Imagine a community one of whose activities is running contests where the winner from a set of finalists is determined by popularity (i.e. most votes). A feature of these popularity contests would be that anyone is allowed to vote as long as they go through the act of joining the community by completing some registration or login process.
I could imagine that this could be an especially good way to build up membership of the community because each contestant in the contest has an incentive to promote themselves outside the community and bring in new members to vote for them.
How effective is this really at creating a sticky membership? Are there any examples of this being done in other communities? Has anyone seen any studies or write ups?
A website offers valuable prizes to whomever can get the most votes on their submission to an online contest. One must register on the site to be able to vote. This leads to a rather high rate of new user registrations on the site during the voting period, because each finalist has an incentive to recruit new members from their social networks. The idea is that this is a good way to build up the user community, because at least some of those new members might stick around to participate in the future.
This seems to be related to (almost the opposite of) "How to prevent "drive by" voting in my forum's contest?"
This question on retaining members after a fun event that attracts new participants may also be relevant.