Thoughts On Cheaters? - Also Scrobbled "10 hours from now"?

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I'm interested to hear your thoughts on users that cheat their Scrobbles. My position was always: "Well they're only ruining it for themselves, this website is all about stats and cheating them defeats the purpose of having an account."

However over the years I've seen a lot of users with hundreds of thousands of Scrobbles for certain artists, which damages the overall stats for that artist. I'm just curious to see if it's an issue that's being dealt with or if this is more of an "oh it doesn't really matter" sort of thing.

Since the new website launch it looks like you can now have over 1,000,000 Scrobbles logged on your account. I recently stumbled across one account that always seems to be the current listener on most artist pages I visit. They have 4,256,821 total Scrobbles, averaging 2849 tracks per day (that's around 180hrs each day). Also I've noticed that their Recent Tracks always show as future Scrobbles - for example "10 hours from now".  Here's their account: http://www.last.fm/user/sl_bg

Just interested to know if people see cheaters as a problem or not.
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James Joul

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Posted 4 years ago

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BritasticUK

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I agree with you that cheaters only ruin if for themselves, I mean, this site is for stats and their stats are mostly or all fake and worthless. Over-inflated artist stats are an issue though (people who have millions and millions of plays for a certain artist/band). 

I used to get the '10 hours from now' thing though if my iPod was set to a different timezone.

Although the one million cap being gone is good, if this site is still around in 10 years or so everyone can keep their accounts ;)
(Edited)
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gworley

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So am I a cheater? My other half's iPod is sync'ed with my iTunes which then sync's the new scobbles with last.fm? Plus the way that iPod sobbling works as if I play a track 10 times even if it is on different days when the iPod is hooked up to the computer via USB port and sync's with iTunes these 10 plays of the same song show up as all bring played on the same day at the same time. last.fm will show that tack by artist played at 10:30 am on 9/28/2015 10 times - not a cheater. Since my other half knows nothing about computers let alone scobbling to last.fm too me it isn't cheating.

The account above probably is a cheater.
(Edited)
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James Joul

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I'm not calling you a cheater. I do not own an iPod and was simply interested in finding an explanation, as I've never seen "X hours from now" on a user's profile before.
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gworley

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Thanks I actually have 3 iPods (including the one that my other half listens to)... one of them I place audio books on and have it set to not scobble at all.

I had it done once to me when it was showing that my scobbles were done 5 hours (if I remember correctly) from now. I left my computer's time zone as Central Daylight Savings Time (CDT), the time zone in which I live and was in Germany. So if you don't change your computer's time zone, last.fm thinks you are still in your time zone yet your scobbling from another time zone and things get a little messed up.`

Also on my iPod once I didn't notice it until I scrobbled but the time was wrong -- the day was right but the time was 5 hours ahead of where it should have been meaning that tracks that played just minutes before I sync'ed with iTunes were saying that they were played in the future.

If you want your scobbles to be recorded as being accurate one needs to make sure time zones and the correct time is set on your devices.
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utahman1971

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Don't use an ipod, solution solved. Use an Android.
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James Joul

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Ok so it looks like the profile I linked above may not be cheating as Jon, a Last.fm staff member, posted that this specific account uses a "network of soundleisure jukeboxes". So that's good! I can't edit my OP though, so this'll have to go here.

However there are still cheaters out there damaging statistics.
(Edited)
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Jon, Community & Customer Services

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Yes, that account seems to be linked to a network of jukeboxes. :) Nevertheless, the team are looking into the best way to tackle this without penalising genuine scrobblers.
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Alan Stuart

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I find it a bit creepy that almost every artist I'm scrobbling is also being scrobbled at the same time by this account. I seriously was beginning to think I was being stalked.
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Raphael

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I used to let music playing overnight while I was sleeping... lol
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Raphael

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People cheat anyway so we should be able to scrobble interludes
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stella

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tomorrow I will probably have 65000 scrobbles a day when I change account </3
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Elliot Robinson

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This is a tough one because it kind of is the cheating user who's ruining it for themselves - although it does also throw into question the accuracy of scrobble stats for an artist or album. The main problem is decyphering the genuine vs false scrobbles.

Some of my listening stats may be a bit dodgy looking to an outsider (time stamp wise), because over the years I've been trying to clean up my library and improve the scrobbling accuracy with Last FM's database, so have sometimes deleted and re-scrobbled things under the right track or album name using a couple of different methods. However, they've always been matched with the actual play counts contained within my iTunes library, so the net playcount values are genuine even if the time stamps may look a bit screwy.

