Friday, November 9, 2012

When contests go south. Part I

Also known as the "Sole Society Saga".

I'm sure many of you heard and even participated in the Sole Society "Sole Sister Connection" Contest back in September and early October. For those of you that didn't, the gist was to get current members to make "connections" with other current and new members by entering email addresses in the Friend Management area of their site. They were going to award a $49.95 credit for EACH 20 connections you made. Can you see the flaw in this contest from 3 miles away? Yeah. Apparently Sole Society was completely shocked and unprepared for the massive influx of the Facebook shoe community sharing ALL their email addresses in groups. Some of these lists reached 200+ legitimate email addresses. Copy and pasting was done in droves, and some women, myself included, racked up over 400 email addresses, which would have been 20 credits valued at $49.95 each, or a total of around $1,000 dollars in credit. The official contest said that the Sole Sister with the most connections would win a year's worth of shoes - $600 in credit.

When they were questioned about it during the contest, they said, in various formats, that:
  • They were aware of how many connections were being made
  • That the majority would not be penalized by the few cheaters
  • There were no catches
  • There were no limits as to how many credits we would each get
  • The only rule was that you couldn't use multiple accounts to rack up credits.
When the contest ended, they posted some blather about needing 7-10 business days to count the connections due to overwhelming response. On business day 10, they, at 5pm Pacific time, emailed everyone that participated and said "Here's one credit, that's all you get, because someone cheated".

Needless to say all hell broke loose. There are many BBB complaints about this, law enforcement was contacted, and lawsuits were threatened. Nordstrom, Sole Society's money bag, even turned a blind eye to what was going on much to everyone's dismay. Sole Society gave out a bogus, unmanned email address to everyone who had issues or questions about the contest, and said that the customer service reps would be of no help. Then, the real kicker was, and still is, they scrubbed their Facebook page. All negative references to the contest were deleted and the posters and commenters on those posts were blocked from the page.  I was blocked for suggesting that we leave their customer service reps alone and instead bombard their marketing department. I'm still blocked and can't post, comment, or like anything on their page.

Sole Society got in way over their head with this contest and not predicting that this would happen was, plain and simple, stupid on their part. They are completely inept when it comes to social media, obviously, and are a blight on Nordstrom's good name. They went and did exactly what they said, in writing, that they weren't going to do: they blamed a few cheaters for ruining it for everyone, when really, their marketing director screwed up royally and should be fired for not foreseeing this shitstorm.

After about two weeks, I finally threw in the towel and decided that me spending my credit would cost them more than any other damage I could do, I bought some boots, which I ended up hating. They're going back, and I'll reuse the credit on something else. At least they're getting dinged with the return shipping and they'll have to pay the shipping on whatever I replace them with. It's petty on my part, but makes me feel just a tinge better.

**Note: I put off posting this for over a month because I'm hoping they think that this has gone away, but it hasn't. It gives fresh fodder for Google to have waited this long to post. Also, I say this is Part 1 to this story because I'm hearing that there is new movement in getting Nordstrom involved in this fiasco. What may come of that, I don't know, but if anything does happen, I'll be sure to update as appropriate.

No comments:

Post a Comment