Thursday, December 17, 2009

NULL & VOID: Statement and Winner Announcement from HighTechDad on HP TouchSmart Giveaway

UPDATED #2 @12:20pm (Pacific): I made a huge mistake here. Popular Vote giveaways tend to not be legitimate and I realize now that I should never have made that part of this giveaway. Voting like on American Idol or some of the Gap Kids contest always are at the mercy of those who understand how to get around things (e.g., autodialers, scripts, whatever). Shame on me for thinking that this giveaway would be different.


As numerous things have happened during this giveaway, many of which I have documented in this post and elsewhere, I realize that this giveaway has truly become INVALID. I have been threatened with legal action (I have no team of high-powered lawyers on my side), my site has been crippled by someone maliciously (and I'm not blaming anyone), voting was disrupted for one reason or another during the timing (that alone makes the whole thing invalid anyway), I have lost time and money dealing with this, people seem to not only dislike each other but me as well for making decisions that I thought were sound and the general spirit of the Holidays which was the WHOLE IDEA has been lost here. It is very upsetting to me and my family. HighTechDad.com is a hobby, a passion and something that I do in my limited free time. My brand has been tarnished by this and I need to simply end this controversy. 


Due to this, I am forced to make an extremely difficult decision here of which many will be upset but I hope that we can all be adults about this and understand my reasoning behind my decision.


I will be telling HP and their PR firm that this giveaway is invalid. Do note, this is my decision, and if you want to hate me for it, I guess that is your prerogative.  


I personally apologize to everyone who entered, voted and promoted this giveaway. I know it was a lot of work and your efforts should be applauded. However, and I don't want to be wishy washy about this, this decision is final. I have also decided NOT to do any similar giveaways on my site in the future. It is not worth my time or effort to be "generous" in this way. 


I guess the old saying "One Bad Apple Spoils the Bunch" holds true here and I'm sorry it had to end this way.


Do note, there are other giveaways of this nature on other blogs out there so I encourage you to enter them. I, however, will not be part of them anymore.


UPDATED @10:04am (Pacific): Given that I am a person of honesty and integrity, I need to put a hold on this announcement. The DDoS attack on my site stopped the minute that I announced the winner. I now have access (somewhat) to my server and the logs as well as some other information that has been uncovered due to some more research. I must say that I am extremely disheartened by all of this and verging on anger. The fact that suddenly my site is available minutes after the announcement and some of the other items leads me to believe that this giveaway has become invalid. I still believe in the entrants that I selected for voting, however, the fact that people COULD NOT vote during the period makes the whole giveaway invalid in my opinion. 


Therefore, I have a couple of options available. 
1: Run a lightening vote on a 3rd party site with the same contestants, 
2: cancel this all together or 
3: donate this HP to a charity.


Please log a comment about these choices on this post. I'm sorry that it has come to this but I believe that this is the most FAIR option available to me. And trust me, I will NOT be doing these again in the future.

To say that this was an exciting giveaway would be understating things dramatically. As of this writing, my site is under a heavy botnet/Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and will not respond. Therefore, I have had to post this on a different site just so that I could get the word out about this Giveaway.



For starters, I want to once again thank HP for providing the computer (an HP TouchSmart 600) for this giveaway. I guess it truly got people's attention.

Second, I want to thank ALL of the people who entered the giveaways. I thought that each and every entry was creative, some were actually quite good! I tried to make this as fair as possible by having people enter, then selecting the top 10 entries (my opinion and the HP PR firm's) and then opening things up to public voting (which I thought would be fair as well).

From Good to Bad and now to REALLY UGLY!

But this is where my happiness ended unfortunately. Perhaps this is due to the my own design of the giveaway. Popular vote giveaways are notoriously dangerous and can get out of hand from what I understand. Lesson learned. However, I did, as part of the giveaway, encourage users to promote it with their friends, family and co-workers. I saw some very creative methods being used, from people posting on forums or Craigslist to videos talking about the giveaway, many tweets and bog posts about it. I truly felt that things were going really well on the first day of voting.

Then things started to turn bad. As with any giveaway similar to this (with voting), those who are not winning start to complain or voice concerns about something being unfair or improper. As I wanted to keep things fair and fun, I reviewed some log files from the voting and started to see some discrepancies. Also, someone anonymously pointed me to a script that showed how to artificially enhance votes using the WordPress plugin that I was using. After analyzing the script (with the help of a developer), I stripped out the votes that were obviously the result of that script. Over 2000 votes were removed.

From bad, things started to get even worse. I started getting emails and tweets from every entrant, each claiming that something was not right or someone was cheating or whatever. I was fielding these emails regularly to the best of my ability. Then, my site started timing out and lagging and within a few minutes, I received a notice from my hosting provider, BlueHost (who has been very supportive and understanding), that they were suspending my account. I was able to persuade them to allow me to take a database dump and all of the files off of the server and started a frantic process of moving it over to the company where I work, GoGrid (Cloud Hosting). I actually had the new site up within an hour (pretty much record time), but there was a new issue.

