Did Mashable rig its Social Media Awards 2011?

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December 20, 2011: Mashable announced the results of its Social Media Awards earlier today (Dec 20). The results of one of their categories raises big and serious questions on the authenticity of the results. Were the awards rigged? Were considerations other than the votes polled used to determine the winners? Why were these criteria not told up front? As will be seen from the example below, unless Mashable issues clarifications and makes the adjudication process and voting records public, it can cast serious aspersion on the excellent brand that Mashable has built.

Mashable.com is the one of the largest independent news sources dedicated to covering digital culture, social media and technology. Mashable held their 5th social media awards contest, the nominees and winners were to be decided by the readers. According to the Award’s About page, readers can nominate their favorite companies, people, sites and gadgets once a day for each category between Oct 11 and Nov 18.

Mashable’s editors will select the seven finalists for each category. The final nominees will be announced on Nov. 21, at which time readers will vote for the winners.

Final voting will close on Dec 16, and winners will be announced on Mashable on Dec 19.

The contest had various categories, of which “Must follow politician” was of interest to us as it had an entry from India, namely the chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi.

The results were posted earlier today and in the politician category, US President Barack Obama, was declared the winner. We at Oneindia were closely watching the developments of the contest round-the-clock and our perception was:

 - Narendra Modi outvoted Barack Obama 10:1
 -  4 of 5 votes were coming in for Modi
 - Unique voters for Modi also far outnumbered those for Obama

One of the comments from Mashable team reads,
“Stephanie Haberman
Poer14 & Jay,
Thanks for your comments and questions about the methods we used. Mashable Awards winners are chosen based on a number of factors that take into account gross votes, community engagement, voter recurrence and several other metrics, not just raw votes.
Strangely this “fine print” about the contest was not announced before the contest!

All of this raises serious credibility issues. Was this the only category where the result was rigged? Were other categories also rigged? Were the results pre-decided?

Mashable has some answering to do.

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