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.

This is where alarm bells started ringing. On the Greenstone page, a certain Duncan Cumming had posted a glowing review of Greenstone.

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…

70 Responses

  1. Laura Farren says:

    There has been so many suspect competitions on fb lately from big companys too, and a massive organisation on Twitter recently did a competition were all the prizes went to ‘executive’ types living in and around london, magazine editors programe writers all Men of a simeler age,

  2. Marlene says:

    I worked at Cayenne Red for a month & left and am sure they are capable of playing such scams.

  3. Mix says:

    Is there an IPM or ASA for the USA?

  4. You should be a PI. Great investigative work!

  5. Clydebear says:

    Would you not just go buy an iPad?

  6. Jax Blunt says:

    Good work!

  7. Capital_7 says:

    Fantastic! You’re amazing!

  8. Nicole Chiddy says:

    lol love this! Excellent work.

  9. John Incognito says:

    Everyone be sure to leave feedback on Greenstone’s company ‘Contact Us’ form.

  10. juliebooth says:

    Well done Detective Di!!

  11. Dafydd Young says:

    Kez Barnaby (and now me) is the only person to have commented on Greenstone’s Google+ page, too. And they had the cheek to try and make her look like a satisfied customer!

    Kez Barnaby:

  12. Loobs39 says:

    Well done you – great detective work.

  13. Angela Wilson says:

    You are Fab Di! just spurred me on to chase up another failed comp entry and mention IPM and ASA Xx

  14. Rod Jones says:

    Hopefully the rival estate agencies in the area will get wind of this and print copies (LOTS of copies) for any customers as they walk through the door.

    After all, if someone can’t even run a competition fairly, why would you trust them with a tenancy or a house sale?

  15. pinksy says:

    Congrats on featuring in this week’s B3ta newsletter Di!

  16. Miss N says:

    Really well written and investigated, congratulations on uncovering a scam. Well, not one, but two! Lies inside of lies, wrapped up in a fake promotion. I applaud you.

  17. Chris says:

    Well done Di. Lets get this on Watchdog or something. You have worked hard and deserve recognition. Also these scams need to be exposed to the wider audience. Great work.

  18. yclark says:

    Di Kez and Will are still friends on facebook on her personal account she will have blocked you as she has done to me and most likely quite a few others. She also has Duncan Cumming on her friends list.

  19. coombemill says:

    Best read all day!

  20. Helen Grounds says:

    I wondered if you had found more about the second “winner”. What utter prats. Bit lost what to put this under as asks about what advertisement it is and I want to report these tits and show them this is not on!

  21. cherylp59 says:

    Forget Superlucky, you’re a Supersleuth !! 🙂

  22. Petra Beck says:

    Sherlock Holmes would have been proud of you, Di!

  23. Heather Playdon says:

    Brilliant Di! And dare I say entertaining too?!

  24. Sarahmumof3 says:

    naughty naughty but not surprising, great post Di

  25. cakesphotoslife (Angie) says:

    Great post as usual Di, I never heard back from the gentleman I emailed re a competition 🙁

  26. Lisa Johnson says:

    Great blog, follow your posts a lot and find it an eye opener to what really happens on competitions xx

  27. Companzee_Aaron says:

    Absolutely brilliant work Di!!!! The worrying thing is you’re not even supposed to announce winners on Facebook according to their pages guidelines for running competitions:” Part E, point vi. You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.” so it’s only through their stupidity of posting the supposed ‘winner’ that you were able to investigate it.

  28. Once again Di brilliant!

  29. Penelope Hewitt says:

    Di that’s amazing detective work, shame that these companies feel it is ok to con people, and treat people like idiot’s. But glad you were there to catch them out.

  30. Jean says:

    Brilliant work Di, and it just shows that they must think everyone is stupid!

  31. Louise Nicole Hutchings says:

    Great detective work Di! Thanks for a great blog 🙂 x

  32. Christina Curtis says:

    I love this post. Nice to see all the information in order and clearly written! I cannot actually believe how crazy this is – If they really did not understand PR and wanted to look they did with some fast likes they should of gave away something that could actually have awarded!! Didn’t have to be a huge spend and shocking to see these people have “years of experience” in Driving online Sales and Marketing. They seem totally clueless to me. Thanks for blogging Di.

