UPDATE: American Idol officially announces online voting today.

For the first time ever, AMERICAN IDOL will allow viewers to vote for their favorite contestants online at americanidol.com. Sponsored by AT&T, online voting begins immediately after the first performance show airing Tuesday, March 1 (8:00-9:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. In addition to online voting, fans will continue to be able to vote via toll-free phone lines, as well as unlimited text-message votes for AT&T wireless customers during the voting window (standard text-messaging rates may apply).

To vote online during the voting window, fans should visit americanidol.com and follow the directions. Fans will be required to log in using their Facebook account to access the AMERICAN IDOL voting page, which will feature the name and photo of each of the current contestants. To vote, fans will simply choose their favorite contestant, complete the security verification and submit their choice. After each performance show and during the online voting window, fans may cast up to 50 total online votes for that evening’s performances. Only fans with a registered Facebook account in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be able to cast their vote(s) online.

American Idol online voting is coming, people! Via Entertainment Weekly.

The Fox hit will soon announce that it’s adding online voting for the first time, sources tell EW. Here are the details: Users will be able to use their Facebook accounts to reach a dedicated Idol voting page that will include all the current contestants. Each fan will be able to vote 50 times during a telecast’s voting period. Viewers will still be able to vote via text messaging and toll-free phone calls as well.

Online voting, is expected to go into effect during the first performance show, featuring the guys, airing on Tuesday, March 1.

Simon Cowell recently announced that X Factor voting will also be available online.

 
  • gangreen29

    This isn’t a drop in the bucket of votes, but it helps more people feel involved in the process.

  • Elliegrll

    Teaming with Facebook is a great marketing coup, especially after there were reports that Simon Cowell was trying to work out a deal with that site. I expect to see a lot of adds on FB promoting AI.

  • tripp_ncwy

    I can see the number of new Facebook accounts increasing X-times during idol this year.

  • lili_anne7

    Simon is trying to do the same thing for X-factor, but it looks like Idol beat him to the punch. I’m glad they are limiting the votes though.

  • tinawina

    Well, maybe I’ll vote more often now.

  • koshka

    Ugh. All hopes dashed for me. I don’t need AI invading my facebook page.

  • Incipit

    Tricksy. I don’t belong to that social site, and this isn’t going to change my mind – but these exclusive partnerings (like texting with AT&T, or selling digital tracks on iTunes) certainly provide a captive market…even one that allows for an unknown amount of demographic modeling and stat collecting.

  • tripp_ncwy

    Elliegrll, ITA about the marketing. How many times does Ryan mention Ford & AT&T during a show?

  • bjames

    Genius. This will boost Facebook membership AND get people talking about Idol where it counts most (social networking). And yay for a voting limit!

  • emmuzka

    I wonder if they plan to let only Americans to vote.

    Also, this could end up with an example how a person with great social media skills can effect the vote without hacking or other scamming: You’ll just get your 500 closest friends and your 500 friends on whatever fan site, and all their friends too, to vote for someone.

    Before this it was “how many times do I manage to vote for my contestant?” Now it will be “How many people will I manage to get to vote for my contestant?”

  • http://emuisemo.pbworks.com eilonwy

    Before this it was “how many times do I manage to vote for my contestant?” Now it will be “How many people will I manage to get to vote for my contestant?”

    If one’s friends are willing to vote primarily because they’ve checked out the contestant’s music and like it (hint, Idol: Youtube channel!), this is not necessarily a bad thing.

    Friends who do it for brownies, booze, pizza, sexual favors, or because they really, really, really enjoy clicking buttons… maybe not so good.

  • Valentin432

    Two good news:
    The voting online will be via facebook which is a great promoting tool for the show and this will make some people vote who weren’t normally going to.
    It’s the first time AI has put a limit on the number of votes, of course it’ll be way better if they did the same for phone calls and texts.

    I wonder if they will make this an american thing only. It could potentially help Thia if inhabitants from the Phillipines could vote too.

  • Cari

    genius marketing! Although, like with any online voting system, people will find ways to manipulate it and spam on votes. ugh.

