Just wanted to touch base with you all about our contests and voting. I am sorry to hear that there are some bitter feelings out there. We are trying as hard as possible to make these contests work for everyone. So, I just want to talk about it with you all again. To gain insight into our thought process, check out our posts and related comments from the last year or so here and here.
Please keep in mind that we try to make everyone a winner by making sure that we ALWAYS send juicy samples at the beginning of a challenge.
The polls exist out of necessity. Surely I do these challenges because they are fun, but my staff and I do spend quite a bit of time running the challenges, not to mention the expense of samples, shipping and prizes … so the main way that we get a return on our investment of time and money is by setting up a poll and incentivizing you all to send your readers to come check out our site. It gives us an opportunity to meet your followers and make a good impression.
But we are not the only beneficiaries of the traffic. By you all sending your readers to vote, you are also sending readers to each other via the poll. So, if you only got 10 votes and someone else got 200, there is a good chance that at least a few of those 200 clicked over to your blog, liked what they saw, and are now following you too! A lot of bloggers have told me how their traffic spikes during a poll and for those that have advertising, that’s a spike in ad impressions too. I am all about win-wins … and from my standpoint, these challenges certainly seem mutually beneficial. What do you think?
While the polls do sometimes turn into a self-evident popularity contest, after doing a few dozen of these, I will tell you that 9+ times out of 10 they arrive at a plausibly merit-worthy winner and most of the time they arrive at the winner that we would have chosen anyway. We did have a photo contest once where the highest vote getting photo was obviously the worst photo of the bunch. That was embarrassing. At the time, we were using the poll winner as the sole winner, so I immediately had my photographer select his favorite and we awarded a second prize. We obviously want these to be credible contests (and fun ones at that).
And, that gets me to the reason why we have 2 winners. We want this to be fun. We want this to be legitimate. We do not want there to be any bad feelings. So, as a matter of policy, we NEVER have a single winner adjudicated exclusively by a poll. If there is a poll, there is always a secondary method for choosing an equal winner.
Having said all of the above, I want to be really clear that I think that the poll in this instance chose a great recipe. While Clearly Delicious clearly asked her followers to support her (as many others also did), her recipe is also Clearly Delicious and very worthy of the prize. Further, be assured that we
have fraud filters in place that only permit one vote per IP address. And we check the filters. Like any system, there are probably ways to game it, but our system does a pretty good job of keeping it honest.
Don’t forget: we do have two winners for the Chile Recipe Challenge. One of them is selected by about 5 of my staff members and 25 of you. Each of the 30 people get two votes and the highest vote getter is the other winner. I just want to point out that of the 25 challengers, as of this writing, we have only received 13 votes from the challengers themselves. You’ve got a vote people. Use it!
Finally, I just want to say on behalf of my team and I that running these challenges, working with you all, watching the amazing things that you all create … it is without question one of the most fun and rewarding parts of our jobs … if not the best part. Well, maybe the second best part. The best part is all of the sampling and cooking that we get to do at work. Drooling over your work though is almost, but not quite, as good as those shigoku oysters yesterday.
I’d love to hear your uber-candid thoughts, so please leave them in the comments below: