Monday, September 29, 2008

DM Boot Design Winner - the Problem with UGC

A few months ago I wrote about this competition for Dr Martens - users could design a boot, and the most popular (as voted by the public) would be made and sold in stores around the world.

The winners have now been announced - this one, as chosen by the panel of judges, and this one, as voted for by internet users.

A bit underwhlemed by the people's vote? This is what happened. Users on the forum site SomethingAwful decided that they wanted to win the competition, and asked forum users to vote for boot designs made by forum members every day. In the end all of the top 10 boots by public vote were made by forum members. This thread details what they did, and this post very articulately explains the point of the mission:

"The original idea was to win the contest with an awful boot, not an awesome one. This was in order to show Doc Martens that it's a bad idea to leave these decisions to the internet.

Obviously some of us think Snowboot is truly awesome, while others maintain that it's awful. Either way it's not the sort of boot that would've won without us, nor is it the sort of boot you'd actually expect to be properly marketable, so I think we did what we set out to do."

Shame. This is one of the problems with user generated content, and why completely open votes can be a bad idea. The way around this (& I hope that DM do this next year) is to have a panel produce a short-list of say 50 boots, and then ask people to vote on those, rather than let internet voting decide everything.

Update - they've now launched a t-shirt design competition here.

"The 50 designs with the most votes will be in with a chance.

A team from Journeys and Dr. Martens will pick the winner, plus 20 runners-up."

1 comment:

Nick Burcher said...

It's that wisdom of crowds thing again! Sometimes the public just can't be trusted......

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