We’re constantly looking for ways to improve Giveaway.City. We’ll keep track of those changes here. If you have any ideas for additional features, etc., please don’t hesitate to let us know.
December 10, 2017 – Bug fixes
My hurried attempt to “fix” the site a few days ago resulted in a few bugs, especially performance-related. I have fixed a few items this morning where duplicate data was being loaded unnecessarily, and I sped up the time zone correction code. If you find anything else, please let me know.
December 7, 2017 – Incremental Load
The Amazon giveaway pages aren’t working quite right today. The link to the product results in an error page, and there’s no way for a user to see any additional information about the specific product being offered. Therefore, new giveaways can’t be linked to a product, and certain features won’t work (detailed below). (Edit: It’s working today 12/8/2017).
I was hoping to get a few more things into this release than I did, but I had to roll out some new code in a hurry today to get around a problem. But for now, you’ll see an incremental load feature. When I started the site, there were about 1,000 active giveaways at any given time, and I decided to just load them all at once, despite the fact that it was a little slow. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see over 3,000 active giveaways, and the initial page load can take awhile. This is one of the reasons I recommend that users just leave the page open in a browser tab.
To make load times bearable for people who don’t want to see the whole list every time they refresh and to try to keep in good standing with the Google ranking algorithm, the site will only load 500 records at first. If you find this terribly upsetting because you want your whole list no matter what, keep reading; I’ve got you covered.
When you get down to the bottom of the 500 records, you’ll see two buttons, “Load More” and “Load All”. Clicking “Load More” will load a bunch more records and the party continues until you run into these buttons again during your scroll-fest. If you click “Load All”, all of the remaining giveaways will be populated at once.
If all of this incremental loading nonsense just isn’t for you, I’ve added a preference that will make things work pretty much just like they always did, and you can load the entire list every time you visit the page.
Other things in this release:
- The list will refresh itself more often.
- Filtering is just a smidgen faster
- Giveaways without an associated product code are handled
- No link to product
- Retail price is shown instead of actual
- Paper books can’t be distinguished from other products
- No ability to exclude product
- No “More by product” option
- The groundwork has been laid for sorting the list, but I’m not quite done.
- The groundwork has also been laid for saving listings, but I’m not quite done.
- At some point I added the ability to search by title, but I neglected to add that to the change log.
October 2, 2017 – Advanced Filtering
We turned on a featured called “advanced filtering”. Rather than describing it here, we’ve chosen to create a new post, available by clicking here:
September 22, 2017 – Image loading, page streamlining
We made a few changes today, mostly to improve performance and keep the Google gods happy.
- Product images are now loaded only when they are visible on the page. This decreases initial load time.
- The “contact us” menu option now opens our blog page’s contact page rather than its own dialog box.
- The “about” menu option now opens our blog page’s about page rather than its own dialog box.
- We removed the FAQ menu option. We’ll add it to our blog if we starting getting a lot more questions.
September 10, 2017 – Amazon Login, click synchronization, and more…
We made some significant changes to the site today, especially under the covers.
First, you’ll now see a login button in the top right-hand corner of the screen. We’re not fans of websites that force you to log in, so before you run for hills, let me assure you that the login button is there if you need it, but you are not required to use it.
We mulled this over for a long time, looking for a way to offer the features we want without asking users to log in. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a way around it. In an effort to make it as painless as possible, we utilized the Login with Amazon service rather than having users create an account with us. Without going into a huge amount of technical detail here, I feel it’s very important to stress that your credentials are never passed to us. Instead, you log in through a window on the Amazon website and grant Giveaway.City permission to utilize that login.
Once your login is successful, Amazon passes a code to us that allows us to verify your login and retrieve your Amazon id, email address, and name. We keep this information in our database solely for the purpose of identifying unique users. We will not use this information to contact you for any reason, nor will it be provided to any third parties.
Future features may result in your email address being used to notify you of a win, for example, but users will opt in at that point.
As a user of Giveaway.City, I’m most excited about this one. If you decide to go ahead and log in, the immediate benefit is that you will be able to synchronize your clicks across devices. In other words, if you’re logged in on both your cell phone and your computer, the giveaways that you click on on one device will be reflected (colorized or hidden) on the other. Synchronization is on by default, but you can turn it off in the preferences.
There is a new filter called “Show drawings regardless of odds”. The odds for drawings are unknown until they are complete and the winner is selected. Therefore, they are typically not shown when you filter by odds. At the request of a user, however, we added the ability to show drawings even when the odds filter would normally hide them. We thought this was a great idea, so much thanks, Trisha!
Image Performance Improvement
Loading the thumbnail images can be a time-consuming process. We’re aware of that, but we also think it’s worth it because it helps you easily gauge which giveaways you want to participate in. Previously, we were always loading all images for all giveaways, even if they were filtered out and not visible. We finally got a little smarter and decided to make sure only visible images are loaded.
As you know, the giveaway list keeps itself up-to-date, adding new giveaways to the top of the list and removing the expired/ended ones. Last week, we shortened the time between these updates to make sure you’re getting the most timely information possible. In this release, we improved the update process a bit more by making fewer trips back to the server, all while keeping the same shorter interval.
More to come…
We’ve got more good stuff in the works. Without giving up too much information, we’re hoping you’ll see more giveaways and have more chances to win.
August 19, 2017 – End date, option menu, and more…
We’ve spent a little time doing some code cleanup and looking for the best way to add more functionality to the site while keeping it usable on mobile devices. Hopefully, you’ll like what we’ve come up with. Today’s changes include the following:
- The giveaway end date now shows up when the screen is wide enough to accommodate it. To lessen confusion, we’ve colorized the start date in green and the end date in red.
- The “report” button has been replaced by a drop-down toolbar with various options. To report that a giveaway has ended, you must now first click on the drop-down arrow, then select the “Report Ended” option. Hopefully, the added options are worth the extra step.
- You can now see all of the giveaways for a given product or sponsor (including those that have already ended) as a list in a new window. If you click on a giveaway from a child screen, the main page will also reflect the click, either by colorizing it or hiding it, depending on your preferences.
- We changed the way we keep track of your clicks so that multiple windows don’t conflict with each other. If you have two windows open, your clicks will be synchronized each time the giveaway list is updated. This information is stored only on your computer.
July 15, 2017 – New filter, new preference, and a bug fix
We appreciate your feedback, and this morning we implemented two features based on suggestions from users.
First, there is a new filter that will allow you to hide giveaways with an entrant requirement higher than the threshold you determine. Now you can hide those 10,000th-entrant giveaways that no one will likely ever win while not missing the occasional 10th-entrant gems that come along.
Second, you now have the option to hide giveaways that you have already clicked. This will definitely be handy for those who want a completely uncluttered view, but it will be left off by default. When visible, clicked giveaways will still have a different background color. Access this option through the preference menu.
Finally, we squashed a bug. Filters based on minimum value and maximum odds were being saved, but the menu wasn’t reflecting saved changes from one session to another. It’s working now, in case you noticed it before we did.
July 10, 2017 – Improved Pricing
When we launched Giveaway.City, we decided to show products’ list prices. However, the difference between the list price and the actual sale price seems to often differ drastically. In fact, the list price can sometimes seem a bit silly and can lessen the value of a price-based filter.
So, starting today, we will show the current lowest price for an item for all new giveaways. Within a week, the entire list will reflect the change.