Fortunately for me, the only channel that I get for television is a local over-air FOX channel. Their daily programming consists of about 18 hours. Of those 18 hours, about 10 hours of it is paid programming.
As a result of FOX being the only channel I get, I’m stuck watching American Idol. Well, that and my wife’s addiction too it. And of course, I get sucked in fairly quickly by trying to guess who America will kick off next.
I would even vote if their voting system wasn’t horribly broken. Lets forget that Sanjaya should have never even made it into the final 12 let alone the 11. And I would bet he’ll make it into the top 10 as well. Why? Let’s just say there are a lot of star-struck 16 year old girls with cell phones in this country. But I said “lets forget” about that.
Where their voting is truly flawed is in the available voting methods. I can call in or send a text message with my vote. Each of those costs me money. No doubt, they have a rather lucrative contract with the cell phone companies. My problem with it is that I think that I should be able to vote online. No, there is no good way for them to make sure that I don’t duplicate votes. Well besides IP filtering. And even that causes problems with some networks that only use one IP when hitting the net.
It could be done though. Make people register on the site to vote. Make them enter their phone number and a few other markers like address, zip code, e-mail address, etc… that you can use to pattern match and eliminate duplicate votes. Sure, you won’t filter all of them out, but you should be able to get most of them with a good algorithm.
A better question is to ask how many more votes they would get if they opened up voting to the online fans. Hundreds? More. Thousands? More. Hundreds of thousands? More. Try a number closer to millions. Now ask yourself how that could skew the results each week if you added an extra million votes to the mix. Drastic.
Maybe you could even avoid perversions like Sanjaya who really isn’t all that great of a singer, but obviously has a pretty large fan base based on his looks rather than his talent. Or maybe he’d win it all if the online votes were more of the same. We’ll probably never know.