  • cheese

    This sounds great to me. I don’t have AT&T, it’s embarrassing to be caught voting by phone, and I probably wouldn’t want to vote more than 50 times for anyone anyway. This might result in more teen voters, so it could equal more votes for the producers’ favorite 15 yr. old.

  • standtotheright

    I wonder what the status update will look like on the feed: If it’s just “Sarah Roberts voted for American Idol!” then there’s no specific social pressure. If it’s “Sarah Roberts voted for [Spoiler Contestant Here] on American Idol!” that could potentially change some voting patterns (“Well, I really liked Contestant X, but all my friends thought Contestant Y was really good…okay, sure, throw her a couple of votes”). Hmm.

    Doesn’t make any difference to me, as I rarely vote, but I might see it pop up on my feed.

  • Silent Screams

    What would prevent someone from registering a bunch of accounts and using them to vote? Will they keep track of IP addresses?

  • Aileen

    This is genius and a way for AI to know the exact demographics, interests, etc. of the voting viewers. Am I wrong to assume that Facebook will be sharing all the demographic info with AI?

  • http://www.twilightslo.com Mateja

    I think multiple Facebook accounts are not allowed.

  • sma11ie

    This is awesome. I can’t think of a single con. Just win-win-win for everyone. Facebook is not like Twitter or Myspace where people tend to have slews of fake/alternate accounts. Compared with those other kinds of social media, Facebook seems to have much closer to a “1-to-1” ratio of “real live human to each account (promotion accounts aside)—that’s my impression from everyone I know, anyway. So we have mostly real people with limited votes, helping AI spread the word to their friends using the biggest social network phenomenon in the world. And we also have Idol superfans who MUST vote as much as possible, in every way possible for their faves, now signing up for new accounts, helping Facebook expand into a potentially not previously heavily represented demographic. Win-win, this partnership.

    Ugh. All hopes dashed for me. I don’t need AI invading my facebook page.

    That’s how a lot of people will feel, particularly the “closet” AI fanatics like myself, LOL. I know I won’t be voting via Facebook (to be fair, I rarely vote ANYWAY)—heck, I’ve refrained from “liking” any companies even with promise of tons of freebies, contests, etc. so I’m not about to let AI invade—but I know not everyone feels that way. I think it’ll all work out fine in the balance.

  • BootStar

    Why are they limiting the voting on FB when they don’t limit it anywhere else?

  • sma11ie

    Why are they limiting the voting on FB when they don’t limit it anywhere else?

    Because it’s Internet voting.

  • larc

    nvm

  • platoken

    This is a great idea! I can see it already…event invitations to “Vote for Lauren Alaina!”

  • Hazehel

    I wonder if they plan to let only Americans to vote.

    They should, the show is not called World Idol. I can only imagine the uproar if the whole country of the Philippines decides to vote for Thia. Jasmine Trias only had Hawaii and she managed to get to Top 3 despite being just so-so, Thia would win the crown of American Idol if she has the backing of the Philippines.

  • mickeybordentwo

    I can see this increasing the number of votes, and maybe the number of people who vote, but I doubt it will have much effect on the number of people who watch AI, and I doubt even more strongly that it will have any effect on the number of people who buy Idolette CDs.

    Actually, now that I think about it, I’m not all that sure it will affect the total vote count, since possibly someone who has voted 50 times online may not bother to text or phone in votes.

    I don’t see it as a game changer.

  • connie0128

    Mateja:
    02/23/2011 at 2:56 pm
    I think multiple Facebook accounts are not allowed.

    My secretary has three different FB accounts on her laptop – uses different email addresses and variations of her name for each one. So it can easily be done.

  • johanna

    I wonder also how they are going to control the voting from foreigners. I have being voting since the beginning on ABC DWTS and I am in Canada.

    Also years ago with some people we were voting on a fun voting site using Facebook accounts as you could vote only every 20 minutes we had like 20 Facebook accounts each. Maybe I should reactivate some of them. LOL

  • chicksineggz

    I feel like this won’t have any effect on the actual results, besides upping the overall vote total. People can still call/text as many times as possible. I don’t know, I probably won’t take advantage of this. Unless I can submit all 50 votes at once.