My domain (in general) was being flooded with thousands of request per minute and as of this writing, this continues. Unfortunately, someone decided it would be "fun" to bomb my server with requests, thus bringing it to its knees. I have had the help of a few great people who have been trying to get my site up as well as implement some security protocols but unfortunately, as is the nature of these types of attacks, it is not having much effect. So, I am left at the mercy of the attacker(s) to hope that they will be kind enough to concentrate their efforts elsewhere and allow me to restore service and site.

Thoughts Behind the Voting and Winner Selection

My intentions for the giveaway were good. Obviously people during this economy are struggling and I thought that the concept behind this was sound. Obviously I was wrong. It is sad actually, that someone decides to be somewhat malicious with this as it hurts everybody involved. It also makes me seriously reconsider doing giveaways like this in the future.

Regardless, I still have the issue of the final vote counts and the announcement of a winner. While I was tempted to simply cancel the entire giveaway and tell HP to keep the prize, I feel that it is important to follow through with my word. I asked people to promote the giveaway as well as the voting. And while I know that a lot of people put in a ton of effort (including me), I don't think that I am justified in simply canceling the giveaway.

Also, I don't think that I can hold the entrants accountable for actions that someone did without their knowledge. I don't have the time nor means to audit each and every vote. I did take actions on something that I perceived was unfair but even after that, it seems that there was a winner who was able to rally a community or group of communities. I know that other entrants were doing that as well…it could have been anybody in this position.

I know that my announcement of the winner will displease a few, but I need to make a final decision. This is the nature of these types of giveaways: there are winners who are happy and there are losers who are not. The funny thing is, it is not like I'm giving away a car or something of extremely high value. This HP TouchSmart 600 is only valued at around $1400. I know that I alone have spent at least that much in setting up, creating and managing the giveaway, plus now all of the added time trying to move to a new hosting provider as well as mitigate this DDoS attack.

The Winner

So, I'm announcing that the winner of this (crazy) giveaway is: Bryan Simon

My Reasoning

Bryan was the first to post a YouTube video of his song. He also did (creatively) get quite a community to rally around his voting. While there may have been some people within or outside of that community who decided to take matters into their own hands and create this headache for me (and others), I don't believe that Bryan would be malicious in that nature. He has numerous followers on YouTube and creatively marketed his entry & voting promotion around that and using other methods. Even after removing several thousand votes from his count, he was still the overall leader throughout the majority of the giveaway. Honestly, this could have been anyone.

I realize that others may be upset about this decision but please understand that a decision has to be made and sometimes it is difficult to make and hear. I should know this as I too participated in a "voting" type of contest for the Panasonic Living in HD Insider program. Someone else crushed the competitors and I finished in the middle of the pack despite my best efforts.

Runner Up Prize

As all of these issues were going on, I was also negotiating with the PR firm for HP about giving some type of a runner up prize. (If I had the funds to do so, I would have offered something myself.) Through a little back and forth, I was able to get a $100 Gift Card from HP which is good towards the purchase of a new HP Computer. While I had hoped to give something more, this is better than nothing. As I currently do not have access to the votes because I simply cannot get on the server, once I figure out who had the second highest number of votes, that entrant will be awarded that prize.

Summary and Plea for Help

So, while I am glad that this giveaway is over, I still have to deal with the ongoing issues that it brought to my blog. I am hoping that all of the entrants can be sure to let their followers know that this has caused quite a bit of issues for me. This BotNet/DDoS attack really needs to be stopped as it is not fair to me or my readers, especially since it is only my goal to provide good content.

The Giveaway was created with best intentions and I think that all who entered believed that as well. It's too bad than a 3rd party decided to do what they are doing. Please help me stop this so that I can get back to my daily routine.

Sincerely,

HighTechDad

79 Comments:

Blogger b-love said...

I want to apologize. I never intended for things to turn out this way. I'm a straight shooter and I'm just as upset about someone "going rogue" or DDOS'ing as you and the rest of the contestants are. I hope the best for your site.

9:12 AM  
Blogger ScottB said...

Since you were the one to originally accuse other participants of cheating, then turns out one of your 'friends' DDoS's him to death and over 60% of your votes removed, you should show that you're truly sorry by having HTD donate the computer to charity.

9:27 AM  
Blogger b-love said...

This is the first contest I've ever entered and standing before God I would be blameless. I can't be held responsible for someone doing something out of my control. Who's to say it wasn't one of the other contestants trying to destroy my chance too? Either way. It's over, let's move on.

9:47 AM  
Blogger mastercmj2003 said...