@Raphael You can't really account for this particular factor, although playing music while you're asleep is arguably not genuine scrobbling at its heart since you're not actively listening to and appreciating it - even though technically you may still "hear" it. I suppose at least you say you "used to" do this, so that's a good thing ;) I second your suggestion that we should be able to scrobble interludes too.

It would be nice if fake scrobblers could be dealt with but I imagine it would actually be very difficult to implement correctly apart from glaring abusers. Maybe we could have a "Flag User" option on profiles, with options like "scrobbling abuse" and "shoutbox/inbox/forum spamming"? That way, Last FM staff can look into individual accounts on a case-by-case basis, and it also means there are actual and many human eyes making judgments rather than a cold and potentially inaccurate piece of coding to detect problematic users.
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garynotrashcoug

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I bookmarked this thread some time back and meant to respond, but I'm only now getting around to it. Last.fm cheaters have always been a source of morbid fascination for me, maybe because I've always enjoyed prowling around the dark corners of Last.fm. 

McKillaboy used to maintain a database of suspected cheaters, based on users who utilized his badge service, using the criteria that if your average listened tracks a day is above 500 you are considered a cheater. 

I've also encountered other variously amusing examples. Between 15 Nov 2009 and 8 Dec 2012 arranger1044 acquired 1,000,000 plays. But that's not all! These plays were all for the same track: Here To There by Michael Nyman from The Piano soundtrack. Aside from the fact that he only listened to one track for three years straight, he would have had to listen to it an average of 913 times a day to achieve this. 

Another user I was highly amused by it: RodStasick (who has since either deleted his account or been banned). By the time I'd discovered him in June of 2013 he'd only been on Last.fm for 8 months managed to rack up 350767 plays for an average of 1271 tracks per day. Considering that there are only 1440 minutes in a day, he must have either edited every MP3 he owns down to one minute in length or he was scrobbling from multiple sources at one time. 

There's AlKl who has 729,705 plays for NOFX alone. Sounds legitimate to me.

And last but not least, the legendary Audrizzle. Probably Last.fm's earliest and most well-known cheater. She's long since reset her library, though there was some speculation that her account was hacked in the first place. Digging way back into her shoutbox, it seems one other users PMed her about her cheating and got the response "suck it", so maybe not? I used to speculate that maybe it wasn't even her in the first place, but someone she knew trolling her or something. Some kind of inside joke? 

It used to be the case that there was a scrobble limit per day. You could scrobble around 2880 tracks in 24 hours. If you reached that limit, your ability to scrobble tracks would be blocked for 12 hours. Since they lifted the 1 million cap on scrobble, I wonder if the daily scrobble limit has changed as well?
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Alex _

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I think, what 2880 tracks is too much, how about 750? In practice I could never reach the level of higher than 350. if even you do not sleep for days and listen to music in non-stop. I think this is an extreme level, even for the most obsessed music lovers.
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garynotrashcoug

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It does seem excessive, though there are some profiles for internet radio stations as well as the aforementioned jukebox scrobbling account which will have high scrobble counts.

As for individual "active listeners"; let's say you listen to nothing but grindcore. Figure the average song length is 1 minute for certain types of GC (grind-noise, mincecore, etc). If you sleep 8 hours a night, take a bath instead of a shower and listen to music non-stop, that leaves you with an average of 960 legitimate plays a day. You could hit 1000000 in just under three years, but it's still quite a stretch.

I've encountered profiles on Last.fm which have been active since 2003 or 2004 and have a million plays (or nearly so), which seems a bit more legitimate.
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mais5minutos

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well, he dont need to crop every mp3 file... just use universal scrobbler
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con

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Assuming one sleeps, showers and eats, say leaving 14-15 hours of listening time consuming the rest of one’s day, that equals about 15 radio length tracks an hour, why would someone listening to that much music (200+ tracks consuming the entire day) be worried about cheaters?

What does cheating accomplish anyway, are people having a contest? That seems lame if so, but a million why? Station perhaps loves it, makes them seem more listened to.

seems silly 
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Elliot Robinson

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why would someone listening to that much music (200+ tracks consuming the entire day) be worried about cheaters?
I don't think it's particularly a case of being "worried", it's just lame and the users are effectively abusing the system, which at its heart aims to be an accurate record of users' listening habits.

What does cheating accomplish anyway, are people having a contest?

For some people, they surely are - those demented "Stans" who want to have the most scrobbles for their favourite artist, like it carries some sort of cachet amongst their fellow fans. Remember, we live in a world where people think it's an achievement to have the first comment on a page by simply saying "First". People all over the world and throughout time, are, have been, and will continue to be morons.
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con

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Actually, I am here causing trouble because of the update crap, but I saw a million (& who wrote it) -  and thought why?

