submit to reddit

cheater.pngThere were over 750 entries in the Wife in the Fast Lane Contest that I created for author Karen Quinn. Voting is in progress and, sadly, it looks like we’ve got a cheater.
Volunteer judges picked the top 10 entries in each category and now the public will pick the winners from the finalists.
An IP address can only vote once in a certain period of time. To cheat and cast multiple votes, you’d have to erase your cookies, close your browser, come back in and vote again. We believe most people are honest and since we can check, we knew we’d see any major aberrations.
Then today, in a matter of minutes, there were 68 votes for the top-10 essays, made from the same IP address within a few seconds of each other. Not something that would occur without manipulation, says our tech guru.
“An interesting sidenote,” he emails, “many of the comments for the entry refer to the entrant by name – though that’s not mentioned in the entry – or make other comments that could only be known by a family member /friend. I’d say all the comments for the entry are written by someone known to the entrant.”
Ballot stuffing. Unfair to the other contestants who are wiling to win honestly. We’re deciding on what measures to take: eliminate the 68 votes, disqualify the entry, or some other way to handle it.
Obviously, you don’t want to make everyone who votes have to register or give an email address because that would seriously limit the number of votes. You don’t want to penalize thousands of people because of a few unethical players.
It’s one thing for someone to email all their contacts and ask them to vote for them. It’s another for the votes to all come from one IP address. So we’re outing the cheater. We’re watching you!
Note to cheater: Try cheating again and I’ll add your name to this post.
I’m curious to know how other marketers have handled situations like this. How do you set up your contest voting to avoid cheating?