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How We Count #SMBInfluencer Votes

July 24, 2012 -- We've had a lot of questions about voting. Some of you have written to us saying, "People report that they've tried to vote, but it says they've already voted. Is my nomination page broken?"

Here's the scoop on voting.

What's My IP Address?

Our voting program uses IP addresses to distinguish one voter from another.

Now, let me explain what that means. The IP address that you have for your computer is probably different from the IP address that the world sees. Internet Service Providers, such as cable and DSL providers, or your Network Administrator, will often provide just one IP address for your entire office or home. Your router makes it so that multiple computers are able to use that one IP address.

This means that in a typical office or home, a laptop may have one hardware IP address and another person's desktop may have another address -- but to the outside world, those two computers display the same IP address. Why? Because your Internet Service Provider superimposes a single IP address to allow all your devices to communicate with the world.

You can test this yourself. We've set up a "What Is My IP Address" page here on the Small Business Influencer Awards site.

Go to that page and note the IP address it tells you. Then go to a different computer in your office or home, and visit that same "What Is My IP Address" page. Chances are, it will show the same IP address. (It's that way here in our offices.)

That's why it says you voted already. It's not because the site's broken -- but simply that someone else in your office already voted for that same nominee that day.

We realize the IP method has limitations. But other alternatives have limitations, too. In the absence of IP address, we might use cookies, but those are too easily gamed. Or we'd have to require some kind of registration process, and we've found that registration drastically curtails voting.

Letting people register/log-in using a Twitter, LinkedIn or similar single-login system, is also limiting. For instance, even with the Facebook commenting system we are using here for the Awards, we've already received mail from people unhappy about needing to have a Facebook account in order to leave a comment.

Counting votes through IP address is the best solution available under the circumstances.

24 Hour Clock

Also, keep in mind that you can register a vote only once a day for a given nominee. We determine a day on a "24 hour" clock. You have to wait a full 24 hours before voting for that same nominee again.

You can, however, vote for as many different nominees as you like within a 24-hour period. You just can't vote for the SAME nominee more than once every 24 hours.

Please, No Buying Votes

Finally, just a friendly reminder to keep the voting clean.

It is perfectly acceptable to ask for votes and to encourage the world to vote. You can even offer to make a charitable contribution if votes hit a certain level.

It is NOT acceptable to buy votes or offer to pay monetary compensation to a person in exchange for clicking on the big yellow Vote button. We will either disqualify votes and/or entire nominations in the event we discover vote buying or unnatural voting patterns. Please consult the official rules.

So... keep it clean, keep it fun, keep it interesting ... and good luck!


All the Best,

Anita Campbell

Small Business Influencer Awards

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