Salesforce.com will do 'full review' of hackathon after controversy, Benioff says

Some critics have cried foul over the contest's US$1 million award to winner Upshot

Salesforce.com has come under fire from critics who say the "hackathon" it held at last week's Dreamforce conference was judged unfairly, and CEO Marc Benioff is now promising a thorough investigation.

"We are doing a full review of the Hackathon," Benioff said in a Twitter message. "We always respond to feedback, and this will be no different. It must be a legitimate victory."

Contestants in the hackathon competed to make a mobile application using Salesforce.com's technology. The top US$1 million prize went to Upshot, which developed an application that allows users to create and edit Salesforce.com reports from mobile devices.

The official rules for the hackathon allowed coding to begin on an application as of Oct. 25, when the contest was announced. Eligible applications also had to be "developed solely as part of this Hackathon," the rules state.

But after Upshot was announced as the winner, other contestants quickly voiced complaints online. For one thing, it appeared that Upshot's CTO Thomas Kim had demoed a similar-sounding application a couple of weeks before Oct. 25.

Posters also complained that Kim is a former Salesforce.com employee, although it doesn't appear his participation was actually in violation of the contest rules. He couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

Other posters identifying themselves as hackathon participants said their entries didn't receive any evaluation from judges.

"We've seen questions about why the winning team was allowed to submit an app that may have used pre-existing code, how the judging worked, and the eligibility of participants," said Adam Seligman, vice president of developer marketing, in a blog post. "While we are conducting a thorough review of the final entries to ensure they complied with published rules and regulations, we wanted to address some of those concerns here."

The language in the rules denoting that applications must be "developed solely" for the Hackathon didn't tell the whole story, Seligman added.

"We expected and encouraged teams to take advantage of existing APIs and services they've written to create a great mobile app," he wrote. "For example, any Salesforce customer or developer is likely to have a whole set of existing customizations and logic that can be exposed to their mobile app via REST API."

Seligman pointed to a thread on Salesforce.com's message board for developers, in which an administrator provided additional information.

"Reusing code you may have written before is fine, provided that you were the author of that code, it doesn't comprise the majority of your app and its use does not violate any third party's rights," states a post dated Nov. 14, prior to the hackathon. "You could modify an existing product to integrate with Salesforce and submit that, however you'd be judged on just that component, not the pre-existing product."

Salesforce.com also put together a team of more than 80 judges, which reviewed every eligible entry "at least twice," Seligman added.

The company will post the results of its review online once it is complete, according to Seligman.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cloud computingIT managementCIO roleinternetSalesforce.comInternet-based applications and servicesDREAMFORCEUpshot

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?