September 2nd, 2019
Fresh Pixel has been in business since 2007, through the years we have worked with clients all over the world producing websites, e-commerce stores, graphics, and marketing material. We have also been retained for marketing services, social media services and deployed several campaigns including contests.
We worked with Count-Down Marketplace from June until our resignation yesterday and during that time ran several campaigns, contests, and promotions.
During the month of August, we ran a month-long contest ‘ Treasures Are Yours’ where participants could enter by registering on their site as well as play-along daily to increase their odds.
Contests are a serious matter, they have set guidelines to conform to provincial and state laws and all important areas (i.e. Prizes, Type of contest, Awarding of Prizes and of course Notification) are all incorporated into the rules of the contest which is available on the contest page throughout the contest.
In the case of this particular contest the points above were created by Fresh Pixel (who was responsible to administer the contest) and those rules were approved 2 weeks prior to the contest by the President/CEO of Count-Down Marketplace, Evan Williams.
The rules were set out as follows
- The contest was a Giveaway, no purchase necessary. and participants must be a registered member of Count-Down Marketplace.
- The Winner(s) would be randomly selected. We used a platform called Wishpond which allows for random selection right on the dashboard, in our case, there were 16 prizes to be awarded and on Saturday Septemeber 1st, as we were required at 7 AM EST, we used that system to produce the 16 winners and noted the winners (in the order they were generated).
- We forwarded that list to Count-Down Marketplace’s programmer for confirmation that all winners were registered members (as required by the rules).
Before we had a response, the President became involved. He has never previously become involved, so we are unclear why he felt it was necessary for this instance.
Through multiple emails, he advised us that he had ‘downloaded’ a list of participants and was ‘going through them’ to determine the most active participants.
We repeatedly advised him that this was not the correct way to decide the winners, this contest was a random selection contest and we had already done that as we were responsible for administering the contest.
We cautioned the President to discontinue stating he was selecting the winners based on ‘activity’, that he was not complying with the rules (that he himself had approved). Regardless of our continuous concern for the integrity of the contest, the President sent an email with the subject line ‘I prefer we do this my way’.
He advised us that he was sending notification emails to ‘winners’ and that was that.
At this time, knowing he was breaking the law, we had no choice but to submit our resignation and note that we were not in agreement with his ‘selection’ process, it was contrary to the rules we had set out and that altering the selection process placed everyone in danger of legal ramifications. He continued and we resigned.
We later learned (via social media) that the letter stated once people sent back their notifications that he would ‘randomly’ select the winners.
The winners were already randomly selected, he has altered that without grounds or legal authority to do so. It’s unethical and unfortunate.
The contest has been compromised and was not administered as the rules state or by our company as we were engaged to do.
We also announced on social channels throughout the month, that all winners would be announced on Facebook at 3 PM EST on September 1st, 2019 to ensure we complied with transparency. That never occurred.
We are genuinely sorry to all participants for the unfortunate conclusion of this contest and we will be moving forward with a request for the Presidents’ resignation and contacting lottery officials to do a full investigation into the contest.
We stand behind the integrity we designed the contest with and we comply with the rules built out during the promotion creation. We also believe wholeheartedly in companies being transparent when doing promotions and we will not engage with illegal activity or allow it to go unchecked.