Yes, and no. I recently explained to someone asking if 'bribing' members is a good thing. Though the word Bribe has some stigma behind it, that's pretty much what Posting Contests, Free things for being active, etc. are. We just like to sugar coat it to make ourselves feel better. It's not a bad thing, nor is it necessarily a good thing. The truth is, doing this sort of things has its ups and downs depending on what you're looking for. Short Term: Using this contests, bribes, free content, however else you'd like to word it is amazing if you're looking for short term members to stay active during the event. This can have a HUGE effect if you're bringing in outside traffic that isn't looking for a simple chance of getting a free item here and there. However, if you're not bringing in other members outside of this then it will have a devastating long term effect. Explained below. Long Term: When you offer events that give free stuff out to people, and that's all you promote you're looking towards creating a website/forum/blog/etc. that will ONLY ever be active during these free times. People who join, and their prime motive for talking, being active, etc. is to win something. That means they will only ever do this if it benefits them with some sort of free object. Yes, your site will look busy at first, but when the contest ends, and you're not able to supply more free content, the activity will die as quickly as it began. Thus making your site look twice as dead as it did before. A dead site in the beginning is understandable, however if you've gained 300 members, and now have 320 and only 10 of those are posting anymore, it's not as beneficial as if you had the original 20 members and 10 of them continue to be active. After all of this, it's safe to say if you're using the contest as a way to benefit your preexisting members, and DO NOT promote it solely to gain new members this form of event will be pretty beneficial as it rewards those who are already willing to join. However, promoting it solely to gain members will have worse of an effect on your site as a whole than if you simply continued to promote it without the event.