The Gadget Club is on hold for now

So I’m putting a hold on the Gadget Club contest for now. I’ve notified a person that he won this week, just to get it out of the way. See, I got this email from an entrant.

Hey, I want to withdraw from the contest. The contest (and me along with it) have gotten a little out of hand.

I submitted something because it seemed like a fun contest. After I found out I was in, I worked my social networks in a get-out-the-vote campaign. I was kind of miffed when I saw the guys scripting the votes and your reset of the votes seemed like your threw out the baby with the bath water.

I decided to not spam my social networks for a second go. When I grumbled to someone yesterday, they suggested I use mechanical turk to put them back. I figured I had 150 legitimate votes thrown out, so I put that up on mechturk. Dirty, yes, but I thought both should have been DQed.

Now the whole thing is grimy, and I just want to forget it happened. If you let the contest go and I end up with the most votes, I don’t want the prizes, or I’ll donate the cash value.

Interesting social experiment.

Essentially two people tried to game the contest, one contestant was disqualified and the voting was reset, and one contestant got angry.

I see his point but please, guys, see mine: we do contests for you. CG doesn’t get any cash for these giveaways. I do them so you guys can get some cool stuff. I like you guys. I really do.

But I’ve found over the years that you guys don’t do creative contests. I could basically say “Comment and you’ll win a robotic goat” and you’ll comment until your fingers bleed. However, when I ask “Just make something cool – doesn’t have to be professional” it’s crickets.

So then I did this contest and added a voting component because the prize was so great – a Peek and $500. I used a voting system that was almost foolproof in that I could watch the IPs that roll in and I saw two huge attempts to game the system. Both of the contestants who gamed the system admitted to it and I appreciate that. The system isn’t, in fact, hackproof and no system is truly hackproof. However, we have a set of tools and we try to use those tools and when people work around them – and they’ll always work around them – I have to make stupid rules to prevent this kind of thing. And I don’t want to make stupid rules. I don’t want to have to police you guys. It’s just not worth it.

I’m basically stuck now. I have to rethink this contest and I’ll tell you how you can enter again on Monday.

To those who did something creative I want you to know that I sincerely appreciate it. I’ve been doing this for quite a while and I feel like we’re just lobbing words into the great unknown. To see feedback and faces and to know you guys are having fun is important to me.

To those who cheated or did whatever they thought was fair: fine. I don’t hold it against you. For all you know this whole thing is fixed and I’m going to pick my brother-in-law, dad, and dentist to win the prizes. But I want you to know that it isn’t worth it. It’s not worth it to me to get angry or upset (I actually am kind of upset because this is frustrating) and it’s not worth it for you to turn a fun contest into something problematic. I would love to get cooler stuff in to give away but I want to get more interaction out of the contests and it’s abundantly clear that the best I can hope for are a bunch of comments after a post. Fine.

I’ll let you know what I’m doing on Monday.