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Information for members of the Expert Panel

When finalists are announced in the New Year they will receive points, 75% from an Expert Panel (a group of equestrian PR, digital marketing and branding experts from across the globe) and 25% from the public, using a voting form on the ESMA site.

The names of those making it to the final ten in each category will be sent to the judges mid-January 2012.

At this stage, judges must declare any and all conflicts of interest (current/previous clients, if they are members of equestrian social networking sites/forums through to the finals in category 18, or any other relationship deemed relevant) upon receipt.

This is designed to avoid any doubt in the judges’ decisions.

Being a member of the expert panel means full-time employers and businesses in which panel members own shares cannot be nominated in any category.

In groups of three, judges will be sent 4-6 categories (each with 10 finalists) and will have 3-4 weeks (from early/mid January 2012) to decide on scores individually.

Judges must review finalists’ social media activity pre-November 2012 (or as far back as possible in the case of Twitter) and rate them out of ten for each of the following criteria where appropriate:

Judges and members of the public are asked to use the following criteria:

• Innovation – are they thinking outside the box?
• Individual – is their content original?
• Inspiration – are you compelled to act, buy or share?
• Interaction – do they involve fans/followers and encourage discussions?
• Information – is it accurate, interesting and useful to their audience, and if it does not belong to them do they credit the owner?

Further considerations apply to the following:

a. For the category for Best use of Social Media by a Professional Horseperson the judges should use the criteria Item ‘Individual’ to gauge if the individual is posting as themselves.

b. For the category for Best use of Social Media by a Celebrity, only include posts mentioning horses or equestrian issues should be considered. This category has been introduced to encourage the promotion of riding to non-equestrians and celebrate mainstream celebrities who advocate equestrianism among their fans.

c. For the category for Best Equestrian Social Networking Site or Forum judges and the public are asked to sign up for an account, become familiar with the platform and base their decision on the following:

• User-friendliness – can you find your feet quickly and get started?
• Is it fun?
• Sociability – can you easily share content with fellow users and the outside world?
• Business worthy – can you see its benefits for business?
• Would you stay and recommend that your friends join?

Point Deductions:

Judges will be asked to keep a look out for what is considered ‘spammy’ behaviour.

If a judge becomes aware that any finalist is in breach of the terms and conditions of a social network on which they are being judged, then the ESMA team should be alerted.

Most importantly:

Copyright infringement.
Facebook's rules for competitions
Using a personal Facebook profile for business

If a finalist is found to have been in breach of a platform’s terms of use or doing anything against the law they will be automatically disqualified without notice and no discussion will be entered into whatsoever.

• Finalists may canvass for votes, but are required to ask their fans and followers to judge as many categories as possible, not just theirs.

• An organisation/individual may become a finalist in up to four general categories and one regional category.

• The ESMA team reserves the right to disqualify anyone thought to be buying or achieving votes through unfair means.

• Members of the expert panel are not to be contacted with regards the ESMAs at any point. Any finalists thought to be influencing the expert panel in any way will be given a single written warning.

• Contacting an expert regarding the ESMAs a second time will result in automatic disqualification.

Please note:

Members of the expert panel are not allowed to discuss the judging of the ESMAs with finalists.

Members of the expert panel must inform the ESMA team if any finalist has been in contact with them regarding the ESMA judging. Finalists found to have contacted experts with regards to judging will be given a written warning. If they are found to have contacted an expert regarding the ESMA judging a second time they will automatically be disqualified.

Members of the expert panel may promote themselves as experts in the 2012 ESMAs.

Experts are required to familiarise themselves with the T&C's of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and any other social networking platforms used by their finalists.

The ESMA team will try their best to ensure that experts are given categories that have finalists whose social media activity is in a language they are familiar with.

When experts are judging a finalist who's social media activity is in a language the expert is not familiar with they may seek the assistance of an online translation service. We recommend downloading Google Chrome due to its easy-to-use translation function. Experts are permitted to seek the assistance of a translator if necessary – it is up-to the expert to source said translator.

The ESMA team accepts no responsibility for any costs or loss of earnings incurred by experts while judging.

For judges' expert opinion the ESMAs will feature them on the expert profiles page with a logo, link to a website and include a bio.