  • sma11ie

    My secretary has three different FB accounts on her laptop – uses different email addresses and variations of her name for each one. So it can easily be done.

    No offense, but she sounds like a weirdo. I mean… why? I think she’s in the definite minority. Most people on FB are real people- when the whole thing started, it was just real college students from certain schools with valid .edu addresses who could sign up. The whole “real people” aspect of FB was what’s always made it less creepy than other social media, where people can hide behind fake identity, anonymity.

    ETA: guess johanna knows a lot of people with multiple accounts, too, so it must not be that rare! Guess that’s a corner of the FB universe I’m not familiar with– the one where fake people hang out =P.

  • Marie Ruffin

    OHN — voting 50 times? There needs to be some better control on the voting.

  • lili_anne7

    I think it will be a minority of voters who will go through the trouble to make 20 facebook accounts. I don’t even know if I would vote 50 times for a contestant, maybe in the finale if I was invested in someone, but that’s it.

  • glambotgram

    Well I don’t have AT&T I don’t do Facebook. Why can’t they just let anyone text to vote or anyone vote online. I hate exclusivity arrangements that cut out so many people.

  • bmms

    This isn’t a drop in the bucket of votes, but it helps more people feel involved in the process

    Agree.

  • Nina1

    I hate exclusivity arrangements that cut out so many people.

    Me, too. People should just be able to do it on line. One thing is for sure, I wouldn’t go back on FB to vote for this – and when I was on FB I tried to tout Crystal. Didn’t much work.

  • BootStar

    Because it’s Internet voting.

    I must be daft because I still don’t get why someone can vote 5,000 times by text but only 50 times via FB. Is it because there’s no money to be made off the FB votes?

  • johanna

    Most celebs and public figures have at least 2 Facebook accounts. One set to Private for close friends and family and another one for fans.

    Some people have hundreds of people as friends on their Facebook accounts and one post on their account reaches all of them in a matter of minutes, so people that even don’t watch Idol will be able to vote.

    Voters are not always buyers anyway, if they were everybody on AI that had a record deal would have a Platinum album so nothing will change for AI. As in the past, I will keep on voting with my money buying ITunes songs, videos and albums from the people I like even if they don’t make Top 10.

  • ParticleHustler

    The first performance show is now March 8th, right? The March 2nd and 3rd shows are now a continuation of teh Green Mile episode, aren’t they? Or is that not official yet?

  • gangreen29

    The first performance show is now March 8th, right? The March 2nd and 3rd shows are now a continuation of teh Green Mile episode, aren’t they? Or is that not official yet?

    No, March 1st and 2nd are the first performance shows. March 3rd is the first elimination show. March 8th is the first week of the top 13. The green mile episode was extended into tonights Vegas episode, not next week.

  • http://emuisemo.pbworks.com eilonwy

    I must be daft because I still don’t get why someone can vote 5,000 times by text but only 50 times via FB. Is it because there’s no money to be made off the FB votes?

    Texting is limited to what a human can get a phone to send in a given period of voting time.

    Electronic voting, left unfettered, has no such inherent limitations. A good computer program can submit hundreds of thousands of votes in under a second. So one has to put some voting limit on online voting to eliminate really big efforts at automated votes.

  • Silent Screams

    I think it would be possible for an organized group of fans to take advantage of the Facebook voting system. Let’s say that 10 fans each register 100 accounts on Facebook, and vote 50 times with each account during the two hour window. That’s 50,000 votes from 10 people. 100 dedicated fans could cast half a million votes, more than enough to influence the results.

  • MaryS-NJ

    Bootstar:

    I must be daft because I still don’t get why someone can vote 5,000 times by text but only 50 times via FB. Is it because there’s no money to be made off the FB votes?

