Today is the last opportunity to vote for my San Francisco "Peace Over the City by the Bay" card design in the contest sponsored by PSPrint.com. I had written earlier about my "uneasiness" about requesting votes for my design as it felt it is self-promotional to solicit votes via Facebook, Twitter, and emails. Who knew that my uneasiness was just the tip of the iceberg?
Two days ago, the contest administrators emailed all of the finalists a reminder to let people know that they can only vote "once per 24 hours per valid email address". They've been alerted that there were issues concerning possible voter fraud, and therefore invalid votes were cast and that they were going to audit the vote count and potentially disqualify finalists.
For those of you who know me well..I am honest. I value honesty and so this caused a hit to my conscience. I felt that I had to let the company know that I had placed a vote a day for myself from each of my email addresses. I have separate email addresses for design, and for illustration and so I placed a vote from each. I honestly thought I could place a vote from each of my emails since they are valid email addresses, and frankly each day, as you see the votes ratcheting upwards, human nature jumps in and you get competitive. I would remind my family to "vote for me today" and then post a post on Facebook, or send an email. This went on for two full weeks...the first week was for "getting to the finals" and the second was for "being in the finals". I did not, however, ask others to place multiple votes for me..I always stated "you can vote once per day", and that was that. I also did not place fraudulent email address votes as well..but I did feel compelled to let them know that I used my multiple emails for my "once per day" vote. If disqualification from the contest resulted from that fact, well then so be it, and please do not be alarmed if you don't see my card online.
I have learned that I have some very supportive friends who have also voted with their multiple email addresses. They made me aware that they could place votes by a) voting via multiple email addresses), b) multiple (uncached) browsers allow for more votes and c) there is no validation and people can come up with fake email addresses to place votes. Now, they did not place fake email address votes on my behalf (not that I'm aware of), but they've pointed out how this is possible.
I think that the contest administrators must be in a quandary right now. I wonder how they will figure out what votes were valid, and which were not..and how they will decide, ultimately, who will win? I never thought about the aspects of putting on a contest purely by online voting and the issues that could come up..so this has been quite eye-opening for me. They put votes on hold yesterday and may still decide to disqualify people from the contest altogether. I must say, what PSPrint.com has offered to their clients, the opportunity to enter this contest for prizes of gift cards and printed cards is incredibly generous. I have been and continue to be a huge supporter of PSPrint.com as their print quality, product and service has been outstanding. It is simply the process of "online voting" and casting votes that has caused my unrest.
For me, this has been a great learning experience. This will probably be my first and last online contest as I stated in my title. In a previous post I wrote about how I came to the conclusion that it's not about the prize—the winning of gift cards and printed pieces—but about the connection with others my work does for me. This card is about my love of San Francisco, the joy that city holds for me, and the hope that it resonates with others. I recently received a fun email from a friend who's never visited but just visited last week. Ahhhh…September in San Francisco – the best weather possible – and how he was SO amazed at how beautiful the city is. The process of lettering, design, and the final outcome of this piece has made me happy. This process of the contest has caused me to really think about the goals for me as an artist/creator. For those who know me well, I am a hugely private person. I don't like to pester, bother, cause worry for anyone. I pride myself on being self-sufficient and being a hard worker. I've learned that the journey is farrrrrrr more wonderful when you are working hard at something you love and not focusing on the "prize." I feel that I have already won.
Thank you so much for the love ~ Shirley