Wordpress & Web Development

Run Competitions On Your Website Simply and Easily, With Gleam.io

James Bruce 04-09-2014

There’s something about getting stuff for free Yay, Free Stuff: How to Get a Freebie Every Day for a Week The internet is loaded with free stuff, from trial software to sites that offer free samples and coupons. Unfortunately, the good stuff is drowned in a sea of scams and dubious survey sites. And even... Read More that ignites a frenzy in anyone, and it’s that compulsive fact of human nature which makes competitions so effective for any website. Gleam.io is the newest, and best way to run a promotional competition on a web project.


You’ll notice our new competitions are running on the Gleam platform too: we wouldn’t tell you something is the best, if we didn’t use it ourselves. Check them out – we’ve got some fantastic prizes on offer, this week and every week.


Gleam certainly isn’t the only competition platform available though – you might also want to check out Rafflecopter. Here’s a quick comparison and price breakdown:


  • Free plan actions include Facebook, Twitter, blog comments, and custom actions.
  • Blogger plan for $7.99/month adds the ability to conduct polls, change start and end times (you can change the dates with free plan, just not the times), integrate Pinterest support, and the option to add a photo slideshow for your product.


  • Free plan actions include Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram, Soundcloud, Vimeo, visiting a specific URL, questions and multiple choice polls, and bonus entries (just because).
  • Emphasise specific actions by changing how many entries they’re worth.
  • Pro plan for $39.99/month adds featured images, photo entries, and newsletter subscription services integration.

Neither system allows you to have newsletter subscriptions as an entry action on the free plans.

Punchtab, which we’ve previously recommended for gamification and giveaways 3 Gamification Plugins To Take Your WordPress Blog To The Next Level Read More , seemingly no longer offer a free plan and has instead shifted their focus to only corporate clients.

With that in mind, what makes Gleam.io so good?

Tons of Actions Supported

I was blown away when I saw the list of supported actions, not only because it just gives a greater range of social channels you can promote – it goes well beyond the standard list of Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus – but also because the more actions you have listed, the more value you can get out of any single visitor.


gleam entry methods

For an increasing number of companies, the traditional big three social channels just aren’t the primary focus – Instagram and Pinterest can yield far better engagement for online shops; for individual bloggers, more YouTube or Twitch followers might be the target; while musicians can finally add Soundcloud actions. The sheer range of actions makes the Gleam platform significantly more useful for a wide range of people and businesses.

Once-a-Day Entries

Incentivising users to continue promoting your page or product for the duration of the competition is powerful – most competition widgets let users earn entries for completing actions, but once completed… that’s it. There’s simply no sticking power. Gleam allows you set certain entry actions as repeatable every day – tweets, and sharing to Facebook, for example – so you can continue to bring users back to the competition (and potentially, the rest of your site), day after day.

Rafflecopter also offers this feature, but as a paid upgrade; Punchtab doesn’t offer it at all.


As anyone who follows me on Twitter will know, I’m a sucker for this feature. Seriously – don’t follow me unless you like a constant stream of promotional messages, video uploads, and automated Pi Tweet Bots. I’m the worst kind of Twitter user, ever.

i hate twitter

Mobile Compatible Entry Forms

As a developer, I hate dealing with mobile users. The screens are tiny, and targeting different widths is complicated further by high pixel-per-inch count displays. Luckily, the Gleam.io forms are responsive and great for mobile devices when served directly. When embedded on the page, they’re still subjected to the whims of your site, but providing a quick link for mobile users is all that’s needed to take them to a perfectly formatted mobile entry form, with no reduced feature set because of it. When all you want is to promote the competition and bask in that viral goodness – taking users straight to a fast and optimised entry form is what matters, and Gleam delivers elegantly.

It’s Got a WordPress Plugin

If you’re using WordPress, adding Javascript directly to a page isn’t really feasible unless you only ever edit in raw code (not the visual editor). The accepted way to do this is via short codes, which is precisely what the simple Gleam.io plugin does.



Instead of a competition, Gleam.io can be used to unlock coupons after a specific number of actions have been completed. It seems like an obvious feature, but you won’t find it elsewhere. Not only is this a more immediate gratification for the user, but it’s far more likely to lead to a sale.


Modern Design

Gleam looks incredible, and would suit any modern page design. As a developer, that’s actually pretty important to me: having designed a great looking site, I’d rather not then be forced to add some glaringly ugly and out-of-date widget just to run a competition.

I particularly like being able to see all the entry actions at once – with colour-coded icons for readability. From a user perspective, it’s easy to see at a glance whether I’ll be able to get that many entries – and motivates me to participate. While previously running Punchtab competition, we found many users thought each step was mandatory, and could often stall once they hit a network they weren’t a member of.


What Are You Waiting For?

The Catan Boards competition that I entered compulsively earlier this year is a stunning case study of what Gleam can do for your promotion – and you can read about it in full here. Put simply – Gleam is a beautiful and a cost effective way to effortlessly run promotions such as competitions and coupon giveaways. The integration with such a wide range of social platforms make it suitable for any kind of business or individual, not just those focussed on the big three. Sign up for your free account now at Gleam.io!

Related topics: Webmaster Tools, Wordpress.

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  1. Michelle
    April 20, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    I have used both Gleam and Rafflecopter. I love the look of Gleam - looks more inviting, colorful and professional. However, after the contest is over, the HIDE THE EMAILS AND NAME FROM YOU. YOU HAVE TO PAY THEM AT LEAST $39 TO GET IT. If that was made clear up front, I would have never used them.

    Raffecopter isn't as nice an interface, but their free version allows you to download a csv file with the entrants names and emails for FREE.

  2. Joe
    September 28, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Thank you so much for this article, James. I've been searching for so long for a program that allows for these types of social competitions, especially with WordPress integration.

    I definitely think using something Gleam is the prime choice for competitions. It encourages promotion in a more natural way and the user is more willing to to do it thanks to the prize.

  3. Patti H
    September 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I like it so much more

  4. Chinmay S
    September 5, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Are you planning to add Gleam.io to MakeUseOf in place of PunchTab?

    • Chinmay S
      September 5, 2014 at 4:46 am

      Ignore the above comment. You have already implemented it.