A Goode lesson

After seeing the success of the “Best job in the world” contest run by the tourism board of Queensland, Australia, which drew almost 35,000 applications and put the obscure state on the map, David Ready, Jr., of Murphy Goode winery decided to run a similar contest.

Like the Queensland campaign, the publicly stated objective was to find someone to act as their social media marketer, blogging and tweeting about the product and the experience.

We at the Murphy-Goode Winery got to thinking about the new age of communications and we figured it was a pretty good thing. So to get going, we’re looking for someone (maybe you) who really knows how to use Web 2.0 and Facebook and blogs and social media and YouTube and all sorts of good stuff like that — to tell the world about our wines and the place where we live: the Sonoma County Wine Country.

In exchange, we’re offering you a “Really Goode Job” — a six-month job paying $10,000 a month plus accommodations!

We want to hire a social media whiz (your title will be “Murphy-Goode Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent”) who will report on the cool lifestyle of Sonoma County Wine Country and, of course, tell people what you’re learning about winemaking.

Full overview of the contest is here.

The real objective, of course, was the same as the Queensland contest, lots of free publicity and brand exposure, which is fine when executed correctly.

Murphy Goode had participants submit videos and then had viewers vote and rate the videos. The videos were re-posted on YouTube. Over the next few weeks, as viewers were able to vote for their favorite contestants, it drove a lot of traffic to Murphy-Goode’s website.

But the devil is in the details. This is where Murphy Goode tripped up.

The votes meant nothing. When the top vote getter by a large margin San Francisco’s Martin Sargent wasn’t chosen to be in the top 100, he tweeted about it. Then it was picked up by Digg founder Kevin Rose, who retweeted it. It made it to Digg and was seen by a few million people. Murphy Goode eventually apologized for the confusion on Facebook.

murphy-goode-poster

But wait, before you pour out all your bottles of Snake Eyes…

Murphy Goode didn’t break any of their stated rules. The contest never claimed the votes determined the winners but they weren’t as clear as they should have been that the votes were ‘just for fun’. Since we live, for better or worse, in an American Idol world, many assumed that the votes determined who would make the next round.

The lesson here is pretty simple. Be 100% transparent (and do it in large type). If voting is involved, make sure that the results of the voting are clearly understood and not in the fine print.

Like a few companies have and many companies will, Murphy Goode learned a lesson about the finer points of social media. That said, the huge “backlash” is overstated and misdirected.

This wasn’t a case of intentional deception, it was a case of naive omission. Overall, the net result will be positive.

(full disclosure: I enjoy shaking dice, so it’s hard to hate any producer that makes wines named “Liar’s Dice” and “Snake Eyes” that admittedly doesn’t take themselves too seriously.)

I applaud Murphy Goode for jumping in the pool, even if they splashed a little on entry.

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