NEN Forcibly Nominating Startup – Why?

Recently Ashish blogged about NEN using Pluggd.in’s name to nominate startups to it’s Hottest Startup contest. In what only seems to be a continuation of a poorly managed process, NEN has now moved one step ahead – forcibly nominate startups.

Here goes the story … NEN forcibly nominates TringMe.  We had clearly requested NEN to not nominate TringMe (see details below) , but they went ahead and still nominated us.

When it all began, after notifying us about it, TringMe was nominated by someone (no names here to protect the identity) to the NEN Hottest Startups . But after reviewing NEN’s process of nominating each startup, we had – as stated clearly in the the email dated Aug 29th sent to Purnima and later Kavita (by nominator) requested them NOT TO NOMINATE TringMe.

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We didn’t hear back from them about it and were under the assumption that we have been heard. But it seems like our request fell on deaf ears and .. lo and behold !! ..TringMe gets nominated by NEN on Sept 11th (i.e. yesterday) at 4:01 PM.

Is this a coincidence that TringMe, after being covered by prestigious Bangalore Mirror and Economic Times earlier this week shows up on NEN hottest startups despite of clearly and respectfully requesting them not to?

Although NEN is a very good platform for startups and we whole-heartedly believe in what they are doing, we were extremely unpleased by the way NEN hottest startups is being managed. For the record, we weren’t interested in Hottest Startup event and hence had categorically requested them not to be nominate TringMe as we don’t see much value-add for our company.

Before writing this blog, we had emailed to NEN staff. After not hearing back from them and given that they didn’t care to respond back last time as well, we are forced to share this in a larger forum which some of you may find useful.

Update 1 – Sep 13, 2008: Thank you so much for responding to my email on forum. I also met few folks at BCB7  requesting more clarity on why we backed off from NEN.  Let me elaborate.

It’s really very simple.  NEN-HS is a contest and hence by definition every company that participates – having spent quality time filling up the detailed forms – needs to be given the same shot and fair treatment by the organizers.  In other words, the playing field needs to be leveled before the innings begin.  However, NEN has conveniently positioned few startups in the beginning and after few days of voting, they started introducing other startups into the race.  This is completely unacceptable way of running the contest.  It’s like giving one set of racers a benefit of starting early in a 400m race. How can this be fair and just?

As we see it, this is simply a preferential treatment to some startups that have been nominated for a while now and have been rated and ranked, while others aren’t even added. How can a contest begin without all the contestants entering at the same time? Since these startups are chosen by internet viewers and users in a democratic way by voting for their favorite startup, all startups should be given the same exposure to the audience.  NEN’s way of handling this looks completely biased and improper.

They are now adding “other startups” to increase the size of the pool to suggest that it is an open race, but IMHO it is not.   I do not see any other reason for them to nominate TringMe when they were clearly instructed not to.

Given that its NEN-HS format and we do not have any say in it, we only sent them an email and requested our withdrawal.  However, as you can see, they are not respecting the wishes of startups who do not wish to participate. We are also not removed from their website so far even after this public appeal.

Those startups who have been nominated early on should not feel happy about this.  As startups we should all discourage such preferential and unprofessional practices.

5 Comments

TATA NEN: Nominations by Force? « STARTUPCENTRALSeptember 15th, 2008 at 11:23 am

[...] in a specific request to “withdraw” its nomination. Here’s an excerpt from his post on why TringMe did not want to participate in the contest in first [...]

Tata NEN Hottest Startups & MuzibooSeptember 16th, 2008 at 6:46 am

[...] went live on the website. A couple of days after that, Yusuf Motiwala of TringMe wrote a post about NEN forcibly nominating startups. In his email to NEN, he wrote that he does not understand the rationale for a contest where [...]

DebashishSeptember 29th, 2008 at 1:52 am

Feel sad reading this, we were excited, even on being called a start-up. When we were nominated there were 60 odd sites out there, now there are over 400. IMHO they should tell all nominees to stop getting votes and, once all nominations are received they should reset all votes and everyone should start afresh.

anonymousOctober 13th, 2008 at 5:14 am

NEN is just spoiling TATA’s name …. i wonder if they are selling the information on the startups to the outsider. Its sad to hear such a mess up by NEN, but for this i have to blame the senior managment.They should own up to their mistakes…

Our company got a very biased and hurried review from one of the experts in the TATA NEN Hottest Startup contest due to which our reputation has suffered. WE are fighiting a bttle against the ridiculous system setup by TATA-NEN. Help us with this crusade, here is out post and update on the issue: http://www.technacular.com/2008/12/27/misguiding-expert-comments-tata-nen-hottest-startups-contest-2008/

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