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It occurs to me that Chase could fix this problem very easily: 1) By publishing the true leaderboard, with an indication of which orgs were eliminated and why. 2) Give the eliminated orgs the $25k that they earned. 3) Leave them out of the next round, with an apology for not being more transparent about their selection criteria earlier in the process.
One thing that I think has been missing from the discussion about the Chase contest is the individual human side - the fact that real NGO employees and supporters had the rug yanked out from under them. Hardworking NGO staffers put substantial hours into the contest, believing that they had a chance to get a good ROI for their time. They crafted and deployed social media strategies; they mail-bombed their supporters, expending chunks of their precious social/network capital; and they probably had a rush of excitement as the contest end approached. Then they find that they never had a shot in the first place. It's not just about transparency and best practices -- there's also the violation of basic human decency. A corporation shouldn't encourage people to work hard for a reward that they have no intention of actually granting. I hope, at the least, some of the NGOs that got duped are able to rally their supporters a second time to send a message to Chase.
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Dec 21, 2009