DJ Mag Top 100: Shamed, DJ Mag name the cheats!

Shock! Horror! The annual DJ Mag Top 100 Poll has been rorted by DJs exploiting technology in order to artificially inflate their rankings. Just ask John ‘00’ Fleming or Sander Kleinenberg, they’ve been banging on about it for years. But finally, it’s been DJ Mag themselves who have confronted the problem, bringing the voting process back inhouse and attempting to clean things up.

“This year we’ve been appalled and disgusted to discover suspicious voting irregularities in our Top 100 DJs poll,” it says on the magazine’s website.

“For the first time ever, now that DJmag is wholly independent again, the votes in this year’s poll have been collated in-house, and while in previous years we’ve relied on technology to weed out suspect votes, this year it’s been proved that there’s nothing more effective than the naked eye.”

345,000 votes were cast by email, and publisher James Robertson claims he put his head down and spent a huge amount of time personally looking over the votes. And the results? Several DJs were disqualified from the poll. Among the offenders were DJ Erick Junior from Hong Kong (dubbed the “fastest cheat in the East”), DJ Tiesmi from China, who admitted paying cash for votes, and also the Flash Brothers from Israel, who blamed “friends and family” for the more than 1,300 suspect votes from the same IP address.

As Roberston himself explains, “This year, I made a decision to investigate votes where the same IP address appeared over 50 times for the same person. The chances of the same person getting voted for by 50 different computers each having been allocated the same IP address within a week would be billions to one.”

Controversially, big-name American DJs Christopher Lawrence and DJ Dan were also at the centre of the investigation, both having shared the same marketing manager! “In both their cases, a script was used to bypass our security system. Not only did we get multiple votes from the same IP address, but we got multiple votes from multiple IP addresses – in other words, we received in excess of 50 votes from the same IP address on over 20 occasions.”

If you ever wondered how DJ Dan managed to take the #5 spot as the world’s most popular house DJ, then you wouldn’t be the first. But both him and Lawrence have strongly denied any involvement in vote rigging.

Dan told DJ Mag that he takes the matter very seriously. “My assistant and I confronted my former marketing manager via telephone. He strongly denied any wrongdoing, but had no credible explanation for the improper voting. Christopher Lawrence, who used the same marketing person this year, reported similar voting problems. When I discovered the common link was our marketing person, I immediately terminated him.”

So the question begs, if such cheating can happen in the DJ Mag Poll then why not Australia’s own inthemix50? According to Andre Lackman, Managing Director for inthemix, he’s sought to avoid this since the very beginning. “We recognise that polls like these are enticing targets for vote cheating, that’s why we’ve been doing similar security checks on the inthemix50 voting since year one. While we haven’t named and shamed, each year we have either reduced a DJs total votes or disqualified them altogether due to vote rigging,” he says.

“The inthemix 50 voting system much more difficult to scam than DJ Mag’s. We require each vote to be confirmed by email as well as using a CAPTCHA system to disable script based voting.”

So will the ‘naming and shaming’ impact this year’s results? Will DJ Dan and Christopher Lawrence still rank in the top 5? Stay tunes to ITM.