Friday, May 25, 2007

Tricked into holding a contest

Warning: This is a long post.

Some of you might recall that I had organised a Nitro T-shirt contest on my auto blog. It was not as successful as I had hoped it would and even though it received a fair bit of interest, there were no takers for it except for two bloggers who were also the winners by default.

That's when the problem started. the Dodge Nitro T-shirts were supposed to be sponsored but I totally lost contact with the sponsors (or they cut me off).

How did this saga start?

Well I was approached by a Corrie Zielinski from a company called New Media Strategies. I later found out that this online advertising and Marketing firm is based in Arlington, Virginia.

Given below is her first e-mail to me:
Hi Adam,

My name is Corrie Zielinski, and I just came across Auto Lah. I’m working with Dodge Nitro and have some t-shirts available for a contest. Would you be interested in running one? I think your site is great, and I’d love to work with you.



I told her that I was interested and asked her to tell me a little bit more about the contest and what I would be required to do. This is her reply on Feb 22:
Hi Adam!

The contest process is pretty simple:

I provide you with the number of shirts I can make available to you, pictures of said shirts, and some additional picture assets you can use for the contest if you want. Then, we usually suggest a simple "enter to win" contest, where people email you and you can randomly pick a winner.
You send me the address, and I'll send the t-shirt to the winner or winners. That way, you don't have to pay for postage - we ship a LOT of stuff, so we have a pretty well honed system for getting stuff out the door quickly.

Does that sound good?

I told her what I planned to do and she wrote back on Feb 23:
Hey Adam!

That is the best idea - I love it!

I can give you one Dodge Red Long Sleeve T-Shirts and One Short Sleeve
Black "Can" T-Shirts. (If you look at the "Can" picture you'll totally
get why I call it that. I still can't figure out how they do it.)

I'd really appreciate it if you could include a link to official Dodge
site at ( I'm also sending you
a link of a bunch of assets that we've collected from Dodge - pictures,
logos, magazine articles, etc. You're free to use whatever you want! The
asset links are available here:

Thank you so much, and let me know when the contest is live - I can't
wait to see it AND read the stories (have been personally drooling over
the Nitro since we get this project).


The contest ended and on March 26 I informed Corrie about the results and that I had two winners.

I received the reply dated Mar 26 :
Corrie Zielinski

Hey adam - go ahead and get their addresses o we can get those sent. No worries on the parcipitation, it happens. I have no internet right now - thank god for blackberry!

Thanks, corrie
Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld

That was the last time I ever heard from her.

I obtained the addresses of the winners and sent them to her ... No acknowledgement! I had a bad feeling about that.

Then early this month, I learned that the winners hadn't received the t-shirts till date.

Sent Corrie another e-mail from an alternative e-mail address as I was afraid that the one sent from my Gmail might have landed in her spam filter ... No reply!

I then contacted the company through their website ... No reply! Sent email directly to them ... Still no reply!

Finally I realised that something was definitely wrong.

Searching on the net, I found out that a similar contest had ran on On contacting Terry, the webmaster of the site,he informed me that he had had no problems with Corrie and
She delivered everything as promised.

I am not sure what happened. One thing is sure. I am never going to have a sponsored contest on my blogs again unless I have full control.

In the end, I had to send the winners Don and Doris a T-shirt each from my own online store.

Let this be a warning to all bloggers out there.

I am really happy to announce that everything turned out great in the end. The whole fiasco was due to e-mail problems.



czielinski said...

Adam –

I tried reaching out to you but haven’t heard anything, so in an effort to get in touch with you I thought I’d try you here. First off, I just want to say I AM SOOO SORRY for any and all confusion. The last thing in the world I would want to do is leave you in the lurch! Excuses are always poor (I know that), but I don’t think I ever got your email (and I take your word without a doubt that you sent it). Something screwy must have happened on our side. Ughhh…that is our fault and I should have checked back in with you after not hearing anything (or not seeing anything). Our fault indeed. Again, MY SINCERE APOLOGIES for any of the grief or trouble I may have caused you. I pride myself on keeping our partners happy and my company, New Media Strategies would NEVER want to leave you hanging – in fact we are incredibly grateful for you agreeing to be part of this contest. So, in order to make up for any of your trouble I’d like to send the t-shirts as promised to the winners, along with a $50 gift certificate to the online Dodge store each for the winners, I’d also like to pay for the 2 t-shirts from your web store to reimburse the cost of the t-shirts you had to give the winners, and pay for the postage as well. To show you how serious we are about making sure that you are happy, we would be willing to contribute $250 to favorite charity. Just name it and we can coordinate on how to send in your name (and trust me, I won’t rest until all of that if coordinated properly!!) :)

I greatly value you, your blog and your audience (that is why I asked you to participate in the first place), so I hope that you will please accept my sincere apology and allow me to make up for any trouble or heartache/heartburn we’ve caused for you and your winners. If you could email me back with your number, I’d like to talk to you to express our regrets and really make things right. I hope you will be open to that.

Many thanks,


Adam said...

Thanks for your clarification Corrie. I did reply to your last mail. It might have ended up in your Junk mail folder as I was using my Gmail account. Will contact you from an alternative e-mail account.

Wow! That a lot you are offering. Really appreciate it.

Awkward Situations said...

Like I said before it's bad that it happened. But im glad it turned out good in the end! :)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin