Oct 20, 2009

Executive of the Year

Big ups to Josh Linkner for being named the Detroit Executives Association's Executive of the Year.

In other news, the sinking ship of ePrize continues to bleed out talented employees into the Detroit market. The churn rate climbs with the Interface Developers taking a major loss recently of one of their longest-term developers.

Oct 6, 2009

The Inside Dirt

To answer my recent question of "What's up at ePrize?" the "ePrize Tattler" sent me a missive from the perspective of the inner sanctum.

According to "Tattler," there's some major dissent amongst the ranks with much of that stemming from problems at the very top of the house. The problems began around 2006 or 2007, when things started falling apart at ePrize. Lying to customers and taking on work that never should have been done, just to put money in the bank. This stopped being sustainable and ePrize experienced the first real growing pains, that led to "Project Gold Medal." This dismal failure brought about a change of regime and the addition of Gerry Miller to the ePrize "team."

At one point there was discussion of turning the reigns over to Miller completely. Unfortunately, this golden boy was quickly tarnished. He did the unthinkable; insisting on results rather than lavish spending. Monies went to a book, parties, conferences, etc. The total spent estimated at $100 million, resulting in some close calls getting emergency funding for inconsequential stuff like, um, payroll. "Yes, the champagne is paid for but the employees are not..."

Sales numbers slipped and the Board of Directors turned off the money faucet. Miller stepped into the role of sacrificial lamb. As per the usual at ePrize, all blame was heaped at the door of the person who left (or was fired) last. You could be the best employee in the world but your reputation goes in the shitter once your feet hit the bricks.

And when Miller could no longer be blamed for ePrize's failures, the economy "fortunately" turned, giving "Leadership" a song to sing from the hymnal. Forget poor salesmanship and so-called leadership. Tattler writes, "We are being out-planned [...] by stronger, better companies. We're being beaten at our own game."

Add to all of this some other dirty laundry like extramarital affairs, sexual harassment, drug use (?!?), unchecked egos, and other unwise investments and it sounds like ePrize is in need of a shake-up... all the way up to the top. Until then, more people are going to continue to be thrown under buses as a diversion for mismanagement.

Oct 4, 2009

What's Up?

Things have been fairly quiet on the blog, that's because there's been little information coming out of ePrize of late. No word about the big decade anniversary, no further firings, nada. The only thing that seems to be coming out of ePrize these days are resumes; folks looking for new employment. Keep those resumes coming folks. There are a lot of links on the right side of the page to other Detroit agencies, contract houses, etc. where you're sure to be better appreciated and paid a lot more.

Jul 24, 2009

Another Suggestion

A little over two years ago, I made the suggestion that the ePrize "secure image" needs to be updated to be made more accessible to include a way of hearing the code. Refreshing it would also be nice. I noticed today that the ePrize blog -- an "out of the box" solution undoubtedly -- has this functionality while the ePrize promotions still use the original "get_image" stuff that Sugar Bear created way back in 2003.

Despite all of the grousing from employees about ADA regulations/508 Compliance, little has been done to ever make this dream a reality. Perhaps a lawsuit might help?

Jul 20, 2009

Fuzzy Math

Maybe I'm missing something. I've misplaced my abacus and just can't seem to get these figures to add up:

Back in July, 2008, the Oakland Business Review reported: "The company has 350 employees, 275 of which are in Michigan."

Meanwhile, Crain's Detroit on July 13, 2009 reports: "The company has trimmed about 50 staffers since last summer" and "The company now has 275 employees."

The math there between the two reports just doesn't add up to me. Meanwhile, I've read of a total of 55 firings. I'm not sure about the churn rate of the company (which used to be incredibly low). I guess that the error can come from the loose phrase "last summer."

Mar 6, 2009
A 400+ Person Company?

Jul 20, 2009

Jul 9, 2009

22 More Go

Off they go, 22 more souls leaving ePrize today. And it sounds like the message that they need to remember is to stay away from PrizeLogic. Good luck folks. With Chrysler and GM coming out of bankruptcy, there should be some positions opening up at agencies that deal with them. Otherwise, there's still a list of job posting places on the blog.

One Big Happy

Thanks to a fellow eXprizer for the following tale of woe:

Seems a former ePrizer went to work for PrizeLogic in a different role than they held at ePrize. This person has a wife and kids to support, but that didn't stop ePrize from suing him and his employer for a breech of a non-compete clause!

Can you imagine, in this economy, those fuckers would actually deny a man the ability to provide for his family? Hey, didn't Josh Linkner always refer to ePrize folks as "family"? I guess he has no care if they starve.

Apr 22, 2009

The Days of Whine and Poses

I read on Twitter today that there are more bad times happening at ePrize. I don't tend to put much stock in tweets but felt obliged to report to see if anyone could substantiate or refute:

"no bonuses at eprize and monthly commission delayed.

Not sure what kind of "bonuses" to which this refers -- perhaps the quarterly performance bonus that was always so easily snatched away? -- but delay of commissions is pretty bad. Of all the people you don't want to piss off, your sales force is close to the top of the list.

Apr 9, 2009

Happy Passover

Enjoy the office while it's quiet!

No Alibi

Wow. I'm a little flabbergasted. The creative for ePrize's Bluefly promotions has been bad in the past but I think that the latest one really goes above and beyond.

