Win a Train Wreck- Lessons From the Downfall of Artesian Builds
A custom PC company, Artesian Builds, who hyped its image by offering frequent giveaways ranging from $100 gift cards to t-shirts to custom built pcs, announced today (March 10) that it was suspending its business, following a controversy involving its Monthly Ambassador Giveaway. Please stand back when reading about what happened or you may get hit with flying debris from this train wreck.
On March 1, a “Twitch streamer” going under the name kiapiaa stated in a Twitter thread that Artesian Builds did not honor her selection as a winner in its Monthly Ambassador Giveaway of a custom-made pc because kiapaa did not have sufficient “streamer stats” and its CEO offered him/her/it (?) only “partial credit to a new purchase of a rig.” According to the CEO, “All [of kiapiaa’s] followers together still under 5,000 … It was my intention to be generous. This is a difficult one.” By March 10, after a continued online kerfuffle, Artesian Brands closed its doors.
Ok, let’s figure out the lingo:
Twitch: an interactive livestreaming service for spanning gaming, entertainment, etc. Apparently, its big with gamers.
Streamer: a person who broadcasts themselves online through a live stream or prerecorded video.
Twitch streamer: someone who streams on Twitch.
Streamer or Twitch stats: analytics and statistics about a streamer or channel including subscriber count, views, and rankings.
Rig: slang for a custom-built desktop pc. For example, “I’m excited about building my new gaming rig.”
Now, kiapiaa claims that the original rules for the custom-built pc giveaway only required streamers to use the company’s banner in their description. I honestly can’t find the “original rules”, but the ad for the giveaway states that “ambassadors” are automatically entered.
And when you (currently) click the link for how to become an Artesian Builds “ambassador” there are a number of qualifications (of which you only need one) which include a minimum number of followers on various social networks. Because of the impossibility of finding any actual official rules (if they exist), I can’t tell whether this was a written requirement added after kiapiaa entered the giveaway.
So how does a dispute over a modest sweepstakes prize turn into the downfall of a company. Choo, choo, choo. The reckless train is coming into the station.
First, what or where are the full rules? If they do exist, they are hidden somewhere and not disclosed or referenced in the ads. Full rules besides being a legal necessity are really good to have someplace to go to in the event of a dispute.
Second, you can’t change the rules once the sweepstakes starts. Again, besides the legal issue involved, simple fairness requires that entrants are all working under the same premise.
Third, winner validation does not mean that a sponsor can toss a potential winner it doesn’t like. If there are legitimate concerns over who may represent your brand as winner, put these limitations in the rules.
Fourth, the sponsor cannot offer a prize that includes a purchase requirement or a discount off of the originally-stated prize.
Fifth, the sponsor should not engage in a public debate with a potential/disputed winner.
Sixth, if a potential winner has a legitimate complaint, the sponsor should work with, not against, this person. For example, give away two prizes or offer a free alternate prize or some other fair compensation to the disputed winner.
It seems that all of this could have been avoided if there were Official Rules which covered the basic topics of entry, prize, validation and disputes. Absent this, you could run off the tracks and derail.
Please contact Robert Laplaca to answer any questions or provide additional information about this post.