Friday, July 17, 2009

the sling and swaddle fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants

So I was in this Twitter contest... Have I mentioned that?

Yeah, well, it's over. The winner was announced July 8th, and she is a lovely, lovely mama from Boston with a lovely, lovely daughter. And I am very happy for her.

Really, I am. I love my pinko-liberal-bleeding-heart sisters, and I think we'd have a lot in common if we knew each other in real life. I think lots of the mamas in the contest would be friends if we were close enough to actually hang.

I am thankful for the free product I got to use for the contest (and that I get to keep!). I really, really appreciate all of you who followed me, and Follow Friday-ed me, or otherwise encouraged other people to follow me. I truly appreciate your time.

I am glad I got to meet a bunch of cloth diapering mamas, and a bunch of babywearing mamas, and that I now have a good understanding of the social medium that is Twitter.

However? Not so happy with the running of the contest. At the beginning, each participant was required to sign an agreement that outlined the three criteria that would be used to determine the winner: number of updates, number of followers, and creative content.

I did not have the most updates. I did have the most followers, and my content was pretty decent.

I spent a lot, and I mean A LOT of time twittering, and maintaining my followers list in order to get as many followers as I could. I neglected some of my housework, spent WAY too much time on the computer, not as much time with my husband... and I'm not complaining. I made choices. I chose to enter the contest, I chose to play to win.

I didn't win. And I'm okay with not winning.

What I'm not okay with is the ambiguous process that decided the winner. I emailed the person who ran the contest and I asked how they had determined the winner, because I was playing for my local teen MOPS group, and wanted to explain to them why I wasn't the winner.

Turns out, two additional criteria were added without informing contestants, and the number of followers was basically discounted, because some mamas had non-legitimate followers.

That's right, I said non-legitimate followers, thereby violating the stipulation that... oh wait. There were no stipulations. There were no rules about how people got followers. Really, the only rule that was mentioned was that you couldn't post inappropriate content.

So the top three or four people, in terms of the actually measurable criteria (followers and updates) were pretty much out of the running.

Lots of the mamas had done numerous blog posts with pictures of themselves using the product, pictures of the babies wearing product, wrapped in product. Many of the mamas used yfrog and twitpic to post pictures to their Twitter accounts. It seems that did not really weigh into the evaluations, either.

And at the end of last week, the question was raised about the age of the winning baby. Well, not about what her age is, her mama talks about her age on her blog. But the baby is older than the rules of the contest allowed. I'm going to go not that far out on a limb and speculate that there was no dishonesty on the part of the winning mama. She doesn't seem like that sort of person. I think the people in charge of the contest are at fault. They put conflicting information on the agreement and on the application info, and coupled with the other inconsistancies, I think it's logical to hold them accountable for this, too.

When the age of the baby deal was brought to their attention, the response of Sling and Swaddle was, "You're correct. That's something that we'll handle with that mom. Thnx for your concern." The next question posed to them was to the effect of, "That's great, but how are you going to handle it fairly in regards to the other 29 moms?" To which Sling and Swaddle has yet to reply. I even sent them an email asking how this would be handled, and haven't heard back.

Ummm, people? That is just not a good way to do business. When you make a mistake, own up to it, and make it right. If you can't make it right, at least do something to make it look like you're trying. Don't just leave things hanging.

The Sling and Swaddle Journey was fun while it lasted, but I get the impression it has ended on a sour note for some of the mamas involved due to the lack of planning, the hosts' lack of knowledge of Twitter, the disorganization, the lack of rules for the contestants to follow, and the change in expectations which was not passed on to the contestants.

A little more planning and attention to detail could have helped this contest be a fun month-long journey. Instead, they took us for a ride.


  1. And after all the work you put into that? I'd be left with a bad taste. Good thing you like the product so much.

  2. You just wrote a very nice, appropriate post for what you went through. I would have been all @#$%! on their asses. Sounds way too shady.

  3. I haven't voiced any of that, but I totally agree. I noticed the age difference with the application and then the form that had to be signed. I also didn't understand why halfway through the month we were told there had to be at least a picture a week or something like that...maybe I missed something but I don't remember reading that earlier.

  4. I feel jipped too, and I wasn't even in the contest. But I followed for my friends sake, and feel that the end result was totally shady and inconsistant.

  5. I'd be pretty freaking torqued. I hate not having a concise set of standards and when people have the inability to own up to their mistakes.

  6. WOW...that totally sucks! At least you got a free product out of it (not like you couldn't have made it yourself or anything).

  7. No kidding. You really worked hard to promote the product. The least they can do is follow their own rules.

  8. I followed a few S&S mamas and really enjoyed all the updates. The pictures were fun, too! I didn't realize ya'll had to post pictures. I'm sorry you felt you were cheated, I'd feel the same way, though. Hopefully if they do this next year, they'll learn something from this time. I also hope you get a reply from your email. You're right, this isn't a way to run any type of company.
    Good luck!

  9. I don't know that I feel cheated. I didn't expect to win, I don't mind that I didn't win... I am surprised by the way things have been handled. And disappointed.

    But the other mamas are fun ladies, and I've been keeping up with some of them since the contest ended. Even better than fun, they're a good bunch of women...good hearts, good mamas. And they (still) tweet to beat the band.

  10. Wow! I was an SnS mommy too but didn't know about these changes or discrepancies. It did seem a bit ambiguous and there wasn't much explanation about how they chose a winner. Oh well-it was fun anyway :o)

  11. I was an SnS mom and I agree with all that you said. I had no expectations of winning the contest but was quite let down with the way they ran the whole thing...


talk to me, people. because you know i get all giddy when you do.