Since the launch of the refresh grant contest a few days ago, we have witnessed an unsettling trend.
Whereas we’ve been appealing to our grassroots networks of friends from across the country to share our idea and vote for us, other competitors have been gaming the system…
They are “cross-voting”, which means they form strategic alliances with people who are competing in other categories (there are four categories: $100,000, $25,000, $10,000, $5,000) and they simply swap votes with each other every day (“If you vote for me, I’ll vote for you”) and encouraged all of their supporters to follow suit.
Moreover, a bunch of the projects that are engaging in this behavior are ones that lost in the last round, yet have been carried over… so they already have cross-voting agreements in place with other groups from the past.
This puts new competitors like us at even more of a disadvantage, and the merit of ideas becomes secondary to how many alliances can be formed. This is unfair, isn’t in the spirit of the contest and shouldn’t be allowed.
Tom and Gary will not engage in such behavior, and are counting on all the people who believe in our cause and are excited by our idea to take a stand against cross-voting and help us to win in the face of it!
The cross-voters are all good people who are just very passionate about their causes, so please don’t say anything mean or negative to them, even if we fall behind in the voting.
We know we can count on you guys and together we can win this thing for everyone!
Tom and Gary
One month on, the results of cross-voting can be plainly seen, with animal-related causes leading in every single category, and 13 out of the top 20 overall. The vast majority of comments on their pages are for cross-voting with the numerous other animal causes. http://www.refresheverything.ca/leaderboard
And how some are voting daily with upwards of 50 email addresses:
Obviously, this is a small percentage of individuals and their behavior is not representative of any group as a whole. We love animals and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with animal causes and all the ideas in the running were entered by passionate people with great intentions. But we strongly disagree with cross-voting and think the contest is inherently flawed because of it. And so do our supporters, who continually voice their frustration and discouragement.
So Gary called Pepsi, and eventually spoke with a senior representative. He raised these concerns, suggesting that the comment sections be removed, and people be limited to one vote per day (instead of 10), because the integrity of the contest would otherwise be compromised, especially if people were voting with 50 email addresses.
Then he said:
“the other competitors also talk about setting up voting booths at the mall to get people to vote- is that allowed”
“Yes” the representative said.
To which he replied:
“Since email addresses don’t have to be confirmed, what’s to stop someone from moving place to place, fabricating hundreds of email addresses and voting hundreds of times every day? Really, the system should also limit the number of votes per IP address, because otherwise there’s a flaw that would allow people to cheat”.
There was a long pause.
And then came the response:
“I hear your concerns and we can certainly look into it.. but there’s really not much we can do about the alliances…”
Then Gary said:
“If you allow hundreds of people to vote from a single IP address, that invites fraud. And if you allow people 10 votes per day, that invites cross voting. Both those things compromise the integrity of the contest and I’d love to hear back that something’s being done with this final month to go in our round of voting so I could pass that on to all of our supporters and let everyone know that Pepsi is dedicated to ensuring their contest is fair for everyone.”
“I will share your concerns and definitely appreciate your bringing them to our attention.”
“Is there any chance of these things being implemented in this round of voting?”
“No, because the rules are bonded, and can’t be changed midway.”
“The number of votes people get per day is a rule?”
“It’s in the official rules.”
“Well, it’s the third time Pepsi has held this contest. I’m surprised nothing has been fixed prior to this. Cross-voting must have been an issue beforehand also”.
“Well, I certainly will pass your comments along…”
So that’s the status of what’s up.
It’s cool that Pepsi is trying to do something new and positive with their marketing dollars, but inexcusable that the voting process is still so riddled with faults and loopholes.
Pepsi has not yet responded to assure us they are taking any steps to correct these problems, or will in the future…
Perhaps if enough people share this information and call the Refresh hotline to voice your frustration, something will happen: 1-800-510-2592 Please be polite and respectful.
We just released the teaser videos for Party Safari 2011 and the Party Safari 2010 Montage and The Party Manifesto and have a ton of interviews lined up and we’re hoping these will help rally everyone who believes in the DDP and wants to help us share it with the world. Over 40,000 people have now signed up to the Party Safari event pages across the country and if you can spread the things above and help us inspire them to vote daily we could definitely still win!
Tom and Gary