People Paying Good Money To Cheat Pointless Twitter Competition

We wrote about the Shorty Awards, a competition to note the best Twitter users in various categories, last December. The competition is now drawing to a close, the winners will be announced in New York in February.

Twitter users were asked to nominate others and then vote on the finalists in each category. And apparently the competition for the award, absurdly, has driven some people to buy votes on Amazon Mechanical Turk. The going rate? $0.48 per Tweet.

Dan Zarrella noticed and posted the details on his blog. He claims another finalist in the Social Media category, Dan Hollings, was paying Mechanical Turk users $0.48 to create a Twitter account and vote for him. “DO NOT post publically that you are being paid for your work,” he warned.

The organizers of the event seem to be discounting the votes, and Hollings has fallen from over 400 votes to just 115 now.

This comes on the heels of Belkin paying people 65 cents for good reviews on Amazon, which at least has a clear logic trail (good reviews = more sales). I’m not so sure a Shorty Award is quite so monetizable.

One thing to remember with all of these gaming stories is that it isn’t possible to certifiably connect the Mechanical Turk posting to the person. A third party could be doing it to discredit them instead. Only Amazon could verify it by saying who’s doing the paying, and that isn’t likely.