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Recently a potential client told me that another contest agency had offered them “fraud protection”.  I thought, “were they selling you a contest, or a credit card?”.

The fact is that there are quite a few ways to game any contest, and certain things your contest platform should absolutely do to combat cheating.  For example it should give you a view on every single operation conducted in the system – every rating, comment, vote, etc. – with the ability to break those down by IP address, email address, and other qualifying values.  When contest data is viewed this way it’s pretty easy to see what’s gone on.  Oh, and they should offer that to everyone who uses the system, at any level, at no additional charge.  Otherwise it’s just not fair to contest participants.

In an upcoming post I want to broach the related subject of email verification vs. captcha.  Thrilling stuff, huh?  Well if you’re reading this blog you’re probably into contests, and you know how important and sticky that issue is because it gets right to the balance between fairness and user experience.  Maybe there’s a firm out there that’s offering “protection” against email verifications ending up in a spam folder…now that’s something I’d love to see.