Murphy struck hard yesterday.
Canada's MOST Rider Friendly Community Contest experienced a technical problem that we did not anticipate.
Our web mistress, Ali, the hardest working web mistress in the country set things up so that our contest would automatically end at 11:59:59 last night.
What she did not know, is that there was a setting that made it so the server would cut the contest off at 11:59:59 Ontario time not Mountain Standard Time. Our servers are located in the east.
YEAH - the contest was cut off TWO HOURS early.
I started getting calls at home and I was already in bed!
I got up and called Ali. She was emailing people and attempting to appease them but took a minute to explain to me what happened.
She was crushed. Totally devastated.
In spite of a few challenges with confirmation emails hitting spam folders and people frustrated at times because they couldn't log in or register, she had managed to stay on top of everything and help people with all of their issues.
This was a wonderful contest until last night.
We did what we thought was best, and extended the contest out to 11:59:59 tonight to ensure that no one from yesterday got left out. It also gives both communities a final chance to push, a bonus, so we thought.
Short of calling the contest off for technical difficulties and just giving each community $15 or $20K each in free marketing and calling it good, we couldn't think of a better way to handle this challenge.
It's discouraging and frustrating - Ali and I spent hours calling and emailing people back last night and again this morning.
We've done everything we know how to do, but sadly, it seems like we can't make everyone happy so we are focusing on making as many as happy as we can.
We wanted this to be a community building experience for people. We wanted them to feel pride in their community and be glad to have gotten focus placed on their communities. That free marketing is the best you can get!
We wanted these communities to have a healthy, fun rivalry, hence every community that gets this far in the contest wins some free marketing from Belt Drive Betty Media.
But now we have people calling us scammers, saying the fix is in for Drumheller if they are from Port Alberni and for Port Alberni if they are from Drumheller.
There are those who think that extending the contest out was wrong.
The amount of times I have been called a scammer and other names I can't and don't want to mention, boggles my mind.
We donate 90% of the prizing, do 95% of the work to host this contest all to help the riding community and rural Canadian communities only to be denigrated and abused verbally by some and while it's a small number of people being hurtful and abusive, it still hurts, stings.
If I was asked at this moment will this contest continue on after this year I'd say no.
But I know me, and I know that once I get over the feelers being hurt, I'll probably want to press on.
I love our country, the rural communities in particular, they are the heart of our country, but I also like my sanity and my dignity...so we shall see, after we get this contest done and have crowned a winning community, how I feel and whether or not our sponsors are going to want to continue on.
This technical glitch was a blow, we sure didn't need.
Anyway, let's git'er done...
This is the Final Day to vote to see which community will meet Cape Breton for the finals.
If you are blessed enough to be riding today, please remember to ride like everyone around you is blind and can not see you.
Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider