Artesian Builds makes customized computers, with a focus on products for gamers and streamers on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. Like many companies, Artesian uses brand ambassadors to help promote its products. As part of its ambassador program, Artesian offered participants opportunities to earn credits toward future purchases and chances to win computers during monthly sweepstakes.
Although it’s not clear what rules governed the sweepstakes, CEO Noah Katz apparently decided to change them during a live-streamed event on March 1, 2022. After selecting a winner, Katz publicly discarded her entry because she didn’t have as many followers as he would have liked. He then proceeded to disqualify other randomly-selected entrants who didn’t have “redeeming qualities.”
One ambassador didn’t take this well and complained on Twitter: “I got chosen and they changed their rules last minute.” Her tweet got a lot of attention and sparked outrage across the gaming community. Intel, who sponsored the sweepstakes, wasn’t happy either. They tweeted: “We strive towards welcoming streamers of all sizes to our programs and do not agree with recent negative comments directed toward small streamers.”
A week later, the company announced it was “freezing/suspending all activities.” It’s not clear whether the shutdown was directly caused by this incident, but it certainly didn’t help.
It’s rare that problems with a promotion have such an immediate and drastic effect, but this incident demonstrates why it’s important to have clear rules and stick to them. Changing something as important as the criteria for winning a prize after a promotion has launched is a bad idea, and doing it in such a public manner is virtually guaranteed to lead to problems.