@ScottB, 1) Please show proof of Bryan's accusations toward other contestants. I don't believe he would do this.
2) It was stated by HTD that it could have happened to anybody; Other contestants posted on public sites such as Craigslist, so why single out Bryan? It's just a shame something like this happened to a peaceful guy like b-love.
3) Do explain how bryan can be "truly" sorry to HTD. Nothing Bryan can do at this point will please everybody. Let's assume b-love gives the HP to charity; what happens next? Other contestants will complain that they wasted their time in the contest.
4) I'm one of the legitimate voters for Bryan, as he is a friend of mine. Do not mix me up with the fanbase, I know Bryan in real life, and he is a gentleman that means no harm to anyone.

9:53 AM  
Blogger b-love said...

These other people enter contests all day so this doesn't mean anything to them. I wanted to win this computer for my family. This is insane. They'll forget about you the moment this ends and they'll be off winning other contests.

Do a lightning round. I'll win, unless one of the other contestants who isn't winning DDOS the entire contest again.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Jeanette Huston (chewysmum79@yahoo.com) said...

I vote to donate to charity or do a random draw between the 10 contestants using random.org. It is already quite obvious that a vote can not be fair in this case. I have no interest in trying to spam everyone I know again for votes. They were already kind enough to do this once for me. Thanks and Good luck.

10:17 AM  
Blogger josh said...

The situation is a sad one. Though it's hard to blame someone for something that was out of their hands. Whether it was one of Bryan's supporters/voters or someone else, it was still out of Bryan's hands. He did not ask to have this activity done in his favor.

Thanks to HTD for what he has put up with during this contest and I hope all goes back to normal very soon. Congrats Bryan.

10:19 AM  
Blogger ~dab said...

No matter what you do at this point, it won't be perceived as fair. If Bryan doesn't win via some random means people will cry foul, if he does, people will cry foul. I say donate it to charity... it's got bad juju.

10:20 AM  
Blogger b-love said...

Do the freaking lightning round. This is ridiculous. Three hours. I will smash the competition. You can check every single vote and they will be legit. I'm tired of this.

The others don't care because they do this every day. They are like vultures, they flock to a site, enter and win or lose, and move on. This is the first time I've ever had the chance and I'm not giving it up.

10:23 AM  
Blogger ScottB said...

Proof? It still continues!
http://twitter.com/BryanSimon/status/6769200253
http://twitter.com/BryanSimon/status/6769279685
http://twitter.com/BryanSimon/status/6769354684

His other tweets about other contestants getting 20-40 votes in an hour was conveniently deleted, although he did apologize for it the next day.

FWIW, I doubt Bryan was responsible for the problems, but just like our leaders, must take blame for those who take action for them. He knew it was happening, even had another friend bragging about voting for him 50 times and that he'd 'show him the trick'.
http://twitter.com/sox1184/status/6730070387

So...Bryan may just be a pawn, but to now resort to throwing accusations at other contestants is uncalled for. The attacks stopped once he was announced the winner - don't you think someone else that wanted it cancelled would continue the attacks to punish HTD?

I know Bryan wants the computer, I would too. But if it were me, I would not want to win it under these circumstances. But then again, everyone has a different level of ethics.

10:25 AM  
Blogger josh said...

Lightning round. Its only fair to the people who actually work hard on their entries and the people who voted for them. Lightning round is the only way to go IMO

10:26 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Best thing to do is have a lightning round, and if the guys that lose again complain, auction it off for charity or something.

Oh and as a side note, I went on the voting page and I actually read all of the songs etc. and Bry's was the best.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

do the lightning round!
Whoever did this obviously was not working as a friend of Brian Simon, because he made several announcements asking the attackers to stop if they were from the population of people voting for him. This was obviously a petty attempt to uproot the competition. I believe there is no proof against Bryan Simon and believe him to be a morally sound individual, who does not deserve to take as much ridicule as he has for this.

10:30 AM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

This is crap. Jeanette, all I've heard from you is negative and completely againt Bryan, grow up. His entry was the better one, just because he had more votes than you doesn't mean he got there illegitimately.

He has a great track record, seems to be an awesome and trust worthy guy not to mention being a christian and I think he and his family deserve this giveaway, He has put a lot into the online community (And his Local one) and there's no reason the computer should be handed away to a charity simply because some jerk started DDoSing the hell outta HTD.com.

I say give the HP to Bryan, his entry was good, it wasn't like it was a total piece of garbage that somehow managed to get tons of votes...

Charity is a silly idea because what is a charity gonna do with a high-tech touch screen computer, i'm sure they'd rather the money donation of equivalent cost for the machine.

And random.org or whatever the hell you mentioned jeanette makes me think even more that you may have had something to do with it as you know he deserves this but your last dying effort is to hope for a 1 in 10 chance of winning. Stupid idea to use random.

I don't know why HTD doesn't choose it all for himself, out of his preferences. It's HIS and HP's contest after all.

Bryan should get this, and noone should hate. It's dumb and immature.

And btw, I'm 15. So congrats on being less mature than me.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

Bryan is the winner, regardless of valid or invalid votes, he still had the lead.

