any page you like.
  • On the Settings page, there is now an option to change how contests are sorted. The options include Expiration Date (the current default), Contest Title, and Company Name.
  • At the very bottom of the Settings page, there is a link that allows you to retrieve a file containing all of your contests. The file is a CSV (comma-separated-values), which includes the contests title, company, url, and your last entry date. You may use this file in the unlikely event that LookContests.com becomes unavailable so that you don’t fall behind in your contests.
  • You may now make changes/corrections to contests that you’ve added without having them approved by me.
  • I’ve also added a feature so that certain users’ changes/corrections for any contests will be automatically approved rather than going through me. If you’ve been submitting changes and I’ve noticed that your changes are usually accurate, I’ll give you the authority to make this changes instantly. For those individuals, I’ll let you know when I’ve granted you the authority.
  • As you may have noticed, some contest sites take over the whole screen and mess up our nice tidy listings. If you come across a site like this, click the “correction” button and check off the checkbox that’s labelled “Contest takes full screen”. Then, when you see the same contest in the listings again, the “Open in new window” button will be highlighted in red to remind you. It’s not a great solution, but it’s the best I can come up with so far.
  • The “Activity Log” button has been replaced by a “Reports” button.
  • A new report has been added: Upcoming Expiration Dates. More reports are planned, and I’d hoped to include them in this release, but I just haven’t had the chance to complete them.

The biggest changes in this release are that I’ve done a lot of work to allow for even more contests to be automatically included. These won’t start showing up quite yet, but they’ll start coming in over the next couple of weeks. My hope is to double the number of contests that are available. The extra contests will be considered “Premium”. Eventually, I plan to change the site so that you have to pay in order to see the Premium contests, but in the meantime I’ll consider everyone who has signed up so far to be a Premium member for the next few months. The Premium contests will have a different icon to help differentiate them.

Anyway, those are the changes in a nutshell. I’ll post more details soon. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to let me know.


P.S.  Special thanks to Raycaster for many of the ideas in this release.  Keep the comments coming, Raycaster!

Fine-tuning the Contest Frequencies

I’ve just completed an update to the site that includes a few minor changes and one fairly significant one. The minor changes are listed at the bottom of this post, but first I’d like to address the larger one.

The frequency of a contest is key to the logic for LookContests.com. We started out with fairly simple frequencies: daily, weekly, monthly, single, unlimited and unknown. However, there are some contests that don’t quite fit into these groups. For example, some contests which we’ve categorized as ‘daily’ are actually set up so that once you’ve entered it, you can’t enter again for 24 hours. It’s a subtle but important difference.

To address this, I’ve expanded the frequency filters so that the list now looks like this:

  • daily: if you enter the contest any time on Monday, you can next enter it any time on Tuesday.
  • daily24hr: *new* if you enter the contest at 6pm one day, you can’t enter again until 6pm the next day.
  • weekly: if you enter the contest any time during the week, you can enter it again any time during the following week (LookContests considers a week to start on Sunday).
  • weekly7day: *new* if you enter a contest on Monday at 9pm, you can’t enter until after 9pm on the following Monday
  • monthly: you can enter the contest once per calendar month.
  • monthly30day: *new* you can enter the contest once per 30 day period.
  • unlimited: enter as many times as you like.
  • unknown: we try not to use this very often, but some contests are difficult to classify.

I hope this makes sense to everyone. We’ll start using these to classify new contests as they’re added. However, I don’t have the time to go back through the 500 or so active contests and check it they need to be changed. If you happen to come across one that’s wrong, please take a few seconds to submit a contest correction and I’ll get it fixed-up ASAP.

