Salesforce crowns second hackathon king after criticism

After allegations circulated that Salesforce paid $1 million to a team of developers in a rigged competition, the software company declares a second million-dollar winner.

The Salesforce1 hackathon's top award was $1 million. Salesforce

Salesforce deemed the $1 million prize for its recent hackathon as the "biggest single hackathon prize in history." It appears that pot has grown even sweeter.

After allegations of favoritism, secret judging, and a rigged contest for the company's first-pick winner, Salesforce announced Monday that there will also be a second winner. This means Salesforce will pay out a total of $2 million to the top two winning developer teams.

Here's how Salesforce's vice president of developer relations Adam Seligman explains it in a blog post he wrote Monday:

We heard feedback loud and clear from the developer community on the Salesforce1 Hackathon we ran at Dreamforce. We take feedback seriously and, as a result, our internal audit team conducted a comprehensive review of the eligibility requirements and judging process. We want to discuss all of the issues transparently, explain how we made some key decisions, and share the results of the review.

The internal review found that the winning team, Upshot, met the hackathon's eligibility requirements, and that the app they submitted adhered to the rules of the hackathon. It also found that we weren't clear enough with the final round judges about the use of pre-existing code.

So here's what we're going to do: we are declaring a tie and we are awarding each of the top two developer teams with the grand prize of $1 million. Both Upshot and Healthcare.love built incredible apps on the Salesforce1 Platform and both deserve to be recognized.

The Salesforce1 hackathon was a competition held last month in which more than 4,500 developers worked to create apps built on the Salesforce1 platform. In all, more than 150 apps were submitted. Salesforce deemed Upshot the winner. However, shortly after, it was discovered that one of Upshot's developers was a former Salesforce employee who allegedly got a jumpstart on the contest.

Salesforce maintains that the contest was not rigged. Immediately after Upshot's team players became clear, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff promised an internal investigation. This review concluded that Upshot met eligibility requirements because the employee had left Salesforce before the deadline specified in the hackathon's rules.

However, the review also determined that the judges could have been given more information to evaluate the final round entrants' use of pre-existing code. Hence, Healthcare.love has now also been declared a winner.

"The developer community has been very active in sharing its expectation to make this competitive process better," Salesforce's Applications and Platform president Alex Dayon said in a statement. "We look forward to even more innovation from our next Salesforce1 Hackathon, which we are planning now."

About the author

Dara Kerr is a staff writer for CNET focused on the sharing economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado where she developed an affinity for collecting fool's gold and spirit animals.

 

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