Local Restaurant Falls Sharply Behind in Contest After Some Say Opponents Purchased Votes

Talk around town is that the restaurant currently in the lead in the contest purchased YouTube views because it went from less than 1,800 views to nearly 50 thousand nearly overnight. Find out why it could be true.

In recent weeks, the Florissant Patch Facebook page has been abuzz with talk of a local business that has the opportunity to help put Florissant on the map—and to help grow their dream in the process.

I’m talking about Jeff and Kristi Mullersman, owners of de.lish Cheesecake Bakery and Cafe in Old Town Florissant, who are nominees for a contest through Destination Guide's Best of St. Louis.

de.lish can win national coverage if the cafe gets the most votes by Feb. 4. All you have to do to cast your vote is to view an almost four-minute-long YouTube video.

The local favorite was at or near the top of the list in votes for weeks—but then, one day, another St. Louis area restaurant suddenly blasted up to the top of the list—receiving nearly 50 thousand votes literally overnight.

Help out your neighbors and the Florissant economy! View and share the de.lish video as often as you can through Feb. 4.

Word around the community is that the restaurant may have purchased YouTube views in order to capture the coveted first place spot.

Can You Really Purchase YouTube Views?

A rapidly-developing market has hit social media with a vengeance—and it involves paying people to increase your online popularity (or the appearance of it, anyway) by sending real or artificial viewers to their YouTube videos, among other venues and media types.

Companies such as Social Marketers and MediaBuzzed offer YouTube views, followers for various social accounts and more—all for a price, of course.

“It was a smart way to get more popularity before Google caught on to the trick,” according to a recent blog post from Telework USA.  “Some may consider this method of bolstering your career as cheating and others may consider it sly and a smart way to gain success.  Apparently, Google considered it cheating to buy Youtube views.”

So Did the Other Restaurant Really Buy the Views?

Unfortunately, there’s no way for us non-Google employees to know, but a blogger at BadMusicAllDay.com recently pointed out that getting a “ton of views but very few likes or comments” is the number one way to spot a fake YouTube video.

“For example, if a video has 50,000 views, it should have approximately 100-170 comments,” the blogger wrote. “Additionally, a fair assessment for ‘likes’ (or dislikes) should be about 1 for every 100 views.”

At the time of press, the other restaurant’s video showed 49,855 views and had just six comments—one from me. Also, the video had 150 likes—but according to the formula above, if the votes are legit, there should be nearly 500 likes.

What Do You Think?

Assuming this is true; do you believe that it’s cheating to purchase YouTube votes to win a contest? The restaurant had less than 1800 votes all month long, and then a few days before the contest ends, suddenly get 50K overnight--that part is true for sure. The rest is just conjecture.

View and share the de.lish video as often as you can through Feb. 4.

How do you feel about this situation? Do you think the other restaurant’s owners cheated and purchased YouTube views to take the top spot in the contest, or did they just get lucky one night? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.

