The PowerPivot Data MashUp Contest Is Here!

The PowerPivot Data MashUp Contest Is Here!

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The Data MashUp Contest is kicking off today!  If you haven’t visited our Facebook Page, you can find an overview of the contest there.  This blog post is going to give you detailed instructions on how to get up and running for the contest!  We’ll also give you the rules and important dates for the contest in this post.


  • Download PowerPivot for Excel 2010 CTP3.  The PowerPivot add-in for Excel and can be found at the link to the left.  This is a required piece to participate in the contest.
  • Subscribe to the datasets on the Microsoft BI Facebook Page.  The datasets can be found on the Microsoft BI Facebook page under the Data Mashup tab. 
Overview Of How To Subscribe To Datasets
  • Import your DataMarket data into PowerPivot.  There are a couple of different ways to import the data, but we have found it easiest to use the Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket Add-in for Excel to pull in the data.  You can find the add-in here.
  • Mash your data.  After importing the data into PowerPivot, you want to mash the data together to gain insight.  You can find instructions at the link to the left, and the video below gives an overview of mashing data together with PowerPivot.
  • Visualize the data. Create your unique visualization.  Once you are done, submit it to the Data Mashup contest tab on the BI Facebook page.

Now for the rules!






These are the official rules that govern how the Microsoft Data MashUp contest promotion will operate (“Contest”).

In these rules, “we,” “our,” and “us” refer to Microsoft Corporation, the sponsor of this Contest.  “You” refers to an eligible Contest entrant. 


This is a skill-based Contest.  The object of this Contest is to use two datasets from the Windows Azure Data Marketplace to create the most appealing and useful data visualization model (“Mashup”).  Judges will select prize winners based on the criteria described below. 


This Contest starts at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time (PT) on September 8st, 2011, and ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on September 28th, 2011 (“Entry Period”).


You are eligible to enter this Contest if you meet the following requirements at time entry: 

  • You are a legal resident of the 50 United States and District of Columbia, and are 18 years of age or older.  
  • If you are 18 of age or older, but are considered a minor in your place of residence, you should ask your parent’s or legal guardian’s permission prior to submitting an entry into this Contest; and 
  • You are NOT an employee of Microsoft Corporation or an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary; and 
  • You are NOT involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Contest; and 
  • You are NOT an immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household member of a Microsoft employee, an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary, or a person involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Contest.

This Contest is void outside the geographic area described above and wherever else prohibited by law.


For purposes of this Contest, each eligible MashUp and accompanying description that you create and submit will be called an “Entry.” 

To be eligible for judging an Entry must meet the following content / technical requirements:

  • It may only incorporate the two datasets provided for this Contest. 
  • It must be submitted in .jpg, .gif, or .png format 
  • In 200 words or less, you must describe the key insight from your Data MashUp and why your Entry should win.

 In addition:

  • your entry must be your own original work; and
  • your entry cannot have been selected as a winner in any other contest; and
  • you must have obtained any and all consents, approvals or licenses required for you to submit your entry; and
  • your entry may not include any third party trademarks (logos, names) or copyrighted materials (music, images, video, recognizable people) unless you have obtained permission to use the materials. You may include Microsoft trademarks, logos, and designs, for which Microsoft grants you a limited license to use for the sole purposes of submitting an entry into this Contest; and
  • winners may be required to share their excel files with the judges so they can replicate the results to validate that the resulting .jpg file is accurate and was derived via methods allowed by the contest rules.

 Entries may NOT contain, as determined by us, in our sole and absolute discretion, any content that:

  • is sexually explicit, unnecessarily violent or derogatory of any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, professional or age group; profane or pornographic;
  • promotes alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing) or a particular political agenda;
  • is obscene or offensive;
  • defames, misrepresents or contains disparaging remarks about other people or companies;
  • communicates messages or images inconsistent with the positive images and/or good will to which we wish to associate; and/or violates any law;

We reserve the right to reject any Entry, in our sole and absolute discretion, that we determine does not meet the above criteria.


To enter, you must create and submit a data Mashup theme by incorporating the specified data sets, which are available for free in the Windows Azure Data Marketplace (  

To enter the Contest tab on the Microsoft BI Facebook page at and follow the links and instructions to access the data sets, create your MashUp, and submit your Entry during the Entry Period.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to the Sponsor and not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used for administering the Promotion and to contact you if you are a winner.

We will only accept one (1) Entry per person.

We are not responsible for entries that we do not receive for any reason, or for entries that we receive but are not decipherable for any reason.

We will automatically disqualify: 

  • Any incomplete or illegible Entry; and
  • Any entries that we receive from you that are in excess of the Entry limit described above.


On or around the close of the Entry period, a panel of judges comprised of Microsoft employees and industry experts will evaluate all eligible entries received and select prize winners based upon the following judging criteria:

  • 25.00% - Overall Appeal
  • 25.00% - Design Elements
  • 50.00% - Data Analysis and Findings

In the event of a tie between any eligible entries, an additional judge will break the tie based on the judging criteria described above.  The decisions of the judges are final and binding.  If we do not receive a sufficient number of entries meeting the Entry requirements, we may, at our discretion, select fewer winners.