Now you're telling Bryan he doesn't deserve to win? Why? Because someone outside the contest decided to DDoS the site? It wasn't Bryan stating to cheat, he encouraged valid voting the entire time and on multiple occasions warned people not to cheat.

I know the type of people Bryan associates with, and they are not ones to cheat.

The thread created on MLGpro.com had well over 160 posts and thousands of views. Is it that out of the question he would be ahead? He has over 4,000 youtube subscribers. Again, is it that out of the question?

A random draw gives each entrant an equal opportunity to win, so it would be in each contestants interest to DDoS the site and force HighTechDad's hand.

People these days are ruthless, but I know for a fact Bryan is not one of those people. With 2 daughters and a wife, as well as an avid church goer, he IS a man of integrity.

If there was cheating on his behalf, I can assure you he was not behind it. That being said, I truly believe Bryan deserves to win this contest. He was ahead in votes clearly, even from early on he had a commanding lead, this trend would have continued as such.

Bryan deserves to win. Hands down. A lightning round would only act as an insult to Bryan.

Whoever was DDoS'ing the site thought a decision had been made so they stopped. That doesn't mean it was Bryan. Correlation is not causation as anyone in a science oriented field will tell you.

Again, Bryan deserves to win.

-Frank aka u4iX

10:33 AM  
Blogger John said...

I'm one of the other contestants - when it came to the voting phase, I was never in the running.

It is sad that such ridiculous and unscrupulous behavior occurred in the course of the voting for this contest.

High Tech Dad has a tough decision here and has done his best to retain control of the contest.

Regardless of who scripted the voting code and pointed the DDos at HighTechDad's site, I think it would be hard for the voting tally to be accurately depicted - even if it could, is it really fair to make HTD go through several thousand log entries to do so?

As for people saying there should be a "lightning round." Are you talking about a short voting period? What would prevent the DDos from firing up again?

Let's be realistic here. We started out here with some fun creativity and it devolved into brute force.

For what it's worth, whatever HTD decides is fine with me.

When it comes to the choices set out in this post, my opinion is that charity is the best course of action at this point.

Perhaps the "winner" gets to choose the charity?

There are plenty of underprivileged kids in this country. In the right hands perhaps one of these Touchsmart devices can brighten Christmas a little bit for some of them.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

@Frank, I couldnt have said it any better man.

@ScottB, Dont just look at Twitter, check Bryans youtube account. He made a good effort to call off whomever was doing this, weather or not it was on his behalf.

You also sound like a total conspiracy nut with all the shit your talking about. No offense.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Jeanette Huston said...

Boy the tweets sound like they came from my blog. I am sorry I think my husband is a computer extraordinaire because he was a 74B in the army. Here is the job description of what he did to serve our country http://www.us-army-info.com/pages/mos/signal/74b.html Please tell me where in here it talks about DDOS or voting fraud? How about everyone just leave me out of this. I needed a computer because I am in Axia Online College and it sucks not having a computer of your own to use for school or anything else. I will say this one more time, I vote for random draw or giving it to charity. I will not do a vote again, you can't cheat random draw.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

It's been a mess and I feel for HTD for the undue strain this has cause him (and his site).

In my opinion, at this point, it's best to donate it to charity. Then, someone who genuinely needs it will have it.

As for the statement that "These other people enter contests all day so this doesn't mean anything to them. I wanted to win this computer for my family. This is insane. They'll forget about you the moment this ends and they'll be off winning other contests" That's entirely untrue. There are tons of contests to enter where all you have to do is leave a comment. The people who entered this one all put a lot of work into entering. We all did it for our families or because we need a new computer.

I, for one, found HTD's blog because of the contest. Just because the contest is over doesn't mean I'll never come back. And just because I enter other contests doesn't mean I didn't want this one any less than you.

10:39 AM  
Blogger MJ said...

I think that the fair thing to do would be to hold a random drawing because if a lightning round happened in another site who is say that that site wouldn't crash as well. By doing it randomly you give everyone a one in ten chance of winning and nobody can dispute the results. Sorry this happened to your site and thanks again for holding this contest.
-Jimena Sanchez

10:40 AM  
Blogger Ingrid Williams "imagirlscout" said...

WOW - what a difficult choice. I wish HP could step in and choose THEIR favorite! But being a nonprofit professional responsible for technology, I greatly sympathize with the needs out there. I say, donate to charity.

I wonder if the voting would have gone to extremes if a charity was the recipient!!

If the contest can't be won on a fair and simple structure, regardless of who is at fault, I don't think any of us should win. I honestly enjoyed the challenge, got out of my workaholic mode, and thought it would be a fun competition. Sadly the fun turned sour and I regret involving my connections now!

But most of all, I deeply feel for @HighTechDad as he was attempting to do something good and got a major, major headache instead.

