Frauds of varied kinds are commonly perpetrated by users participating in contests. The most common one is increasing the vote share of a candidate. This can be done through exchanging votes, fake accounts, etc.
In order to prevent frauds on promotions, it is recommended not to give away a prize to the user with the most votes: for this encourage users to try all sorts of tricks to win the prize. It is therefore advisable to run a draw among N candidates with the most votes. In this way, the prize will not be given to the participant who obtain the most votes, for s/he might have perpetrated a fraud.
Cool Tabs has included several functions on our applications Cool Promos and Buzz Promos to help you manage and monitor the votes in the promotions.
- IP control system
- Allowing a maximum number of votes per IP address over a given period of time
- Single user ID and/or browser control system
- Allowing a maximum number of votes per user and/or browser
- Deleting votes
IP control system
Each vote casted through our applications for promotions is registered and linked to a user and the IP address used to cast the vote. Besides, on all our applications, users are only allowed to vote for each participant once. The application does not allow users to cast more than one vote for the same candidate.
The promo administrator can check at any time the IP addresses used to vote for one or more participants. To do so, s/he just needs to check the statistics section of the promotion:
A list of all contributions made will be shown in this section, together with the different IP addresses used when voting:
Click on ‘Votes’ to check the votes casted for each participant:
A list of votes for each candidate is presented here. You will also be able to see the IP used when voting. If too many votes are received from the same IP address, this could imply a fraudulent activity. However, you need to be entirely sure of this before you take any of the measures described below.
Allowing a maximum number of votes per IP address for a given period of time
The first thing that can be done to prevent fraud is allowing a maximum number of votes per IP address for a given period of time. When setting up the promotion, a time limit (minutes) can be entered to establish the period of time users need to wait before they can vote for a participant once more using the same IP address.
For example, let’s say you establish that users need to wait 5 minutes between one vote and the next. If a vote is casted by a user with an IP address and, right after, a different user tries to vote for the same participant with the same IP, the following message will pop up: ‘Too many votes have been received from this IP address. Wait a few seconds before you can vote again‘
Please note that the fact that a minimum length of time is required between one vote and the next can have a negative impact on offices, universities and companies where a single IP address is used to access the Internet. Users will only be able to vote once for a given period of time.
Single user ID and/or browser control system
Every vote registered in our promotions is linked not only to an IP address but also to asingle user ID. This single user ID, together with other mechanisms, will help you detect users voting for one single participant with different Facebook accounts from the same browser or computer.
On the promotion’s statistics page, you can see a list of votes for each participant together with the single user ID used to cast each vote.
Too many votes received from several Facebook users (even if it’s from different IP addresses) with the same single user ID, may mean that a single user has been using various Facebook accounts to vote for the same participant many times, which might be clear evidence of a fraud attempt.
Moreover, this list provides two additional pieces of information which may help you find fraudulent votes: Voter’s number of friends on Facebook and whether or not the person voting and the person participating are friends.
Allowing a maximum number of votes per user and/or browser
The fraud control system through a single user ID that we have just explained, involves manually checking every vote for each participant to identify which of them might have been the result of a fraudulent activity and to be able to take action accordingly. Please note that this whole process can also be very time consuming.
Thanks to our applications Cool Promo, Cool Promo White Label, Buzz Promo and Buzz Promo White Label, you can turn on an automatic control system to prevent users having been identified as ‘fraudulent’ to actually vote and, therefore, minimise fraud attempts. To activate this option, tick the box next to ‘B
If this option is activated, when a user tries to cast fraudulent votes (that is, using several Facebook accounts on a single computer), s/he will not be allowed to do so and the following message will be shown: ‘It looks like you have already voted‘:
Depending on the options that have been activated when setting up your promotion, illegal activities can decrease significantly. In any case, if you do spot a fraud attempt using any of the systems described above or other mechanism, those fraudulent votes can be deleted from the votes list.
You need to decide the measures to be taken and the fraud control systems to be used based on the type of promotion/contest you are creating, the prize given or the audience it is addressed to: Very restrictive measures might discourage people to participate, while very lax ones can lead to a state of chaos in the management of your promotion.