Unforced failures: employee motivation

My employer does a thing where, for round-number anniversaries, they collect congratulatory messages from your coworkers and then deliver an online compilation on the day. Commenters are encouraged (I know from having been solicited) to share praise, stories, and other positive stuff. It's a low-cost, low-effort (for them) way of sending warm fuzzies. If they didn't do this at all, no one would miss it. Since they do do it, naturally people expect it to be a positive experience for the recipient. (I assume that comments are moderated.)

When my fifth anniversary was approaching, the way the system worked is that some automated system sent a link to the recipient's manager several weeks in advance, with instructions to forward the link to the recipient's coworkers and ask people to participate. (Everybody with the link could see what comments had been left so far.) I've responded to a number of these over the years and have seen compilations with messages from across the organization. When I got mine, it had... a generic message from an HR person I didn't know, a brief message from my manager, and nice messages from two other members of my immediate (doc) team. (I later learned that some other team members hadn't been notified in time.) I was at the time working with two or three cross-functional teams of developers, QA folks, and product managers, but my manager didn't send it to any of them. Eh, whatever, I guess?

We've been acquired since then so the systems have changed. I recently got an automated message about a coworker's upcoming fifth anniversary, as opposed to a message from a manager. I do not know if the manager was asked to choose recipients, or if the system is somehow choosing based on reporting relationships, or what. I've only seen one invitation under the new system so far. As with the older system, anybody with the link can see the comments.

Yesterday was my tenth anniversary, and I had email this morning with a link. I looked and found...a generic message from the CEO. I looked around the site a bit, thinking other comments must be in a different place, but I didn't find any. I then thought to look at the link for that coworker's upcoming anniversary, and saw the same CEO message and my comment.

So, um, nobody commented? Nobody at all, not even my manager? And their system didn't detect that and, you know, send a nag message to the manager and if necessary delay sharing the link with me?

So many avoidable failures, starting with: don't do stuff like this if you aren't set up to make it a positive experience. This is worse than doing nothing. Not only is this not motivational, but it's actually demotivational. The message it sends is: "we care about looking like we care".

(No, I do not plan to be here for the fifteenth to see if they've gotten their act together.)