For those of you who aren’t aware of what we are talking about, we had announced the twenty winners of the Samsung “It’s Time to Tab” contest a few days ago. Some of the participants have been quite unhappy with the winner selection and the way the contest was run. You should probably read these first, in case you haven’t done so already:
IndiBlogger Forum: Samsung Mobilers Winners : A Disappointment!
Tech2Date: Samsung, IndiBlogger And The Rat-Trap
Firstly, we’re sorry this caused so much distress. We understand how much work goes into a quality blog post, and it’s tough when one’s efforts go unrewarded.
Secondly, there have been several things said about IndiBlogger.in, Samsung India and the winners of the contest, and we intend to shed some light on the same:
When Samsung India sent us the list of winners, they had sent the correct link to the winning entry. We normally link to the IndiVine post from the winner’s list – and when we looked for entries by that particular blogger, we chose the wrong one. It was a human error, and it was corrected as soon as it was brought to our notice. The last tweet was also mentioned in this post, leading everyone to believe that we had awarded an entry which only had pictures to a launch event; this isn’t the case!
Extension of the contest by two days
It’s been suggested that we extended the closing date of the contest as there were not enough entries; that IndiBlogger was forced to do so because the promised number of entries was not met. The truth is, the contest was extended by two days because the Samsung Blogger Meet was re-scheduled for the 10th, and we wanted to give those who attended a chance to enter the contest after seeing the device and meeting the Samsung team.
We checked all the winning entries for any sign of plagiarism before announcing the results. Considering that we burnt our fingers once before, we’re quite thorough for all our contests now. It’s been suggested that we neglected to disqualify this winning entry, because the technical specs were copied from here. We did so because technical specs are usually copied – either from the manufacturer’s website or another source, and copyscape/Google will always throw up several results for the same.
Favoritism by the judges/random selection
It’s been claimed that friends of the IndiBlogger team and Samsung have been awarded the prizes. This is not the case – IndiBlogger had no part to play in the judging and Samsung India has nothing to gain by favoring friends – the entries were judged on the selection criteria alone (see below). It’s also been mentioned that winners have been randomly selected, a misconception because we stated on the contest page that the winners are displayed in random order.
The selection criteria
As was stated on the contest page: Entries will be judged based on creativity, relevance, depth, impact and level of interaction.
Judges, in all their wisdom, are only human. Everyone has their own way of looking at things – and what is important to one, may be considered irrelevant to another. We are not aware of the weightage given to each of the criteria above – that decision belongs to the sponsors of the contest, as it should be. Some entries may have been found to be so creative that it caught the judge’s fancy, and it may have outweighed the other factors. Some entries might have been so well researched and insightful that it outweighed the need to be creative. That is why the winners are a mix of techies, fictional writers and comedians. We believe that if the judges disregarded the entries and only chose bloggers who would make good Samsung Mobilers, they would have chosen only tech bloggers (considering they tend to have better reach). In the end, 20 winners needed to be chosen out of 220, and we’re certain that Samsung India gave the judging process the time it deserved. To say that their judgement was flawed by criticizing the winning entries and the work those bloggers put into it is extreme.
Changing the contest rules
When we launched the contest, we had stipulated that only those who promoted the live webcast would be allowed to enter the contest. Unfortunately, this was a bit botched up – this announcement was made on the blogger meet page, and it led to a lot of confusion. Some bloggers said that the webcast was showing up as a blank screen; others thought that they had to attend the blogger meet in order to participate in the contest; some thought that the launch event and the blogger meet was the same; and a few were misled into thinking that the launch was postponed along with the blogger meet. We also had many new registrations during those two weeks, as bloggers were signing up with IndiBlogger purely for the contest. Our moderators had a tough time keeping up, and several bloggers were approved only after the launch event. It was to accommodate for all of this, we had to simplify the rules; and we allowed bloggers to link to the recorded version of the webcast within their entries. We realize that those who abided by the original rules and went all out to promote the live webcast on their blogs, twitter and facebook feel slighted by this change. We do apologize – it was a decision that wasn’t made lightly, and on hindsight, may have been the wrong one. On the other hand, we feel that the change increased the level of competition, and that’s always a good thing!
Former IndiBlogger staff “confessing” the truth
The person in question is a former IndiPolice of the IndiBlogger forum, which is moderated by the community. Members of our team (part time, full time and one-time) are listed here. Unfortunately, he left the IndiBlogger community a while ago, as he did not like the way we handled the plagiarism problem, and wasn’t happy with the way the forum was run. We’re still sorry he left; he brought to light several issues on the forum (carefully disguised affiliate links, for instance) which the rest of us had not realized. His advice to us before he left has proven to be invaluable, and we hope to see him back one day, assuming time really does heal. However, to use the words “staff”, “confesses”, “scam”, “inside story” and “dirty truth” is a tad misleading, to say the least.
To conclude, for today:
We’d be happy to update this post with any questions we’ve neglected to answer. If we have missed out on anything, it’s not intentional; it’s just been a long day and an even longer week. We didn’t mean for all of this to happen, and we certainly didn’t anticipate it. I (Renie Ravin) must admit, I’m not too pleased about confidential emails and personal facebook comments shared out of context, let alone being shared at all. IndiBlogger and what it represents is much more than work for all us; we live for it and we do it 24/7 (much to the dismay of friends and family.) We know this doesn’t necessarily make us right – we’re here to learn from mistakes and make changes, as we’ve done several times before. We do hope that all of you who feel disappointed right now would stick with us while we do so.