It seems the guys at Upper Deck just can't get a break these days.
While some of its past misfortune is nobody's fault but their own, they
had no control over its most recent slip. In fact, the card company
actually came up with a great idea in creating its Upper Deck Social
The premise is simple, original and well-intended. The awards were
designed to honor the online communities, blogs and box-break video
sites that help promote the hobby in a positive light. I was pleased to
see someone felt compelled to nominate this very blog for an award and
I even encouraged others to vote for the 7th Inning Stretch so on the
slim chance that if it was the top vote-getter, I could pass the prizes
along to our loyal readers. But never once did I consider going to the
extreme lengths some did to push my blog over the top and essentially
“buy” voters in an effort to claim the award. Unfortunately, others
nominated adopted the “win-at-all-costs” mantra and the awards quickly lost their cache.
The mistake they made in offering prizes was not considering to what
levels collectors will sink to when you offer up some free prizes to
the award winners.
I run contests on this blog every week and I understand that the prizes
help hook in more readers and boost participation. But I also realize
the number of vultures in this hobby and I also understand that you
need to make sure you have some checks in balances in place to ensure
everyone has a fair chance at winning. For the most part, Upper Deck
covered its bases, but as is typical in the sports memorabili
industry, a few bad apples make us all look like worms.
One nominated site went so far as to offer money and prizes in exchange
for a vote in their particular category. Upper Deck appears to have
since stepped in and asked the site to remove the questionable
vote-getting tactics but the damage may have already been done as the
site in question currently the leading vote-getter in its category.
If you check out the vote totals in the other categories, you might
assume that others are encouraging similar under-the-table methods to
boost their vote totals and ultimately win the prizes as well. The
contest allows each IP server to vote just once but I know there are
several ways to get around that restriction and I'm positive that the
guys running out websites out of their own living rooms are aware of
them as well. When you see a site with a very limited viewership
running away with virtually all the votes, it screams of more foul play.
Thanks to those who have participated and thanks to Upper Deck for the
great idea and the recognition. For those of you scouring up new IP
addresses and running from computer to computer stuffing the ballot
boxes, good luck and enjoy the prizes, but most importantly, thanks for
continuing the industry's long-standing tradition of allowing greed to
ruin a good thing. As I said, it sure would be nice to win the category
and give our
readers a shot at the great prizes Upper Deck has made available, but
to beg, pay or straight-up cheat in order to win those prizes, I'll
have to say no thanks.