How Do People Get Votes to Win Voting Competitions?

Posted on: September 6th, 2010 by Jason 18 Comments

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.

Join The Conversation

  • jonathon1486

    Thanks for bringing this up Jason, i think a lot of compers get Jaded by voting competitions, i for one don’t enter any. All i see is people getting ridiculous amounts of votes. Fair play to people who can drum up support (maybe they should be fundraisers or work in marketing lol!) but to the average Joe trying to get close family to vote they don’t stand a chance.

    It’s a shame that a few desperate people have to make it unfair. Its not that i have a problem with people mass spamming for votes per se, its just that usually you vote for ‘best’ this or ‘best’ that….and when people vote just to win they don’t take into account if they are deserving…

  • suemenzies

    I think it’s about time these sites forgot about people voting and just choose the winner by the one they think is the best entry. If they want to drum up extra visitors then they could offer a prize in some other way. It’s obvious that entrants will ask everyone they know to vote for them so the winner is likely to be somebody who has lots of friends rather than the entry they have submitted being the best!

  • area

    There was ill-feeling on Twitter a while ago because someone ran a competition for the people who were voting for them.

  • lucidlupin

    Agree – voting comps are a pain – I hate ‘asking’ for votes so hardly bother and get bombarded with requests too – some I support some I dont – but generally it’s a pain and is increasingly getting on my nerves – and the in fighting gets like kids at school and worse!

  • chaoskay

    Voting comps are simply awful, I for one have done a few for the sake of my kids and for a stupid T’shirt I can’t bring myself to wear. I think a lot of people feel the same, and I think it’s about time promoters paid attention to what has been written above. Shared on FB and on Twitter!

  • chaoskay

    Are you going to take any comment made by a pink crab seriously?! lol! :O)

  • annahelm

    I’ve just recently entered my first daily voting competition (didnt read the T+C’s straight away, tut, tut, naughty me and though it was a one off, which are bad enough), and tried most of the ways you’ve mentioned to get votes, I did’nt win and felt awful pestering people, but wanted to follow it through to end. I wont be doing them again (well apart from the suggesting say 5 or so friends to Facebook pages). They are just far too time consuming (I’m way behind on my loquax competitions now…… Noooo!). I just wish promoters would take note and just have a independant judging panel for such competitions. I really dont think the companies will be obtaining that much extra interest in their product/site as most voters are compers like my self who occasionly see something they like but 90% of the time are clicking on and off the site within seconds purely to vote and not to browse. I think thats my overall opinion? So I guess I’m a bit of a hypercrite as I’ve done them but would rather they werent about.

  • libra100

    It seems that honest and genuine entrants in voting competitions don’t stand a chance of winning.

    I leave them alone.

  • raymond53

    I have never really got into voting competitions and I am slightly amazed (though I do not know why) to learn there is a website called Get Online Votes.

    I do not know if it is a sign of the times of me getting older but there are various types of competitions I do not even consider nowadays, such as :
    – anything that involves getting high scores (lack of time, interest and a certain suspicion that those with computer skills can find a way around the system)
    – anything that involves me taking photographs or videos of myself or others looking like plonkers (I can do that without a competition!)
    – increasingly anything with tiny tiny terms and conditions (I think that is because my eyes are getting worse rather than the drink 🙂

  • ully

    from what ive seen on virginmedia shorts, it seems to me as an outsider, they’ve got it right with their film comp, and from a compers view it’s interesting how they’ve set the competition rules out. They are giving out 2 prize bundles for the same competition and it goes like this;
    there’s 12 shortlisted films that have made it through to round 2. these 12 have to get votes however they can and there’s even a tweeterboard on site that shows some of whats been said about the comp etc.
    the winner of this stage (and seemingly the one with the most votes) gets a prize bundle and although the prize isn’t specified, think it might be a great selection of camera / video equipment.
    when all that ‘scrambling for votes’ stuff is out of the way, the same 12 films are then going to be judged by film directors and its that finalist who wins the biggest prize, which is some sort of amazing film deal worth 30k.

