Click Farms getting outed

We have covered click farming here at WOBH, especially with the Pakeha Party and the daughter of Brian Tamaki, Jasmine McPhee. Both had quickly garnered Facebook likes in an unnatural time frame.

The Guardian looks into the phenomenon of “click farming”.

How much do you like courgettes? According to one Facebook page devoted to them, hundreds of people find them delightful enough to click the “like” button – even with dozens of other pages about courgettes to choose from.

There’s just one problem: the liking was fake, done by a team of low-paid workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, whose boss demanded just $15 per thousand “likes” at his “click farm”. Workers punching the keys might be on a three-shift system, and be paid as little as $120 a year.

The ease with which a humble vegetable could win approval calls into question the basis on which many modern companies measure success online – through Facebook likes, YouTube video views and Twitter followers.  

Channel 4’s Dispatches programme will on Monday reveal the extent to which click farms risk eroding user confidence in what had looked like an objective measure of social online approval.

The disclosures could hurt Facebook as it tries to persuade firms away from advertising on Google and to use its own targeted advertising, and to chase likes as a measure of approval.

That particular Facebook page on courgettes was set up by the programme makers to demonstrate how click farms can give web properties spurious popularity.

“There’s a real desire amongst many companies to boost their profile on social media, and find other customers as well as a result,” said Graham Cluley, an independent security consultant.

The importance of likes is considerable with consumers: 31% will check ratings and reviews, including likes and Twitter followers, before they choose to buy something, research suggests. That means click farms could play a significant role in potentially misleading consumers.

This will hurt Facebook…but stopping it could prove difficult, meanwhile any group, company or new online presence that has a sudden surge of Facebook likes is probably buying their likes.

Be wary when you see news reports about such and such obtaining 15,000 in just a few hours or a few days since launching.

 


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  • sweetd

    The proof to any marketing campaign is in the sales. Its very easy to click to lick something, but if that isn’t translated into sales then its useless.

    • Orange

      Only if it’s clean eh

      • sweetd

        opps, my bad, I should have said ‘like’

    • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

      That’s Facebook in a nutshell. On paper it is worth more than Boeing after all…

      • Bunswalla

        True, but Facebook doesn’t have the unfortunate habit of bursting into flames on a regular basis.

  • bobby

    Paid clicks and likes on facebook (and twitter) is nothing new at all. Lady Gaga’s twitter profile was the world’s most followed but a company made a way to test each follower and work out from their activity whether they were real people or not. It determined that 71% of her followers were fakes (computer-generated farm links) – that’s 29 million fake followers. Many facebook pages do the same.

  • Lion_ess

    Facebook is a forum for mindless people, dribbling on about the most embarrassing of fuck-all. Talk about being willingly herded into lunatic asylum, with it’s fake likes, fake people, never-ending advertising, mindless “apps” – all so you can have your data mined, sold and reused, to get some more shit poked at you via other junk-mail channels. It’s the internet equivalent of setting up home in rubbish tip. Why people bother is beyond me.

  • Col

    Same thing with those foodie pages, u see 5 star all in a row done by the same person on a different computer or name as the wording is similar, and when u go for a meal the taste is shit. Word of mouth is the best way to go.

  • thor42

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Stranded relies on a few dozen of these to consistently come third in the blog ratings. How on earth else could such a barf-inducing pile of crap do that month after month?

  • Ururoa

    These scams have been going on for years. Just look at Adwords click spamming, a huge ongoing issue for PPC advertisers.

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