10:42 AM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

I hope to god that HTD doesn't make a silly mistake in being convinced to give up the price to charity simply because some of the other contestants are sore losers.

If it goes to lightning round, Bryan is gonna get the more votes as he has a massive following (far more than i can imagine many of the other contestants having) and so DDoS'ing would not be in his own interest, so if it was his fans that did it then it wouldn't happen, if it wasn't and it was another contestant maybe it would and then we can be sure it had nothing to do with Bryan. I think Frank made some valid points, Bryan, don't get stressed, I'm sure it'll all work out OK.

10:42 AM  
Blogger josh said...

If you do a random drawing then I'll kick myself for not entering. I can take a crap in front of a video camera and call it an entry.

10:42 AM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

Jeanette. Nice. Linking your husband's job title.

People can learn things you know, funny thing, in the last two years I learnt how to effectively use a computer above the standards of many.

Your argument was invalid. Random draw = fail as Josh said and Bryan would feel hard done to if it was handed to charity simply because it was not his wrong doing that caused this. After all, the contest was intended to have a prize go to the winner who had the best entry. Where's the charity folk's entry? Don't see them winning the lottery too often now do we...

10:46 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

It's really frustrating seeing so many of you decide that a "random draw" is the fairest option.

It's still going to one of you, and there is no showing of who was DDoS'ing.

I think this shows how much greed some of you have and shows how sore losers some of you are.

If you honestly don't want the HP that bad, why aren't you unanimously suggesting charity? If it "really doesn't mean that much to you," why are you all suggesting random draw?

I think that just proves it could have been ANYONE of you cheating. It's unfair to single out the vote leader, simply BECAUSE he was the vote leader.

Again, Bryan Simon was winning from Day 1 and continued winning. Why would he DDoS an already commanding lead? IT MAKES NO SENSE.

Bryan should win the computer.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Kolby Dukes said...

If it is decided to give the computer to a charity, I would love to have the charity I'm involved in considered. Check us out at www.reachouttotheworld.com!

Reach Out To The World blogs and journals mission trips to a drug rehab center in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, in an effort to reach all the hurting people in Jamaica that are addicted to drugs, whether it be marijuana or crack, or alcohol. Reach also journals the trips taken to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Since Reach is a charity all based around journaling the great works of people, we use technology and computers to produce videos, edit photos and obviously blog. This computer would be a great tool for reachouttotheworld.com!

Check us out!!
Thank YOU for your consideration!

10:49 AM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

Indeed.

We're behind you Bryan.

No one has come forward, and tbfh from what I've seen if a gamer / hacker did this he'd be boasting and blogging about it left right and center.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

To those of you saying you don't have the qualifications to DDoS a site, let me introduce you to the internet.

You can google anything these days, you don't need to be an extravagant hacker to stir up a little mischief.

Here are two step-by-step youtube videos of how to DDoS a website:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4ND0uav3lE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3OZq_9Ex_I

Not to mention millions of google hits just for "how to ddos a website."

It could have been anyone doing this DDoS'ing.

Again, the vote leader and continuing vote leader was Bryan Simon. The fact all of you aren't acknowledging this simple truth raises a few eyebrows.

Bryan was winning, he had no reason to cheat.

The HP should go to Bryan.

10:53 AM  
Blogger OPamanda said...

I had to create an account just so that I could post to this thread. I have known B-love my entire life...He would never in a million years cheat or enlist cheating as a method to win this contest. Instead he used his humor, personality and those of us that support him to win this thing. Whoever is responsible for the DDOS'ing or whatever it is, is a grade A loser with too much time on his/her hands. Any of you that think donating to charity is the answer, I challenge you to find your own way to give and donate--Bryan gives everyday by being an example of true human decency. He shouldn't have to prove that you by donating his prize.

10:54 AM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

I'm with OPamanda.

Bryan ftw.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

cameron is right with the whole boasting thing

and I feel like if I wanted to really voice my opinion, Id just copy and past Frank's comments, since hes coming out with the same thoughts about 30 seconds before I think of what to say.

And OPamanda 4life.

11:00 AM  
Blogger tannawings said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

This whole competition got way out of hand. It has gone from a simple nice competition for a good community, to a war. I'm just going to say that I think it is fair that Bryan won as he doesn't seem the type of guy to do anything of the sort to win a competition.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Why? Bryan was ahead in the votes the whole time, and the DDoS would in no way benefit him, so why should he not deserve to win it?

11:07 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

@Dan Exactly. Like I tweeted to Bryan, I think that it was another contestant who DDoD'd and then stopped after he was announced the winner to make him look like the guilty one.

11:15 AM  
Blogger tannawings said...

