Jim Bumgardner explains how he used the command line tool curl and a bit of clever thinking to cheat at foursquare on a massive scale:
At some point last week, I devolved into a 12 year old hacker, and I spent many spare hours (and my computer’s spare cycles) abusing the system with a set of scripts operating fake accounts. Not only did I add new venues like the North Pole, but I started persistently checking into coveted landmarks, like the Statue of Liberty.
What can I say? It was fun, and foursquare’s incentives (badges and mayorships) spurred me on. Incentives invite abuse, even from mild-mannered folks like me.
I wonder if anyone has ever tried to calculate a percentage of the engineering budget that should be allocated in advance to fighting fraud and abuse? The folks at Glitch probably need to figure out what that number is.
Update: Speaking of the incentives to game systems, what happens when you create a system where teacher performance is evaluated based on how students do on standardized tests? Some teachers cheat on the tests on behalf of their students. Testing companies have developed a system that can detect this kind of cheating by evaluating erased answers.