  33. Gigi Huesch says:

    God, that is funny, and scary. I have entered so many of those things here in Australia…I feel very naive all of a sudden!

  34. Rebecca Phillips says:

    I cannot wait to see what happens! Do they think people are stupid!?

  35. Jane English says:

    Thanks again Detective Di for getting to the bottom of this. It makes me feel so cheated. We all know the chance of winning an iPad is slim, I mean 100’s if not 1000′ s of people enter these competitions, but we all know someone who has been lucky enough to win which keeps us entering.

    I noticed the hand going off the screen & thought it was suspicious but being my trust worthy me gave them the benefit of the doubt, I hate the L&S competition but if you want to win things on FB that is the way lots of smaller companies do it.

    FB aren’t interested in us – heck if they won’t stop child pornography what chance has a L&S competition of being removed!

    Unless we all boycott – which is highly unlikely – then I assume the L&S are here to stay.

    Thanks again Di – sorry about the ramble

  36. Perfection. Now lets share this!

  37. shea wong says:

    FYI, Kez just doesn’t ‘work’ for them, she’s the lead Social Media marketer – – and is wearing a clunky white watch in several photo shoots on her timeline photos, most notably her ‘candy store’ shoot, and some shot of her talking about how purple is awesome or something. Giant, clunky, white watch, same as in the live video draw.

  38. darren longthorne says:

    well done di for bringing this to our attention !

  39. Haze ;0) says:

    Ha I wondered where their page had gone! Well done on your detective work there x

  40. Annie Taylor says:

    Makes for depressing reading doesn’t it. Do you remember a similar comp run by Plumbworld at the end of last year, also offering an ipad as the prize. Same scenario, someone winning who’d suddenly ‘liked’ the comp after the closing date. The surname (an unusual one) of the winner was also the same as their web designer I believe. I dug around and found them on linked in and other sites. The Facebook page of the ‘winner’ was also brand spanking new. It was all very dodgy. I and several other folks kicked up a fuss. I hadn’t even entered but was very cross about the whole thing. I note the Plumbworld Facebook page is no longer with us. May they (not) rest in peace. Well done for this Di, it’s shameful that this kind of thing seems to happen with monotonous regularity. At least we can do something about it on Facebook, and you’re doing a lot more than most, but you do have to wonder how many comps were dodgy and how prizes were never awarded back in the days before the www.

    • I don’t recall that Plumbworld one Annie, but there have been many others where the company deleted the Facebook or Twitter account and all evidence of the scam is gone. I didn’t want that to be the case here, and with the help of screenshots from various compers managed to piece it all together. Hopefully this will remain a great public example of when it all goes wrong!

  41. Helen Humphries says:

    Way to confound public expectations about the integrity of Estate Agents!! Great work Di.

  42. h_igoe says:

    I am shocked, whats wrong with these people??? I hate like and share comps too and although I do the odd one or two I try and avoid at all costs and you have given me my best avoid reason yet!

  43. Nickie says:

    Must. Not. Go. To. St. John’s. Wood.

    I feel like printing this out and going up there, all Matt Allwight-stylee.

  44. almostwitty says:

    I’m personally still trying to figure out why an estate agency thinks that having a bunch of people like them on Facebook will win them more clients or customers…

  45. Diane Wood says:

    I’m amazed at how many friends of companies ‘win’ their prizes – it’s about time there was proper adjudication on these competitions

    • Nickie says:

      I’m not. There’s just no punishment – ASA just say ‘bad! bad!’ and that’s the end of it. Often times they can’t even ‘prove’ it and nothing happens. Skillens are back as before, and in a few weeks, we’ll have moved on and Greenstones will be back, with several hundred extra followers. It’s a shame. 🙁

  46. almostwitty says:

    Let me just share this with my BBC chums, just in case… 😉

  47. mummyglitzer says:

    Good for you!

    As another point, isn’t liking/sharing pages as a mandatory prize draw entry, against Facebook’s T&Cs? Sure someone said that to me!

  48. Vakhida says:

    brilliant post, thanks for this Di..x

  49. Irene Howson says:

    Nice one.

  50. Kaye Wilkinson says:

    *round of applause from me!* :O)

  51. bubbaloves says:

    I love the way these always get found out ! … there are some great detectives out there in comp land so companies beware. Well done to everyone who found these out

  52. steven says:

    Awesome – PR sure is a powerful tool eh?

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