Is this cheating ... or smart?

49 replies
Okay, with all of the threads whining about fiverr I wanted to ask your opinion of a strategy I use that leverages Fiverr.

I found that few people seem to want to be the first to share something. As soon as they see other people are doing it, suddenly the floodgates open.

So in my niche sites when I have something I think is particularly good (I don't use this for every post) I will grab a fiverr gig that will do the social sharing thing.

As soon as it's done, THEN I'll tell my email list about the post. Social sharing among my readers skyrockets because they see a bunch of shares already happening.

Now, the shares are actually bogus and the number essentially artificially inflated.

However it gets the job done, spreads my message, brings me more blog readers and email subscribers, and of course makes me more.

So what's your opinion. Is doing that smart, or is it cheating?

(edit: my opinion is that it's smart)
#cheating #smart
  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Szalok
    This is cheating the smart way I don't see anything unethical in this.
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    • Originally Posted by Daniel Szalok View Post

      This is cheating the smart way I don't see anything unethical in this.

      I agree with Daniel
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    • Profile picture of the author AffiliateWaves
      Nice Concept ,nothing wrong in it .My vote goes to smart idea
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    • Profile picture of the author lim928
      Originally Posted by Daniel Szalok View Post

      This is cheating the smart way I don't see anything unethical in this.
      I am agree with Daniel's opinion
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      • Profile picture of the author AffiliatingAlan
        banned from wordpress
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        • Profile picture of the author Dani78
          it is just marketing ... doesn't hurt anyone.

          In life you have to do a lot of necessary shows,
          because that's what people want.

          If you are good doesn't get people's attention,
          if they perceive you as good whether yes or nor
          then you get attention.

          In marketing: perception is reality.

          thats just the way it is.
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          • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
            Originally Posted by Dani78 View Post

            it is just marketing ... doesn't hurt anyone.

            In life you have to do a lot of necessary shows,
            because that's what people want.

            If you are good doesn't get people's attention,
            if they perceive you as good whether yes or nor
            then you get attention.

            In marketing: perception is reality.

            thats just the way it is.

            Just marketing? How would you feel if you spent a pile of money for something and you bought it based on a bunch of fake endorsements? Then you find out the thing actually was a piece of crap. I guarantee everyone here singing the praises of how clever this phony crap is would be the first ones screaming like stuck pigs.
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            • Profile picture of the author StanHyeck
              Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

              How would you feel if you spent a pile of money for something and you bought it based on a bunch of fake endorsements?
              If what I was talking about was faking endorsements you might have a point.

              I'm talking about a blog post here. If the post isn't ACTUALLY any good then no one is going to ACTUALLY spread it no matter what I do.

              What I'm talking about taking a good post, with good information, and simply "framing" the social sharing in a way that people go, "yeah, I'll share this along with some other people."

              1) The other sharing actually DID occur. Yes I "purchased" the initial sharing, but it happened.

              2) I'm not talking about faking product endorsements, but instead getting people to "spread my message" initially by paying them to do it. This then gets other people to spread my message for free.

              3) How is paying for social sharing really that much different than I don't know .... paying a commission to people as an affiliate? Doesn't that result in "a bunch of fake endorsements?" And I don't see people crying like stuck pigs about the endorsements received from affiliates.
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              • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
                Originally Posted by StanHyeck View Post

                If what I was talking about was faking endorsements you might have a point.

                I'm talking about a blog post here. If the post isn't ACTUALLY any good then no one is going to ACTUALLY spread it no matter what I do.

                What I'm talking about taking a good post, with good information, and simply "framing" the social sharing in a way that people go, "yeah, I'll share this along with some other people."

                1) The other sharing actually DID occur. Yes I "purchased" the initial sharing, but it happened.

                2) I'm not talking about faking product endorsements, but instead getting people to "spread my message" initially by paying them to do it. This then gets other people to spread my message for free.

                3) How is paying for social sharing really that much different than I don't know .... paying a commission to people as an affiliate? Doesn't that result in "a bunch of fake endorsements?" And I don't see people crying like stuck pigs about the endorsements received from affiliates.
                Rationalize it any way you need to. It's deceptive.
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                • Profile picture of the author StanHyeck
                  Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

                  Rationalize it any way you need to. It's deceptive.
                  Once again, is it deceptive to pay affiliates to sell your products KNOWING that they will create bogus endorsements?

                  No?

                  Thought so.