Other changes included in this release, are as follows:

  • Pop-up windows for Notes and Reminders have been eliminated. I didn’t really like the way these functions operated, so I’ve changed it around. I think it makes more sense now.
  • You can now edit or delete notes. This was a pretty basic feature that was missing. If you enter a note that has an error, you can now change it if you like, or delete it altogether.
  • User name is now displayed in the notes list. If you create a note and mark it as ‘public’, everyone will see it when they examine a contest. Now it will display your user name in the list. It’s a first step towards making the site a bit more community-oriented.
  • The Search function now includes the company name. When you do a search, the site now looks for the term that you’ve entered in the following fields: Title, Description, and Company.
  • Bug fixes. There were a lot of new users on the site this week, and a few bugs were uncovered as a result. Overall, though, I’ve been very pleased with the stability.

Another Day, Another Batch of Changes

March has been a very busy month for LookContests.com, so it’s fitting that I’ve just completed a new set of changes on the last day before we move into April.

Before I get to what was changed, though, I want to give credit to LookContests member Ron for suggesting all of these improvements. He sent me a great list of enhancements this morning and I was more than happy to implement them as soon as possible. I hope to hear lots more from Ron and from everyone else as well. With feedback like this, the site will continue to get better and better.

So, here are the changes:

  • The default view when you go to “Today’s Contests” is now “New”, which by default will display any contest that has been added since you last signed into LookContests.com.
  • On a similar subject, if you don’t like the fact that a contest is considered new only if it’s been added since your last visit, you can now go to Settings and change it. For example, if you want any contest added in the past week to be flagged as new regardless of when you last signed in, you can go to Settings, un-check the box labelled “Only contests created since my last login are new” and enter 7 in the box labelled “Contests are new for this many days“.
  • When adding a new contest, you are now prompted to enter the URL first. If the URL already exists in our database, you are notified that the contest likely already exists. This should help prevent duplicate entries. If it really is a new contest with the same URL, you can still choose to proceed.
  • Each contest listing has a small “+” sign that you can click to see more details. Perhaps you’d rather have the details shown by default rather than having to click to see them? In that case, go to Settings and check the box labelled “Expand listings by default“.
  • The Activity Log now shows you today’s activity automatically. You can still change the dates to choose any time period that you like.



Making Corrections to Contest Listings

As you probably know, our contests listings come from http://contestcanada.net. While we take steps to ensure that the contest information is accurate and complete, there will always be situations where the details are misunderstood or a mistake is made.

Up until now, the best way for you to correct an error that you’ve discovered has been to send me an e-mail. And while I’m happy to make the corrections as soon as I can, it’s not a very efficient process.

To improve this, I’ve added a new “Correction” button that is displayed in the contest details:


Clicking this button will bring you to a page that lists all of the relevant information for the contest. You may change anything that you think is incorrect.

When you submit the information, the changes do not take effect right away. However, I will be notified each time a change is submitted, and after a quick review, the modifications with either be accepted or rejected.

Please take the time to submit corrections whenever you see inaccurate information. Everyone will benefit from having the most accurate contest details.

As always, please let me know if you have any question, concerns, or suggestions.



New Setting: Only Show Contests that are open Exclusively to Canadians

One of the site’s members sent me a great idea the other day (thanks Ron!), so I’ve implemented it. On your settings page, you now have the option to limit your contests to those that are open exclusively to Canadians. This hadn’t occurred to me prior to Ron mentioning it, but it makes perfect sense. I know a lot of people feel that the odds are much better when the contests aren’t open to US residents.

Hopefully this will be a handy feature for some of our members. If you have any ideas of how this can be improved, please be sure to contact me.

New View: “Entered by me”

Now that you can enter your own contests, it has been pointed out to me that there’s not a convenient way to see just the ones you’ve entered. They show up in the regular views for “weekly”, “daily”, “favourites”, etc, but they can be difficult to track down this way.

To address this, I’ve added a new view for “entered by me”, which will show all contests that you’ve created that are still active.

I’ve also changed the name of the “My Contests” button to “Today’s Contests”:

Today’s Contests

Previously, the button name was a bit misleading as it would appear that it should list all of the contests that you’ve created, but in actuality it was just a way to get back to the views of your contests after you’ve done a search or something like that. I’m sure I haven’t explained this very well! Questions? Comments? Let me know.