Friday, February 8, 2013

Are You Sharing Spam on Facebook?

My jaw dropped. Why? I recently read an article, shared by a Facebook friend, about a form of scamming that you probably didn’t even know about. I admit I hadn’t a clue!

The article neatly describes the simple viral content that is created, shared, and ultimately generates a huge amount of likes on a brand new Facebook page in a relatively short amount of time. 

Then the page is sold (cash deal) for $200 to a business that wants a built-in fan base.  Just change the name of the page; easy to do nowadays (though impossible in the past), and add your own cover art that demonstrates your brand identity and start posting your company’s content on the page. Who’s going to notice? Most of us have “liked” hundreds of pages anyway!

The posts made by the scammers during build up are the kind that encourage people to share and, according to the article, tend to be on the trashier side. 

Now, who’s to say that they aren’t adding a generous dose of more legitimate looking posts that people can’t resist; inspiration quotes, cute cats doing funny things, stomping out cancer inspiration or perhaps something sassy with the word ass in it? 

In addition, maybe the words “share this” are on the post in the text or perhaps as suggestive directions on a photo. Maybe there’s a question. 
At any rate, there’s something enticingly engaging about it. So, the post is shared. And a few friends share it and so the virus grows. Think about it: How many times do you see the same post on your wall that everybody seems to be sharing?

Nothing wrong with that, right? Some of those folks are going to fan the page and just one post could bring in thousands of people almost overnight. That happened to my Groovy Reflections page when one post was ultimately seen by 3.3 million people and shared by 187,000 folks; for a short period of time the incoming new fans at one point “liked” the page at a rate of 3 to 5 a minute!

However, there’s a BIG difference here: The Groovy Reflections Facebook page is legit. It is real and it actually grows slowly and organically, with highly engaged fans. 

And this brings up a very alarming point. I’m a small business owner, with two businesses. And chances are some of those businesses that are buying their built in fan base many compete with me in some way. Not fair to us who play by the rules with honesty, integrity, and good old fashioned ethics. 

Is there a way to shut down this practice? Facebook, are you listening?

One suggestion: If it's a page that you fanned a long time ago, chances are it is legit. Be leary of the newer ones!

Listen people at Facebook! Herman's Hermits sang a song about gaining attention long long ago; we're hoping that you will listen and spread the word about this sleezy practice and bring these scammers down! Oh and do stop by and say hello to this organically grown small business owner's our website, or on TwitterFacebook, or Google+


Anonymous said...

Ultimately there is no way to stop spam, this or any other kind, but by our vigilance.

And this kind of spam is why I seldom like any post or page that I don't know is legit. It takes a moment to stop and consider if you are sharing something worth spreading or just being caught up in the moment and the cuteness or cleverness of a post.

And most certainly I do share and like some of these posts but buy and large I pass on the posts that are nothing more than "eye candy" designed to make you click now and think later.

Gerry Wendel said...

Thanks Kstaxman for your most intelligent comment! Sadly, the people who will learn from this article will probably never SEE this article!

Shannon Grissom said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing the perils of sharing!