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Aug 10 / Dan DeFelippi

How DailyBurn Broke The Law And Owes Me $4500

I’ve been sitting on this for almost a year and a half. DailyBurn gave up on making this right a long time ago and I think it’s worth letting the world hear my story. In March 2010, DailyBurn ran a contest called Revenge of the Office Worker. The point of the contest was to get in shape with coworkers and then get the most votes in a social media runoff. The grand prize was going to be a year subscription to DailyBurn and a Steelcase Walkstation treadmill desk worth $4,499! Having wanted a standing desk for quite a while I quickly recruited a friend to join me and registered to participate.

The contest was being managed by DailyBurn’s community manager, Kate Brown. I emailed Kate on March 17th to ask a few basic questions, including if I could have friends join me instead of coworkers. She responded promptly, indicating friends would be fine and included a DOCX file with complete contest info and a registration form. I contacted a few friends to see if any were interested and recruited one. We got the necessary info together, named our team Rochester Techies, and were ready to go! I was really excited about this and dedicated to doing my best at winning.

Let The Fun Begin

On the 19th I sent our contact info and DailyBurn account names to Kate. To be sure I wasn’t late I asked if it was fine to register on the starting day. Kate responded two days later on March 21st, indicating it was fine and that I could add additional people if I found more who wanted to join us (I didn’t). The next day she sent us a link to our contest on DailyBurn’s website. We would be tracking our weight on DailyBurn. The top teams would be the ones who proceeded to the voting round.

Over the next month I busted my ass. By the time our 30 days were over on April 21st, I had lost almost 10% of my weight (driverdan) and my teammate had lost almost 6%. At the same time my strength and muscle mass went up. I was really happy with my results and knew we’d have a shot at being one of the teams that made it to the voting round. The voting round was to start the next day and run through May 5th.

The next day came and went without any contact or info about voting. Nothing was posted on their blog or Twitter. Then the next day passed an the next. On May 7th I contacted DailyBurn on Twitter to find out what was going on. I received the following direct message:

You won, dude! Awesome! I’ll email Steelcase and then let you know how we are going to ship the walkstation to you. – Kate

I had won! I was excited, shocked, and confused all at once. I never saw anything about voting taking place. But Kate said I won and that was good enough for me. I figured that maybe we were the only team to complete the contest and won by default. I never asked though because you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth right?

Waiting Is The Hardest Part

This is when the waiting game began. Weeks went by without contact from DailyBurn. Having worked at a company that specialized in sweepstakes and contest web development I knew how contests were supposed to work. Companies are obligated to adhere to the promotion rules, which DailyBurn was not doing.

On May 28th I contacted DailyBurn on Twitter, trying to find out what was going on. I received the response

Hey Dan! How are you? Yes, we need to get that workstation sent out to you. Will you send a pic when it is all set up?

I said yes, I’d be happy to share a pic of it setup. I again heard nothing else. No affidavit or W9 forms were sent. No requests for my mailing address. We didn’t even receive the upgrade on our DailyBurn accounts.

On June 15th I finally sent an email to Kate. In it was was courteous but blunt. I wanted to know what was going on and when we’d receive our prizes. She responded the next day, indicating she would contact Steelcase that day and have DailyBurn employee “Stephen” upgrade our accounts. Again, nothing happened. No account upgrades, no Walkstation. Kate had continued to lead us on. In July my teammate told me not only had she not received the upgrade but she couldn’t even log into her DailyBurn account. On July 30th I sent a direct message on Twitter again trying to figure out what was going on. I received a response:

Hi Dan, thanks for checking in. I will check on the status of that for you. – Kate

She also asked “what happens when @copperlegend tries to sign in?” as if she was trying to help solve the account problem. This was the last time I was contacted by DailyBurn.

The End?

So, as it stands DailyBurn broke contest laws by not fulfilling the prizes for this promotion. They continuously led me and my teammate on, acting like they were going to provide the prizes and never following through. No Elite account upgrades, no Steelcase Walkstation. Kate still works at DailyBurn. DailyBurn is apparently still running contests, albeit smaller than Revenge of the Office Worker. I’ve moved on to using Lose It!, a free website and phone app with similar functionality to DailyBurn. I’ve gotten at least a handful of people to switch.

I guess the lesson for startups is to rip off your users if you think you can get away with it. DailyBurn’s founder, Andy Smith, sold the company around the time the contest ended for an undisclosed sum.

One Comment

  1. Eric Miltsch / Aug 10 2011


    Terrible experience for sure. Nice write-up; kudos to you for staying professional & simply asking the way you did.

    (So tired of people just ranting for the sake of flexing their social vocal chords)

    Thx for the tip on Lose it as well.

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