Okay, you have all seen the discussions on the Greenville News “Best of the Upstate” voting that is going on. Many people feel it is “rigged”, or that a business can “buy a vote” by paying a certain amount of money (apparently that number is $850 dollars) in order to get their actual business name listed in a category… Every other business has to be written in manually by selecting “other” at the time of voting.
How it is handled, we don’t have a clue. What if someone types “Homeland Secure IT”, is it the same as “Homeland Secure IT, LLC”, or if they expand with “Homeland Secure IT in Greenville”. Does someone actually get those tallied correctly? Again, unknown.
We don’t know who gets to vote, if a bot could vote 10,000 times or if only one vote per IP is allowed (meaning 10 people at one company couldn’t vote, only one could because they share an IP address).
Currently, it is handled in Zoomerang poll format, which does work, but it is lacking many features. Now, more my two cents on how it should be handled.
First of all, eliminate the “sponsored” listing, do not allow anyone to pay any amount of money to be listed as a favorite.
Have a dedicated website which displays categories, such as: Restaurants, Bars, Business Services, etc.
You click on a category, and it expands, such as Restaurants expands into: Mexican, Chinese, Sushi, BBQ.
Anyone voting can write-in who they want, and as places begin to populate, only the top 5 are displayed, with the actual number of votes beside them.
For the top level category, the place of business with the most votes in that category is listed as #1, totaled across all sub-categories (Because some places maybe listed in more than one sub-category).
What about voting? Who gets to vote? Making it per IP address is not right, that keeps multiple people at a single business from voting, or even more than one family member sharing a connection. How about per VERIFIED email address? Sure, some people have multiple email addresses, but that’s okay.
Now how about how often? I say ONCE per VERIFIED email address. And someone votes twice, only accept the most recent, because people DO change their mind.
Run the contest once per year, open voting for a two week period, and the running tally remains up for a year, so people can see just how close business #2 was from being #1.
Who would code this? One of the many awesome web design firms in the Upstate. Who would host it? Doesn’t matter. Wouldn’t it be possible for the web host or the developer to manipulate the results? Sure, but unlikely, and you know what? It would still be more “transparent” than the way it is currently being handled.
Just my two cents…..