I am gonna comment one more time and thats all- it seems as if the people who were in the contest are ALL saying one of 3 things- random.org, charity, or nothing.(meaning let it stand)
The majority of the people here arent contestants, they are here arguing on someones behalf. Fine and good, but, frankly it doesnt matter.
HTD has likely got to speak to HP- he has an agreement with them.
So let HTD sort it out, and let it go from there. If it goes to Brian,it does, if it goes to charity, so be it (which I doubt is an option beause of HP) or if it comes down to random.org, blame it on luck of the draw.
In any case, let HTD decide, he is the one who runs the show, and I dont think in good conscience this will stand as is as there are too many questions and thats not something HP wants nor I imagine HTD.

11:20 AM  
Blogger b-love said...

I would like to donate it to the Youth Ministry I serve at, at Messiah's Vineyard Church. They are a small church and they could really use it. I hope everyone approves. At least I'll still get to use it every Wednesday night.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

I think this board is a perfect example and looking glass to what actually happened.

Even on here Bryan has support, more so than any other contestant, so I think it's fair to say that regardless of cheating, whoever was behind it, Bryan would have won.

Again, I find it funny that all the entrants are for a random draw and not in the spirit of giving... Seems like you're all more interested in a 1 in 10 chance of getting.

11:21 AM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

@Tannawings.

Fair point, but I feel it would be such a crime to take away a prize someone legitimately won.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Kolby Dukes said...

reachouttotheworld.com is a technology based charity that journals and documents mission trips to a drug rehab in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Reach has also documented 4 mission trips to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. We edit videos, pictures, and blog, this computer would be a great asset to the team! Such a media based computer would be a great blessing.

Please consider www.reachouttotheworld.com if a winner cannot be agreed upon.

check us out at www.reachouttotheworld.com, this will be our 5th year in operation and we are making an impact in Ocho Rios.

11:24 AM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:27 AM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

Bryan, don't start saying you'd rather it go to charity else they think it'll be okay to do so, it isn't!

You won fair and square and I think frank made an awesome point about the fact even here Bryan has support and so would most likely have easily won votes wise also.

What I would love to know, is how the woman who for a while was tying with Bryan got the same amount of votes as him when he was posting to not only MLG forum peeps but to his faithful following on youtube. My theory?

She was the one DDoS'ing for her votes at the start, then decided it would be better to give them to Bryan and create all this hassle as she knew she would not win anyway.

I don't wanna start another argument but thats exactly my thought process at this time. It's not Bryan at fault here, don't repremand him.

11:27 AM  
Blogger josh said...

"The majority of the people here arent contestants, they are here arguing on someones behalf."

@tannawings

Doesn't that prove that Bryan deserves to win? The people who are speaking up on his behalf are the people who submitted legit votes and believe strongly that He deserves to win. HTD didn't ask for other contestants to vote, they asked contestants to enlist your friends/family to vote and thats exactly what Bryan did. We're hear because its frustrating that our votes are void because someone cheated.

Lets face it, we think Bryan deserves to win so we're here to express that opinion and that opinion should be considered.

11:27 AM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

@Tannawhatever

Your the only one who mentioned random.org. I dont think that constitutes it to be an option.

Also do not question the integrity of people who are not contestants, because if anything, the contestants such as yourself are more subjective.

Your "questions" also dont prove anything against the winner.

@Frank

Right again. 100% Agreed

11:32 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Also sorry for my double post, but if this is any indication of how the lightning round will go, Bryan will win again. Bring it AWN!

11:34 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

Also, I think the point should be made that the comments section had to be disabled because of the mass of Bryan's friends and followers posting one of his favorite phrases "LIKE A BOSS" in the comments section.

While many of you had votes very few, if any, of you had comments posted on your behalf.

I just further backs my point that Bryan had no reason to cheat or enlist any illegal aid in winning.

Bryan would have and should win the computer.

11:36 AM  
Blogger b-love said...

I just talked with my mother-in-law and she reminded me of the 2000 eletions where both candidates kept fighting without giving in, because they both felt like they were right.

I retract my decision to donate to my church, because I am 100% confident that I am the rightful winner of this PC. I did nothing wrong. I am 100% innocent.


My refusal or denial of this prize would be shameful and an admission of a guilt that I am completely free of.

11:38 AM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

Frank is some kind of genius. Always coming up with great defenses and ever truthful.

Bryan wins, the rest of you, ultimately have lost nothing. YOU paid nothing to enter, so why are you making it such a hassle for everyone, especially HTD who even said that he had spent nearly $1400 on this mess.

11:38 AM  
Blogger ~dab said...

I'll preface this by saying I have no entry in the contest, no personal knowledge of any of the participants and no vested interest in the outcome.

I still say donate it to charity. A charity can definitely use technology like this, if for no other reason than fundraising (example, raffle). A charity could easily raise hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars if they sold raffle tickets for this, and that money could be used for whatever the charity needed it for.

I don't know if Bryan cheated or not - only he does. It may have been a follower of his that got overzealous or it might be someone esle, but you can't many any assumptions based on what has or has not happened.

