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Click Farms – Bad for your Brand

by Shirley Schutt

Click Farms – Bad for your Brand
179693002Have you ever watched a video on Youtube that’s gotten millions of views and wondered – “how the heck, did they get so many views?” The answer to that question is, Click farms. Essentially, a “click farm” is a business that sells clicks for fans, likes, followers, views, or anything to “boost” your ratings on social media.

According to the Associated Press, click farms are a million dollar business where “celebrities, business, and even the U.S. State Department have bought bogus Facebook likes, Twitter followers or YouTube viewers from offshore “click farms”  where workers, tap, tap, tap the tubs up button, view videos or retweet comments to inflate social media numbers.”

The click farm business in Twitter alone, accounts for more than $360 million in bogus activity; while Facebook brings in $200 million a year. There are companies like “BuyPlusFollowers sells 250 Google+ shares for $12.95. InstagramEngine sells 1,000 followers for $12. AuthenticHits sells 1,000 SoundCloud plays for $9.”

As a person who has just started aligning social media with that of my brand goals, it’s easy to get discouraged or become envious of popular brands and give yourself a little “boost” by using a click farm. For a little more than $10, you can gain more than 1,000 twitter followers. So why is it a bad idea to use a click farm?

No Social Engagement
You can’t talk to talk to a bot. The point of social media for any business or brand, is to engage with your audience, find out with appeals to them and hopefully lead to an action.  A company that has a 100,000 of twitter followers but most of them are bogus, is not going to get quality engagement or leads.

Loss of Reputation
The loss of your reputation is far greater than the boast a click farm will give. Eventually people will  suspect your company of doing bad business in everything you do and will fail to trust. For example, in 2013, according to the Associated Press, the State Department was revealed to have spent $630,000 in the purchase of more than 400,000 Facebook likes. As a result, the inspector general and public denounced their action.

Your account can be showdown
Purchase from a click farm and get your account shutdown. You run the risk of losing your account and losing all your customers.

Building a brand image is not easy and requires some elbow grease. It’s easy to see why some succumb to the click farm temptation. But considering the risks associated with click farms it’s easier and safer to build your brand the slow and organic way. Not to worry, there are many resources to help guide you in building your online following such as our Adventures in Social Media series (shameless plug) and countless of social media books and sites.

What are your thoughts on Click Farms? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. Follow Shirley on Twitter @OhShirl

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