Now, I'm assuming that this is in no way the fault of the creative folks at ePrize but wholly on the shoulders of Bluefly's agency. They apparently have yet to learn anything about this thing we call the Internet. Take a look at the homepage for the promotion:

I'm all for good use of negative space but this is abuse. And the pages are all about built out tall -- so tall that they get cut off even at high resolutions (game page: 1114 X 800). It's obvious that someone has a really big monitor and doesn't give a damn about the common user base.

Apparently, they also don't care about people understanding their contest. The actual "instant win" screen is fairly obtuse with no instructional text of what's going on. It took so long to load that I was scrolled down at the bottom of the screen looking for something (anything) to click when the flash loaded above. For some odd reason, the game page's footer is different than all the other pages.

In short.... "B-L-U Fly, you ain't got no alibi, you're just ugly."

Mar 24, 2009

Smirch Engine

A lot of the issues that have been brought up on this blog recently about anonymity and ruining reputations via online libel was brought up in this week's "On The Media". Check it out.

Mar 19, 2009

Adios Weesh!

I heard a sad story the other day that ePrize's marketing maven... the sizzle on the steak... the toothpick in the cake... is heading for greener pastures. Best of luck!

Mar 9, 2009

I Wasn't In

I've referenced this event in previous posts but someone was kind enough to send me some pix of it for me to relive (and begin my nightmares anew). Here are some pix of the 2006 kick-off event where upper management dressed up in superhero costumes, danced around, and generally acted like fools. That was the same day I started looking for a new job...

Mar 6, 2009

Promotions 101

There's a new, funny video up on ePrize.com -- at least it's new to me. It's a little ditty about why ePrize is so great.

My favorite part has to be this one:
A 400+ Person Company?

Feb 17, 2009

CMS Suggestion

Trying to find out if the London office of ePrize is open or closed, I've come to the conclusion that ePrize would really do itself a favor by instituting a CMS across their various sites. ePrize has a lot of pokers in the fire these days -- "The Power of e", the ePrize Blog, eprize.com, eprize.net, etc -- and it would be smart to give these sites a bit of a cohesive look as well as consistent content.

That would probably help prevent differences in the footer from one site to another. For example -- the "Power of e" site still has London in the footer:

An update to the ePrize.com site, overall, is desperately needed. The back end may not run on the same technology (ASP) but it's still a crappy table-based layout with graphical text. Worse, it's the same antiquated front end interface from 2003. Meanwhile, the few updates that are visible leave a lot to be desire. I'm still harping on the slipshod RSS feeds on pages like the portfolio feed which is sorted alphabetically rather than historically, invalidating the whole RSS idea of updates. If anything, there should be a CMS in place for easy updates of news, promotions, contact information, etc. with a simple transform that could make sections into RSS feeds where applicable. Likewise, the blog and other sites could be folded into one umbrella with a cohesive look and codebase.

Regardless... what happened to the London office?

Feb 14, 2009


If anyone's interested, I started a group on Facebook for ex-Prizers. Click here to see. I don't expect the turn-out to be tremendous, despite the growing number of potential members.

Feb 12, 2009

Great Culture!

This video is so great, I had to bring it back. Can someone give me an accurate headcount of hour many exPrizers there are in this video?

Feb 8, 2009

More Job Cuts

Just got this message:

FYI: Round 3 of cuts just hit on Friday (2/6/09). Another 13 people let go. All free pop gone and lunchbox subsidy is canceled. They will of course still have lunchbox to keep the sheep at their desks but now everyone has to pay full price.

I can't wait to find a new job and jump from this sinking ship. What a mistake it was to ever come here.

No word yet if these were more "underperformers" or if Linkner will ever be able to live down his comments about the July firings (20). He managed to keep his foot out of his mouth with the December round (13).

Back in July, 2008, the Oakland Business Review reported:

The company has 350 employees, 275 of which are in Michigan, and the layoffs amount to less than 5 percent of the workforce. Those laid off received severance packages, and there are no plans for more layoffs, Linkner said.

Laid off? Does that mean they'll be called back any time now? There's an interesting discussion of that topic here.

Does this mean that ePrize is down to 324 employees or 304... or have others quit without the press? I doubt (m)any were hired. And, what's the deal with the two sets of firings of thirteen people? It's enough to give someone triskaidekaphobia.

And the idea of severance at ePrize isn't much to sneeze at. Typically it's two weeks pay (at their low rate) and your signature on a document that dispenses of all your rights. I still regret signing mine and encourage anyone who is presented with this document to get it reviewed and amended by a lawyer.

Jan 18, 2009

The Big Idea

Without a nod to Donny Deutsch, ePrize is shilling for a "Big Idea" with their latest internal promotion.

To quote the site, ePrize is "giving away $1,000 to one lucky winner among all who submit their ideas. Give us your best shot – you may only enter once."

Now, let's not go into the poor copywriting of that section but focus instead on the strangeness of this skills-based promotion. Are the creative coffers at ePrize so empty that they're reaching out to the world for ideas? Has the employee-base become so sycophantic that fresh thoughts are in such short supply? This just seems like a bizarre move for a company that touts its creative edge.

Special thanks to Anonymous for pointing this out!

Prize Logic Website Live

Slither... er... Prize Logic has its website live. Pretty slick. Check it out here.