Having run a big online poll and seen some abuse, I had to share this story posted on the Music Machinery blog. Every year, Time collects their list of 100 most influential people and conducts an online poll. Most years it’s a healthy ballot-stuffing competition between Stephen Colbert fans and fans of the Korean singer Rain.
You can see the list of the top 100 this year here. Does anything look strange to you?
Through a combination of seeding forums with misdirected vote links and clever vote bots, the fans of 4chan not only got moot to the number 1 position but spelled out a message with the first letters of the following positions. That’s a truly amazing hack, and a surprisingly mild response from Time’s developers.
This is also an interesting look into the kind of tactic used by web spammers. Funny in this case, but this is the kind of thing we’re up against.