There's been a bit of confusion recently about what's up with all the RateItAll accounts beginning with "MS" or "FB" that occasionally show up on the Hottest Reviewers section of the home page.
This is related to the feature that we recently launched for MySpace and Facebook that allow folks to read and write reviews from their MySpace account, as well as to take compatibility tests.
The short version is that users with an "MS" user name are folks who have not explicitly joined RateItAll.com, but are using the site's functionality via MySpace. Similiarly, folks with an "FB" user name are people that have not explicitly joined RateItAll.com, but are using our functionality via Facebook.
If somebody who is not logged into RateItAll.com adds our feature on Facebook or MySpace, we automatically create a RateItAll account for them starting with "FB" or "MS." Existing RateItAll members should make sure to merge their RateItAll / MySpace or RateItAll / Facebook accounts in order to avoid having two different accounts - to do this, just click the "Merge" tab on the Facebook or MySpace feature.
Recently, a RateItAll reviewer accidentally set up an MS account in addition to his / her RIA account, without merging it with their RateItAll account. This resulted in two different, active accounts on RateItAll. By itself, this is not a TOS violation.
However, some way or another, the RateItAll reviewer's "MS" account then applied more than a thousand "helpful" votes to that same member's RateItAll account. The only way this could have been done was via manual clicking of the helpful button on each review. It probably took a long time.
And because we have IP tracking, we know that the vote giver and vote receiver were operating off of the same Internet connection - in this case, the RateItAll reviewer's home.
This is where we run into trouble. While accidentally creating duplicate accounts via MySpace or Facebook is totally understandable, using this dual account status to pad your account with helpful votes is not.
As a rule, I don't like to make disciplinary discussions public. But in this particular case, the reviewer involved made some pretty outlandish claims that their account had been "hacked" as part of a conspiracy against them, and that the 1,000+ helpful votes that had been padded onto their account were a result of a glitch in the system.
There is no glitch in the system. The only way to access somebody else's MS account is to know their MySpace.com login. The only way to give another user helpful votes is to manually click the helpful buttons associated with their reviews. And our IP tracking tools leave no doubt as to the fact that the votes were given and received from the same location.
So what's the lesson here? Well, the first one is Please Don't Cheat. Our tools will catch you, and it might be embarrassing. The second one is that if you are using our MySpace and Facebook features, it's probably a good idea to merge accounts so that you are not diluting your reviews over two different accounts.
I hope that helps.