We Almost Did It. Thanks anyways, About.Me - Uncover Ostomy
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We Almost Did It. Thanks anyways, About.Me


I won.

I won my chance to be on the billboard in Times Square for the about.me contest.

I didn’t think I could ever win something like this, but I did.

I had won runner up, which was a place on the billboard. I had finally gotten a chance for the ostomy to appear in Times Square! Finally some REAL awareness for the campaign!

I was so excited I didn’t know what to do with myself.

I immediately called the woman who contacted me and told her that I was over the age of 18 and I was a resident of the US, living in New York City, legally.

She said she had noticed that I had gone to school in Canada and I replied that I was a Canadian citizen, but again, I was living in the US legally.

She said she would check with the legal department but saw no reason for it to be an issue and she would get back to me on Monday.

The contest rules stated you have to be a legal resident. Well, I’m not hiding out in America, I live here because the country says I’m allowed to. So it shouldn’t be an issue, right?

Well, it’s Monday.

I got this:

Apparently, living here legally as an F-1 student with a legal visa living in a legal apartment paying with a legal bank account and calling her with a legal phone number doesn’t mean anything.

I have to have a green card.

A green card to put a picture of me on a billboard.

A green card to use the rights to a picture.

A green card, that in actual circumstances, is not needed to obtain rights to an image.

The contest is literally so they can use an image. An image I am willing to hand to them on a silver platter covered in flowers and diamonds. Do I seriously need to be a legal resident to let them use a picture for free?

I don’t think they care.


I certainly care.

I think all of you certainly care.

Now, I’m in no way trying to bash this company for what they have done. I get it. I get that they have to follow certain rules. They are owned by AOL so they can’t really go breaking any laws. I just don’t think they had fully considered the loopholes in this situation and just decided it would be easier to back out. I mean, they had tons of other people to choose from. So it only makes sense to cut out the legal issues and go with someone easier to handle.

I was just in awe that they really tried to give us a chance. I never thought any organization with such power would even consider our cause, but they did. So I give them a huge thank you for that.

I just can’t believe they handled the situation the way they did. I mean, to email me and speak to me on the phone to tell me that I have won, only to take it back?

Needless to say, I’m crushed.

We had a chance guys. We really did.

I really don’t know how I can fix this. I don’t think I can. I think our chance is gone.

I would take some solace in the fact they said in the 2nd email that they wish to work with me on future endeavours, but I don’t think they legally can.

I have emailed one of the co-founders and CEO, Tony Conrad, asking if there is anything else he can do. Even he can just use the picture that I will hand over for free outside of the contest. I’m waiting to see if he’ll email back. I doubt it, though. I have his phone number too. I may call. It may be useless, though.

I still want to say a huge thank you to about.me for at least trying. They tried to give us a chance that no one else has.

So thanks.

At least we know someone’s noticed us.

I’m sorry I’m from the wrong country. I really, really am.

Jessica Grossman
  • Jackie
    Posted at 16:15h, 26 September

    I there someone WE can email? This is outrageous? Can we voice how important this is to someone?

  • Jo
    Posted at 16:26h, 26 September

    you are from thr RIGHT country,

  • Your Mother - In Canada!
    Posted at 16:31h, 26 September

    SO VERY PROUD OF YOU and hurting for you!! As Jackie asked in the above post…Is there anyone WE can contact?

  • A. Jaye Williams
    Posted at 17:27h, 26 September

    Hey Jess: Sorry to hear this. That's really tough. Above anything, you should be proud of what you tried to accomplish AND what you did accomplish. I know it stings now, but don't let what a company 'lawyer' told 'about.me' dissuade you from your goals or even 'burn any bridges' you might still have with about.me. If you can still work with them later on, you never know if something even bigger than this contest might come about. Things like this happen and can seem very deflating–I've been there, too. But you're smart, brave, have great personality and you get things done. This is really just a 'bump' in the road of your long life. Hang in there for now. You did good. REAL GOOD. And there's a lot more good for you yet to do and to experience. Nothing but the best, A. Jaye Williams

  • Adrienne Shulman
    Posted at 17:28h, 26 September

    Jessica, first of all, a huge congrats on what you've accomplished!! I must ask, have you, or would you be willing to give the slant that there is an opportunity for this campaign to reach far beyond the USA? By using your image, maybe Americans can see that there is a world beyond their borders that is worthy of recognition, and people who's stories of courage/strength/advocacy have had a positive influence on their supposed sense of altruism.
    KUDOS, Jessica!

  • John Walsh
    Posted at 17:47h, 26 September

    Hi Jess i am very sorry it dose not seem right, but you tried and did not really fail as a lot more people now know about ostomy's than they did before
    and more people have seen the posts on your blog and here in the uk on Stomawise than would of noticed it on one billboard in times sq.

    So all in all a good Job Done

    Best of luck in Uni and dont be to down on NY


  • Heather
    Posted at 18:10h, 26 September

    I agree – give us a contact, let us help plead your case!!!

  • Ashley
    Posted at 01:16h, 27 September

    Sounds like they are giving you the brush off over a technicality. Trust me big media types like that will treat you like crap with a smile on their face. They are also really great at acting like they care .I'm a Communication Technology with an emphasis in Broadcasting major. I've experienced this brush off crap a lot. I see only two options here.

    1. Check into your legal options. Though a law suite can end up pretty pointless. They have tons of money and you don't.

    2. Start a campaign to raise money to buy/rent you're own billboard on Times Square. Start an online drive to get the funds and show them up by making sure the billboard is bigger than theirs will be. Check into the Ostomy companies as well. See if they would be interested in being corporate sponsors.

    Show them up by getting the message out there anyway.

    We could also do a letter writing campaign to AOL telling them how we thing what they did was wrong and cheep.

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