Contest Prizes

1st Place Prize: $3,000

2nd Place Prize: $1,500

3rd Place Prize $500

The cash prize will be paid in the form of a check from the Contest Administrator.

The total Approximate Retail Value (ARV) of all prizes: $5,000.

If you are a potential winner, we will notify you by sending a message to the e-mail address, the phone number, or mailing address (if any) provided at time of entry within seven (7) days following completion of judging.  If the notification that we send is returned as undeliverable, or you are otherwise unreachable for any reason, we may award to a runner-up.

If there is a dispute as to who is the potential winner, we will consider the potential winner to be the authorized account holder of the e-mail address used to enter the Contest. If you are a potential winner, we may require you to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability/Publicity Release and a W-9 tax form or W-8 BEN tax form within 10 days of notification. If you are a potential winner and you are 18 years of age or older, but are considered a minor in your place of legal residence, we may require your parent or legal guardian to sign all required forms on your behalf.  If you do not complete the required forms as instructed and/or return the required forms within the time period listed on the winner notification message, we may disqualify you and select a runner-up.

If you are confirmed as a winner of this Contest:

  • You may not exchange your prize for any other merchandise or services.  However, if for any reason an advertised prize is unavailable, we reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value; and 
  • You may not designate someone else as the winner.  If you are unable or unwilling to accept your prize, we may award it to a runner up; and 
  • If you accept a prize, you will be solely responsible for all applicable taxes related to accepting the prize; and  
  • If you are otherwise eligible for this Contest, but are considered a minor in your place of residence, we may award the prize to your parent/legal guardian on your behalf; and 
  • Unless otherwise noted, all prizes are subject to their manufacturer’s warranty and / or terms and conditions. 

Limit (1) prize per person during the Entry Period.   


Other than what is set forth below, we are not claiming any ownership rights to your Entry.  However, by submitting your Entry, you: 

  • are granting us an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide right and license to: (i) use, review, assess, test and otherwise analyze your Entry and all its content in connection with this Contest; and (ii) feature your Entry and all content in connection with the marketing, sale, or promotion of this Contest (including but not limited to internal and external sales meetings, conference presentations, tradeshows, and screen shots of the Contest Entry in press releases) in all media (now known or later developed)   
  • agree to sign any necessary documentation that may be required for us and our designees to make use of the rights you granted above; 
  • understand and acknowledge that the Sponsor(s) may have developed or commissioned materials similar or identical to your submission and you waive any claims you may have resulting from any similarities to your Entry;  
  • understand that we cannot control the incoming information you will disclose to our representatives in the course of entering, or what our representatives will remember about your Entry. You also understand that we will not restrict work assignments of representatives who have had access to your Entry.  By entering this Contest, you agree that use of information in our representatives’ unaided memories in the development or deployment of our products or services does not create liability for us under this agreement or copyright or trade secret law; 
  • understand that you will not receive any compensation or credit for use of your Entry, other than what is described in these Official Rules

Please note that following the end of this Contest your Entry may be posted on a website selected by us for viewing by visitors to that website.  We are not responsible for any unauthorized use of your Entry by visitors to this website.  While we reserve these rights, we are not obligated to use your Entry for any purpose, even if it has been selected as a winning Entry.

If you do not want to grant us these rights to your Entry, please do not enter this Contest. 


By entering this Contest you agree:

  • To abide by these Official Rules; and 
  • To release and hold harmless Microsoft and its respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, employees and agents from any and all liability or any injury, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with this Contest, or any prize won; and
  • That Microsoft’s decisions will be final and binding on all matters related to this Contest; and
  • That, by accepting a prize, Microsoft may use of your proper name and state of residence online and in print, or in any other media, in connection with this Contest, without payment or compensation to you, except where prohibited by law.


This Contest will be governed by the laws of the State of Washington, and you consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts of the State of Washington for any disputes arising out of this Contest.  


If someone cheats, or a virus, bug, catastrophic event, or any other unforeseen or unexpected event that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled, (also referred to as force majeure) affects the fairness and / or integrity of this Contest, we reserve the right to cancel, change or suspend this Contest.  This right is reserved whether the event is due to human or technical error. If a solution cannot be found to restore the integrity of the Contest, we reserve the right to select winners from among all eligible entries received before we had to cancel, change or suspend the Contest.

If you attempt to compromise the integrity or the legitimate operation of this Contest by hacking or by cheating or committing fraud in ANY way, we may seek damages from you to the fullest extent permitted by law.  Further, we may ban you from participating in any of our future Contest, so please play fairly.


We will post the names of winners who received a prize worth $25.00 or more online at This list will remain posted one month after September 28th, 2011.


Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052


1910 1st Avenue South, Suite 200
Seattle, WA 98134

As the contest progresses, we would love to hear how your entries are coming so don’t be shy.  Good luck!

Leave a Comment
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  • Only open to Americans? That's a shame.

  • Hi Peter,

    Thank you for the feedback regarding the contest.  We still invite you to participate in the Data MashUp contest to showcase your entry, though prize eligibility for this contest is US only. We’re actively investigating what promotions we can do in the future to make sure we can properly recognize all participants worldwide.

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