A Response to the Giveaway Controversy

A Response to the Giveaway Controversy

A Response to the Giveaway Controversy

Dear Baby Gizmo Friends,

I wanted to address something that you may or may not realize is going on.  As many of you know we hold photo contests periodically to have a little fun, get all our readers involved, and give away really great prizes.  The current Baby on Location Photo Contest has recently had a bit of controversy surrounding it and we wanted to clear the air.

It was brought to our attention that one of the finalists in this current photo contest was purchasing votes (“likes”) in an attempt to win.  We investigated this claim and found it to be true. We also approached the contestant privately and she indeed admitted to purchasing some of her votes.  This type of action compromises the integrity of our contest.  Since our main goal is to make the contest fun and fair for everyone involved, we have made the decision to subtract all the purchased votes from her final vote count.

This is not the first time that contestants have found a way to work around the rules and it won’t be the last. We are continuously updating our contest rules to ensure that any kind of behavior that can be perceived as cheating is avoided.

Again, the purpose of the contest is to have fun and to get everyone involved and this poor sportsmanship has turned this experience sour for us.  While we realize that emotions are running high with this issue, we hope that everyone can understand the position we are taking with this and that we won’t tolerate anything that can be perceived as cheating.

I personally strive to maintain integrity within The Baby Gizmo Company, a company I started from the ground up. I want to thank all the Baby Gizmo friends and fans, as your support means everything to me.

Thanks for all your support,



  1. Wow! Don’t lose heart- I love what you do and this will blow over quickly. Your photo contests were a good idea and I’m sorry it sounds like it got so icky. As an ordinary fan not involved with the contest, it sounds like you are doing a great job handling the issue. Blessings!

  2. She had to be dq. but still hollie is a very nice person she didn’t do that. i hope she didn’t get anything, because that would be very unfair to other contestants. how can all the other friends of her, or maybe all whoever supported her is her fake accounts, think that what she did was smart? and still want to get back the votes she didn’t purchase back! if that was me, i would just ask hollie to take my photo out. have some dignity people! how many times did you kill a man because no one told you otherwise! how many times did you do something bad, because it was not written somewhere. why would she add that on her rules? and telling that they will unlike the fanpage after the contest is over. leave the fanpage pls! we don’t need you thank god!
    that’s all insane. leave people alone and read some books that tell you how to live a good life.
    start with being a good person for dummies!

  3. Hollie,

    Thank you for everything that you do – I have purchased almost all may baby items only after watching your review for each specific item (more than 10 times in a row, to my husband’s dismay.)

    I personally don’t get involved in picture contests because I am against posting my baby’s picture online but I do participate in all your other contests and appreciate them.

    I just want to point out that it was very graceful of you to write the entire incident without names, whether or not people knew who it was.

    Last, I’d like to reiterate the members who mentioned that needing a “don’t cheat” rule is insanely absurd amongst all of us who are smart enough to be raising children.

    Thank you,


  4. I wondered how she had so many votes when you can’t even see the kid in the pic! Hollie handled it completely fairly in that she didn’t completely disqualify the finalist since technically the rules didn’t spell out that buying votes wasn’t acceptable. If those voters unlike the page because of it, then you don’t need their support.

  5. I was a finalist and played fair and square. The thought never entered my mind to cheat. It’s pathetic to think about people’s definition of cheating. The saddest thing is that she is teaching poor morals to her children. She should be ashamed. She turned such a fun and exciting expereince into a sour one. I personally gave up asking for votes after I saw how much she was in the lead. Now I’m bummed I didn’t have the opprotunity to ask for more from my fb friends. Oh well. Hope this never happens again! Love BG!! =)

  6. I’m a teacher in my former life and used to deal with this type of stuff on a daily basis- from THIRD GRADERS! “Well you didn’t technically SAY I couldn’t throw the pencil at so and so’s head”– soo… because I didn’t SAY it, you thought it was OK?

