I’ve been hearing about bloggers faking their stats for about 6 months now but it didn’t occur to me that brands do it as well, until now. Companies have been sussed manipulating their social media rankings on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube by paying ‘click farms’ based in Daka Bangladesh. It only costs a few dollars for their pages to get thousands of likes, follows and views. The people working in these offices have thousands of fake accounts they constantly log in and out of all night, so several thousands likes can be obtained in a 2-3 hours!
Now, ethically I think this is a pretty shitty thing to do as it can make other contending brands/blogs look they are failing in comparison. Personally I wouldn’t ever do it for the two reasons: I would feel like I was just cheating myself and waisting all the hard work I’ve put into my blog. Secondly and more importantly, you are basing every relationship you have, be it with brands or other bloggers or your career in some cases, on a total lie.
From a legal stand point it can also come under false branding/advertising, as many people look at how popular a page is to gage if they can trust it or not. I’ve looked for a page on facebook and several have come up with very similar names so I’ve followed the one that’s got thousands of followers as that’s obviously the official page, right? Not necessarily the case. I will be paying sites a lot more attention before I follow them or give them my details for competitions etc.
A documentary by Dispatches called Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans will explore this and other new online trends.
It’s on tonight on channel 4 at 8:00pm