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(Source: Social Web School)

Anyone who has followed this con for what is now years and know all about click farms in India and the buying and selling of Facebook “likes”, YouTube “views” and Twitter “followers” must have been squirming at the space the mighty Guardian devoted today to prove the same thing. Excuse me, while I yawn and wakey wakey The Guardian. You’re a decade behind the times.

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(Source: Glogster)

The story comes after the UK’s Channel 4′s Dispatches program concocted a plot to show how click farms, especially those based in the sub-continent, are used by brands to popularize their products.

Dispatches has just woken up or has Asia gone through all this rubbish years ago?

The product Dispatches used to show how “likes” on Facebook can be faked were courgettes for which they opened a special Facebook page.

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(Source: OX.ac.uk)

From here, they bought “likes” from a click farm in Dhaka, Bangladesh whose boss wanted to be paid US $15 per thousand “likes”.

Adds The Guardian, “Workers punching the keys might be on a three-shift system and be paid as little as US$120 a year.” Another yawn.

All this is nothing new. Click shops in Bangladesh and Bangalore have been used for years by music companies and the publicists behind some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry to create “Youtube sensations”.

Hell, one of the biggest names in entertainment threatened to sue me around five years ago for something I had hinted at about his team’s modus operandi in possibly using one of these click farms for one of his artists.

Sadly, he never followed up on the threat. It would have made bigger news than a simple blog and turned me into the Edward Snowden of entertainment whistle blowing.

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(Source: Ent Bank Ng)

Creating “YouTube sensations” have been utilized the most by many reality talent shows where judges feign shuck and awe at, let’s say, a dowdy looking housewife with an impressive voice- all looking as if they had never seen or heard the performer during rehearsals and before the ‘live’ broadcast of the show.

Of course, they have. The dowdy dress and disheveled hair are only a prop so a “transformation” can happen later.

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(Source: The Sun)

Then, trawl through YouTube and you’ll find out that many of these supposedly “complete unknowns” and “discovered” on these shows have been trying to make it for over a decade- during pre-clicks time and when television talent shows were not all about ratings with big-spending sponsors wishing to be associated with a winning brand.

As for these “overnight YouTube sensations” what you need to think about are the time differences between countries to understand the levels of cheating going on- ‘cos bang- overnight- they suddenly have over a million YouTube views. How?

If, for example, a show is broadcast at 3am, Hong Kong time, how can the “success” of the video make the news in the morning newspaper through the wire services unless it has all been carefully orchestrated?

It’s a con, con, con which gets bigger when all of us read about this “phenomenon”, join in and start forwarding the video to friends until we have all helped create a tsunami of views.

As for Facebook, a friend who owns a restaurant was telling me how something I wrote had received a “reach” of 4000 on Facebook in a day for only US$12. Reach? And then what?

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(Source: Wired)

A few months ago, on one of my friend’s four different twitter accounts, his “followers” jumped from 2,800 to over 30,000- in a day.

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(Source: Customer Paradigm)

One can only assume the poor clicker fell asleep on the job and flooded my friend’s twitter account with what social media gurus call “black hats” aka fake followers that are available for a price to show your “popularity”.

Others use different “strategies” these days such as porn to get you more twitter followers as if this is some kinda competition whereas if you haven’t been inundated with emails from India offering you SEO services to get you “higher rankings” on Google, you’re lucky.

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(Source: SEO 4 World)

It’s all starting to become as stupid as Nigerian scammers emailing you with good news about winning a lottery or inheriting a few billion from some unknown relative in Botswana.

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(Source: Catfished)

Sadly, the term “social media” has brought with it a similar army of opportunists who were hired by music companies desperate to make up for lost time and given “digital marketing” titles.

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(Source: Jdaniel Agency)

Truth be known, without the experience and knowledge of traditional marketing which has much to do with commonsense plus creativity and intuitively understanding the wants and needs of consumers, this overnight glut of ad agencies opening up social media divisions and fly-by-night social media consultants with their buzz word about “engagement” are simply everything that has come before, but dressed in different clothing.

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(Source: Bosco Anthony)

In many ways, it’s one global social club working from different homes and one con.

The piece in The Guardian might finally make many realize that they have been Facebooked, Twittered and Youtubed by those with the right buzz words- but no substance.

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(Source: Married To Thesea)

Social media and all these new mediums and platforms have their time and place and it all depends on how creatively they are used.

No creativity, no “engagement” via social media with even “clicks” just becoming clickety clack sounds down an old railway track.

Right now, all this talk about social media is already stuttering and stumbling and becoming formulaic and painting some very false and very odd pictures. These need to be questioned and many need to be shown the door.

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(Source: SEO Book)

If not, like music companies and those “digital armies” that were quickly hired and just as quickly let go when everyone realized that these people had zero knowledge of music- duh!- organizations will end up creating more clutter by going overboard with useless hires and creating more confusion to what should be simplified company structures and reporting procedures.

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(Source: 4D Marketing Group)

When you are clueless as to who is “liking” you and which products or movies or music or photographs are truly popular, jumping on the social media bandwagon can lead brand managers down the proverbial garden path along with consumers believing everything they think they should like.

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(Source: Poor Excuses)

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