A bit long and photo-less, so if you are tired of all of this drama (I know I am) feel free to skip this, but after being surprised by the number of comments that my original post received, I felt that some of you at least would like more details.
So you may have noticed my tweet that I received a call from The Bump yesterday. After I posted my 'explanatory' post, I received a message from a friend and reader letting me know that she felt strongly about what had happened and had contacted the Bump via Twitter (thus prompting me to get a Twitter account). After receiving a vague canned response she continued to express her concern and eventually received an equally vague email that claimed that the Bump had been trying for some time to contact me about the events in question, which she then forwarded to me.
That day I was contacted by the Bump via email. They requested my phone number (which I gave to them) so that they could explain the chain of events that had occurred. After a little phone tag (you can't always answer when you are in the middle of being pooped on or rocking your three-month-old to sleep), we finally connected.
The conversation was very civil and professional. Apparently I was correct in my assumption that the commenter had caused them to check out my blog, where they found my phrasing inconsistent with the contest rules. While they said that they did not believe it was my intention to encourage cheating, they legally had no other choice but to disqualify me. As far as the nasty message board comments were concerned they had tried to moderate them but, "couldn't keep up" and they apologized for that.
Furthermore they wanted to stress that Sherwin Williams was a sponsor of the contest only and had nothing to do with the way in which the contest was run or with the results.
One positive result of the call is that I was able to express my feelings about the contest, and while a large company like the Bump certainly does not have to listen to the advice of one mom, it did help me to get a few things off of my chest. I strongly expressed my distaste for the message board concept (especially if it could not be properly moderated), as my nursery was not the only one that received nasty comments. No parent who put their heart and hard work into their child's nursery should have to deal with having their space torn apart.
I also encouraged them to make future contests more foolproof. Unfortunately no contestant can control the actions of the general public - only those who determine the way that the contest is structured can do this. Simply having voters register their vote by entering an email address or username would prevent this situation from happening again. Although the Bump said that they felt this would decrease traffic, I still think it is the right thing to do.
So while the conversation did not tell me anything that I had not already inferred, I did appreciate finally being contacted. And NOW I hope to truly put this situation to rest and focus on my family, home, and writing about what I love. Thank you again for all of your support - your kind comments were truly appreciated! :)