To say Bryan (or his followers) didn't spam the site because he was the leader isn't valid - the DDoS could have occured because a lot of people were all spamming the site trying to vote and the site crashed as a result (or they crashed the site to make sure he remained the leader). Also, just because no one is bragging about it doesn't mean a damn thing -- no one has the TouchSmart in hand yet, so no one wants to tip their hand.

Bottom line is, it's going to be next to impossible to figure out who cheated unless someone confesses. That's why I say give it to charity. A lightning round only opens up the floodgates again, and random.org isn't fair because it gives everyone an equal chance of winning -- which wasn't the intention in the first place.

HTD should take it to some well-known local charity to him, post a receipt on his blog showing the donation that was made, close the books on this one and move on, and maybe next time work with someone who's sucessfully done a giveaway of this type so fraud doesn't happen.

11:39 AM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

That's the spirit Bryan.

LIKE A BOSS!

11:39 AM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

~Dab some good points but think if you were in Bryan's place, would you not want it also and feel this is totally unfair?

Somehow I think you would.

11:42 AM  
Blogger josh said...

I just want to clear things up, let me know what I'm missing.

1. Bryan submits entry
2. Bryan enlists friends/family to vote for him.
3. Fraudulent voting is detected and HTD.com suffers from DDOSing.
4. Votes are corrected and Bryan is STILL in the lead but site is still down for remainder of the contest.
5. Bryan wins!
6. Site recovers from DDOSing.
7. Bryan loses!

Please explain that to me!
Maybe I missed something?

11:54 AM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

Can I correct you on one part, at number seven. It seems you accidentally put "Bryan Loses" when in fact it was "Bryan recieves HP Touchsmart"

11:56 AM  
Blogger josh said...

@Cameron_moore

You must of missed the update.

^^ It's up top in red text ^^

12:00 PM  
Blogger ~dab said...

cameron_moore, yes if I were Bryan (and did not cheat, and did not have any personal knowledge of anyone cheating on my behalf) I would 100% feel the way he does. If I were completely blameless, though I'd won and then got accused of cheating I'd be fighting tooth and nail (mostly for my integrity, although partly for the prize).

Again, I'm NOT saying he's at fault in any way, shape or form.... I'm just trying to express my opinion. I have no feeling one way or the other. I've seen people get accused of things they didn't do and get hung by the circumstances, I've also seen people cheat and cast doubt on others to take the heat off them. Either scenario is just as likely to me, since I have no personal knowledge of any of the people involved.

You can't definitely say someone else orchestrated the DDoS because his lead was so solid he had no reason to cheat. You also can't definitely say he orchestrated the DDoS because he had so many voters, and belongs to a gaming community.

I can see Bryan's side of it, and I can see the other side of it. There is no way to resolve this to everyone's satisfaction, and no way to be 100% certain you're not either rewarding a cheater, or punishing an innocent victim.

That's why I said give it to charity. Although I guess HP would need to be consulted, since they donated the printer for the giveaway.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I know this is upsetting to other contestants, because they feel they have been cheated by invalidated votes. But I believe that the winner, Bryan Simon would have won without these votes. unfortunately contests now a days aren't solely based on how good someone is, it's about the connections they have in a community. Bryan Simon had popularity through Bungie.net and Mlgpro.com communities, which are based around the Halo series. Some community members decided to make posts for him rallying to get him votes, and this is without Bryan approving/dissaproving. From a fan of Bryan I don't find him capable of doing an attack of the website, being a good family man I see him being. I know you have to make a tough decision, but maybe you should talk to him over the phone about this situation since this obviously means a lot to both of you.

Sincerely,
Kevin Smith

12:02 PM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

Once again frank, wow.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

Clip the number of votes from the time the DDoS occured and determine the winner from there. Whoever had the most number of votes at the time the DDoS started happening should be the winner.

That's what makes the most sense to me.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

I deleted and reposted my previous comment to correct a spelling error.

12:03 PM  
Blogger ~dab said...

josh, you also left out the part that while the site was down, no voting occured -- and while unlikely, you don't know how many other people were able to drum up similar support for their entry, and could have gathered votes during that period (while Bryan still got votes, I'm not so stupid to think that he wouldn't continue to also get votes).

Who knows, maybe someone else would have won... but that's just it, if the DDoS didn't happen and the site remained up then the contest would have been able to conclude naturally. Most contests/sweeps/giveaways all have clauses that render it null and void if there's any tampering with the contest (and a DDoS certainly qualifies).

12:05 PM  
Blogger josh said...

dab, i understand where you're coming from and agree with you. Although Bryan WAS declared a winner. To take that from him soley on an assumption is not fair.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

Also it seems HighTechDad made his decision, but after complaints from the losing side he reconsidered.

I feel I must make it clear that in a contest, there are winners and losers. Also, in this such of a contest it is based on popularity.

As much as I would hate to deem any of the contestants "unpopular," in the internet sense of the word, no contestants came within grasp of Bryan.