    Yea- Hollie, you did the right thing. The fact that you didn’t disqualify shows that you were trying to give the benefit of the doubt. I am shocked at the negative response of the overly dramatic. Whatever happened to DOING THE RIGHT THING? Some things don’t need to be said or outlined to know that it’s not right. It’s a shame that this is even an issue among adults.

  7. Wow why is everyone so upset? Did the contestants have to pay to enter or something? This is supposed to be just for fun I thought. People need to lighten up… What was the prize anyways? From the way people are acting, sounds like u r giving away a new car or something? Sheesh… These women need to be thankful u even wasted ur time trying to track down a cheater and stop being bitter their child didnt win. There are PLENTY of other cute kid photo contests online, go try ur luck at those and leave Hollie alone. She has better things to do, like research baby products and provide us her expert reviews for FREE.

  8. Really?!? All your doing is subtracting the purchased votes? If “This type of action compromises the integrity of our contest” then this person should be eliminated from the contest completely, not simply have votes subtracted. I’m very disappointed.

  9. Cheating is cheating. Isn’t that what we would teach our kids? Baby Gizmo is great and Hollie was trying to do her best at fixing the situation. It’s time to move forward.

  10. Hi Hollie

    I think your response was perfect. Someone cheating is not a reflection on your or your company in my opinion. I would never dream that someone would buy votes to win a prize and honestly it makes me sad to live in a world where someone would do that.

  11. I LOVE Kimberley’s quotes on 01/28/2011 at 1:54 pm. Bribery is cheating.

    Hollie- I love your site and I look at your reviews before we go out to make a purchase for our family. Baby Gizmo is an amazing gift to parents everywhere and I recommend your site to all my friends. I have entered several of your photo contests, and was excited to have an image of my son in the finals for the Halloween contest. Although it didn’t win, I was proud to have my friends and family visit your site and vote for my son!

    I’m disappointed someone felt the need to purchase votes, but I appreciate you publicly explaining what happened, and what you decided to do with it.

  12. Hollie, I have been a fan of Baby Gizmo since before I had kids, and I love you guys!
    I think there are some moms out there who need a little drama in their lives or something! 😉 Buying votes for a contest for best photo is absurd, and I think you’re handling this very well–sorry you have to deal with something like this at all! Your giveaways and contests are so fun, and very generous of you and the baby gear companies involved. Thank you!

    To the bitter moms out there: You are either bitter because you are a friend of the woman who was buying votes, or else you are sympathizing with her because you yourself would have done this. And deep down, you know that sort of thing is a little shady at best. Hollie probably didn’t mention to not buy votes because she never dreamed someone would do this!
    GROW UP, you’re supposed to be mothers, for goodness sake–act like one!

  13. umm I don’t know for sure what’s going on, but when I see it says someone is paying for votes, to me that is the DUMBEST thing I have ever heard. If you have the money to pay for votes how about your booty go out and just buy the dang prize yourself instead of wasting that kind of time and money. It’s not like your winning some dang 20 million dollar prize. Good grief if your brains can cook up this scheme than your brain can figure out how to purchase something.

  14. “A bribe is a form of corruption whereby Party A gives money to Party B in return for Party B’s influence to be used for Party A’s benefit” — in this case a vote.

    “A bribe almost always compromises the quality of a transaction. For example, when a construction firm bribes a government official to get a contract, the government official may overlook a company which provides superior or cheaper work, thereby essentially cheating the government.”

    I am so sad to know that people out there think that bribery is not cheating, and that someone’s rules for a contest would have to spell out each and every dishonorable and deceitful way one could get votes as not being tolerated.

  15. Baby Gizmo has given me the opportunity to own a stroller that I would not have otherwise been able to afford. Had a number of people taken it upon themselves to “interpret” the rules to their liking, I would never have had the chance to win. I am a busy mom who cannot afford to pay for votes, and would not have even considered it given the ethics involved. I will admit I have not followed this competition that closely, but come on people….appreciate the contest for what it is–a chance for everyday moms who are proud of their kids (and their photography skills) to show ’em off. Do you need the prize that badly that you think you are above everyone else?

