Why Buy-A-Vote Sites Will and Do Fail
Why don’t they get it? All of the major vote-rigging sites have sold off or are in the process of being sold. A new one pops up, destined to fail and be sold (Buyer beware, there is a reason why such a seemingly profitable venture always gets sold in a couple of months). SpikeTheVote – Sold. UserSubmitter – On The Auction Block. Why is it that all of the buy-a-vote sites fail? And why will they continue to fail? It is actually quite easy to catch and marginalize these sites.
- Super-History Tracking
1. Visit Here… http://ha.ckers.org/weird/CSS-history-hack.html
2. Now, imagine, instead of just printing out the links you have visited, it prints out img src=’tracker.php?site=www.digg.com’. Now, his server can use that image call to record both your ip and that you have visited digg.com before.
- Timing is Everything
There is a natural pattern for how people vote. When a story goes up, it has 30 minutes to 1 hour to get most of it’s votes, before it gets shuffled off several pages deep and won’t be seen again for a long time. When stories stop meeting this pattern (ie: votes cast over several days with different referers and no early adoption) things start to become obvious. This kind of timing issue along can destroy the effectiveness of Digg-spamming networks where voting is based solely upon when the user decides to log in. Don’t you think it is pretty obvious that some guy logs in every day, votes on 5 new stories and 1 that was submitted 13 hours ago?
- Spam Reporting Lowers Reputation of Network Users
After a while of voting on crappy enough Paid-for-Digg stories, the simple reputation algorithms will devalue user votes so heavily that they will become utterly usesless. After a while, the ineffectiveness and expensiveness, plus the pattern of low-reputation, flagged users voting heavily on their stories, will make the program a waste of cash. Maybe that is why sites like SpikeTheVote and UserSubmitter decided to cash-out so early.
- Where You Vote Matters
Most voters/diggers/redditors vote on the story headline, not visiting the unique comments page on the site and voting for it that way. These services provide direct links to the comments pages. Voters aren’t perusing through the site, they didn’t perform a search and find a story, they went directly to the comments page and voted. This kind of pattern easily sets apart vote manipulation. Yet another easy reason why these Buy-A-Vote sites will and, do, fail.
- Big Targets are Easy
A. Lawsuits. Yeah, it hasn’t come to this yet, but if one of these sites ever did succeed, it would be really difficult to avoid getting sued. Bear in mind here, they may never lose the lawsuit, but these small vote-rigging sites don’t have the war chests that a Digg or Reddit does.
B. User Revenge. People love their online communities. While there has been little precedent for it, I can easily imagine someone dropping a site like UserSubmitter into a copy of SpamVampire. Or, even easier, using the power of the Digg Community’s massive traffic to just bury a site like this into the ground with bandwidth charges. I’m not advocating it, but it definitely could happen.
The truth is that the methods of marginalizing buy-a-vote sites are both easy and numerous. This is just a small list of the tens if not hundreds of other simple algorithmic changes that a site like Digg, Reddit or Netscape can, do, and will make to reveal, purge and defeat such buy-a-vote networks.
If you really want to take advantage of the traffic that these web 2.0 communities and Social Bookmarking Sites offer, then take a look at Viral Marketing Ethics and then start writing content that is worthy of a viral campaign.