I know that title got your attention! First I would like to begin by thanking everyone who voted for my painting in the 3rd 5 Pieces Gallery Art Contest at Facebook. The amount of support I received over the past few days was very humbling. Many people rallied around me - sharing my entry to their own Facebook walls and even asking their friends to vote.
With your help and support, I have achieved second place in the 5 Pieces Gallery art contest.
This is the email I received from 5 Pieces Gallery this morning:
Hope you are well. We are pleased to let you know that the 5 Pieces Gallery Art Contest has ended tonight at midnight and you are one of our winners! Just enter the code xxxxxxxx at our checkout and save $40 on whatever you like.
Congratulations and be sure to check our page from time to time for the next art contest. Keep up your good work!
I have to say that I had my reservations about writing this post and telling about my experience with the 5 Pieces Gallery Art contest. I do not want to appear to be a sore loser. I could just accept defeat gracefully, and congratulate the winner (if he deserved to win) But, I think you all deserve to know what happened here - especially all of you who have voted and promoted my entry. Your efforts have helped me in any ways! My artwork has been seen by countless people than it would have otherwise!
I initially entered the art competition as an experiment, both to see what it takes to win, and to gauge the amount of support I would receive. But, what I discovered was a dark side to Facebook contests that I have not heard of – they are easy to cheat! Being the investigator I am, I discovered several sites which warn about Facebook voting competitions.
Prize pigs' underground world of digital vote rigging
Detecting Fraud in Facebook Contests
How to Identify Facebook Cheaters
Contestants can join a vote exchange group, and trade votes that way. They can obtain votes by creating several Facebook accounts, or acquire the help of someone they know with several accounts. Several sites even sell votes for a very affordable amount. Check out these results from Goferr.com and Fiverr.
There are also sites devoted entirely to this service of selling likes and Facebook contest votes.
But, the question is, did cheating occur in this Facebook art competition? This is very difficult to prove, but the evidence does point in that direction. I will let you be the judge.
Here is a brief overview of what happened since I entered this art contest.
The contest began on Feb. 18th and I entered my painting “Capelin Run”. I posted at my Facebook profile, and informed others that I had entered. Right away I noticed there was only ONE entry providing any competition at all. I promoted at Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and asked others to share and vote for me. We kept swapping spots for number one place for the first 3-4 days.
The number one spot was difficult to achieve, but I managed to get there by Feb. 22nd. Of course, he quickly took back first place… but I regained it a day later. The votes stayed at 408-367 for two full days. It seemed that he had either given up, or ran out of the resources to gain more votes. But, I decided to check the results the night before the contest was to end. The results were the same. An hour later, I checked again and noticed he was 2 votes from gaining the lead.
But, his gain in votes did not stop! He increased at a consistent pace, until he gained 200 votes in just 5 hours, stopping at 567 for the night.
The voting did not end till 12AM on Feb. 27th and the final tally was 624-528 for first and second place.
These are some emails I received today from others who have been watching this art contest closely (published with permission).
Dear Mr. Graham Matthews,
I have seen a lot of your work and I voted for you in the 5 PIECE GALLERY art contest. I think you should have been the first place winner, but thank you for your honesty, and inspiration in the art world. I'm a struggling artist trying to make ends meet, but reading your blogs, post, etc. gives me the inspiration to keep pursuing my dreams. You may not have came in first place in this art contest, but your art is #1 to me. I look forward to visiting your website, and looking through your art work. You inspire me and so many others. Thanks for giving us, struggling artist, the honesty and inspiration to turn our dreams into reality.
I just wanted you to know that, from watching the art contest you entered on Facebook at 5 piece gallery, I love your work. I voted for you, and if I could have voted a million times, I would have. Your work has so much life, so much enthusiasm, so much color, so much love. I absolutely adore your individuality and technique, and although you came in 2nd place, I think you should have came in 1st place. I watched this contest for days, and how do someone stay idle for such a period of time, and then all of a sudden within a couple of hours, he/she has exactly 200 extra votes. All I have to say on that note, is KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! You will always be a winner to me and to the art community.
There is one other thing I should mention – this contest is not available on mobile. I estimate that I lost anywhere from 100-200 votes because of this (people who wanted to vote for me but could not).
Apparently, this is not the first time there has been controversy over a winning entry in a 5 Pieces Gallery Art Contest. Go to this page and note the comment “We wuz robbed”. (Notice that the artist liked the comment.)
What I really won
I could keep going on about this, but I will leave it at that, and talk about how this contest has helped bring exposure to my art. 528 people were successful in voting for my painting, and many more saw it. I have received MANY positive and motivating comments about my work. Many have rallied around me and helped me promote my piece. I have chatted with many of those and answered questions about my art – and made many new friends.
These type of contests are good for artists if promoted effectively. The real benefit comes from meeting people and getting an artwork in front of many eyes.
Would I enter one of these Facebook art contests again? Maybe! It’s NOT about winning or losing, but the experience and recognition – meeting new people, promoting art, and rallying supporters.
THANK-YOU to everyone who voted for me and shared my contest entry!!
What do you think? Would you take part in such an art contest, in spite of the cheaters?