    I don’t know how many US-based AT&T Wireless subscribers have text messaging packages, but I do know that there are something like 500 Million FaceBook members (worldwide). If even a sizable fraction of those are in the US and eligible to vote for Idol contestants by FaceBook, that’s a huge potential increase in votes even if it’s limited to 50 a piece. Maybe that’s what would keep it manageable.

    eilonwy:
    02/23/2011 at 4:43 pm

    Texting is limited to what a human can get a phone to send in a given period of voting time.

    Electronic voting, left unfettered, has no such inherent limitations. A good computer program can submit hundreds of thousands of votes in under a second. So one has to put some voting limit on online voting to eliminate really big efforts at automated votes.

    Yeah, why she (he?) said better than I did.

  • BootStar

    Electronic voting, left unfettered, has no such inherent limitations. A good computer program can submit hundreds of thousands of votes in under a second. So one has to put some voting limit on online voting to eliminate really big efforts at automated votes.

    But you can send phone texts from your PC, so why couldn’t a computer program be rigged to submit thousands of text votes? I guess I just don’t get why they decided to limit to such a small number of FB votes, but they state no limit on other forms of voting. Of course, we have no idea how many votes get thrown out every season by folks “power voting.” Maybe they gladly take your money but throw out your votes if you text more than 50 times for one contestant. Wouldn’t that be a hoot!

    ETA: Although MaryS-NJ’s explanation makes sense. I thought voting was “limited to the US” though. How many US Facebook users are there?

    ETA2: Does anybody here use Dial Idol? How many votes can one place with that program? It advertises itself as “free & safe software you can use to speed dial votes for your favorite contestants.”

  • http://emuisemo.pbworks.com eilonwy

    But you can send phone texts from your PC, so why couldn’t a computer program be rigged to submit thousands of text votes?

    Aha. I didn’t know that. I wonder if it’s easier to put some mechanical restriction on that without mentioning it — or possibly just throw out entire blocks of votes that arrive too quickly from one phone number. (But I also like MaryS-NJ’s answer better than mine.)

    ETA2: Does anybody here use Dial Idol? How many votes can one place with that program? It advertises itself as “free & safe software you can use to speed dial votes for your favorite contestants.

    Dial Idol still has to negotiate a handshake with the physical phone system so that the voting line picks up, which slows things down a lot. The one year that I voted with any vigor (by phone, using pre-programmed numbers and redial), I also set up my parents’ computer with Dial Idol (at their request, and “honor thy mother and father” is a commandment, right?). I was surprised that it managed maybe 15% more calls than I did. I’d expected a much larger gap, which was why I was keeping track of how many votes I could manage by hand. (That’d be one hand, the other being used to run my laptop so I could read something interesting.)

  • Tristessa

    I wonder if they plan to let only Americans to vote.

    I sort of hope it’s not limited to American IPs. I’m half American and grew up in the US, but now live in Europe. If I’m willing to stay up occasionally to watch the live feed, I’d like to be able to vote.

  • Tristessa

    And about the FB vote limit.. I used to work in marketing, and have seen plenty of examples of outsourcing projects to create x-number of Facebook (or other site) accounts for various reasons. For as little as $10, it would be possible to get someone to make 100 accounts and vote from all of them. Sometimes entire companies create accounts for marketers. It’s really easy to take advantage of anything like that online.

    ..which I guess would be a reason to limit it to the US.

  • MaryS-NJ

    Please correct me if I’m wrong (some nice techie person out there) but aren’t individual computer IP addresses logged to a particular country or location? Couldn’t the vote counters tell where the FB votes are coming from based on the location of the computer to ensure that only US voters are participating?

  • Tristessa

    This is just an example, but normally, people outside of the UK can’t access BBC’s TV through their i-Player. There’s an easy workaround though, by connecting through a proxy server located in the UK. While the free proxies wouldn’t really be suitable, they are commercially available (like a monthly internet cost), or can be set up by a computer-savvy friend with a good connection. There are ways to check for proxy servers, but I’m not sure how it would be done through Facebook. I only know the basics, maybe someone else actually works with computers..

