So, I was a finalist in the Fiberon Deck Day Contest. I wasn’t going to post this, but I saw this post from a fellow competitor when I decided to check his blog, made up just for this contest, to see if he won or not:
How to Win an Online Contest: “Most of the people with high votes (except me) actually appear to enter contests for a living/hobby!”
I’m really over the contest, it was a few weeks ago, but that statement makes my blood boil. That is a bunch of bullcrap from a cheater. I have proof that a majority of his votes are from a browser anonymizer. He didn’t put that in his “how to win” FAQ. I don’t know about the number 2 person, but I was number 3 and I’ve never entered another online popularity contest before (and never will again), even though I do have a rich group of followers. I also know the number 4 person was not a professional contest entrant. So, who the heck was he talking about? Even if he meant #2, he didn’t say “One other person with high votes.”
I’m not sure who won the contest in the end. I don’t care enough to send off the stamped envelope. The fact of the matter is, all of these online contests are rigged. Companies like Fiberon can help (and I thought every legitimate contest in the world blocked TOR by now – they even have a FAQ about blocking anonymous browsing). Companies can help contests be more honest by doing things like blocking IPs and instituting registration systems. You can still buy votes. It’s just not as cheap or easy. However, companies like Fiberon don’t care, because they still see it as getting their name out there. Actual honest contestants will spread the word about their products to their friends, whether people cheat or not. That’s why they don’t just pick a winner. Picking a winner and awarding a prize, while honest and full of integrity, doesn’t make people annoy friends about their product for a month.
I feel cheated that I used my followers and friends to vote for me in a contest that was, in fact, dishonest. I never enter contests because followers and friends are worth more than gold. I entered this one because it was fun (and I admit my video audio was bad, and I don’t think I deserved to win, but I don’t think the person who deserved it got the most votes either). I only annoyed my followers a little, but a little for a contest that doesn’t even care enough to disallow TOR votes is unsettling.
Another competitor asked Fiberon how it was possible that someone had so many votes in such a short period of time. They said, “A lot of contestants are sharing on social media.” Uh huh. The top vote getter had 158 followers on Twitter and, though his Facebook profile is completely hidden, not much interaction on his public items. That suggests he doesn’t have too many Facebook friends either. The same can be said for the second highest vote getter. She does not have many followers on social media at all. So, these guys are getting thousands of votes by sharing with a very small population of followers?! Or could it be something else? Naw.
They’re cheating, like everyone in every online contest all over the web. If you are not ready to check your morals at the door, don’t enter any popularity contest with a decent prize. I’ve even heard of people stuffing the vote for “Runner’s World Cover of the Month.” That’s not even a real cash prize! If people cheat for a prize like that, you can expect them to cheat for $20,000. That’s just a given. I’m not sure why I assumed otherwise.
I do have screen grabs with proof that the top two vote winners used TOR. I won’t post them unless someone gets snotty about it, because it has people’s names (easily traced to social media addresses). That’s not the point. The point is that all online contests are rigged. To win, all you need is a browser anonymizer or a few dollars (search for “buy votes”). In a $20,000 contest, the time and price (votes can be pricey) might be well worth it.
I find it especially amusing since Fiberon slapped me on the hand for hosting a craft vinyl giveaway. They called that cheating. My giveaway said, “You don’t have to vote for me or share this post to win the vinyl, but I wish you would at least check out the video and share this post.” That was getting shared in quite a few places. I might have had a legitimate chance, but at their request I completely deleted all references to the video in the giveaway post and removed it from the page (I still did the giveaway because I made a promise to my followers and a legally binding contract too). Doing something like that is cheating, yet using TOR is not. Thanks Fiberon, for running a bang-up contest!