Seems there is some speculation as to where the Cornell information came from. A fan, who's name I will leave out for their privacy noticed the information as they are an avid member of TWC. They went to the head guru of TWC himself and addressed the issue because it appeared all the votes were coming from one ip address. (the info on the ip addresses that vote is public at TWC, evidently)
The fan forwarded the reply from the TWC god to me as info:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Richard Mathis <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 3:37 PM
Subject: Re: TWC Contact Form | Voting Fraud
The last number is hidden, so what you aren't seeing is that its a different ip address each time, one by one. If you do a reverse DNS lookup of one of those numbers, it indicates that its Cornell University. Based on the times, they're each a few minutes apart, so probably someone at a computer lab voting one by one. But it could be 2 people, or 3 or 4.
Many many many people vote from home, and from their work address. I don't do anything to stop it, nor will I. I can't put a camera in the cornell lab to watch and see if its 1 person or 2 or 25. I've known grad assistants to ask their class to vote, those classmates probably know nothing about the comic, but they vote anyway.
In the end, 60 thousand people a day vote on topwebcomics.com, so if one person votes on 30 computers, its a drop in the bucket, and in the end, if a webcomic isn't good, it won't be able to compete. Thats why I encourage vote incentives, especially previews of future comics (like goblins did yesterday, generating 4,000 votes!), rough drafts so people can see how the comic is made, wallpaper-like images of their characters, etc.
Many times a webcomic is high in the list not because the webcomic is necessarily "good", but because the author is working really hard to give its fans reasons to participate, and I encourage that behavior.
I don't allow "bots", but I do allow pretty much anything else a human can manually do.
I appreciate your concern, and you weren't alone, but this isn't someone just generating new ip addresses for their computer/phone/etc, workplaces, computer labs, etc all have multiple computers and often multiple ip addresses, so I simply can't block them or tell if they're a unique human or not.
Richard Mathis http://topwebcomics.com http://dndorks.com
On 6/9/2010 12:28 PM, TopWebComics Support wrote:
Mail from xxxxx
Hi, I'm just a fan of webcomics. I have not ties to any webcomic on here and do not make any myself. While on your site, I noticed something odd about the IP traffic for the comic Last Res0rt. When I vote for webcomics I like, it tells me that I can vote once every so many hours from one IP address. If this is the case, can you please explain how this: http://topwebcomics.com/vote/6410/ipreport.aspx is going on. It's obvious that the same person is voting multiple times in one day, within mintues of the last vote. How? B/c of mobile phones that connect to the internet. This is fraud and unfair for other comics who do actually get the votes from different people. Like I said, I am a fan of webcomics, and I will be notifying the webcomic artists and writers that you are allowing this to happen, if something is not done. Thank you for your time.
Shortly after the email-- the votes for LastRes0rt no longer reflected the multiple ip addresses from the one subnet.
Just to clear the air as to where the information came from.