Cheating In Voting Competitions
Voting competitions are a real problem for competition organisers and before organising one you really need to make sure you know what you're letting yourself in for! Promoters like voting competitions as they can act as a viral campaign. People send in photos/videos and then get their friends to vote for them. Usually the person with the most votes wins.
In essence the person with the most friends wins and people will go all out to accumulate friends.
Facebook is one area where voting competitions are prevalent and there have been reports of fake accounts, cheating, badmouthing competitors and general bad feeling. We've blogged about voting competitions and problems that occur and you'd do well to check out How Do People Get Votes to Win Voting Competitions? and Flipping Eck! Vote Competition Controversy Hits Flip Video for an insight into how these competitions work and can also potentially damage your brand.
As a site we don't allow our users to ask for votes on our forums. They can canvass friends privately, but that's all they can do! However, some sites do allow users to ask for referrals and there are even private Facebook groups where votes are swapped. This kind of organisation "cartels" your competition and puts you on course for choppy waters from other users.
Even if you are clever enough to block vote swappers and vote buyers, there are compers/groups with enough social media following to be able to influence the outcome of a vote competition. In other words the best entry is often unlikely to win!
Voting competitions are rarely fair and our advice to promoters is avoid them if at all possible!
However, if you inted to use any kind of voting system in your competition then make sure you manage it religiously! Check IPs, watch for cheating and take swift action. Include a judged element for the biggest prize and award it to the best entry. Make the vote canvassing element a secondary part of your promotion otherwise you could find yourself in the muddy waters.