Buying +1s to be popular could have opposite effect

Buying +1s to be popular could have opposite effect

Summary: The only thing worse than selling clicks on +1 buttons is buying them.

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As a writer, it's always nice to hear from someone who's enjoyed reading something you wrote. And with the arrival of social networking tools - such as the "share" buttons that appear on most blog posts today - readers no longer have to find the right words to say "Nice job." The fact that you "liked" it or, better yet, shared it with your own online networks, speaks volumes.

That's why I was kind of disheartened to see that the SEO Shops have put Google's "+1" clicks on the open market. Yup, for as little as $9.99, someone can pay a company to click that little "+1" button on the page up to 50 times. For $29.99, you can get 250 +1 clicks. And for $169.99, you can 2,000.

Like it or not, this is a business venture and if people are willing to pay, companies like Plussem are there to offer it. How do they do it? Well, blatantly, for one. On its site, Plussem.com, which describes itself as a social media shop, lists the five ways its practices stay off the radar:

  • The +1s come from holders of phone verified Google accounts.
  • They all come from real people - no bots.
  • The clicks are manually done by clicking the +1 button on the site.
  • It's untraceable because the clicks come from different IP addresses.
  • The clicks are given over a couple of days "so it looks natural."

Sure, it's spammy. But for the site owners who pay for these services, isn't it also deceptive? Misleading, at the very least,

Here's an idea. Write some content that's worthy of a Like or a +1 and maybe your own readers will throw a click your way. No, you may not get 50 or 250 or 2,000 clicks on one post - which means it will take a lot longer to work your way up to those numbers. But the ones you do receive will mean so much more.

I understand that, to be competitive on the Web, you have to stand out and rise above the noise. Crowds love to form around the popular people and a good number of social media thumbs-ups on your content helps you rise. But dropping $10 for some unearned +1 clicks just so you can look popular is kind of like slipping the cool guys at school some cash so that they'll say hi to you in front of your friends.

Maybe not sad. More like pathetic.

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Topics: Software, Enterprise Software, Google, Social Enterprise

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11 comments
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  • RE: Buying 1s to be popular could have opposite effect

    I would have clicked on +1 if this blog had one. Unfortunately I hate facebook and I do not have an account to share... May be you should consider Google+ as a viable alternative and add +1 to your blog.
    browser.
    • RE: Buying 1s to be popular could have opposite effect

      @browser.
      Agree. No interest in Facebook too.
      root12
      • I have no interest in Google

        @root12
        so I wouldn't click any of them. :)
        William Pharaoh
    • RE: Buying 1s to be popular could have opposite effect

      @browser. I agree, All this Google+ and +1 talk, why cant I +1 this blog, or any blog on zdnet.
      graham.hutchings
  • RE: Buying 1s to be popular could have opposite effect

    I don't pay attention to those +1s and facebook likes on a page.
    LoverockDavidson
  • I always thought they were for sale anyway...

    so I never pay them any mind. I read many different writers and make up my own mind about their quality... then I return to read more of the blogs I think have quality (like your's) and avoid the ones I think are junk.

    Regards,
    Jon
    JonathonDoe
  • RE: Buying 1s to be popular could have opposite effect

    That is what exactly we were discussing about in talkbacks few days back when one of your bloggers were drooling about Google+. Now the next step is Google silently changes their algorithm to push up more "+1"ed links in their search result-set and for that they will start charging the companies. I know Google Shareholders would be happy, because that brings in value (ad money), but consumers get screwed because the actual ones that they are looking for interspersed between these.
    Ram U
  • RE: Buying 1s to be popular could have opposite effect

    I have faith that Google will eventually figure out where the
    spamming is originating. After all, ordinary accounts will only +1 so many times. Eventually they will "devalue" the
    "opinions" of people who happen to +1 frequently.
    richard233
  • RE: Buying 1s to be popular could have opposite effect

    SEO has gone from a way of improving search results and ability to find articles, to a grubby nerfarious activity held in the same esteem as pushing drugs, tabloid journalism or paedophillia.
    neilpost
  • RE: Buying 1s to be popular could have opposite effect

    Nice job.
    Don Reba
  • Buying clicks is ridiculous

    "Here's an idea. Write some content that's worthy of a Like or a +1 and maybe your own readers will throw a click your way."<br><br>Good idea--in fact, you've done just that with this article. I clicked the Recommend button for this one, basically ZDNet's equivalent of "Like" or "+1".<br><br>Now if only ZDNet, Facebook, Google+, and so on would also have an "Unlike" or "-1" or whatever option so people could flag poor content...!
    LeonBA