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I believe the Droid Landing Contest is definitely NOT FIXED

There’s been a lot of chatter on twitter, gtalk, and in my inbox about the possibility that the Verizon Wireless Droid X Scavenger hunt is somehow rigged or fixed. I’ve done a bunch of digging into that accusation and with the help of Aaron Katsen of our partner site and co-chair/founder of the androidbarbecue, we set out to see just how this thing went down.

Dallas Texas July 13, 2010
Aaron woke up and went to Dallas around 11am local time. Upon arriving at the Grassy Knoll (the first place the clues indicated) he found that there were nearly 100 people on the scene in various areas of downtown Dallas.
Aaron wore an Androidswag t-shirt and was very easy to spot so many people came and spoke to him others were easy to spot as they were frantically reloading their own android phones to get the latest tweets from @droidlanding.
So fast forward to crunch time. Aaron went to the “Old Red Museum” because he thought it may be a likely candidate for the spot, 3 others followed him to that location.
When it was time (approx 1:45pm Local Time) I took the GPS coordinates as soon as they were posted and copied, pasted and texted them to Aaron on the ground in Dallas via google voice. This process took about 5 seconds.
While Aaron used Google Maps on his phone to confirm the location, I then took the coordinates and found out that the location was 302 N. Market Street. I texted that to Aaron as well.
This was about a block away from where Aaron was. When he began running to the location there were already 40-50 people at the location and the Droid X had been discovered.
What did we learn from this case study?

That this is a popular contest
People gathered the same general idea of the location from the initial clues
Some people were just fortunate to be in the right area in downtown Dallas at the time the coordinates were dropped.
So lets talk about Washington DC. The problem here is that Blake Ourso, found the Droid X Certificate prior to the Coordinates being tweeted.
It’s safe to assume that Blake gathered the location from Google. Here is the clue:
As you can see if you google: DC Hot Spicy Chili the very first entry is “Ben’s Chili Bowl” voila the clue led the winner, and others right to Ben’s Chili Bowl
Is it rigged? No The tools used by the winners and by myself and Aaron in the Dallas hunt, are available and used by everyone.
The one issue is that the official rules state that the final clue, the GPS coordinates , will be tweeted when the certificate is placed, that is NOT what happened in DC regardless of whether or not Blake found the certificate by the non coordinate clue.
This promotion is fun, exciting, and top of mind. The twitter integration idea is great but the execution obviously has issues. But I’m confident that the contest itself is not “fixed”, “rigged” or any other words unfair.
This is definitely a great idea and is generating some great buzz about the Droid X.. Come on when’s the last time Infinite Loop had an interactive contest like this…

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