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Civic Apps Competition Handbook by Virginia Carlson, Kate Eyler-Werve

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Chapter 7. Common Roadblocks

All project directors are familiar with the feeling of slowly dawning horror when an unexpected issue crops up and threatens your timeline. In this section we highlight the issues that we stumbled over as we planned and ran the Apps for Metro Chicago competition (A4MC) in the hope that you can manage them better. These include:

  • Competition app ownership

  • Time needed to conduct the legal review of the rules

  • Submission system and rules

  • Screening out ineligible submissions

  • Testing competition apps

  • Preventing public voter cheating

  • Dealing with the disgruntled

We also share how we handled the issues as they popped up, and tell a few good stories on ourselves.

Who Owns the App After the Competition Is Over?

This question appears in every competition’s FAQ sheet, and with good reason. If the developer has to sign over rights to a competition submission, then their only chance of making money on their app is to win a prize.

Some competitions, including NYC BigApps, and Apps for Communities, tried to circle the square. They required free access to submitted apps on competition websites for one year. Developers maintained the right to sell the apps on other sites.

Others competitions, including Apps for Metro Chicago, required submissions to be free to the public for a year after the competition closed. Because the prize money for A4MC was funded in large part by charitable foundations, our primary goal had to be maximizing benefit to the public rather than support entrepreneurship. ...

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