•   about 8 years ago

Cheaters!! Vote is Rigged --

While I have worked my butt off to get valid votes, there are people cheating for what seem to be automated votes.

It is clear that a large number of followers are fake accounts, and all are casting votes for one of a few submissions. I would think that there would be better controls in place to prevent this from happening.

In my opinion, this completely invalidates the competition. If this is not rectified, real developers will not participate in these challenges.

Again, please look at the names and locations of the recent followers to the challenge. The images are spoofed to look like they belong to actual users.

In addition, a lot of people who voted for my submission mistakenly hit the Facebook Like button instead of casting an actual vote. In my experience, this same behavior should have happened to those submissions that are leading by a wide margin of FRAUDULENT votes.

  • 15 comments

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    Please explain why these two recent followers have the same name and two pictures of body builders as their avatars?

    YATHARTH K
    Yatharth0052K

    YATHARTH K
    YatharthK —Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

  • Manager   •   about 8 years ago

    Hi Matthew,

    I will contact Challenge.gov's management team and make them aware of your concern. DOL does not manage this platform nor can it determine whether there are "fake" accounts being used.

    Regards,

    Xavier

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    Is soliciting votes on Craigslist any more valid? http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/vnn/3229642058.html

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    Looking at the list of Followers, it appears that someone has taken advantage of a loophole. The rules state that those who submit entries must be U.S. citizens, but nothing is stated about U.S. citizenship to be elgible to vote. Looks like a rule change is in order to help reduce the fraudulant activitiy.

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    You can't make this stuff up. Complaining about fraudulent votes while simultaneously soliciting fraudulent votes on craigslist. Give me a break.

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    I am the one who posted on craigslist in our Seattle, WA community. I am Matthew's wife, and I was making an effort to support of my husband, whom I believe in. This is a completely ligitimate way to gain the support of the people in our community. After all, this is the People's Choice Award we are speaking of. The concept, which you clearly don't fully understand, is to reach out to the US population and give them an opportunity to see what you have developed for the competition. If the people you reach happen to like your app, then they will choose to vote for you, just like our family and friends did on Facebook.

    All of Matthew's votes are from ligitimate US citizens who believe in his app, while other participants have clearly cheated by creating fake Facebook and challenge.gov profiles to cast votes for their own apps.

    Those participants should have posted on craigslist and Facebook, or any other social media or online community resources to gain ligitimate votes. But they did not, Matthew was simply speaking the truth, and you didn't want to hear it.

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    @Donald -- I did not personally post that. Also, I don't see anything wrong with it. The whole point is to promote your submission! Its no different than posting about your submission on your website or on a Facebook fan page.

    @Herk S -- What is fraudulent about promoting your submission on Craigslist? If people want to vote , they will. If people do not want to vote, they will not. Its simple.

    I cant believe people are attempting to rationalize a clearly fraudulent pattern of voting by pointing fingers at me for the fact that my submission is being promoted on Craigslist. Its really laughable.

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    Agreed, it is laughable. The whole idea is to give people an opportunity to see your app, and "choose" to vote for it if they like it. The best sources for reaching out to the US community is avenues like Craigslist and Facebook. In fact, these avenues are the most ligitimate ways of obtaining votes online.

    I only posted in the Seattle community on Craigslist, because we live in that community, and it gives our community an opportunity to participate if they so choose. So many US citizens are unaware of the challenge.gov competitions, it's actually doing a service for the community to make them aware, and give them the opportunity to participate.

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    Where is the evidence that the votes for competing submissions are automated or coming from "illegitimate" non-US citizens? I'm not trying to be argumentative; if there is sufficient evidence that people are breaking the rules than they should not be eligible to win the prize, but I haven't really seen anything other than speculation in this thread.

    Matthew, as a fellow developer/submitter, I completely understand where you're coming from. My colleagues and I have spent a lot of time and effort over the past few months to come up with a solution for this. Unfortunately, the voting for the challenge appears to be more of a contest for who can drum up the most support from their friends/coworkers/family online than a legitimate appraisal of the quality or value of each submission. I understand the frustration.

