Christopher Lawrence, DJ Dan and The Flash Brothers have been disqualified from DJ Mag's controversial Top 100 DJ poll.
The readers poll, which began accepting votes by email in 1998, decided to put the screws down on any funny business this year by collating the results manually in-house for the first time. In previous years the job was outsourced to a company who collated the results using computer technology.
Publisher James Robertson explains: “This year, I made a decision to investigate votes where the same IP address appeared over 50 times for the same person."
Checking the votes manually has resulted in previous surprise poll favourites Christopher Lawrence and DJ Dan being disqualified for cheating.
“In both their cases, a script was used to bypass our security system,” says Robertson on the DJ Mag website. “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."
Both Lawrence, who placed fourth in last year's poll, and DJ Dan, who placed fifth, deny any involvement in vote rigging. “I take this matter very seriously,” DJ Dan told DJ Mag. “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."
Lawrence’s lawyer Kent Liu issued a statement: “My clients are willing to declare under oath that they themselves did not purchase or use a script, nor did they instruct any person in their employ to do so."
Voting irregularities also plagued poll regulars Israelis The Flash Brothers, up 43 places last year, who blame "friends and family" for the 1300 votes detected from the same IP address.
In a statement to DJ Mag, they said: “It appears that some of our friends and family simply wanted to surprise us at all costs and help our cause. We certainly do not condone such behaviour. We feel very distraught about this whole affair. We accept full responsibility for this affair but are quite adamant it boils down to sheer stupidity and oversight.”
Other cheats include Chinese unknown DJ Tiesmi, who fessed up that he had hired a software engineer to create a script that would bypass the voting security system. A second Chinese DJ named Yutise, who has appeared on the same bills as Tiesmi, denied any allegations of cheating, explaining that his mountains of votes must be due to his crazed fans cheating on his behalf.
Meanwhile keen Hong Kong DJ Erick Junior shot to third position in the poll after four days of continuous voting-rigging. He too has been disqualified.
DJ Mag's closely watched Top 100 Poll is used by many promoters internationally as a barometer of a DJ's popularity and therefore booking potential. But with DJs running campaigns for votes, and the results failing to reflect what is actually happening out in the clubs, even winning DJs have misgivings about the poll. "It's the most ridiculous thing that's ever penetrated our scene," Sander Kleinenberg told the website Transfuzion. "Don't forget that the only people that vote in these things are 19-year-old spotty guys."
And their families and marketing managers, it seems.