My polling software (wufoo.com) is set to generate an email notification every time someone casts a ballot for the Best Construction Blog competition. Sometime after 1:00 a.m. last night, things went haywire, with (at the peak) dozens of votes pinging within minutes.
The explanation: Someone in the XS CAD offices presumably in India sent out a missive to employees and possibly contractors and suppliers to vote — and they complied. With in two hours, more than 100 votes were cast (with stragglers the total so far today — it is just 8:00 a.m. EDT as I write this) has reached 123 votes.
The voting surge pushed the offshore CAD/BIM service provider from third place to first place in the popular vote.
The story isn’t over yet, of course. Voting will continue until just before midnight on Sunday, March 31, and the numbers can change. However, the two other contenders for greatest popular vote, Pole Barn Guru and F.E. Moran, are US-based organizations which might reasonably encourage their employees to take their weekends off, away from any work-related worries.
Does this voting gamesmanship really count for anything significant? The answer is both yes and no. A solid popular vote rating — at least great enough to get the blog in the first visible page of voting results, is essential for the blog to be taken seriously by the independent judges. They can, if they wish, review any blog in the competition, but in practice narrow their assessments to top seven ranked blogs. And this gives an implicit advantage to popular blogs with a diversity of arms-length readers, especially if these are independent clients or viewers.
The judges focus their energy on the blog’s content, graphic design and readability, and to some degree, the level of interaction between the blog operator and readers. In most previous competitions, the judging panel has included between three and five individuals with a diverse background in contracting, media publicity, and writing. (Judges’ identities are kept secret until they have finished their deliberations.)
The popular vote also can be a deciding consideration in the rare situation when the judges’ votes are very close or tied. The voting/judging model isn’t perfect, but it I think still helps to determine the most qualified finalists.
Accordingly, when I report on Monday, April 1 who has won the popular vote in the competition, the finalist can celebrate a victory, but not the final win. That will be decided by late April or early May, when the judges submit their rankings and I calculate them in a judging ballot grid.