Monday, October 13, 2008

Vote early, vote often

As I noted last month, Rick Astley has become a minor celebrity as the motif for a genre of Internet humor known as the “rickroll.”

As a prank, Rick was nominated as “Best Act Ever” for the MTV Europe awards. Various Internet fans of Rick are working hard to stuff the ballot box. At the blog website, there is a RickVoter script that anyone can use, created publicized by an anonymous hacker known as Vote4Rick.

The LA Times covers the hack while Wired has now scored an interview with Mr./Ms. Vote4Rick. Apparent Mr./Ms. Vote is annoyed at some of the hokey nominees which are not up to the standard of a great European act (like U2, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones).

Also, as he notes, online voting is inherently hokey: Is this a goof on online voting contests? Are they easily hackable, and therefore, like MTV, irrelevant?

Vote4Rick: Online voting is a bit of a joke, if people running them don't take any steps to prevent this kind of tomfoolery. MTV recently posted a poll asking if Rick Astley deserves his nomination, and got nearly 20 million positive responses to 5,000 negative responses. The actual poll results were posted, but MTV moved the page. I actually have some numbers on the rate Rick was gathering votes. On October 3, the poll's results were 8,329,625 votes for yes, and 2,472 votes for no. Hours later that day, the results were 11,726,515 votes for yes, and 2,477 votes for no. In the same time it took Rick to secure over three million positive results, he had just five negative votes.
Once upon a time, the motto in Chicago elections (e.g. 1960) was “Vote early, vote often.” But that only referred to a few dozen overvotes per individual, not several hundred or thousand.


Vote4Rick said...


Quick correction, the RickVoter was written by cliche - I'm keeping the blog updated and co-ordinating the main campaign effort behind the scenes.

But yeah, the rules to MTV's campaign say nothing about not using any kind of tool to vote, you can see those below. They do however ask you to vote again and again, which we've ensured that we do.

Regardless of how its played out so far, we've had over 160 thousand unique people visit the site on average 3 times since it began 10 days ago (which is phenomenal for any new site) if that gives you any indication of the support behind Rick.

Besides - everyone loves an underdog. The man didn't even have a clue he was nominated until one of his friends told him.

Vote Rick 08!

Joel West said...

Dear Vote4,

I've updated the posting to clarify this.