Wednesday, July 01, 2009

CONTEST UPDATE: Voter fraud? Day one votes nixed

Shreve's indie media maven Kathryn Usher just tipped us off about possible online "voter fraud" on the tourist bureau video contest. Check out the message on the contest website, which phrases it as a "possible abuse of the system." Today's voting is canceled; voting resumes tomorrow, says the site.

Usher's Facebook status more bluntly reads: "OMG! DAY ONE OF SBCTB contest! Voter fraud already? Today's votes will not be counted. They thought someone was cheating. I thought it fishy some videos had hundreds even thousands of votes already. I DO NOT KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS. Soiled somehow. I need a King Cake Baby Voo Doo Doll hug. And a nap."

How do you feel about this?


JB Jones said...

I've never been a big fan of public popularity contests nor majority rule - and on-line and call-in contests are even more shady to me. Just look at American Idol. If they can't do it without a great deal of cheating and controversy, how can a small-town effort?

However - I would love to know who in this area is that computer savvy! Wow.

Anonymous said...

Fraud in a vote Shocking! LOL Well it is Louisiana ..... enough said... lol

Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau said...

At the convention & tourist bureau, we didn’t find any indication of fraud on our “Show Us Your Shreveport-Bossier” video contest. The videos that quickly earned a large number of votes had also been viewed a large number of times, so we believe the number of votes were reasonable. Some of the participants are also heavily promoting their video on their facebook, myspace, twitter, and other social media accounts to drive views and votes. We encourage this and hope all participants will do the same.

We did find out that there was a way a person could vote for a video more than the five times allowed for in the rules, so there was the potential for the voting system to be abused, but there was no evidence that it actually was abused. Since we couldn’t quickly find a way to negate this problem, we decided to take off the restriction on the number of times a person could vote. All the votes were taken back to zero so that everyone could start again on an equal playing field, and we extended the voting period by one day so that the number of voting days stayed the same. A person can now vote an unlimited number of times on any video and each video has the same opportunity to collect votes.

Our purpose for this contest was to encourage the community to participate in all the great things to do and see in Shreveport-Bossier, and to give us their unique perspective on it. We also wanted the community to be excited about the contest and come to the website to watch the videos. That’s what they’re doing, and we’ve gotten lots of great feedback. As of this writing, the 15 videos in the contest have been viewed a total of 7,528 times! If you haven’t already seen the videos, you’re missing out. There’s a lot of creative talent expressed and we’re impressed by the variety of technique and content we’ve seen. We want everyone to view the videos and vote on your favorites. Just go to and be prepared to be entertained and enlightened!

Anonymous said...

So someone can vote for a video 5 times? How stupid is that? Why not capture the IP and make it one vote per IP address. That's how you beat the system. Then the person would have to visit a different location for each vote. Or, more technical, one vote per MAC address which means one vote per piece of hardware. So at most someone could vote on their computer, their phone and their game system if it were web-enabled... but opening the competition to letting anyone vote more than once is not just stupid, but wrong as not everyone knows they can vote 5 times allowing those who know the advantage.

Let's also not pass over the fact that many videos have more votes than views which means one of two things, people are voting based on popularity and not by content which makes the competition null as far as talent is concerned (unlike American Idol).

It's a fact of life (and a sign of good marketing practice) that those who promote are more likely to get views and votes, but to openly allow more than one vote per person, to have all the videos on one page in a non-random head order, no IP watchdog, and the ability to allow voting before a viewer watches or completes the video is bad practice and should be the clear example of what NOT to do next time around.