    I do agree with Gina that it's a good thing to get the word out about the challenge so that as many people as possible see the good work that is being done. That's actually how I found the Craigslist posting originally; I was searching Google to see if there had been any significant PR effort over the past few days to alert the general public to the site. I would argue that there's a difference between trying to draw people's attention to something cool that you've worked on ("here's a link, please check out my app and vote if you like it") versus providing step-by-step links and instructions to vote specifically for your submission.

    I don't think it's the fact that you (or your wife) posted something on Craigslist that rubs people the wrong way. If the post had focused more on the goal of the challenge and getting the word out rather than instructing people (with little to no context) to go click a link, it would sit better with me. On top of that, you're posting in this forum accusing others of using illicit means to garner votes. Who is to say that these other submitters didn't take the same route that you and Gina did and reach out to strangers (or people they knew) online in order to get votes?

    Personally, I think most of the responsibility for alerting the public to the contest should fall to the stakeholders (ODEP and DOL) to try and keep the votes impartial. I don't think anyone's accusing you of breaking any rules by doing what you did, but it does come off as a bit hypocritical. Fortunately, there are other prizes that aren't based on online popularity. I wish you the best of luck going forward; it looks like you've come up with a useful tool for employers and stayed true to the spirit of the competition.

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    I completely agree with Ben.

    There is no perfect voting procedure. You hear people complain about vote issues even during presidential elections!

    The contest is for US residents, but there is no such restriction on voting. We want people from other countries to buy made/designed in US products, don't we? US is and will continue to be source of innovations. Rest of the world look up to us for innovation. We want rest of the world to be interested in what is being done in the US.

    The two teams that are leading the vote count are using different social networking platforms to get votes.

    'AgileAssyst/AgileCoach' is Dr. Robert Williamson's entry. He is actively using his twitter account https://twitter.com/agileassyst to get votes.

    'VoisPal - Speak As You Think!' is my entry. I've been putting long hours on my personal Facebook account, VoisPal's Facebook account (http://www.facebook.com/VoisPal), and using old-fashioned emails/phones to reach out to friends and family to tell them about my entry and the contest (I know the time I've put into this contest to get legitimate votes). You can see VoisPal's YouTube count has gone up significantly in the last couple of days.

    Isn't this what was expected? I thought Xavier, the moderator, clearly mentioned in the beginning to use social networking tools to reach out and spread the word.

    We should look at the bigger picture - now lot more people know about DOL's initiative and our apps. If you have a good app, you could still win the top prize. Other important thing we should keep in mind is that all entries are winners in a way. All contestants have worked hard not for money, but for a cause. I commend Dr. Robert for all the hard work he has put in to get votes. I'll not be disappointed a bit, if he gets more number of votes than me. It has been a healthy competition. We should all support the cause and help the teams with potential take their products to the next level to help disable.

    Good luck to all entries. May the best entry win.

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    @Ben - I understand what you are saying and I appreciate your candor. The main reason for the step by step instructions is because of Challenge Post placing the Facebook "Like" button at the top of the page. You can see that many entries would have more votes if the FB like button was removed.

    What is fair is fair. For those who are actively promoting their submissions, great. If you look at my original post I specifically pointed out two identical accounts with similar avatars. That is all.

    Best of luck to everyone.

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    I posted step-by-step instructions on how to vote because every single one of my friends and family members told me that they "didn't know how to do it" when I personally reached out to them...over 35 of them hit the Facebook like button and thought that was a vote, most of them didn't come back and cast an actual vote, which was very frustrating.

    I wouldn't be a very good and supportive wife if I posted on Craigslist about the challenge and didn't encourage people to "consider" voting for my husbands app.

    Craigslist is a "free" online resource for people across the country to sell, share and promote things that are "unique" to them...that's what I used it for, and there is absolutely nothing hypocritical about that, nor is there anything wrong with providing instructions to potential voters and encouraging them to vote for my husband's app.

    This was my way of showing him my support and confidence in his accomplishment. It's actually quite rude and insensitive for anyone to suggest otherwise.

