That sentiment is begin repeated over and over again on America Idol’s official posting board in a thread called “The Online Voting Sucks.” So much for the show’s grand, new social media experiment.
For the first time in its history, Idol offered online voting and Ryan Seacrest pimped it regularly throughout the first two performance shows. But when people flocked to the website to actually cast their votes they ran into a number of problems. Some found a message saying the voting was already closed, some simply couldn’t access the site, likely due to traffic issues, but many were stopped cold by the Facebook requirement.
The fact that you need a Facebook account to vote was hidden in the smaller print at the bottom of the screen. Most people didn’t notice and went through the Idol registration process only to be sent to Facebook to connect. No account? No problem. Sign up for one and agree to allow the following (as per a commenter):
- Access my basic information: Includes name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends, and any other information I’ve shared with everyone.
- Send me email: AT&T American Idol Online Voting may email me directly at XXXXXX@xxx.com
- Access my data any time: AT&T American Idol Online Voting may access my data when I’m not using the application
Many voters gave up there. Those that persisted then had to wait for a Facebook confirmation and an Idol registration confirmation then they could follow the Facebook login process and cast their vote. As long as they did all of that inside of the short voting window. Wow. That’s a lot of effort and trust just to get Paul McDonald in the Top 10.
It’s easy to see why many brands are using Facebook Connect for their sites. It works as an instant source of identity verification and it gives you access to a large pool of potential users. But it’s clear, at least in this case, that many people object to having to turn over so much of their perceived private information in order to do something as simple as vote for a singer on a TV show.
Looks like the team of American Idol and Facebook have succeeded in making people long for the days before we had all this newfangled technology!
To quote another eloquent poster:
“They never said you have to use facebook to vote. Not one mention of facebook. Why say go to americanidol.com when you have to use facebook. I went back to the old land line.”
Somewhere up there, Alexander Graham Bell is smiling.