I recently blogged about the sacred and shadow sides of the hobby and there are good and bad: bloggers, sponsors and entrants. When there is money involved it sometimes brings out the worst in people. However, this level of cheating is beyond anything I wrote about.
Sadly, I wasn’t surprised. Over the past 10 years I have had sponsors calling to ask if I knew specific people as they were suspected of cheating with thousands of entries in a giveaway. I never recognized the names (as there are thousands of contestors). At any rate, the cheaters were disqualified.
This article appeared in the Journal de Montreal today. As you can well imagine, the online backlash is HUGE.
NOTE: I used Google to translate this article as it was too long and I didn’t have enough time to get it properly translated. I did a bit of editing so sentences flowed, somewhat, properly.
A programmer has found the way to make enter more often.
A clever programmer set up a scheme which allowed him to enter thousands of competitions in Quebec and with his accomplices they pocketed more than $160,000 in prizes.
Cars, travel, furniture, snowmobiling, computers, tablets, telephones, tires, show tickets, a tackle box, to the simple little bottle of nail polish. No prize was too big or too small for this group that was unmasked after a Journal investigation.
If you do not win too often in online contests, it may be because of Christian Méthot and relatives.
This crack IT developer created an automated system that allows it to multiply indefinitely entries. It is then possible to greatly increase the odds of winning. Several large companies in Quebec that organize giveaways were victims of the scheme.
An astute system to win repeat.
Christian Méthot would target a contest. He programmed a computer to run an automated online registration system. His system will literally flood the competition with thousands of entries. To achieve this without being detected, it generates fake email addresses using multiple domain names that the computer programmer reserved by grafting all imaginable names. For example: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org The thousands of entries emanate, most often from the same IP address (tied to one computer), but they consistently refer to 10 friends and family members of the network. Although they hid behind false emails, they must provided their real names and phone numbers in order to claim their winnings.
The distorted probabilities.
The Journal has been analyzed records of recent runs of registration, where their system was used to distort the odds and successfully increase the chances of someone in the group winning.
Draw a Fiat car
► Inscriptions related Méthot network: 123,644 entries on 204,585 participants
Draw a Mac
► Entries related to network Méthot: 28 776 entries on 35,879 participants
Six prizes of a sudden.
According to our research, conducted by analyzing records of registrations, the network has a dozen people, mostly relatives and friends of the web programmer and his partner Marie-Eve Theriault.
With these nominees and its automated system, Mr. Méthot is sometimes able to fill more than half of the online registrations of the same competition. No wonder then, that he and his partners have regularly won more than one prize in the same contest.
For example, they have won four of five VIP stays ($400 each) in the center of Le Baluchon écovillégiature, in Mauricie. They also won six of 10 stays in a hotel ($500 each) and Country Inns in March. In February of last year, they had also won three of the four tablets ($500 each) in price discounts by Brunet pharmacies.
It’s been jealous!
Among the members of the lucky clan, there is the mother of the programmer, Réjeanne Houle. The lady of Saint-Bruno has collected at least 21 prizes since 2008, more than $38,000, including a trip for two to the Dominican Republic worth $5000 (Air Transat), a cedar pool worth $5,000 (National Home Show), a coffee machine worth $3,500 (Ricardo) and $15,000 in furniture (Quality Furniture Canada).
“There are some years, I had three trips