How does one get 1,000 a day? Even 300 @ below even would suggest you live next to a media player, what is it @ 50% of track must play?

But if you notice on the artist pages they total the listens of each track to get total number of ”listeners” - aka - lairs math, so the station must love cheaters - eh? (they are cheaters :/)

Meritocracy live right next to the nation who refined the book on it.

this is a great text, well for me,  I read in it college, while you are hitting those next buttons @ below you also - its a hmmmm never looked at that way read, scholary work - http://www.amazon.com/American-Edition-Messner-Rosenfeld-Paperback/dp/B009O2J2ZY
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von Nachtmahr

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Never understand what is cool about having 300+ scrobbles a day... only that it is obvious that they aren't really listening to the music. 
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con

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I don't know what to say?
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Alex _

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There is nothing to say. Yeah it's not cool, it is not fashionable. This is an unusual state of soul, when everything is not important in this world.

I'm just sitting at home for years and listening to the music until i die.
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von Nachtmahr

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It's not about listening a Song or a Band again and again and again for hours. I'm doing that sometimes too. It's more about people that have 300 + scrobbles a day like this: 

http://www.last.fm/user/Wichssocke/library?from=2014-09-28&rangetype=1day

35 songs in half a hour? For what is his good? That has nothing to do with LISTENING to musc. 
(Edited)
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Rozalyn Leslie

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@Alex_ I so understand what you are talking about I'm in the same boat with you about being at home and listening to music all the time.
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Alex _

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:)
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twinke

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(*stick) 1,278 per day "We were ready with the update on Tuesday as we promised.
However" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oFoPhXsgAY
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mais5minutos

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having 1,000,000 scrobbles from a single artist do not screw the charts... because they only count unique listeners, not plays
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James Joul

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mais5minutos

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compare with lana del rey, is almost equivalent the plays and total scrobbles

and cheating only affect total scrobbles, not the charts... but i agree that the staff should do something about it
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James Joul

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I doubt cheaters really make much of an impact. I created this thread because I was interested in what other people thought about the subject and hoped that I might gain some insight into why people do it. It's also interesting to theorize how you might identify or deal with someone abusing the system.

You could also argue that Last.fm is a website devoted to stats, and if the stats are incorrect then what's the point in having them?

It's not something that really bothers me. I just find it fascinating. 
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Elliot Robinson

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Indeed, people who cheat their listening stats seem rather pathetic. I imagine most of them are quite young.
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Clemente96

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sometimes i delete and re-scrobble some tracks because they were wrong, getting ~300 scrobbles in a single hour... this mess the timestamp but is in the name of organization haha... i usually listen to ~90 tracks per day
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Elliot Robinson

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Oh, I sometimes re-organise scrobbles too, like if I've labelled them inaccurately, but cheaters on Last FM seem to be more habitual offenders.
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Jess Parkins

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Personally, I don't mind cheaters. The only time they've really bothered me is when they made it into the 'Top Listeners' section on the old website, as if they were thought they were competing in some sort of competition. Stupid, really.
For the last three months of 2014 I had barely any internet access, and I painstakingly screenshotted (is that a word?) every track I listened to and manually submitted them via Universal Scrobbler. In a matter of a few days I'd accumulated over 5000 scrobbles, over 2000 of which were for Spoon alone, so I ended up in the 'Top Listeners' and got terrified people thought I was a cheater. So, err... keep an open mind I guess.

Also, I have stalked the profiles of seen profiles (though few) that legitimately have over 100k scrobbles for a single artist. It's hard to fathom, but there are people like that out there.
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Alex _

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I found a new cheater http://www.last.fm/ru/user/Carpe4Diem/library?rangetype=1day&page=1&from=2013-02-21

He cuts all tracks to 0:30 and played album nirvana in a row, i checked tracks, they have actual lenght 2:20 - 2:40, etc.
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Rozalyn Leslie

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what about this person? http://www.last.fm/user/ChrisAvenger
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Jon, Community & Customer Services

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I'm closing this discussion because it's starting to encourage a witch-hunt mentality which is not acceptable on our customer support forums. Please re-familiarise yourselves with our Community Guidelines and Terms of Use, if you are in any doubt about what is and isn't allowed on Last.fm.  

We have considered setting rate limits on scrobbling to mitigate extreme / impossible scrobbling (i.e. bots, scripts, client/submission errors), and we may implement this later in the year.  However, at an individual level, this is not something we'll be enforcing through moderation. 

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