Tourism Queensland's Best Job In the World campaign has been slammed as the worst run contest ever by shattered hopefuls prevented from submitting their applications by repeated website failures.
Fifty people, from more than 34,000 applicants worldwide, were this morning shortlisted for the $150,000 "island caretaker" job on the Great Barrier Reef - a marketing stunt hailed as a stroke of genius by the government tourism body.
But while many will today learn their applications were not successful, blog sites and internet forums have been buzzing with complaints since the weekend, when the Tourism Queensland website crashed on the eve of the competition deadline.
Efforts by Tourism Queensland to boost the server supporting the site ahead of Sunday's international cut-off date failed, as the website was flooded with more than 7000 applications at once.
The final tally was 34,684.
Despite 20 consecutive attempts over the weekend, US hopeful Jeff Cook was unable to submit his video entry online.
The furious 51-year-old professional photographer and avid traveller has since slammed the promoter, after he received an email from the website's regulators advising his application was not accepted because it exceeded the time limit.
After sending out a mass email with the subject line "The worst run contest in the world", Mr Cook detailed his gripes when contacted by brisbanetimes.com.au.
"Queensland Tourism (sic) blew it big time and is not accepting responsibility," Mr Cook said.
"I made sure my video was exactly one minute long. I tested it on five different devices.
"They created a monster that got out of control and a lot of people wasted time and effort and now are being wrongly blamed."
Sunday's crash was not the first time the website had failed; Tourism Queensland was forced to increase its server capacity in January after several earlier seize-ups.
"Tourism Queensland grossly underestimated the demand," Mr Cook said.
"Surprised by 30,000 entries? You've got to be kidding. How could they be so blind?"
"With such an appealing prize that is open to people all around the world they should have expected at least 100,000 entries and planned for 500,000.
"Of course, I don't know if I would have won, but to not even get a chance even though I followed the instructions to the letter just sucks."
Like Mr Cook, New York woman Abby Feldman was also denied a chance at the dream gig.
She said as many as 4000 people had complained of a similar problem.
"I applied by submitting my video and photo on two occasions to be told finally that because of massive strain on their system, Queensland Tourism never received my video," Ms Feldman wrote on her blog.
"I know I am not alone with this frustration, as I received an email today saying that over 4000 people lost their chances when they tried to apply before the February 22nd deadline.
"The competition has served the purpose of getting people around the world interested in Australia, but for the thousands of us who lost out just because of a technical error, this has been truly disappointing."
Ten full-time staff were employed by Tourism Queensland to process the applications and must now whittle the shortlist of 50 down to 11 finalists.
Finalists will be flown to Queensland for an intensive round of interviews before a "wild card" winner is chosen by public vote.
The successful "caretaker" will live rent-free in a multimillion-dollar beachfront villa on Hamilton Island for six months.
They will be required to undertake a range of activities including swimming, snorkelling, bushwalking and exploring the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, all of which will be documented on a blog.
The 50 shortlisted applicants have been banned from speaking to the media.