Last week, a blogging hot mess developed around a contest being run for Chrysler by Ignite Social Media. You can get the deets at this post by Avitable. Fair warning: Avitable has a definite point of view on the events in question. I don’t. Or more accurately, I’m not picking a side because I think both “sides” could have done things differently and achieved a far different outcome.
As many on the comment thread on Avitable pointed out, this sort of contest, in which consumers are encouraged to vote for their favorite bloggers so one of the bloggers can win a tremendous prize, nearly always turns into a popularity contest, rife with accusations of gaming the system and so on. Quite simply, they bring out the worst in human nature. Even when there isn’t a “confusion” about the rules.
My advice: stay away from this sort of event. No matter how good it sounds in the brainstorming session. There is a reason why we have election law and elaborate protections to prevent voter fraud, hanging chads notwithstanding. Unless you can prevent fraud, or even the hint of it, do something else with your marketing dollars.
And the truly sad thing? For those guarding the castle gates from the social media juggernaut, the whole mess is evidence that the blogosphere is a dangerous place for brands. No matter who was or was not at fault, the Chrysler brand has been tarnished by association with the whole thing. Even if they don’t pull back from social media now, others will, and that’s a missed opportunity all around.