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2012 Barbecue & Grilling Readers' Choice Awards Cancelled

An Apology and an Explanation

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When presented with the idea of participating in About.com's Readers' Choice Awards I considered it a great opportunity to allow my readers to nominate and vote on the products and services that they truly believed in. Plus, it sounded fun. It is in the spirit of fun that I started this and the belief that everyone who participated would find it both enjoyable and informative. By in large for 2011 things went well, but it was equally evident that certain parties had used unscrupulous methods to generate votes.

It is only natural and expected that those nominated will do everything in their power to promote these awards with their customers and fans in the hopes of coming out on top. Obviously this kind of promotion benefits me and my site as long as most everyone involved believed that the process is fair and that those who win were completely deserving. Regardless of what it might do for me, I would rather bow out than allow the voting to be corrupted.

Unfortunately, this year, a problem in the design of the voting system, which is completely out of my hands, has allowed anyone to vote as many times as they wish. This eliminates any pretext of fairness. Now, I know that no system is completely secure and that there is no process that can't be cheated. However, when presented with large scale cheating I have few options. The real problem is that when one person cheats so obviously, other interested parties take notice. This starts a competition, not based on the rules or the spirit of fair play, but on who can cheat better. It is those who refuse to stoop to this level that I feel the most responsibility toward.

For this reason, I have decided to cancel the awards for this year, and until I can be sufficiently confident that they can be done with the level of fairness that you and those nominated deserve. I apologize to all those who have taken the time and energy to promote my site and these awards. I hope that you, my readers, can understand my decision to take this rather extreme course of action.

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