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Beth, I am so grateful for your writing about this important topic. It's certainly a thorny one, and one that needs to be discussed. As the steward of social media marketing at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, I participated in the Chase initiative, and also a prior one that was similar, the Jenazabar Foundation's Social Media Leadership Award. That prior competition asked nonprofits to solicit vote comments via their constituencies and though the sponsor organization's idea was totally laudable, the results turned out to be so shady. It becomes a contest that's not about crowdsourcing but what lengths people would go to to game the system. Perhaps because of my experience there, I didn't have huge expectations with Chase, and I do applaud their idealistic idea. It really is discouraging to see people who are ostensibly about the public good engaging in unethical behavior. You are right to say that it is essential that these efforts are better designed. I think a two-tiered process is an absolute must to avoid fraud in these situations.
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Jan 23, 2010