In a way, it falls in the category of Nice Problems to Have. When we launched Project of the Day three years ago, it was with the specific goal of aiding and abetting the nascent indie filmmaker. And, it worked. Filmmakers love them some Project of the Day; we get far more submissions than we can possibly represent. Filmmakers love to compete for the honor of Project of the Week and Month even more — POTY, most of all. We know they work hard for the honor, canvassing their social media and support groups to get the word out.
We get it; it’s a big deal. We’re really proud of “Dear White People,” which won the first POTY in 2013. And of course, getting your film made and into the world is more challenging than ever.
But that’s no excuse for trying to game the system.
By now, we know a lot of the games. There’s Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, where you can pay people 10 cents per vote. There’s any number of email anonymizers, which allow someone to vote any number of times and generate email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org or xXrambo-nicklesthegreatXx1985@mailnesia.com.
As a result, we’re spending way too much of our time squashing bogus votes like so many bedbugs.
Like you, we take these contests very seriously and do everything we can to detect fraudulent voting. We’ve always asked POTY filmmakers not to cheat, or encourage others to do so. And technically, we don’t know exactly who’s deciding to send their votes via sharklasers.com, mailcatch.com, or superrito.com. But the bottom line is: If those votes show up, they won’t be counted. Anyone can vote, but everyone gets one vote.
And speaking of votes: Voting closed today at 5 p.m. EST. We don’t have a winner, and won’t, until we can delete suspect votes and then look at the final numbers. Our hope is, at that point, we will have a clear-enough winner to declare one. (We initially thought we could reopen the contest — but realized that could only make our task of reviewing the votes that much harder.)
We love POTY as much as you do and we’re designing more effective voting systems that can keep up with the demand — and to help us ensure that the contest is fair.
Until then, please — no more bedbugs. They stink.