                  Or are you going to naively suggest that every single product endorsement by an affiliate is 100% up and up?
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              • Profile picture of the author Meharis
                Originally Posted by StanHyeck View Post

                If what I was talking about was faking endorsements you might have a point.

                I'm talking about a blog post here. If the post isn't ACTUALLY any good then no one is going to ACTUALLY spread it no matter what I do.

                What I'm talking about taking a good post, with good information, and simply "framing" the social sharing in a way that people go, "yeah, I'll share this along with some other people."

                1) The other sharing actually DID occur. Yes I "purchased" the initial sharing, but it happened.

                2) I'm not talking about faking product endorsements, but instead getting people to "spread my message" initially by paying them to do it. This then gets other people to spread my message for free.

                3) How is paying for social sharing really that much different than I don't know .... paying a commission to people as an affiliate? Doesn't that result in "a bunch of fake endorsements?" And I don't see people crying like stuck pigs about the endorsements received from affiliates.

                StanHyeck,

                "Dressing a monkey in silk does not change the fact that it is a monkey."

                Meharis
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            • Profile picture of the author Dani78
              Getting shares & celebrity endorsments is marketing... however you think about it. No one is saying you have to be a pig and sell crap.
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            • Profile picture of the author Dani78
              Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

              Just marketing? How would you feel if you spent a pile of money for something and you bought it based on a bunch of fake endorsements? Then you find out the thing actually was a piece of crap. I guarantee everyone here singing the praises of how clever this phony crap is would be the first ones screaming like stuck pigs.

              it's marketing ... personally, I do my own thinking
              instead of follow the herd based on shares
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  • Profile picture of the author webmonopoly
    The only thing I would be worried about is the fake shares harming the site in google.
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  • Profile picture of the author StanHyeck
    Thanks for your input.

    Even if everyone vilified me for it, the technique works to well to stop. The thread was mostly about getting people to think about what they're using fiverr to do. Lots of fiverr gigs are worth WAY more than the $5 cost.

    The social sharing thing I just talked about pretty much always generates a few hundred extra in sales.

    Getting a logo done for $5 ... I'll take that all day long and twice on sundays :-)

    There's lots of REALLY great gigs on fiverr.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Fiverr, like most everything else in life, typically conforms to the saying -

      "You get what you pay for" . . .

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author inyourway
    [DELETED]
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  • Profile picture of the author salegurus
    You're basically asking about ethics on a IM forum... People are here to find ways to make money or make more money...

    Fake endorsements, fake likes, fake product reviews, fake income reports, it's all part of a days work for some people.
    So short of landing them in prison, if it makes them money they'll do it, so don't be surprised you're getting all these pats on the back...
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  • Profile picture of the author Marketeranas
    That's smart strategy and only few people are using it properly

    Creating Social Signals always boost up your rankings . I tried it my self
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    It's fraud. It's lying. I remember when John Locke, a very successful Kindle author admitted to buying reviews. People here wanted to string him up.

    Essentially, he manufactured praise for his book. That's what you're doing. You are getting fake "shares" translated as praise, for your product or whatever.

    You can say it's a matter of degree but when I see someone admitting to something like that I have to wonder where they draw the line. It doesn't surprise me that so many people think it's okay though.
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  • Profile picture of the author bluebrain
    I doubt it's unethical. They're harmless anyways.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bryan99
    It's basically "fake it till you make it". Great method to go viral, good job on thinking it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Meharis
      In my Book: It's Fraud.

      Apparently, the answers agree with: "The end justifies the means."

      12 responded "No"

      4 said Yes. Including myself so far.

      Some people are wondering what's wrong in our country.

      Meharis
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      • Profile picture of the author 247acheiver
        I say go by your own conscience...and be prepared to deal with any intended or unintended consequences along the way.

        Best.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Sol
    I have been doing IM for over 7 years now and I have discovered a simple answer to this question:

    If you need too ask if a certain strategy is cheating - then it probably is.

    I have done my fair share of things that were deemed not-so-clean, like buying links and creating fake forum profiles, etc. In the end it always came back to only hurt my business.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Google found a way to detect "fake" likes and shares in order to sandbox a site. I wouldn't be surprised if social networks would start banning sites with fake likes and shares.

