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.

An Issue with Validation Codes in Internet Explorer

It’s been brought to my attention (thanks Alain and Ron!) that some sites will not display the validation image when you load them in LookContests.com.  For example, you may see something like this:

The problem, of course, is that you can’t see the squiggly letter that you’re supposed to type.  This seems to be a problem only for Internet Explorer.

There are, fortunately, a few ways to work around this problem.  You can:

  • Right-click on the image and select “Display Image”
  • or, load the contest site its own tab or window (you may need to disable your pop-up blocker to do this)
  • or, use Firefox

I suspect that the first option will be good enough for most people.

For what it’s worth, I use Firefox almost all of the time, and most of my testing for LookContests is done in Firefox.  So, if you find issues with IE (or any other browser), please let me know and I’ll see if it’s something that I can fix or provide a workaround.

Membership Update

OK, I’ve sent and re-sent invitation to everyone who has added their email address to the waiting list over the past few days. If you’ve signed up but still haven’t receive an invitation from me, please send me an email at webmaster@lookcontests.com

Now that that’s out of the way, I can hopefully turn my attention to the list of suggestions and enhancement requests that I’ve received over the past few days. There’s been some really good ideas. If you have any feedback, now would be a great time to let me know. If all goes well, I’ll make a bunch of changes over the next couple of days and do an update of the site sometime over the weekend.

Mike

Catching up on the new Memberships

As you may have noticed, I’ve run a couple of posts on ContestCanada.net to invite new members to LookContests.com. There’s been a lot of interest and, to be honest, I’m struggling to keep up with approving the new accounts and responding to questions and comments. The biggest problem so far has been that a lot of the automatic e-mails that are sent from the site are being marked as spam and not making to the proper inboxes. I’m trying to sen the invitations manually to ensure that they arrive safely, but it’s a slow process.

If you’ve added your name to the waiting list but haven’t yet heard from me, please rest assured that I will be contacting you soon. If you want to expedite the process, send me an e-mail at webmaster@lookcontests.com and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

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.

Enjoy!

Mike

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:

corrections

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.

Mike

webmaster@lookcontests.com

Updated Cheat Sheet

A number of recent changes have made the old cheat sheet a bit obsolete, so here’s an updated version:

CheatSheet

You’ll note that I’ve added the contest frequency to the display. It was previously only available when you clicked the ‘+’ sign on the right. This should make it a bit easier to get the key information when you’re viewing contests in any of the views that display a mix of daily, weekly, monthly, and single-entry contests.

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.

New Feature: “Expiring Soon” View

In the current release, I’ve added a new view of the contests that are expiring soon.  That way, if you’re short on time and you just want to make sure that you’re not missing out, you can select this view and quickly enter the most urgent contests.

You’ll find this view in the drop-down list of views, along with “monthly”, “weekly”, “new”, etc.

Be sure to contact me if you have any questions or comments.