He's had his videos promoted by the makers of the Halo video games, Bugnie, and they can be found on their webiste.

He has uploaded numerous videos and posts to mlgpro.com, or Major League Gaming, who is the world leader in e-Sports.

This really was a popularity contest and Bryan was more popular. I know that many contestants probably take that as a shot to their egos, but I mean to harm in it as it's merely my perception, though I'm sure it can be emprically backed.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

Also, I'd hate to point a finger here, but it's quite obvious @tannawings is guilt tripping @HighTechDad and attempting to force his hand.

Looking through other various tweets, I'm amazed at how many negative connotations were applied to "gamers," as I would consider myself one.

In my eyes it's clear what happened here and in my eyes it's clear what my decision would be.

Unfortunately, people these days are motivated by greed and would rather see no one get a prize than anyone.

I commend those who at least offered charity as a viable option. To those who deemed a random drawing as the only "fair" solution, I shake my head.

12:27 PM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

Lightning Round is the only solution inmho.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

I still say Bryan, hands down.

A lightning round isn't needed and it's a slap in the face to all the people who took the time to vote legit.

Bryan was ahead at the start.

Bryan continued to win.

Bryan was still winning after 2,000 some votes were stripped from him.

Bryan was declared the winner in HighTechDad's original decision.

Not only are these losers sore, but they are persistant and unruly. Even I'm ashamed they can't admit defeat and that the contest has come to this. They put HighTechDad between a rock and a hard place, not Bryan.

12:32 PM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

Hmm yes, I guess I agree, but HTD offered three options and unfortunately letting Bryan win was not one of them :@

So lightning round is the only other way.

12:34 PM  
Blogger b-love said...

This is from Bryan's wife (Stacey). I don't have an account so I'm using his.

First and foremost, much sympathy goes out to HighTechDad. You never deserved this to happen to your site and it's a shame that you are paying a cost for simply doing a good thing.

Secondly, this competition was based on numbers. The winner was going to be chosen based on who got the most amount of votes. And without any doubt to anyone, Bryan did once and will again (if it comes to that) get the most votes because he has, what many refer to as, quite a large "fan base". The reason he has this large fan base is simply because he is who he is. An honest, hard-working, and talented individual who can build friendships with people he's never even meant. So for those who have called him names or have indicated that he has had anything to do with the fraudulent votes, your own character is in question based on such unfair judgment.

And finally, Bryan deserves this prize because he has already earned it. It's unfortunate that things ended the way they have and that people are throwing out threats and names and accusations. But in the end, the best entry deserves to win.

12:42 PM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

continuation of Stacey's post:

...best entry deserves to win. Bryan deserves to win.

12:44 PM  
Blogger HighTechDad said...

FROM HIGHTECHDAD:

I appreciate everyone's passion here but I have been forced to declare this entire giveaway NULL & VOID. It has been extremely difficult to reach this decision. The mere fact that people could not vote during the pre-defined period would nullify things anyway. But there is too much more that happened that is questionable.

Again, thanks to all who participated (with the exception of the user/s who DDoSed me).

This was the only way I could see a fair result for this chaos.

Now can we all just try to ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS!

12:49 PM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

Fair enough HTD. I'd rather it came to this than an even more unfair conclusion. Maybe repost the contest for the HP Touchsmart for something else...something that doesn't involve the voting like this did, would be a shame to see such a prize go to waste.

I feel for bryan, a shame really...and all the other contestants.

12:52 PM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

Yeah, or not seen as you won't be holding anymore contests like this.

I respect you HTD for the decisions you had to make.

12:55 PM  
Blogger JK said...

Wow... I'm sorry that it was like that HighTechDad. Thank you for what you did, and I respect your decisions. I had fun with it, anyway! :)
~Wyomingmom

1:18 PM  
Blogger James said...

b-love won, b-love rules. Grow up, get over it, and move on. He's a good dude, and had no reason to cheat because he would have won regardless.

1:41 PM  
Blogger stephanie said...

i wouldnt be surprised if you didnt even have the computer. if you had the computer, and were giving it away from the start, you obviously wouldnt want it for yourself, so why not give it away? if the contest wasnt fair, why not do it randomly, or some other way. your just going to call it invalid... and do what with the computer? you make no sense.

1:43 PM  
Blogger HighTechDad said...

@stephanie Why would @HP_PC have tweeted about the giveaway if I didn't have it? That doesn't make sense. Trust me, if I had it, I would have posted pictures of it AND I would have written a review of my experience.

1:47 PM  
Blogger HighTechDad said...

(To clarify my previous statement) That is to say, the HP PR firm had it and was going to handle shipping for me. I didn't have it in hand but had full power to send to someone.

1:58 PM  
Blogger cameron_moore said...

Wth stephanie.

Anyway, there's other competitions going, somehow i think Bryan's rep is down and he won't be chosen by any of the other companies :(

2:00 PM  

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