Facebook linkbaiting or black hat?

The trend for pointless Facebook pages continues, with lots of “million people who love custard” or statements as pages “Sitting in the bath” – they grow very well virally and rapidly, but what’s the point?

Well…. I’ve noticed a new trend on Facebook recently – a lot of groups, aiming to build a million+ users, follow a formula generally as follows:

  1. Create a largely pointless page as above, the more controversial/amusing/”so true” the better.
  2. Seed the group to your circle and watch it grow virally (hopefully).
  3. Once large enough, add favourite pages for the actual business/person that they were hoping to promote and update to all the fans – sometimes related, usually not.

If 1% of 1,000,000 fans checked out the real target, you’ve just created a huge amount of traffic to try and convert.

It’s clever, but not necessarily very ethical – I guess it’s the Facebook “bait n switch”. Maybe I should of called it “grey hat” (a term stolen from SEO) as it’s not really specifically against the Facebook TOS?

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2 comments

  1. It is clever, but not too ethical, I agree.

    I’d be interested in research identifying how users feel once they realise they’ve been ‘baited’. I’d predict that their levels of annoyance would depend on the relevancy of the actual business/person is and how open they are to such consumer ploys in general.

    Might it be that as users become more savvy and realise that a such a switch is likely to occur once a group grows to a certain level that they just come to accept this as the norm – a small price to pay for being associated with a cool,so true, amusing page!

  2. …and the day after I wrote this, I find this one:
    http://bit.ly/cMQYiL (DON’T enter the competition)

    blatantly set up to harvest email addresses via the old apple (insert product here) giveaway scheme.

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