Recently, many more companies have begun offering prizes for developers that overcome particularly tricky software challenges. They do this for a variety of reasons: to raise awareness of the company or its products, to woo developers to its platforms, or to find bugs and security vulnerabilities the company might have missed.
Developers who participate in these contests face a number of risks. In some contests that involve security or privacy issues, developers can make themselves vulnerable to prosecution. Sometimes the contests aren’t run fairly, and sometimes programmers end up doing a lot of work without getting paid. However, the potential payoff?notoriety from producing genuine innovation?continues to attract many students, academics, and unemployed developers.