  • fanaround

    We don’t live in the US right now, but my husband and I work for a US company. When I’m on my computer at work, I have a US IP address (I could, for example, watch MJ’s video of Adam on the Talk) but when I am at home, I have a local service and I could not watch those same videos. At home my facebook page has local ads and at work it has US ads. I am pretty sure I would be able to vote from work. I’m pretty sure proxies also do this but tech people will know better. If proxies do the same thing, knowing how big the show is in the philippines, I think this will help Thia if she gets to the voting rounds.

    Edit: There were also instructions on fan boards for both Kris and Adam on how to use proxy telephone servers to dial in votes from abroad. I never tried it. I didn’t live abroad before then so people may also have been doing that for years. It’s just that facebook is probably easier to deal with than the dial up services.

  • tinawina

    I’m totally voting this way. Much easier.

  • TwigLA

    What would prevent someone from registering a bunch of accounts and using them to vote? Will they keep track of IP addresses?

    There is really nothing preventing that. I know quite a few people who play facebook games and have multiple accounts because you can’t advance without enough partner players.

    Overseas and power voting goes back way before Season 8, btw. Also goes back to before AT&T was the sponsor. It used to be Cingular.

    I’ll be more apt to vote via facebook. I don’t text and I hate dialing in and the busy signals.

  • just sayin

    I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I can assure you that I am not putting my American Idol crazy on my facebook account.

    My friends would think I had lost it if I had 50 votes for someone on AI.

    Yes, my AI nuttiness is in the closet, and I’m keeping it that way. :)

  • primeminister

    I’m totally voting this way. Much easier.

    Me too…but only if I end up liking a contestant enough. In my years of watching Idol, I’ve only voted for Jason Castro, David Cook in the finals, and Jesse Langseth in the semis.

    I just hope I don’t have to ‘like’ the American Idol facebook page and that my votes won’t show up on my newsfeed. I don’t want to broadcast to all my friends in college that I watch the show, much less vote! heh.

  • jersey

    I’m with just sayin’. I’ll keep my American Idol fandom under wraps by texting my votes. I have unlimited texts so I’m good!

  • tinawina

    I just hope I don’t have to ‘like’ the American Idol facebook page and that my votes won’t show up on my newsfeed. I don’t want to broadcast to all my friends in college that I watch the show, much less vote! heh.

    My friends all know I watch the show but I think if actual voting showed up on their feeds they would think I was crazy. LOL They better have the option not to post this to your page. :D

  • starstruck2000

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm…..so anyone eligible can vote 50 times on-line. People who text message can still vote hundreds of times. I hope that my favourite’s fanbase has more people into text messaging then on-line voting or they won’t last long in the competition.

  • BootStar

    I wonder how many closet Idol fans will appear on my newsfeed! There’s no way in HELL I’m using FB if it’s made public. :-D

  • bmms

    This isn’t a drop in the bucket of votes, but it helps more people feel involved in the process.

    Exactly. :-)

  • just sayin

    There’s no way in HELL I’m using FB if it’s made public.

    I’m with you on this. If it’s NOT made public, it will be the first facebook thing ever and I’d be really surprised. Anything you do on fb (besides private messages) is put out there.

    Like I said, I’m sticking to my private texting.

  • GreenHippo

    this is the option for me :)
    I don’t have AT&T and can only call in, so my other option is now FB. DWTS and Live to dance posted on your FB only once, and only if you allowed it. I am sure there will be an option no to post.

  • http://mjsbigblog.com/luvadamlamberts-american-idol-tour-2009-washington-dc-re-cap.htm luvadamlambert

    Cool

  • Grammie Kari

    My Facebook friends know I am a fan, but I use my real name, and I would prefer to keep this private. So, will our names show when we vote? If so, I won’t be doing it.

  • tinawina

    I’m with you on this. If it’s NOT made public, it will be the first facebook thing ever and I’d be really surprised. Anything you do on fb (besides private messages) is put out there.

    Naw, there’s almost always an option not to post something to your wall. Maybe you have to search for it, but it is usually there somewhere.