It was quite a messy thing, actually. The nature of the contest - the voting process - is designed to encourage viral marketing. Spread the word to help a friend out. Post everywhere you can think of in order to garner the most votes. The front runner when the contest was closed has a large fan base on YouTube as well as the backing of his gaming community. A few of us were working various Mom Blogging communities, Craigslist, various hobby forums and other networks. I even found out that my brother put in a plea to his business associates just so I would “owe him” if I happened to win. If you’re a sibling, you totally understand the notion of holding something over another siblings head.
Unfortunately, the problem with such voting programs is there isn't any real control over the actual votes. Hackers can do anything and blog widgets like these don’t exactly have Fort Knox security built in. So guess what happened... there was vote tampering. The guy who was in the lead had people openly bragging about having voted for him multiple times with one even offering to show others how easy it is. To make matters worse, it was discovered that someone (or multiple people) were running scripts to hike the votes. HighTechDad was able to easily locate and remove 2000 votes from the guy in the lead but he didn't run through it with a fine tooth comb. But before he even had a chance to do so, his site was hammered by an automated system that not only shut down his site but caused his service provider to suspend his account altogether. Basically, he declared the guy in front to be the winner and within minutes, the attack on his site halted. After reviewing additional information and the subsequent cease-fire once he announced the winner, he decided the contest was null and void. Although I would have preferred to win it, I'm glad that it ended the way it did rather than the front runner unduly being given the prize.
I hated that people were cheating, but what bothered me most is that it was being done by kids. When HighTechDad announced the winner (and the site attack stopped), it pretty much showed those kids that yes, cheaters could still win. Although the guy in the lead may or may not have been involved in the cheating didn't really matter. The fact that people... kids... cheated on his behalf just set a bad example. When he saw those kids bragging about it, he should have blasted them. Blocked them as friends. Publicly scolded them. Contacted their parents if he knew how. Taught them a lesson in values and ethics.
Although I would have preferred a charity receive this in lieu of nobody, I'm glad HighTechDad opted NOT to show kids that it's okay to cheat... or even to stand for someone cheating on your behalf. Regardless of whether you were aware of it or not.