    My husband actually worked day and night creating this app from scratch specifically for this competition, with careful consideration to meet all the requested criteria that the DOE was looking for.

    Some of the other submissions are impressive, but many of them were already developed prior to the start of this competition, some are not even apps, and many of them do not meet the specific criteria of the competition.

    I agree that this competition serves an excellent and critical cause, but I do not agree that participants outside the US should vote in this competition. This is not an international competition, nor is it specifically an international cause such as the environment or world hunger.

    This competition is specifically addressing employment of persons with disabilities in the US, so it's truly a US community issue. This is the reason why non-US persons are not allowed to compete in the challenge.

    In any case, there were duplicated profiles, questionable profile pictures that were clearly pulled off the internet, and a numeric pattern that was in deed questionable if you look at the names of the followers/voters. I think it's pretty obvious that "some" participants were not completely honest in the way that they obtained votes.

    All in all, I do wish everyone luck in this competition.

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    It seems like most people have commented on this already but I do want to add one thing... if people are rigging votes, they likely would not get enough to win... it would take far too long. Getting votes takes work... ALOT of work and networking is the key! (I don't think I'm giving away any secrets here). It is also easy to see if people are rigging votes... When VoisPal is on facebook, those votes increase... sometime VoisPal an AgileAssyst goes up and down at the same time and if you took the time to look, you would see VoisPal and AgileAssyst sending out hundreds of tweets and contacting every facebook friend they can muster. I can see when VoisPal is working the vote and they can see when we are doing the same. I'm quite sure VoisPal... like us.. are working to win just like everyone else. When this is over, we will all be exhausted and we've likely called in every favor we ever had but that's the rules of the game... social networking. The goal of this part of the competition is to get votes... from anywhere so long as they come from people that freely chose your particular app. Just because some have networks in foreign countries does not make them (or us) cheaters. People with disabilities exist all over the world. Votes from other countries only serves to show that the particular app has international appeal. I'm quite sure we all questioned votes from time to time, wondering how in the world one can get that many but I'm living proof that it is all done ONLY through hard work and long hours... I know that if I can work this hard for votes, why would I accuse someone else of rigging? I've not looked at the followers... too busy working the network... I wish everyone the best... in the end, all of these apps help people with disabilities and those are the people we truly care about. Let's play this game by the rules and may the best app win:)

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    One more thing... I don't think craig's list is bad or cheating... it's networking and a creative way to network at that. Don't we all wish we had thought of it?

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    Now I will sound off on this. I agree with Gina P...a wife needs to support her husband and I will tell you that I am Robert's wife (AgileAssyst/AgileCoach) and I too have been getting the word out. I have been sending out emails and calling family and friends and having those friends network their friends. I have worked very hard to get votes for our system. Every one of our votes is legit and the result of hard work.
    I am not sure what Mathew was referring to when he said there are 2 accounts with the same avatar and honestly I do not know if they are on our account but I can tell you it is not rigged or cheating at least on the part of those who have worked tirelessly to get the word out. Gina is right...I have had several friends and family who could not figure it out, hence the "step by step" instructions to people. I am not sure how to know who is voting (as in please look at the names and images of recent followers) but I can tell you that I personally have sat here night and day drumming up all the votes I can for this product. This particular forum is a popularity contest so to speak...social media is being used to the fullest extent here. I have family and friends in Canada, Australia, China who are voting for us so those are legitimate as well. I think all the developers should be applauded for their hard work. As Gina can attest to, it takes lots of hours and hard work to get these things going, never mind trying to get the word out and support is what is needed to get and keep the word out. It is a contest and we have all put forth our best effort in support of whatever app we have chosen. As far as people from other countries being able to vote, well, no one said they couldn't. It is a US app contest but as Pryla said, we want other people in other countries to be aware of what we are doing to help those with disabilities. Getting the word out on all these products will help that population tremendously.
    I just felt the need to answer the fact that some of the accounts are cheating...we are not...as far as I know all our votes are legitimate...I am worn out from working my network! Good luck to all!

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