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American Idol voting record: true or the rebirth of war dialers?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Apr-2007 13:05

I just read a press release with some really large numbers:


... a world record-setting event for television telephone voting for AMERICAN IDOL’s ‘Idol Gives Back’ two-night special charity telecast on FOX April 24th and 25th. The April 24th performance telecast included more than 70 million toll-free and AT&T SMS votes cast for the six remaining ‘Idol’ performers.

On Wednesday night, for the two-hour results show spectacular, more than 13,000 live call-center agents, across 31 separate call centers, were involved in ‘Idol Gives Back’ and a mass scale online donation system was set in place for the event.

More than 30 million viewers tune in to AMERICAN IDOL each week to vote for their favorite contestants by dialing into the toll-free telephone numbers or texting in on their AT&T phones.

Ellen DeGeneres hosted the show's live companion event via satellite from downtown Los Angeles' Walt Disney Concert Hall. The star-studded evening saw appearances and performances from stars ranging from Earth Wind & Fire and Il Divo to Kellie Clarkson, Celine Dion, Rascall Flats, Annie Lennox, Seal and Bono.

The more than 70 million calls and text messages that came in for ‘Idol Gives Back’ will be added to next Tuesday's tallies, said host Ryan Seacrest. Melinda Doolittle, LaKisha Jones, Blake Lewis, Chris Richardson, Jordin Sparks and Phil Stacey all return for the May 2nd telecast.



This is very interesting news, but then Juha pointed out that people have been willingly downloading and using war dialers to vote for one contestant, in this case gaming American Idol with votes for Sanjaya Malakar:

... is a voluntary install designed to automate the voting process in Idol:


"Sanjaya War Dialer uses your computers modem to automatically dial the American Idol voting number over and over and over again until you tell it to stop. Automatically cast hundreds or even thousands of votes for Sanjaya with the click of a button. Make Sanjaya win and help us ruin American Idol."

The Sanjaya War Dialer has its own MySpace page where users report on their votes — 600 a hour, for some. The show’s producers are aware of this, and have been lopping off blocks of votes if they seem to be coming from power dialers, as they call them, for several weeks.



This is old news (a couple of weeks old), and I am not sure how much of this affected the latest record... But it is interesting to see the "Wisdom of crowds" being played with.





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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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