Voting competitions are back on the Loquax blog today and that can only mean that there’s – unsurprisingly – something gone slightly pear shaped. Direct Holidays and Poundland are the latest brands to come unstuck in the voting competition stakes – and if the activity on their walls is not enough to make brands, promoters and compers seriously consider their involvement in this mechanic then perhaps nothing will.
Poundland – Win £2500 Holiday Vouchers!
To Poundland, first, where they wanted entrants to post a photo of themselves that shows just how much you love Poundland. The winner would pick up £2,500 holiday vouchers and £500 spending money. The competition closed this morning at 9am and the contest page just says “the judging panel is currently looking at all of the fantastic entries”. However, that’s not stopped a little debate breaking out on the Poundland Wall. One entrant has made quite an empassioned comment to Poundland, even citing links to Loquax’s blog about voting competitions. Other posters have also commented on the unfairness of voting competitions and suggested that Poundland judge the competition on creativity as opposed to number of votes. It may well be, given the competition closure comment, that this is what they’re going to do.
Out Of The Frying Pan….
However, Poundland’s voting competition is a mere storm in a teacup compared to a maelstrom that is engulfing Direct Holidays. In their competition you can win your choice of 3 all inclusive package holidays to Turkey, Majorca or Tunisia. The winner is the person who gets the most votes for their holiday antics story. From what we can gather it seems that one entrant has been accused of cheating – using Facebook pages like Golden Rule Voting and Bring On The Votes – to boost their position. By the way we’ve named these pages not for compers to use, but for compers to see who’s doing what. Another page mentioned on Poundland is Worldwide Voting Exchange! Importantly, if you look at the rules of the Direct Holidays competition they do say “entrants are prohibited from using third party vote collecting or vote sharing websites or applications and no automated voting systems or ‘bots’ should be used to submit votes”. This means that they are obviously aware of the problems that arise wit voting competitions and perhaps are monitoring irregularities.
Anyway, Direct Holidays have listened to concerns from other entrants and disqualifed that person based on their terms. Except there are now posts on the Wall suggesting that the disqualifed entrant has been set up and/or sabotage is afoot! It’s all very confusing and ultimately a mess which ever way you look at it. It’s something we’re pretty sure Direct Holidays would be happier not to be posted all over their wall. One thing we did spot when looking in to this was that the person who has been disqualifed does have an entry for this competition on Get Online Votes. Interestingly, the entry is made by a friend not by the entrant. Could this be the clue to the mystery? Our advice would be for Direct Holidays (or the person involved) to contact Get Online Votes and ask them for information and IP addresses of the person who made that entry – it might help them get to the bottom of the issue. By the way, we’re not making any judgements here – we just hope the competition is being run fairly – and hopefully the information and advice above will lead to a resolution amongst those involved. It’s great that Direct Holidays are on the ball about voting exchanges but we’d hate to see someone disqualified if they’ve not done any thing wrong.
Farce & Chaos
What we don’t really understand is that if Direct Holidays have gone to effort and expense to monitor voting issues then we think they may have been better off using their time putting together a way to judge the entries themselves. All this goes to show that no matter how good you monitor, voting competitions always tend towards farce and chaos. They cause disagreements between people/potential customers/customers, and for the brand expose their wall to all sorts of behaviour which is not a good representation for them. This is especially a massive factor at weekends with many brands who operate a 9am to 5pm week day only social policy. Our advice to brands is don’t do voting competitions – the advantages surely don’t outweigh the advantages – ever?