Microsoft's "Web Poll" Patent

  • 6,175,833. This is Microsoft's "Web Poll" patent, entitled "System and method for interactive live online voting with tallies for updating voting results," granted on January 16, 2001 and filed on April 22, 1998. Here is the rather lengthy abstract:

    An online voting system provides a standardized database architecture that integrates editorial and production processes. The voting system has a survey database to store multiple surveys and a server to serve the surveys over a network (e.g., the Internet) to readers. Each survey consists of one or more questions and multiple answer options per question. The voting system includes an authoring tool to permit an editor to construct the surveys. The surveys are stored in a predefined survey index tables. A display handler checks reader requests for pages that contain surveys, to determine whether the reader should receive a voting form or survey results. A vote handler processes votes cast by the readers in response to the surveys. Unique identifiers of voters who respond to the surveys are collected in a votes table. This table is checked when each vote is received to prevent readers from voting multiple times for a single survey. The vote handler tallies the votes cast for the answer options in a totals table. The survey index table also has fields to hold voting results for corresponding survey questions and answer options. The vote handler periodically updates these fields with the totals kept in the totals table. This update is automatic without intervention from the editors. The same index table holds the information to present the survey questions (to first time readers) and to show the results to the survey (to readers who have cast a vote). Over time, the editor may remove one or more questions or the entire survey from the survey index table. The surveys are archived, along with all of the voting data from the three tables, in persistent storage. After archival, the voting data for the removed surveys is automatically deleted from all three tables.

    Analysis of Microsoft's "Web Poll" Patent

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