PAYING FOR POPULARITY

Written on the 16 October 2014 by Julie Remen

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.


Author: Julie Remen

Latest News

BUNNINGS BOSS JOHN GILLAM QUITS WESFARMERS

THE man behind Bunnings' home improvement domination has resigned from his role in charge of the retailer.

...

NOVOTEL SALE REFLECTS HOT BUYERS' MARKET

AFTER two decades in the hands of a private syndicate, The Novotel Melbourne Glen Waverley has been sold to the Sy...

SUPERLOOP ONE STEP CLOSER TO BIGAIR ACQUISITION

BIGAIR (ASX:BGL) shareholders have given Superloop (ASX:SLC) the green light to acquire the telecommunications com...

RINEHART-BACKED OIL AND GAS EXPLORER SUES VICTORIA FOR $2.7 BILLION

AN oil and gas explorer backed by Gina Rinehart (pictured) is suing the Victorian state government for more than $...

Related News

HOW MCDONALD'S AUSTRALIA REDISCOVERED ITS INNOVATIVE SPIRIT

MCDONALD'S is such a ubiquitous part of the Australian landscape today that it is easy to forget how it change...

JB HI-FI IS THE GOOD GUY IN $870 MILLION ACQUISITION

ELECTRONICS giant JB Hi-Fi has formally completed its $870 million acquisition of home appliance chain The Good Gu...

ACCC ACTS AGAINST MERITON'S RIGGED REVIEWS

MERITON Property Services is under fire from Australia's main consumer watchdog, after it allegedly engaged in mi...

ACCC FIRES WARNING SHOT TO IVF PROVIDERS

IVF clinics have been put on notice by consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC...

Contact us

Email News Update Sign Up Contact Details

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format

PO Box 2087
Brisbane QLD 4001

LoginTell a FriendSign Up to Newsletter