    so although there’s a ‘vote for me’ element, theres no visible ‘leaderboard’ (and i wonder if thats cut out a lot of the cheating?) and stringent t&c’s.
    and also, going by the some of the comments under the individual films, everyone seems pleasant and polite etc. i dont know if thats because the finalists won’t risk cheating etc for fear of losing the major prize, but it all seems to be working as virgin would want it to-all civil and correct etc.

    could be wrong, but it seems to me as an outsider with no vested interest, that this comp has acknowledged that entrants may / will get votes (and publicity for virgin) by however means, and virgin have allowed for that, and then set the ‘real’ competition at a higher level by bringing in relevant judges?

    so if virgin can get this right by having a real competition with a voting element,and the best film still wins, why can’t all those others do something similar?

    i do think tho they’re mostly all fixed and stay well away from

  • Emmaross

    I try to avoid them as a rule, I don’t mind voting for friends (and not just ones who add me for my vote) but I do make sure I actually like their entry. Especially awful are the baby photo comps – I’m not putting up my utterly gorgeous baby who has no chance of winning. My OH is a v good photographer but again, no point putting him into photo comps with this sort of voting system. I wish they would all be scrapped and only voted for by judges. If companies want more coverage, far better are the FB ‘like’ comps, that I used to avoid but actually don’t mind now as you can choose if you want to tell friends about them.

  • missblastoff

    Great blog post Jason – I’ve only recently started doing voting competitions as I have an “If you can’t beat ’em join ’em” approach, and a lot of them have really good creative entry requirements. I’ve blogged myself about the unfairness of these contests and the methods people use to get votes (I would definitely consider a lot of these methods, especially on Facebook, to be spamming) as like you I think that promoters should be made aware of the cheating that goes on! I’m in a Zavvi competition at the moment where they are splitting the prizes 50/50 – the entry voted the best wins £500 vouchers, and the entry judged the best wins £500 vouchers. I think this is pretty fair! We can’t expect promoters to ditch the voting aspect altogether, as it gets so much traffic to their sites…

  • jwhelan

    Well flip have changes this competition too now which is good news. The top 3 voted by flip will get £1000. Vote fixing and fake accounts are being investigated At least companies are beginning to listen to all these concerns!

  • Janetf

    I avoid voting comps like the plague. I don’t have enough friends who use the internet & I don’t like asking my facebook friends as it feels like I’m spamming them.

    When I get requests from people to vote for them, I either delete them unactioned or (if I can be bothered) I go onto the site to vote but I look through all the entries & chose the one I beleive to be the best irispective of if it is the one I have been asked to vote for.

  • wendymcd

    My family are very reluctant finalists in a current voting competition, competing for votes to win a car. I absolutely hate the thought of spamming my way through every forum and blog on the internet and social media sites. I have chosen to rely on family, friends, community and fellow compers for support. Consequently I know we’ll end up in last place…but will still have our integrity intact. I would love to have competed in a level playing field where people got to judge the final three videos and decided who should win on merit. Sadly, voting comps are just about soliciting for votes by any means. My parents who are at the heart of our entry are 77 and not even computer literate…how can they possibly hope to enter into this mad scrabble for online votes? I’ll be happy when promoters realise that there are better ways to judge entries and although this method generates traffic for their site, it is an unfair method where the “best man” hardly ever wins. 🙁

  • Angie-k

    I used to feel bad about nagging people to vote. It’s annoying, and completely unfair. But people out there are winning these comps by using tactics, and after all, we are compers. If any one deserves to win via tactical playing, it’s us. Yep, it’s a “can’t beat em, join em” attitude, but I really believe companies should stop the voting comps. I deffo prefer to be judged by one person than left to the public.

  • babycakes25

    I agree with this its just got out of hand now, and i think they need a different way to do there competitions.

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