Following this and other blogs picking-up on the SL11B photo contest the Lab announced yesterday and the fact that it may be off-putting to some SL users (see: Lab launches SL11B L$10,000 photo contest), Pete Linden (Peter Gray, the Lab’s Director of Global Communications) posted the following comment on why Facebook has been used (which he also posted to Ciaran Laval’s blog):
We realize that a number of Second Life users have reservations about using Facebook and other platforms. In this case, we chose to run the contest through our Facebook page simply because we have a tool on our page that facilitates running a contest with all of the legal stuff (technical term) we need in place to run something like this, and we thought it would be of interest to the more than 366,000 followers of the official Second Life page. Our aim certainly isn’t to discourage participation, and we’ll certainly explore alternative ways to run similar contests in the future.
The issue of “the legal stuff” is actually something I mentioned in my original post when ruminating on using alternatives such as Flickr, pointing out that “ensuring T&Cs are read might be a little harder.”
Given that the Facebook approach requires that people at least click-through the T&Cs prior to entering a contest does make the Lab’s position somewhat understandable. It doesn’t matter if people read them, the fact that they’ve clicked through them absolves the Lab of a degree of potential nastiness after the fact if someone decided to get severely upset (probably unlikely, but the kind of thing lawyers are paid to worry about and mitigate). Truth be told, a link on a Flickr group doesn’t provide the same level of in-your-face immediacy.
I did also flippantly mention the visibility aspect as well – particularly if a fair proportion of those 366,000 followers on Facebook aren’t active SL users. I’ve actually no problem with this; if the contest increases SL’s visibility among non-SL users, then so much the better. Particularly as we’re all pretty much agreed that SL needs more positive advertising, and a fun-looking competition among users does look and feel positive.
Nevertheless, it would be nice to see competitions like this, which are not constrained by external considerations (as was the case with last year’s Dell Alienware competitions), to be put forward in a way that encourages SL user participation, rather than potentially discouraging it. In this, it is pleasing to hear that the Lab is taking the feedback onboard and will seek alternatives for the future.
My thanks to Pete for providing the feedback.