Bill Johnson January 31, 2013 at 05:42 PM
It's not only cheating, but highly unethical and very unprofessional! The owners of BBQ ASAP should be ashamed of themselves!
Angela M. DeVito Gahan January 31, 2013 at 05:46 PM
If you are buying votes then that is cheating. The other restaurant didn't have to cheat to be on top. Even restaurants don't play fair. Leaves something to say about the owners of the other restaurant if they would go that far for a vote what else would they do and how would that wind up affecting the consumer in the long run.
Angela Atkinson (Editor) January 31, 2013 at 05:47 PM
If this is true, I completely agree, Bill! Thanks for your comment.
Angela Atkinson (Editor) January 31, 2013 at 05:47 PM
I'm with you, Angela.
Matthew Ingmire January 31, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Never even heard of BBQ ASAP. IMO stupid name for a restauarant.
Theresa Knost January 31, 2013 at 05:50 PM
I don't quite understand...is delish under suspision...or another? Who is, exactly? I agree w/Bill.
Angela Atkinson (Editor) January 31, 2013 at 05:53 PM
No, de.lish is definitely not under suspicion. It's the other restaurant--the one currently in first place. But unfortunately, assuming this is true, it could mean that de.lish loses out unfairly.
Angela Atkinson (Editor) January 31, 2013 at 05:53 PM
I had never heard of it either, Matthew.
Linda D. January 31, 2013 at 07:26 PM
It's absolutely cheating. I would not eat at BBQ ASAP if I believed they were cheating, which I do.
Angela Atkinson (Editor) January 31, 2013 at 10:15 PM
Linda, I totally agree.
Chris Charboneau January 31, 2013 at 10:43 PM
BBQ ASAP, is a great restaurant with great service. is there something specifically that says this cant be done?
Steven Siemsen February 01, 2013 at 04:39 AM
I find it highly suspect that a YouTube for this contest would go from 1800 to almost 50,000 in one day. My first thought is that the owners of this establishment are very dishonest people for "cheating" or "rigging" the contest. My wife then pointed out that maybe an employee did this without their knowledge. That is certainly possible. However, once you realize that someone has rigged the contest for you, the right thing to do is withdraw. Either way I will never be patronizing BBQ ASAP. Where have our morals and ethics gone?
Melissa Campbell February 01, 2013 at 02:41 PM
I would watch the witch hunt, there is no PROOF that they cheated. If there is cheating going on it's possible a friend or family member might have done this and they know nothing about it. I do not know the people at BBQ ASAP so I'm not on their side, but I'm very surprised to see my fellow neighbors bringing out the pitch forks without any hard proof. Angela, I thought reporters are supposed to be objective. It's fine to print information in order to raise awareness, but time and again I see you writing, or commenting on pieces that lacks an objective eye......
de.lish Cheesecake Bakery & Cafe February 02, 2013 at 04:02 AM
My wife and I own de.lish. To be honest, it really doesn't matter. I know what its like to sit here with no.customers wondering what we are going to do. If you have the cash, and can buy votes, more power to you. I have no idea if anyone did anything wrong. But again, it doesnt matter. We have been blessed to be doing well and we have our customers and people like the patch who support local family businesses. I love BBQ, I'm sure they work their butts off, I know we do. And if they win, it will only help them out. So if they did, I don't blame them. This contest has opened my eyes a bit. Live and learn. We are focused on what we do and providing the best experience possible. Our day will come. I'm sure of it. Support all local privately owned businesses. Ours, theirs doesn't matter. I think thats more important than who did what.
de.lish Cheesecake Bakery & Cafe February 02, 2013 at 04:11 AM
Chris, yes there was but it was not teribbly specific. I agree Melisa. To be clear, I have no issues with it. They take the top spot, ill be over there eating and congratulating them. A couple reason we work so hard, one for our customers and the satisfaction and two, for our family. This I am sure is no different over there. Or anywhere. Just trying to get by.
Angela Atkinson (Editor) February 02, 2013 at 04:19 AM
Melissa, this is clearly marked as an opinion piece. You're correct, there's no proof. But the facts remain--and that's all this piece states. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Angela Atkinson (Editor) February 02, 2013 at 04:21 AM
Thanks for sharing your comments, Jeff. I know that many people in and around the Florissant community love your restaurant (myself included), and I think in addition to the awesome food, you and your wife and your friendly attitudes make people want to come back. I think you're looking at this exactly the right way. I believe your day is coming, and soon! :)
Angela Atkinson (Editor) February 02, 2013 at 04:23 AM
I don't know whether the contest specifically states that, but Google considers it cheating. I think in this case it's an ethical question more than anything else.
Angela Atkinson (Editor) February 02, 2013 at 04:24 AM
Steven, I agree with your wife, but I also agree with you on this one.
Angela Atkinson (Editor) February 02, 2013 at 04:26 AM
Kudos Jeff!
Steven Siemsen February 11, 2013 at 06:02 PM
I know the contest is done and over with. But I wanted to make one more comment and ask people to think. This is really more a general thought than a direct comment on this situation. How many contests is it considered allowable to buy votes? What would we all say if the local mayor or governor or POTUS was found to have paid people to vote for him? If you were up for a promotion at work and somebody else got it because they slipped the hiring manager a little something, would we happy about that or approve and walk up and congratulate the guy. I think the answer probably for most people would be no. Please really think about the getting ahead at all costs attitude. Can you really be proud of winning something through cheating? Is that really an accomplishment? Why can't you work your hardest, try your best and let the chips fall were they may? And just because everyone else is doing it is not justification for you to do. Didn't your mom ever ask you, "If all you friend decided to jump off a bridge, would you"?


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