  16. I like how some of you read baby gizmo’s response how you wanted it to sound. She did not say the contestant admitted to cheating, she said the contestant said she purchased votes. Obviously, she wouldn’t have admitted to doing it if she knew it was cheating. Make your rules clearer, that’s the bottom line. Don’t say “do whatever it takes” if you don’t mean it…..

  17. I have to disagree completely with what Autumn wrote. The fact that you are writing about this and bringing attention to the matter, shows that you do indeed care about your fans and the integrity of your site and everything that goes along with it. You could have chosen to just shrug your shoulders and gone along with the unfair methods the contestant was displaying, but instead approached it in a fair manner. If the contestant openly admitted to cheating, then I fail to see how you are “betraying the trust that your audience bestows upon you”.
    I commend you for you taking action, and being fair. Please don’t let a few biased people make you think wrongly of your actions.

  18. I’m not sure how Baby Gizmo’s response was anything but warranted. They were attempting to make a fun give-away for their followers to participate in. Spamming your friends and asking for votes may be one thing, but paying someone? I think that’s a little above and beyond. How are those who may not be able to afford to pay off a bunch of people to vote supposed to have a fair chance? Way to handle this Baby Gizmo! I think you did the right thing.

  19. If she did not purchase votes who’s to say she would have had the most votes! To me it’s saying she wasn’t confident enough that she would have won fairly. I think any decision baby gizmo makes is fair. What she did is morally wrong.

  20. Since when does saying “do whatever it takes to get votes” mean to discount common decency and values? I think Baby Gizmo didn’t think they HAD to get that specific, as everyone knows that cheating is NEVER condoned — ESPECIALLY amongst a group of mommas who are supposed to be setting good examples for our children!

  21. Your rules were open to interpretation. You encouraged people to do what it takes to get votes, and did not make it clear that some things would not be tolerated. Personally, I do not think that she cheated, because she did follow your guidelines. Whether you approve of her methods or not, she did what it took to win, and she deserves to win the prize.
    That being said, give the girl the prize that she earned, and next time around, write rules that are a little more clear. By stating that her actions could be perceived as cheating, you are betraying the trust that your audience bestows upon you to provide a fair contest. Since your rules were to “do what it takes” to win – which she absolutely did do – and you did not provide any restrictions, the fact that you are deleting any of her votes is suspicious. I do still support Baby Gizmo, but your response to this event is reprehensible.

  22. The thought that someone felt the need to buy votes for a contest is silly to me. Perhaps you should pick a winner from one of the pictures that obviously didn’t bend the rules. Sure she didn’t technically cheat, but I think common sense would have told her that buying votes was poor sportmanship. I have no attatchment to any of the contestants so this is my unbiased opinion.

  23. I’m on the fence with this incidence, as I can understand both points of view. These type of contests are fair period. A person can easily create several FB accounts and vote for their picture just as easily as they can buy votes. The only fair way to host this type of contest would be for you to choose the winner yourself. Or, select “X” amount of contestants, number them, then use the random number drawing site to choose a winner. Either way, people aren’t going to be happy, but at least people’s integrity won’t be called into question for everyone on the site to see.

  24. Well I am sure this will be deleted as well. But how is it cheating when YOUR rules state: Do ANYTHING you have to do to get votes. Now you are going back on that. Shady shady shady!

    And proof? Where is your proof that she purchased 285 votes? She admitted to 135, you should only take 135 away! Not 285. WTH is up with that?

    But I am sure you will skip around this and not answer.

  25. Again, where did you come up with the number of votes to take away. It wasn’t the amount that was purchased, which is why we all know the contest was rigged. We acknowledge that Melissa may not have made the right decision to purchase votes, but instead of just disqualifying her and being done with it, you made up an arbitrary number that allowed the second place contestant to gain the lead. YOU are the source of the controversy, not Melissa and carter

  26. Hollie,

    You need to make sure you are subtracting the right amount of votes. Not 285. The number that Melissa told you. Figure it out. Don’t cheat and don’t let others cheat. I know a lot of people who will be “unliking” your page in the next few days.


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