The, not so hypothetical, hypothetical situation!
So you starting out with your new website, you get a couple articles up and it’s looking ok. Now you need to start generating some interest in your creation, like increasing your social media following and maybe building an email list.
So, how do you go about doing this? Well you could decide to fork out hundreds of dollars in advertising on these networks. If you think that it could cost around a dollar per like for Facebook fans, and a similar amount for Twitter followers, you could end up spending quite a bit to get things rolling. So we look at option 2 instead.
You decide to run a competition and give away a prize of some sort. What a great idea, loads of businesses are using the same method of promotion, so it must work? The answer is yes it can work, but how you do it can make a major difference to the results. The last thing you want is to have 20 people enter your competition for a prize that cost you $300.
If you do your research you will come across Contest Domination. Contest Domination is a 3rd party contest platform and from using it a couple times I can say that it works, and it works well. You can run a competition, building your email list as well as your Facebook fans and Twitter followers in one swoop! The system harnesses the power of social media, as well as flawless operation across any device. If you think the $100 to run a single contest is a bit steep, you will probably continue your search looking for a WordPress plugin that you can run the competition yourself with.
In comes Contest Blitz! Now you may read about Contest Blitz in forums etc and see people referring to it as the WordPress version of Contest Domination. Let me clear that issue up right now for you. Contest Blitz is NOT Contest Domination! The two systems do have some links and even the code in Contest Blitz refers to Contest Domination, but the two systems are light years apart in the development cycle with Contest Blitz being left in the dark.
So anyway, I didn’t know this before I went ahead and purchased the plugin, along with the one time offer for some extra backgrounds and whitelabel rights, totalling $46.97. Installation seemed to go ok, but upon reaching the end of the settings page I realised that there was no save button. So after some investigation, it turns out the system conflicts with “Contact Form 7 Autoresponder Plugin”. Contest Blitz is calling the same MailChimp MCAPI class as the other plugin without checking that it has loaded first. You will see errors showing “PHP Fatal error: Cannot redeclare class MCAPI” in your error log files. I checked Contact Form 7 Autoresponder Plugin and the code they use does indeed run a check before loading the api. What does Contest Blitz Support think about this issue? As of now, no response for 2 days, looks like I’ll have to disable the Contact Form 7 Autoresponder Plugin.
So one plugin disabled, settings saved and a demo contest setup. All is going well, signups working with MailChimp list integration, until I try resize my browser window to check how it handles smaller screens. Quick answer, it doesn’t. To be honest I wasn’t expecting it to be responsive, but the layout actually breaks. You can see this in the screenshot image.
This is something I could fix myself, but I don’t like doing that as the changes are often broken with the next update, and for a paid plugin you would expect the provider to fix this. So another email goes out to their support, asking when this will be fixed. The answer I got from them is actually what prompted me to write this post:
I’m sorry that the skin of Contest Blitz plugin is not responsive at this time for smaller screens. A very small number of users will be affected by it. If there are enough requests, we may add this feature in a future update
My favourite part is “A very small number of users will be affected by it”. What rock did he just crawl out of? Figures released near the end of last year show that nearly 30% of all internet traffic is from mobile devices. On top of that, Facebook reports that 71% of their traffic is mobile. So how does a plugin that promises to harness the “Viral Power” of social media, not display properly on mobile?
At this point I will probably just fix the layout myself and run with it from there, so watch out for our competition in a few weeks. If you are planning on buying Contest Blitz, don’t buy the one time offer. If you are going to have to repair the contest page yourself, you may as well do your own backgrounds etc. for it. As for the resell rights, the product is not something I would put my name on and sell to others, not at this point anyway.
I checked my emails after posting this and had received a reply for both issues.
1. The MailChimp API Conflict:
We’d have to look into fixing this down the road with an update to the software but in the interim the only fix would be to not use the other plugin or if you can’t wait and your purchase was within 60 days we could do a refund.
2. The Display Issue:
Well it’s not currently set up at this time to be mobile responsive. It may be something we add in the future but if it’s not acceptable at this time I can process a refund for you.
I haven’t decided quite yet, but I may just request a partial refund for the reseller rights and additional backgrounds as I may jimmy the plugin itself to work how I want it.
We have been refunded $27 on the outlay of the plugin, and have started part 2 of the review.