Sunday, April 30, 2006

Viral Video Voting- Worst Practice


So I did my entry to the LiveDigital SPITCAM contest. Here's a note I just received from a Revverberation reader about it: "Omigosh! I just saw your spit cam entry! If you hear any cars rumble by your house, make sure everyone gets low to the floor just in case there’s a drive by." In retrospect I suppose the title of my entry should be "one of these things does not belong here."

Anyway, I was getting ready to send the video to solicit votes from the first 50 people in my Outlook contact database that came to mind. Just before I hit send, I realized that you can't vote without REGISTERING. I'm not putting people through that- it's like making them buy GirlScout cookies or Amway.

Forced registration seems like a good idea to the folks at LiveDigital. "We'll collect lots of names and make sure people aren't double voting." But it's a ridiculous barrier. I deleted the e-mail, meaning 50 people (who, admittedly, aren't exactly the target audience for the SpitCam contest) didn't learn about the site and contest, and if the average forward rate was 3 that's another 150.

Sure you don't want double voters. So cookie them. Use IP address. Can they manipulate these and get more votes? Sure- but who cares? If a lousy entrant wins because of voting manipulation it's better than creating a sky-high barrier like forced registration- which limits the contest's reach. If you're really paranoid make registration require just an e-mail address alone.

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