Voting online has never been this easy when you have platforms such as Strawpolls, Facebook contests, or Twitter giveaways to express your opinion on certain things. However, there are question marks that hang over the fairness of these polls to everyone.
These question marks are due to some participants using automated bots, proxies, VPNs, tweaking cookies, and other forms to manipulate the poll results. In this article, you will learn the various tools, including proxies, to automate poll results.
Before I proceed, I would like to provide a word of caution. We never encourage cheating or other malicious acts when you’re engaged in online polls. The techniques here show the power of proxies and show the reader the reality of online voting systems.
So without further ado, Let’s jump in.
In the past, you could vote from the same device hundreds of thousands of times. But since this was undoubtedly unfair, poll creators limited the responses from a single IP address. Therefore the major poll websites such as Strawpoll implemented IP duplication checks.
However, tech-savvy Strawpoll users found a way to change their IP addresses using all or some of the following methods.
So now you have a clear overview of how to manipulate the votes by masking your IP address. While it is beyond the scope of this post to explain how to mask your IP address, here is an interesting read where you can learn more about how to do so:
However, I must make it clear that by merely masking your IP address from the methods mentioned above, you”ll not be able to vote an enormous volume of votes. At best, you”ll achieve fewer more votes to your initial vote.
Using residential proxies in conjunction with a Strawpoll bot might be an excellent strategy for generating thousands of votes. Before we get into that, let’s look at some of the technical issues in voting websites that make vote manipulation even simpler.
Although we’re not living in the early days of building web forms such as 2005 or 2006, there might still be novice web developers who built forms with the GET method neglecting the higher levels of risk it involves.
When using the GET method, all the form fields that a user fills will be appended as a query string at the end of the URL. For example, if some website had an online poll and if its forms action attribute is set to process_form.php, then this is how it will append the data:
How can an intelligent tech-savvy voter take advantage of this loophole?
Such a voter would navigate to this URL and click on the refresh icon in the browser tab multiple times. If the website tracks the cookies and IP address, they could delete the cookies and hide the IP address using some of the methods discussed above. Then every click of this refresh icon includes votes. Let’s hope for the best that online polls will never be built in such a manner.
Web forms that do not require you to sign in before you vote often depend upon cookies to verify that you don’t vote more than once. However, an innovative, tech-savvy user would clear the cookies on your computer and resubmit the form. They would repeat this process several times.
Google Chrome has an add-on to remove the cookies from any website.
You can create multiple accounts for some polls that require you to sign in. This method to generate more votes can be a daunting process as it depends on the websites’ mechanisms to authenticate you. Most websites send an email to the user’s inbox to verify themselves with a link to the voting page.
In the below section, you’ll find out how email hacks can help you in such a scenario.
Certain poll websites do not require strict email confirmations. Then users would be able to exploit it in several ways using some email hacks. For instance, if you own a domain, you can create an alias email address for one email account.
On the other hand, users can generate thousands of emails for any Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, or email address with any domain name, adding a “+” symbol after the name just before the “@” symbol.
For example, if you have a Gmail account in the name of email@example.com, then when you’re registering for a poll, you can sign with firstname.lastname@example.org. This would still generate a mail to user James Thoma’s inbox.
Now let’s move on to the exciting bit of how you could generate votes on a large scale using voting bots and proxies.
Using bots in online platforms such as Strawpoll could automate the bot to do some of the voters’ actions. These are the bots signing into an account, then browsing around the poll and clicking on the vote or submit button without being suspicious. They would even like a post without causing doubts in the site administrator’s mind.
However, bot alone would not produce productive results. It would help if you integrated them with proxies, as you shall discover in a forthcoming section. Platforms such as Strawpoll can also ban bots if they find any suspicious activities. Nevertheless, Starwpoll has never been successful at halting the bots entirely. It’s because automation experts have created bots in a way to be unrecognizable from browsers.
On the other hand, when you have a large proxy pool operating with a bot, it’s almost impossible to stop them.
Strawpoll bot is a voting bot for the Strawpoll developed in Python 3. x. They work well on Mac, Windows, and Linux. These voting bots operate on polls such as IP Limitation Checking polls or the polls that limit the participants to one vote by IP address. They also work on No Limitation Checking polls. The only downside is that they are not successful on polls that have captcha protection.
For the bot to start voting on Strawpoll, you need to set up the bot. Some of the prominent bots that you could find on GitHub are MoonfireSeco, Siaperas, or Strawpoll bot by macropandolfo. You can set up the bot on your own. If you’re familiar with the Python programming language, setting up the bot is very convenient. Even those without much programming experience can learn it with ease.
So to set up the bot, you would need the poll id and the target value. Let’s say the URL of the poll that you want your bot to vote on is https://strawpoll.de/text2. Here text2 is the id of the poll. Then to find the target value, you need to right-click the check box you want the bot to vote for. Then find the value that starts with “check”. For instance, check897654, which is the ID of the checkbox.
You now understand what automated vote bots are. Let’s have a look at the different types of proxies you’ll need for online polls.
As I have mentioned numerous times in this article, most polls limit a vote per IP address. Therefore you would need innumerable proxies to vote multiple times. Another reason for using proxies is to bypass the geo-restrictions. Some Strawpoll polls are not available in certain countries, and hence if you reside outside of regions in which Strawpoll is not allowed, you would not be able to vote. However, with a proxy, you would connect to a country where Strawpoll is supported.
Thus the best proxies for online polls would be residential proxies.
The most apparent reason for the choice is that they are the IP addresses of actual residential owners. As a result, the poll website owners will not detect any suspicious activity such as vote manipulation.
Out of the residential proxies, you would need rotating residential proxies, also known as the back-connect rotating proxies. Since you need to vote multiple times, the rotating proxies will conceal your identity behind a proxy pool.
There are also datacenter proxies that are pretty fast. However, a substantial number of polling sites can detect that you’re hiding behind a proxy. On the same token, VPNs might be suitable for one or two automated votes, but the destination websites can easily detect them due to their redundant availability.
Besides, some websites, such as Strawpoll, have a robust VPN detection system.
Also, it would help if you never used public proxies with your bot because the IP address will be shared among several users, and most of them will go offline before switching your bot.
Choosing the right proxy provider is vital for selecting appropriate back-connect rotating proxies. With ProxyScrape, you would be able to select numerous countries worldwide with unlimited concurrent connections with over 7 million IP proxy networks.
Furthermore, with excellent customer support, you’ll benefit immensely. For further unique details, visit our residential proxy page.
Some of the Strawpoll bots that you looked into above have an option for configuring proxies, mainly in the form of a text file. The proxies are in the form of a list as you need to have more than one proxy to vote multiple times. So it would appear that the target website as requests is originating from several users.
After going through this comprehensive article, we hope that you have understood how online voting manipulation works. As stated earlier, our intention is not to teach you some malicious acts but to educate you on the flaws in online voting systems such as Strawpolls.
Therefore we hope that you”ll challenge the credibility of some online voting platforms using bots and proxies rather than break the system by unethical means.
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