Let's play Rate the Audience Development Initiatives!
Family Circle's current partnership with EBay looks cool - win $2000 to spend on Ebay to redesign a small space in your home. Upload a photograph of your space and an essay about your plan to win. Smart partnering for both sides, good user-generated content. The prize, while not spectacular (toss in access to someone cool?), is compelling enough to do the trick. They've created an incentive to come back at least once to see who won. Score: 8
I was reading Glamour on the beach this weekend, and they are starting some new user-generated content stuff that looks cool (in theory - we'll see about execution). They're doing some kind of blog, and asking readers to submit photos taken on the street of fashion Do's and Don't's. Everyone who uploads a photo is eligible to win a $2000 shopping spree with a Glamour editor. The prize that includes not just the money but the access to "an individual of note" is a great touch.
It's a great way to increase participation. I love the user-generated theme, which inspires multiple visits and submissions. It seems a shame, however, that they have missed the opportunity to work with another site that could share or swap traffic, like Bloomingdale's for shopping; Flickr for pictures; or Nokia's cameraphone marketing department. The result is that not only have they missed out on a cool opportunity to generate new traffic, but they don't have enough submissions to show good user-generated content. They're showing pictures of people's babies. Personally, I would recommend not putting user-generated content up until you have accumulated enough to display something good. Score: 6
In contrast to these user-driven content contests, InStyle's partnership with BlueFly where you click an animated image and they call it "playing a game" seems like a wasted opportunity. Demanding that you start by giving them all your contact information before you know what the "game" even is will ensure they have light uptake. Then, the game itself involves no skill and isn't worth practicing to improve your chances of winning. Finally, there's no link to entice you to click back to InStyle's website if you navigated to the sweepstakes through Bluefly. There's a place where you can subscribe though... Old Media is not likely to forget their original business model, even when it's starting to let them down. Score: 2
Users are just much more likely to come back to see if their picture was posted, than to come back to "play again". A user-generated content sweepstakes takes advantage of Many-to-Many, the way this interactive display does not.