Greenstone, Cayenne Red and their scam iPad competition
Like many small businesses on social media, Greenstone, a London Estate Agency, decided that the best way to get lots of fans on their Facebook page was to host a competition. So on May 24th they posted a photo of an iPad, and asked us to LIKE and SHARE the photo and LIKE the page to enter the prize draw to win it. As usual with ‘Like and Share’ style competitions – which I detest for many reasons – there was no apparent closing date and no T&Cs.
At lunchtime on Tuesday, Greenstone excitedly posted they would be announcing the winner of their iPad soon… and on Tuesday evening they announced that lucky Scott Cumming had won the iPad.
Duncan also has Greenstone Lewis on his friends list, as well as Scott Cumming – I’m presuming here that Scott and Duncan are related, as it’s not the most common of surnames.
This could be just a coincidence, of course. Until I noticed that Scott Cumming DIDN’T Like or Share any of the competition photos (although Duncan Cumming had liked a couple!) and Scott DIDN’T like the Greenstone page until Tuesday, 4 days after the competition ended. So he should never have been in the draw.
Like many of the ‘Like and Share’ type Facebook promotions, I decided this was a poorly disguised scam. I posted my findings on their page (see screenshot below).
Greenstone deleted my comments and blocked me.
But it was too late, lots of others had seen the evidence and weren’t happy. After a few angry comments, on Tuesday night Greenstone posted a new update –
I shared their status and urged my Facebook friends to Like and Share the original competition post, and Like the page – a couple of hundred did so. I told them all to Unlike the Greenstone page after the draw, of course. I wanted to see a genuine iPad winner, and wanted it to be one of my friends.
At 12pm yesterday entries closed and at 12.20pm Greenstone posted up a video of them drawing the winner, just to prove it was a fair and honest draw. You can watch a recording here.
Note two things – firstly, the lack of entries in the box. There should have been at least 500, as that’s how many shared the original post. Secondly, see how her hand goes out of shot and then reappears with the winning name? That’s not exactly how you film a fair draw is it?
So, we have a new winner, drawn ‘fairly’ – it’s Will Tapley. Let’s have a look on Will Tapply’s Facebook page (note the different spelling – surely if they’d written names down from the Likes list, they would have spelt it right?). Indeed, Will Tapply DOES like Greenstone, but he only liked the page just before the competition ended… and again, there was no sign of him sharing the competition post on his Facebook page so he should never have been in the draw.
Let’s take a look at Will’s friends – do you see Kez Barnaby in there?
Kez works for a company called Cayenne Red. And the boss of Cayenne Red? He’s a Mr Duncan Cumming. And looking at Kez’s Facebook timeline – Greenstone are her client, and she’s been busy promoting the iPad prize draw on her professional page.
So…the first winner, Scott Cumming, is related (we presume) to Cayenne Red’s boss Duncan Cumming. And the new winner, Will Tapply, is Facebook friends with Kez, who also works at Cayenne Red. It wasn’t long before someone pointed this out on the Greenstone page.
Various other connections were posted, and Greenstone decided to lock their page so fans couldn’t post. Not long afterwards, they completely deactivated the page. Cayenne Red’s page wasn’t far behind.
Now, I’ve seen scam draws like this A LOT on Facebook and Twitter. Where a company isn’t using an app, it’s easy to fake a competition just for the purpose of getting page likes quickly and easily. What made me mad about this particular situation is that the company involved, Cayenne Red, offer social media marketing and PR in their portfolio. Are they serious? This is NOT how you run a promotion on social media – and if you employ these people to look after your Facebook page, prepare for the worst.
Sadly, Greenstone and Cayenne Red aren’t the first to try and pull the wool over our eyes by faking a competition, and they won’t be the last. If you do encounter something fishy like this, you can contact The IPM, who may well forward your complaint to the ASA for a formal investigation. Or you can simply go straight to the ASA Complaint form – make sure you have links and screenshots to support your complaint. An ASA adjudication might not bother the naughty company, but the bad publicity on blogs like this one certainly won’t help their case!
Now, let’s wait and see what Duncan, Kez and Lewis have to say to the ASA…