As I was waiting to get my kids on the bus this morning, I scrolled through Facebook and found a great article on Facebook Like Scammers selling Facebook pages after trolling for likes and comments.
Well, I almost found it. First, I found this Yahoo! news article that briefly mentioned the real article by DaylanDoes.com. After trudging through some sloppy prose on Yahoo, I found the link to Daylan’s post, clicked through and wasn’t disappointed.
Daylan dives into this seedy practice of how people troll for Facebook Likes or what I would call a Like Bait or LikeBait. Likebaits are reminiscent of LinkBaits from the glory or gory days of SEO when Google’s algorithm was fast, furious and sloppy as hell. A linkbait is a great big long article, so long that people would rather link to it, rather than copy it and re-post. Those backlinks drove up sites SEO value. Plus, the linkbaits were often 800 – 3k words long and would rank well all on their own from a contextual perspective.
Anyway, Facebook has an algorithm as well as Daylan describes very eloquently…
The Facebook Like algorithm is Facebook’s way of dictating if content is of any value to users. The more likes/shares/comments it gets, the more exposure to certain people it, and the profile it belongs to, will get both short term and long term.
So where do the scammers get ahead posting an image encouraging you to like or comment in order to avoid bringing a wrath of god down upon your friends and family if you don’t?
Well, Daylan’s article has brilliantly pulled together the disparate market of Facebook Page arbitrage. Some troll gets a picture that is likely to be a viral monster, creates a facebook type of call to action for it, and creates a page that it will be posted on. They float the image, gather lots of likes and the rank of that page goes up, until they eventually turn around and attempt to sell the page to someone else that didn’t go to all of that trouble on their own with their own audience or followers.
Essentially, they are selling your goodwill in hitting the like button. Kind of reminds me of the wishing well scene in the Goonies, where the kids start collecting up all the coins thrown down the well until one moralistic kid reminds everyone that those coins represent everyone’s wishes. Same basic concept here. All those viral likes, are kind of like a facebook users wishes, or their hopes and dreams of avoiding cancer, or advancing the plight of cute kittens around the world etc.
Daylan sums it up nicely with
So back to the original issue: Why do these pages exist?
A: Because there is money to be made from it.
What can you do, do better, do more safely knowing more about Facebook Likebait?
Well first, go and read Daylan’s article in full. I promise it is both very useful and very entertaining to read. Especially make sure you read how he breaks down the “The structure of the scam”
I would posit there are some appropriate things that a valid company or person or group or club or cause can do and learn using some of the techniques the scammers use. After all people are pretty much wired to react to this type of thing. The force can be used for the good. At the same time, reading this article will help innoculate you and yours against the dark side.
It might also help you or that intern down the hall running your facebook account to avoid making a serious mistake that would sell the goodwill of your friends, fans and followers down the road cancelling out their wishes and creating a public relations nightmare.