    Just my $0.02

    - Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author 52.ct
      Originally Posted by Alex Sol View Post

      I have been doing IM for over 7 years now and I have discovered a simple answer to this question:

      If you need too ask if a certain strategy is cheating - then it probably is.
      Smartest answer in this thread!
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    • Profile picture of the author StanHyeck
      Originally Posted by Alex Sol View Post

      If you need too ask if a certain strategy is cheating - then it probably is.
      Perhaps you didn't read the OP and what the REAL point of the question was?
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidOlsen
    Here's an interesting video I saw a few weeks back.

    While It's about how Facebook promoted posts actually seems to result in a high number of fake likes, the fact that
    these fake likes have zero user engagement causes the posts to not be shown to other users.

    I think this may apply here.

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  • Profile picture of the author mhall8444
    Not cheating... it's called creativity. And creativity pays off. So nice job and if it's quality content anyway, why wouldn't they share? At the end of the day, even if everyone else is sharing the article, they won't really share it unless they like it. So if you just have a killer article and prime it a bit then that's killer!! Good thinkin
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidOlsen
    Originally Posted by StanHyeck View Post

    Once again, is it deceptive to pay affiliates to sell your products KNOWING that they will create bogus endorsements?

    No?

    Thought so.

    Or are you going to naively suggest that every single product endorsement by an affiliate is 100% up and up?


    It sounds like your mind was already made up so why bother asking the question in the first place?
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    • Profile picture of the author StanHyeck
      Originally Posted by DavidOlsen View Post

      It sounds like your mind was already made up so why bother asking the question in the first place?
      "Okay, with all of the threads whining about fiverr ..."

      Seriously I wasn't actually getting opinion (sheepish grin as hand is caught in cookie jar). Like you said in many ways my mind was already made up. It was more to demonstrate that Fiverr can be a good resource if used for the right things and in the right ways.
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      • Profile picture of the author DavidOlsen
        Originally Posted by StanHyeck View Post

        "Okay, with all of the threads whining about fiverr ..."

        Seriously I wasn't actually getting opinion (sheepish grin as hand is caught in cookie jar). Like you said in many ways my mind was already made up. It was more to demonstrate that Fiverr can be a good resource if used for the right things and in the right ways.
        Fair enough.
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  • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
    A fake like is essentially a fake endorsement.

    It might seem like a great idea right now, that nothing bad could come of it, but history is very clear that people who game the system experience negative long term effects for what are temporary benefits.
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    • Profile picture of the author StanHyeck
      Originally Posted by DubDubDubDot View Post

      A fake like is essentially a fake endorsement.

      It might seem like a great idea right now, that nothing bad could come of it, but history is very clear that people who game the system experience negative long term effects for what are temporary benefits.
      A question no one against the technique seems to want to answer.

      Affiliate marketing generates a TON of fake endorsements for a product. Are you against affiliate marketing too? You know your affiliates will endorse the product and few will have actually seen it.
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      • Profile picture of the author DavidOlsen
        Originally Posted by StanHyeck View Post

        A question no one against the technique seems to want to answer.

        Affiliate marketing generates a TON of fake endorsements for a product. Are you against affiliate marketing too? You know your affiliates will endorse the product and few will have actually seen it.
        It's not the same thing.

        If someone promotes a product as an affiliate, the product developer isn't necessarily involved in the process. The developer simply has the product for sale, if an affiliate chooses to write about it, the seller has no way of knowing whether the affiliate ever actually saw/used the product or not.

        In your scenario, you're actively purchasing bogus likes or shares. So you're actively participating in the fraud. Further, this is probably against the Facebook TOS as well.
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      • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
        Originally Posted by StanHyeck View Post

        Affiliate marketing generates a TON of fake endorsements for a product. Are you against affiliate marketing too?
        Look at the Alexa rank of those sites. They aren't pushing any sales with a rank of 3 million.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    This will be my last response to this thread.

    You asked a question and got a bunch of answers, some you liked and others you didn't. As mentioned, you already knew the answer to your own question.

    A while back someone here started a thread raving about a fiverr seller who would get your WSO thousands of fake views. People flock to offers that have a lot of views. And according to this guy, he was selling more of his offer using this trick. It's deceptive. It's a deliberate lie designed to deceive in exchange for a reward.

    What you're doing is in the same neighborhood. You mention affiliates and say "KNOWING that they will create bogus endorsements?" I don't know anything of the kind. You're grasping at straws. And if I knew affiliates were being deceptive I would avoid them. But that's not the point here.

