It has been an interesting couple of days over at the Brandswag office because of a blog contest we started running on Tuesday. The Top 50 Indiana Blogs contest was started for the sole purpose of sharing the content of Indiana to the masses. Lorraine Ball and I had created a list of 50 blogs we enjoyed reading and this contest was created to support that original list.
The main goal of the contest was to showcase Indiana blogs and allow for some competitive voting on the side. Unfortunately the contest was hacked and screwed up by individuals who either wanted to win the contest or just wanted to create havoc for others involved. It is unfortunate that certain people had to resort to cheating on the contest and because of that fault… we worked through the weekend to fix the problem.
It is important to be authentic and transparent when communicating in the online world… hence… the reason for this blog post. We were under the opinion that it would be fun to launch a blog contest that would showcase the top content in Indiana. We were under the opinion that people would have integrity and only vote once for blogs they enjoyed. Unfortunately, we were wrong.
We did not develop a full scale voting platform (with necessary security features) because we did not want to spend the development money on a fun project… and we did not debate around every negative occurrence that could… happen.
We have received threatening emails and I have ACTUALLY received threatening voice-mails.
It has been suggested that I play the voice-mails on this blog and give bonus points to the individual that figures out the source… but I prefer to act mature every now and again.
The contest has been a success in terms of collecting the many pieces of blog content spread over the state. We received hundreds of nominations for blogs (many I had never heard of) and had awesome responses to many of them! I loved it and I am still loving it.
The contest will be finished and we will have some great content to read in regards to Indiana writers.Check out the contest if you haven’t already! It is awesome!
To those of you who would rather destroy things instead of build them… what goes around comes around… don’t screw with Indiana bloggers.
It's definitely been a wild couple of days (probably more so for you than for me 😉 It's pretty awesome that you guys put this thing together. I know you put a ton of work and thought into it, and it sucks that people are screwing with it.
It's pretty childish that people are take things so seriously sometimes so as to take all the fun out of it.
Keep it up! You guys are doing great.
Thanks Colin. Hopefully we can finish out the contest with flying colors!
I loved how you expanded our original idea. I hope you can get passed the hackers, but if not, there are so many cool blogs on the list I would never have found if it hadn't been for the contest.
So whether there is a prize at the end, or just a much more complete list of Indy Blogs, I think the 2009 list is a great success.
And too the people who decided to hack the contest… there is something called Karma, and it will catch up with them..
It isn't fun when someone ruins an idea based on good intentions. You can't change human nature in anyone but yourself. Thanks for putting the voting site up and don't be discourage by the hackers.
Kyle- I'm really bummed that this has turned into a case study of what happens when idiots learn how to hack code. If you would like our developers to see what might be causing the problem I'm happy to have them check it out. If we do that I will withdraw my Small Box blog from the list to remove any appearance of conflict of interest. I appreciate whomever entered the blog in the contest but I'm pretty sure I'm not really one of the best bloggers in the state!
I also find it really weird that the two blogs that are being continually voted up are Small Box and Bitwise. Since I know our company has nothing to do with this and I'm sure Bitwise wouldn't be involved with such silliness I have to wonder who out there either loves or hates the two companies. Loves- making us the top two spots without earning it, Hates- making it look like one or both companies are manipulating their own rankings.
What makes this even more curious is that Ron (from Bitwise) and myself sat on a panel this past Friday at the MBO event titled "IT vs Marketing". I have to wonder, did something Ron and/or I said inspire or piss someone off to mess with our rankings on the Top 50? Maybe a disgruntled IT guy? I think we should work to put together a nice little reward for anyone who can expose who is behind this. I'll throw in $100.
at first i thought there was some hacker conspiracy, but as it turns out, you guys kinda left yourself open to the unscrupulous activity…i mean, who's NOT going to vote for themselves more than one time given the opportunity…how exactly have you weeded out the duplicate votes? by IP address? i just noticed that from a public computer, i am able to vote over and over and over again
I appreciate the comment Chris. The goal of the contest was to collect as much Indiana content as possible and the competitive voting was added as a way to push that data. We probably should have been more up front in this category about our intentions. We are running a script that is deleting all double votes every 30 seconds which should take care of the problem.
I say post the threatening voicemails…and the emails as well! Just kidding. Actually, I think this has turned into a great directory of blogs throughout the state – with or without the cheaters. It's pretty obvious when a blog skyrockets from 50 votes to 850 votes that something is going on and it will soon be resolved. Kudos to you and your team for sticking with it to get things right. It would have been real easy to throw in the towel after the issues started.
I've code these types of things before and it is really difficult to block the spammers. I've asked for an email address and didn't allow dups. You could also include a captcha of some sort as well. By the time you're done though, you've made the voting process so user-unfriendly, nobody votes…
So to all you hackers/spammers, thanks for turning what is a great idea into a headache for Kyle.
I like some of the other commenters above, have thoroughly enjoyed finding some new great blogs to add to my daily RSS consumption. I'm sure the vote fraud was frustrating for your team, but as you mentioned the voting was really created as an incentive to get more blogs nominated so we could all check them out.
In my mind a huge success.
Kyle, it is unfortunate that some look at it as a popularity contest rather than an appreciation of great content, and diversified content at that. Personally, I have been blown away by the brilliance and creativity of those in the Top 50 list. It has certainly been motivating to me as I continue to hone my writing skills. Thanks for your leadership.
Thanks for hosting this contest because it is a great idea. I appreciate your professionalism and quick response to maintain the integrity of the contest. Hang in there!!!
This is a great idea, and I am glad to see some of the hacks gone from here. I look forward to meeting you soon and hope that we can get more of the 'fly-over-states" noticed in the years to come. This is a great way to do it
I'm saddened to hear about the threats. This proves that people take contests seriously and that any apparent malfeasance will not go unnoticed.
I wrote a thorough response to this episode called Contesting the Contests.
Robby, you have officially proven yourself to be the smartest guy in the room! I found your post humorous, technical and DEEP! Kudos on reverse engineering the system.
I give Kyle a pat on the back for putting forth a great effort on his part. However, you're exactly right; it' s all code deep down. If you know how to build it, you know how to knock it down (or retool it).
Let's see how the next couple weeks pan out.
Yes Robby… you never fail to amaze
Ditto – he does amaze – and so do you! Keep up the good work and helping us learn about other incredible people in Indiana!
I'm just sad the list stops at 50. I nominated my blog at the site but haven't seen an updated list where it's included.
Jon: The list continues for about 5 pages. There is a button at the bottom to scroll to more blogs.
I note you include a site from a militant gay hate group, Bilerico.com.
Have your read it's content???
Today it features a video by "comedian" Kate Clinton who begins by announcing all she wants to do is smoke a cigarette and spit on Christians.
The Christophobic hate that eminates from this obscene site is disgusting. Do you REALLY enjoy reading sites that
Watch Them | J David Weter Dot Com
[…] Authenticity, Transparency, and the Top 50 Blog Contest (kylelacy.com) […]
Youre the one with the bairns here. Im watching for your posts.
I join. It was and with me. Let’s discuss this question. Here or in PM.