the amount of fake votes is too damn highSummary: There’s been a large increase in fake votes so I put in tougher filters and features to prevent fake votes.

It’s been a few months since I launched Podcast Land and people have been responding positively towards the concept. Thousands of people have visited the site, thanks in large part to reddit and podcasters asking their listeners to vote. Most things have been going smoothly but the number of fake votes has increased dramatically this past month.

To help prevent fake votes from ruining the site for the honest participants, I’ve implemented many new filters to remove them. Adding these new features is one of the reasons why it took me a few extra days to announce December’s Podcast of the Month.

Fudge factor
Unfortunately, I can’t reveal exactly what I changed because obscurity is part of the cat and mouse game that comes with fighting this problem. However, I can say that now you’ll see the vote count for a podcast fluctuate up and down. I no longer don’t display the exact number of votes a podcast received. Instead, I show an approximation which changes every time the page loads. This helps throw off scammers by not letting them know if their fake vote was accepted or not. They won’t know if the change in the vote count was due to their fake vote or due to the new fudge factor.

Edit: Here’s more clarity. The vote count is only fudged by a few votes so you’ll still know roughly how many votes you have. For example, someone with 1 vote is not fudged at all but someone with 50 votes is +-3 votes.

Update: I removed the fudge factor. It was more confusing than it was helpful.

Bulk vote removal
One of the new filters detects patterns of cheating and will remove all associated votes. This can cause a sudden drop in votes for a podcast if there are a lot of fake votes.

Stop wasting my time
I would have eventually needed to put in these filters as the site grew in popularity. Hopefully, these measures will be enough to prevent a large number of fake votes. I have a few other ideas that I can implement if the problem gets worse but I’d rather add new features instead. For example, how great would it be if podcasters could send a special message to people who voted for them? Well, if the scammers stop casting fake votes, I’ll be able to implement cool features like allowing podcast hosts to email fans who voted for their show.

So please, pretty please, with sugar on top, stop wasting my time with these fake votes.