    I've been around a while and have tried just about every dirty trick there is. I think I've even invented a few. And every time I built something that way it eventually came crashing down around me at a time when I could least afford it. It took a while but I learned that when you live by deception, sooner or later you die by it. To the measure you lie or deceive, you will be lied to and deceived. There's no getting around it.

    I'm no holy roller but I've had my ass handed to me enough behind my shitty tricks to know enough to stop. If there's the slightest possibility something is fishy I won't go near it. And that's because I know the consequences will far outweigh any short term rewards.

    I've noticed you around the forum this week. I get the feeling you're a pretty smart guy. You've got enough going on that you don't need cheap tricks to prosper. Deception is always answered with deception. Lies are answered with more lies, etc. Don't avoid black or gray hat methods because they're "wrong." Avoid them because in the long term, it's smart business. Good luck.
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    • Profile picture of the author StanHyeck
      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      Deception is always answered with deception. Lies are answered with more lies, etc. Don't avoid black or gray hat methods because they're "wrong." Avoid them because in the long term, it's smart business. Good luck.
      Okay, I know DavidOlsen said much the same thing, but I like HOW you phrased this part.

      This is an exceedingly good point. And what really sold it for me was the "fake views to a WSO" thing that you mentioned. I've been sucked into WSOs in the past for this very reason only to discover they were horrible.

      Maybe I'll rethink using the technique.
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  • Profile picture of the author kellymonaghan
    I'm not so sure that Stan's strategy is all that evil. Seems to me it's more like priming the pump. The idea seems to be that a few "fake" signals generate many more real ones.

    No one is going to share or "like" a post that don't actually like, but if they DO like it they might not think to click that button. However, if they see that other (admittedly fake) people have clicked, they are more likely to do so themselves.

    I see this as similar to restaurant owners who ask their employees to park in front of the restaurant so people will think, "Gee, this place gets business, I think I'll try it."

    Or how about the tip jar on the counter at the ice cream store? The teenagers who work there know that they're more likely to get tips if they put in a few bucks to "remind" people that tipping is welcome.

    Finally, and FWIW, Deiss and Belcher use very similar tactics in a variety of settings and they're millionaires.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chad Kimball
    It's not a cheat.. It's a smart move..
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  • Profile picture of the author atxvideo
    I would lean on the side of caution. If I'm on the fence about a particular technique, then I don't do it.
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  • Profile picture of the author workoutstuff1
    This is brilliant and apart of advertising. When you see commercials for fitness equipment, and they have testimonials from people, chances are those people are actors.

    The market balances itself. If you do a social promotion of a great product, then it will dominate. If its a bad product then social promotion will work against the product.
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  • I would never put a huge jump of share or like or any type of link directlto my money site. Google is not dumb and you will get ranked down into the sandbox.
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  • Profile picture of the author carcin0genic
    What's the problem with showing actual shares for long term effect?

    Why lie and use deceit unless you're picking someone's pocket?

    You can use SocialAdr and take a few minutes out of your day to create a bookmark and have an entire community share it over and over.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mikhail Hunter
    This concept is so true, when you see so many people liking a post you want to be a part of it because it's socially acceptable to "like" the post and it becomes viral. i wouldn't want to like post and see only my name there "Churchill Likes this" I would feel like something is wrong with it and feel like it's not cool to like it. I've actually "unliked" post because I was the only person to like it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Karen Blundell
      "cheaters never prosper" is what comes to mind here - I always go back to karma - whenever you do something that's wrong, sooner or later it comes back to bite you in the butt - take it from someone who has learned the hard way -
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  • Profile picture of the author sitehero
    Not being able to trust your own social statistics is counter productive in the long term. This is just a short term strategy because Google and co are always getting smarter and it's not good business to proactively manipulate your customers. It's not a serious cheat but it is still a cheat and unless you can predict the future, you have no idea how long it will last before it snaps back and bites your business on the ass. Statistical, analytic tools are always getting better and it's impossible to tell what evidence may be visible in the future.
    If your only interested in short-term gain then I say, keep doing what your doing but if your trying to build a brand and establish authority, I would stop doing this immediately.

    Also, your missing out on any real sense of achievement when you look at your social stats. This is a statistic I aim to be proud of.

    Final word of warning, the internet grey will eventually dissolve away until we will only be left with either black or white and no fuzzy middle ground. Which side of the fence do you want to be on?
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  • Profile picture of the author Taniwha
    The people who say this is not unethical REALLY need to learn the meaning of ethics!
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