O’Reilly Updates Contest Rules – No Longer Evil

Not all companies are evil. In fact, a case could be made
that the majority aren’t. Having said that, even good
companies can act evil sometimes if they don’t take care of
the details.

posted earlier
about the contest
for the O’Reilly give away linked to the recent
publication of ”
Building the Perfect PC
” (ISBN: 0596006632) authored by
Daynoter Robert Bruce
and his wife Barbara
Fritchman Thompson

My concern, at the time, with O’Reilly was how they were
disenfranchising Alaska and Hawaii by specifically including
only the continental US as being eligible to enter the

Daynoters Brian
and Sjon
persuaded me to contact O’Reilly to ask them why
they were doing this. As indicated in
the email
I received back, they decided to amend the
rules to include all 50 states.

What I didn’t mention at the time, and which perhaps
affected a wider audience, the original contest rules
included another not so nice clause.

Before I go on, I will say I should have copied the entire
rule set at the time but I did not. So what I say here is
based on my recollection. Be aware that my recollections are
not always correct.

With that said, I seem to remember that the rules included
an automatic and irrevocable opt-in to receiving commercial
e-mails from O’Reilly. If this was true, and I think it was,
O’Reilly has subsequently changed their minds on this also as
they are now using a system where you have the choice as to
whether you want to receive commercial emails from O’Reilly,
such as their new magazine Make.

While I must applaud O’Reilly for amending their contest
rules, one wonders how they got the original rules so wrong.
Was it just following how all other contest rules are done?
If so, didn’t anyone from O’Reilly review the rules to
determine if the draft rules were in line with the O’Reilly
philosophy (assuming they had one)?

Speaking of philosophy, the Make site kinds of
reminds me of the original Byte’s Steve Ciarcia’s
“Circuit Cellar” (later spun off as its own publication – see
the CircuitCeller site
). I realize that putting together a Micromint SB180
is not exactly the same thing as flying a kite with a digital
camera attached, but I think the spirit is the same: Make
your own rather than buying something off-the-shelf.

But I digress. Based on O’Reilly’s willingness to amend
the contest rules I don’t think they can accurately be
described as evil. But whoever came up with the original set
of rules might…


2 responses to “O’Reilly Updates Contest Rules – No Longer Evil

  1. Don Armstrong

    “Never ascribe to malice that which….”

    Isn’t that the way the quote runs? Roughly?

  2. Sounds like an amatuerish way for setting up a contest.
    Which reminds me of copyright notices and terms-of-use papers. Most are setup by simply copying from somewhere else with minimal change.