Don’t believe those “Likes.”

They are more of what George Smith calls the “Culture of Lickspittle.”

. . . an Associated Press examination has found a growing global marketplace for fake clicks, which tech companies struggle to police. Online records, industry studies and interviews show companies are capitalizing on the opportunity to make millions of dollars by duping social media.

For as little as a half cent each click, websites hawk everything from LinkedIn connections to make members appear more employable to Soundcloud plays to influence record label interest.

Follow the link for more on how “social” media sites are fighting back, as well as the click-fakers’ justifications for fake clicks.

Addendum, Later That Evening:

Words fail me. (Not that I’m all that surprised, but, really, now.)

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3 Comments

  1. I’ve said it before so I’m going to sin by being repetitive: “Google, and YouTube, and their competitors have made the place — a web where winner-takes-all. And there isn’t anyone else. It’s the top or nothing. Root hog or die.”
    Since that’s the case they bear quite a bit of responsibility for making an environment in which the incentive to cheat is overriding. Taking measures to stop cheats doesn’t fix it. Those are just band-aids over a system of rot that is the web search and approval and its reward ecology, one their algorithms and design have created. To a great extent, it’s to Google’s advantage, for instance, that only the top of their search results, the only the most “liked,” can monetize their positions. It means they have to pay much much less in their “revenue sharing” schemes while passing out blandishments that everyone can be made “partners” in monetization. What it has come down to is that monetization is like a chance at winning the lottery for almost everyone, nonexistent.  Last, our human nature in dealing with the web has  a hand in the design. It’s proven that people respond most to perception of popularity and that perception is gained by counts.  When everything is judged by numbers of clicks and likes and position in the top fold of the search return, everyone else not there might as well not exist. To take advantage of cheating schemes, then, is not illogical. I said it cynically once — you’re already in a pit Google world made for you, so if you take advantage of search gaming or buying astro-turf and likes, what’s the worse they can do to you, make you more invisible [bitter laughter]
    http://dickdestiny.com/blog1/?p=11961
    That’s on monetization schemes and Google results if you actually pay them.
    This is on experiments in gaming:
    http://dickdestiny.com/blog1/?p=12623

  2. And to add to the one awaiting approval, it would be remiss not to mention that one Jeff Bezos’ crowdsourcing sweat shop, Mechanical Turk,  I routinely see requesters buying reviews, short articles and miscellaneous tasks for outside websites, all of which add up to personalized rigging, done by people who are paid pennies, rather than by automation, so the old algorithms don’t spot them as fake. And over the weekend he made news for having kidney stones on New Year’s Day and having to be flown out, posh for the tech toff.
    So, anyway, in that Bee/AP piece, it’s fair to take seriously what the alleged “bad guys” say about their clients needing click pumping schemes. They just say it less bluntly than I put it. If you’re not in the top you are toast, thanks to the Google and social networking ecology. It’s a somewhat different matter for those already at the top who stupidly buy more rigging and get caught at it. Then they have a negative publicity effect to deal with. But for those who have no publicity and are not likely to get any on Facebook or wherever (because here’s another secret, even if you promote yourself honestly on FB or Twitter and pay attention to your ‘friends,’ generally, now the situation is such that no one pays attention because — again — they look at your numbers, or Facebook looks at your numbers and hides your stuff because you’re, well, a nobody), you can’t argue that there is a practical serious  downside to rigging other than potentially losing an account that couldn’t be monetized into anything, anyway. 

  3. How much do you want to bet the State Department thing was outsourced to private sector business that sold it or an employee on boosting its social networking presence “around the world” ? It’s just the kind of thing you’d expect when an overriding concern is always how to get American businesses involved in doing things because they, ahem, always do it better than the government can.