Have you ever signed into your social media accounts and came across a post with a crazy amount of likes or spent thousands on Social Media Ads that generated likes but no sales? Chances are you probably have, but did you ever stop and wonder how many of those likes are actually real?
In the world of social media, there is a considerable increase in fraud where your followers, likes, and comments can be bought online. With organized click farms, businesses and individuals are now allowed to purchase an abundant amount of likes for only a few dollars. With more engagement often meaning more recognition, plenty of users and companies are investing in false likes in the hopes of increasing their exposure and creating more sales.
Since all these forged followers and likes are ruining many legitimate platforms on which users rely on for honest advice, countless organizations are now eager to stop this fraudulent behavior from occurring. With plenty of raids going on around the world regarding these schemes, for the first time ever we are able to see inside these businesses and how they operate.
Defining a Click Farm
So what is a click farm and how do they work? They can be defined as a form of click fraud, where individuals are hired to fraudulently interact with a website in order to artificially boost the status of a customer’s site, product or service. This fraudulent activity can take place on almost any social media platform, though Instagram and Facebook appear to be the most popular.
People often believe these places to be mysterious in what they are and how they operate. When in reality, they are very basic and low tech. These facilities can range from a single man set up to a massive warehouse full of computers and cellphones.
Are Click Farms legal?
At this point, you’re probably thinking all of this sounds extremely shady. Well, you’re not wrong. These “farms” require plenty of unethical tricks in order to make them profitable. Not only do they pay their employees pennies but they also have terrible working conditions including working in the darkness for long hours with little breaks.
Considering the treatment of employees and the unethical work being performed, you can probably understand why a lot of these businesses are illegal. The offenders who are caught typically get all of their computers and cellphones confiscated in order to stop them from continuing with the operation, but what happens to the owners afterward is undisclosed. And although they are fraudulently controlling social media posts, it’s still a topic that is not clear in many parts of the world.
Don’t Fall Into the Trap
With plenty of click farms staying under the radar, you never know when you could become a victim of ad fraud.
Although many of them focus only on Instagram likes and Facebook followers, there are still those who like to focus on pay per click ads. They pay people to click pay per click ads on their own sites, making an appealing profit from you and your ad budget.
It is important to keep in mind that a few dishonest clicks could cost you a great chunk of your advertising budget.
The best way to be safe from these schemes that feed mostly on business addicted to paid ads is to focus most of your online marketing efforts in campaigns that bring organic traffic. When no one is paying (or charging) for the clicks, you have the advantage of knowing that they come from real users.
Video Credits: GroundZero