PAYING FOR POPULARITY

PAYING FOR POPULARITY

MORE and more businesses are splashing out millions to fake a higher ranking on search engines, according to SponsoredLinX.

CEO and founder Ben Bradshaw says there has been a surge in “black hat social media”, where businesses purchase followers or create fake reviews.

Bradshaw says the industry is worth millions, with more companies paying for support on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

“The term black hat refers to a practice which is outside the rules and guidelines of a particular system,” he says.

“Black hat social media has some estimates placing sales of these services at over US$250 million and potentially over US$500 million.”

Businesses partaking in black hat social media risk fines of up to $1.1 million from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

“The ACCC has taken issue with three companies over fake online reviews so far,” Bradshaw says.

“An Australian removals company paid a $6600 infringement notice in 2011 after publishing false consumer testimonials on its review website.

“Euro Solar and reseller Australian Solar Panel have also appeared before the courts.”

Businesses wanting to get ahead aren’t the only culprits, with government departments and private associations also engaging in the practice.

Bradshaw says the US State Department was criticised for spending more than US$630,000 on Facebook likes.

He says the benefits black hat social media has on a company’s SEO (search engine optimisation) is minimal.

“It simply makes the business or individual seem popular and gives a superficial result not worth the risk of your brand’s reputation.”

Bradshaw says a business should focus on the importance of a high-quality website and successful conversions of traffic into customers.

Help us deliver quality journalism to you.
As a free and independent news site providing daily updates
during a period of unprecedented challenges for businesses everywhere
we call on your support

Crypto staking: a new way to earn passive income
Partner Content
You may be familiar with traditional ways of earning passive income such as trading sto...
Etoro
Advertisement

Related Stories

Hospitality mogul Glenn Piper to transform Hook Island into "world class hospitality experience"

Hospitality mogul Glenn Piper to transform Hook Island into "world class hospitality experience"

Sydney hotelier Glenn Piper has snatched up his third hospital...

Super fund HESTA "unconvinced", to vote against AGL demerger

Super fund HESTA "unconvinced", to vote against AGL demerger

Superannuation fund HESTA is backing the position of Australian tec...

Airtasker completes Oneflare acquisition after ACCC withdraws concerns

Airtasker completes Oneflare acquisition after ACCC withdraws concerns

Leading online services marketplace Airtasker (ASX: ART) has comple...

Superloop set to buy tech services firm Acurus for $15m

Superloop set to buy tech services firm Acurus for $15m

After completing $140 million worth of divestments from Singapore a...