Flip Video UK have decided to suspend voting in their Share Your Summer with Flip competition. The competition, which was due to conclude today, has been shrouded in controversy due to concerns over the voting process (Flipping Eck! Vote Competition Controversy hits Flip Video). The company left the following on their Facebook Page
As you are aware we’ve been investigating claims regarding voting in our ‘Share Your Summer with Flip’ competition. To ensure beyond any doubt that our ‘Share your Summer with Flip’ competition rewards our genuine fans, we have decided to suspend the voting for the time being and will be in touch again soon with further details regarding how we resolve this issue. Thank you all very much for your patience.
This is a sensible move by Flip, who must be incredibly disappointed that their competition has been dumped in the mire. In some respects you can say it’s not their fault, but it’s high time promoters got their heads around the tactics adopted by people who are encouraged to seek votes.
On the simplest level most entrants in voting competitions either don’t ask for any votes, vote for themselves or ask a few close family and friends to help them out. There’s perhaps an underlying belief that “that’s what everyone else will do” and that they expect a fair vote.
However, voting competitions aren’t that straightforward.
With Facebook and Twitter you get people asking/begging for votes. We’ve seen people posting to @loquax wanting votes (or for retweets). We’ve even been jumped on logging into Facebook and asked to vote via the chat systems. For some that might be OK, but we found it intrusive.
However, that doesn’t seem to bother those people who are desperate for votes and you can quite often see tweets being made to celebrities or randomly posted on Facebook in an attempt to engage the masses.
Forums also get bombarded with “vote for me requests”. Nowadays, more voting posts are deleted off Loquax than real spam. We have a policy about vote requests and after a recent on site discussion with users will be sticking to it. However, other sites don’t have such a policy. MSE for example have a Vote for Me section, whilst a subscription comping magazine forum has a “I Need Your Vote!” area!
Voting requests don’t just occur in The UK. US Competition Sites also have dedicated sections, although there are strict rules attached to the use of this forum. If you’ve entered a worldwide competition that needs votes then you’re going to need a few more friends and family.
And where better to locate them then via Facebook as you can find a few groups where you can ask for votes. A quick search and we located Please Vote for Me. There are other comping groups too – some open and some private. One suggests that you “only ask for votes for yourself – If your friend needs votes invite them!”.
The open ones at least allow a promoter to see what’s going on, but the private groups could hide a multitude of vote fixing issues. Remember we’ve already seen that kind of thing with Scramble.
Another tip worth considering is becoming friends with other vote seekers. It doesn’t matter where they live either as many voting competitions don’t care. If you can build up a huge following of voting friends from around the world (and help them too) you’ll be gaining an advantage. But how do you find such people?
One of the most surprising discoveries we made whilst looking at voting contests and how to get more votes was that there’s even a website available. Get Online Votes lets you post your vote request and in return you help someone else’s with there request. It’s even been used by one contestant for the flip video competition.
As you can see there’s quite a lot you can do to pick up votes beyond your family and friends. We predict that the above is barely skating the service. Dig a little deeper and look at accusations and false Facebook and Twitter accounts are thrown in the mix alongside scripts to manipulate votes plus even attempts to get other contestants disqualified.
The sites and services mentioned in the blog are to a point not doing anything wrong (although fake accounts and scripts are blatently cheating). They’re just making the competitions slightly less fun and fair for all the people who take part.
But aren’t we in danger of encouraging more vote request issues by publishing the above?
Well yes we are, but here’s the theory. If we know about the above, you know about the above and other compers know about the above then hopefully promoters will learn about it too. A voting competition should be about the “best entry” not who can fudge the system or manipulate things the best.
If everyone entering voting competitions engages in the activities above then the playing field is a little flatter at least until promoters extract digits and sort out how best to run them!
Vote competitions are spammy, can be intrusive, result in cheating and accusations and can also be damaging to brands. Why promoters engage in such activity, especially without being aware of the above, is totally beyond us! Let’s hope that this blog gets a few people thinking.