Click Farms- the not so known face of social media
The recent episode of Singer and composer Badasha’s music video going viral suggesting it was the result of click farms raised a lot of questions!
Have you ever wondered why a video was in your news feed?
Ideally, the answer to this question is “NO!” Today’s internet savvy consumers are now spending an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social media. Hence It is not unusual to see uncanny things and ideas going viral on the internet. All of us see some kind of viral post on Facebook with thousands of likes thinking how can such things are being liked so many times and why?
It is not hard to believe that at some point we have all thought about it but we never think how many of these likes are real. It always comes down to one question- does it affect me?
Well, Yes ! because it is affecting everyone.
So what is Click farms:
Click farms are when a group of people or a bot pretends to be a legitimate visitor on a webpage and clicks on an ad, a button, or some other type of hyperlink. The goal of click fraud is to trick a platform or service into thinking real users are interacting with a webpage, ad, or app.
Click farming is a US$260 million Industry
Click farms are evolving fast. Today, it might only be clicked through third world countries but tomorrow, these same clicks can be performed via a VPN to show it originating from a developed country.
Clicks farms are now targeting all social media platforms as they become magnets for entities seeking online fame. They cost less than what you’d pay FB or Twitter to boost your post and these folks can also be paid to like your post as well…something which FB, Twitter or Instagram can’t do.
Once you have a million likes, you are in the mile-high club. Selling yourself as a professional will be so much easier this way. What’s more, click farms can also like your video post on YouTube, click on banner advertisements on your video and earn you money.
To give you few insights on how it affects your life, here is an excerpt that explains the roots of click farms in social media –
Doug Bock Clark in his article, The BOT Bubble: How Click Farms Have Inflated Social Media Currency, writes about how celebrities, companies, and everyday people boost their social media standing via “click farms” where customers buy social media influence (Clark, 2015).
“ Even politicians such as Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have been accused of using these services in the past. An article in the New York Times reported that as much as 70% of Obama’s 19 million Twitter followers were fake, although his campaign denied buying followers (Clark, 2015, p. 39).” link- https://medium.com/swlh/click-farms-social-media-1b26841c7991
“IN A RECENT STUDY, ADOBE FOUND THAT ABOUT 28% OF WEBSITE TRAFFIC SHOWED STRONG “NON-HUMAN SIGNALS,” LEADING THE COMPANY TO BELIEVE THAT THE TRAFFIC CAME FROM BOTS OR CLICK FARMS. THE COMPANY STUDIED TRAFFIC ACROSS WEBSITES BELONGING TO THOUSANDS OF CLIENTS.”
All the above information raises the question of how does this affect me? Well besides being a marketing gimmick the reality of the digital ads drive campaigns and clicks are in question. It’s difficult to trust the metrics we have been following for years to see the ROI results.
EVEN GOOGLE ADMITS THAT THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM – GOOGLE ISSUING REFUNDS TO ADVERTISERS OVER FAKE TRAFFIC, PLANS NEW SAFEGUARD- 08-25-2017
Google is issuing refunds to advertisers for ads bought through its platform that ran on sites with fake traffic, people familiar with the situation said, as the company develops a tool to give buyers more transparency about their purchases. Google has informed hundreds of marketers and ad agency partners about the issue with invalid traffic, known in the industry as “ad fraud.” The ads were bought using the company’s Double Click Bid Manager.
Yet the worst part of it all is AD fraud is not Illegal
One of the biggest reasons fraud is so rampant is simply that it’s not illegal. Unlike credit card fraud, bank fraud, false advertising, etc., nobody is going to jail for ad fraud, and it’s not exactly the sort of activity that elicits a crackdown from law enforcement, which means there is significantly less risk involved. And yet it’s extremely lucrative.
The fake likes/streams/etc. are not substantive, of course; they just serve to inflate the total number, and the fake accounts used to goose those numbers will have no interaction with the entity you’ve purchased attention for afterwards. Still, a lot of folks in the music industry use a quick glance at these numbers as a relative gauge of popularity, and as we’ve learned over the past week sometimes it works.
The reality is dreadful and shows a mirror of what social media can actually do if used in the wrong way. It’s important to be mindful of our investments and what we like and share in order to avoid falling prey to fake fame and fraud of click farms.
At 10times we strive hard to help you reach your real target audience. Read how experiential marketing and event discovery can boost your events and save hundreds of your dollars that might not give you result due to click farms.