Boston Startups: MassChallenge Downplays Voter Fraud

When you’re dealing with a gigantic pool of potential web based, software and technology startups, you know in the back of your mind that there are coders within the pool capable of “fixing the system”. While many hosts of startup competitions are hopeful that fraud won’t occur they still do their best to block it from happening. MassChallenge unfortunately wasn’t able to stop some voter fraud in the public vote.

In a blog post on May 3rd MassChallenge wrote:

Some MassChallenge 2012 entrants have contacted us regarding inappropriate use of the public voting function of the Startup Profiles. Throughout the application period some users have engaged in vote fraud and, just as the deadline was about to pass last night, several users used scripts to down-vote many of the other startup profiles. These folks seem to think that the best way to get ahead with their startup is to invent success by falsely boosting their public voting score.

MassChallenge used a public vote to narrow the pool of potential startups in the contest from 1200 to just 300. MassChallenge CEO John Hawthorne declined to comment to the Boston Herald this past monday on what he called an “inappropriate use of the public voting function.”

More after the break

They also haven’t said how many of the startups participated in the voter fraud by running scripts. Even more troublesome is that they didn’t say if any of the startups were kicked out of the competition.

The MassChallenge competition is one of the largest on the east coast and is in it’s third year. Massachusetts Economic Czar Greg Bialecki sits on the advisory board for MassChallenge and provided the following statement to the Boston Herald:

“We are confident that MassChallenge has identified and eliminated any instances of improper behavior in its online voting by participants and has maintained a process that will identify the best entrepreneurs competing for awards,”

TechStars Managing Director Katie Rae, said “It’s too bad that a few bad apples could potentially spoil something that’s good, but I’m sure MassChallenge will kick those bad apples out,”. TechStars just recently held their Boston Demo Day which included some of the startups in the MassChallenge.


Source: Boston Herald

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