Music Industry - Spotting Fakes & Scams
As an artist in this crazy music industry, you are going to come across an endless amount of companies & individuals who will offer you a variety of services you require. More specifically, promotion & growth.
Everyone wants to grow & have millions of followers. I mean, who wouldn't? Think of all the perks, fame, & opportunities that come with being an online celebrity. It could change your life for the better. A lot of people want this, and they want it instantly. No one likes waiting or working right? This is why it's so easy to get caught in paying for something that isn't what it seems to be. Ever see something along the lines of:
"Fast & Safe Followers - No Drop Guarantee"
"Cheap & Real Followers - No Password Required"
"Instant Followers/Plays for Cheap."
"Buy 1000 Followers & Get An Extra 500 For Free"
"Organic Followers Delivered within 24 Hours"
These are just a few examples of some significant red flags. You will also come to find that headlines like this are often from sites like Fiverr, SEO Clerks or individuals on social media that tend to spam their "services" every chance they get. A significant indicator of a fake service is the spelling. If a company can't spell something correctly or use proper grammar, they aren't worth your time.
You need to be extremely careful if you are looking to use services such as these. 99% of the time they are frauds & use bots or click farms to boost your numbers. They are the furthest thing from organic. Throughout this article, we are going to be high lighting the essential things you need to look out for and tips & tricks to researching these companies or individuals. We want to save you money and have you put your precious advertising dollars to good use.
Research the Company or individual:
The most critical thing you need to do before moving forward is to do some research. Do you want to be paying a company that you haven't looked at or ever heard of before? Probably not. Take a few minutes and find out more about who they are and how they work.
- Check out their website. If they don't have a site or a place to find information, then they aren't worth your time.
- Do a quick Google Search. If they aren't popping up, they probably aren't worth it. You need to find more information about them before spending your money.
- Does this company represent themselves professionally? If there are spelling errors, no brand, no about us, broken links, etc. it's probably best to leave. Do you want to work with a company that doesn't take the time to present themselves well?
- Are they using buzz words such as "Safe Followers" "Fast delivery" etc.? If so, it's probably best to leave.
- Social proof? This one is huge. If there is no social proof of any kind, then it's best to leave. You need evidence or some sort of testimonial to make you feel comfortable. Make sure their claims can be backed up. A lot of services will say "Worked with millions of clients" or "Our Clients include X, X, X, X". Follow up with their claims if they seem far fetched.
- Do they have an about us section? You always want to know what credentials companies have. If it's hard to find out who they are or what they have done, then it's not worth your time to work with them.
- Can you contact them? If it's not easy, leave.
- How are their packages or products displayed? What are the payment options? If there is a bunch of packages that say things along the lines of "For X money you will receive 500 organic plays, 100 safe followers, and 50 real reposts in less than 24 hours" it's most likely a fraudulent service. You never want to purchase anything with buzz words like "SAFE, NO PASSWORD REQUIRED, FAST DELIVERY, NO DROPS". These all raise significant alarms that should make you run for the hills. You will notice almost all "quick & fast" services with nothing to show for it use these same words.
- Does the company tell you exactly where the traffic source is coming from and how they "deliver" the conversion? If they shy away from this, leave. You need to know exactly how they advertise you to this "traffic" they supposedly have.
- Do their services and methods make sense? Think logically for a second. If what their advertising to you makes sense, then maybe you can try it. If what they are saying is a little "off" then maybe find somewhere else to go.
We understand that many fake services can represent themselves very well and make themselves look extremely professional. You need to ask questions and go with your gut instinct. Ask around if it's a real & pleasant place to spend your money.
If you decide to go with a service you think is right for you and your music, then, by all means, try it out. Once you start gaining results from the company or individual, it's in your best interest to analyse the results.
Results are our next topic — analytics and knowing if you have been a victim of bots or a click farm.
Ahh yes. Click farms. These suck. Being a victim of a click farm is the worst feeling ever. We are going to go over click farms in-depth & to educate you on how to spot them.
Definition: A click farm is a form of click fraud, where a large group of low-paid workers are hired to click on paid advertising links for the click fraudster (click farm master or click farmer). (Google Definitions)
Sounds sweet right?....
So what happens when you purchase promotion from a company that uses this method? Your first reaction will be, "HOLY! Look at all these plays/conversions I've gained overnight!" Things seem so impressive until you start looking at the analytics — Dun dun dun.
You will most certainly find patterns and spikes within your analytics. Let's say after you paid this specific company your plays fluctuated up 10,000 and then stopped just as fast as they came. We are talking within seconds. Most click farms start your "organic promotion" and finish it almost instantly. You will see jumps of insane numbers, and they will all come from the same place. Not good. Plays from a click farm will almost always have the same origins. Maybe all those 10k plays came from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc. (It seems that the majority of click farms are from third world countries) Then you dive deeper and see it was all from the same accounts. Then you realise it was all from the same city or IP address. Uh oh.
Don't you feel good knowing that someone or some computer algorithm blasted 10k meaningless numbers to your track? That's what you get with a click farm. You are paying for a fake number boost. Nothing more.
Bots & Fakes:
Along with Click farms, you are going to come across companies that drive bots to your channels.
Bots are an unnatural profile that "engages" with your content. Bots can be made in mass and delivered to anyone, anywhere with a click of a button. Bots & fake accounts are the plagues of the online world. They are everywhere and sometimes hard to spot. Below are some tips & tricks to spotting bots.
Ask yourself these questions:
Where are they located? Are they being driven from the same location?
Do they have a profile picture or original content?
Are they following the same handful of people?
Did these followers all come at the exactly at the same time?
Do their names match their profile?
Is their profile a royalty-free image?
Can the company provide more proof as to where the traffic is coming from?
Try reaching out to your new followers and see if they give a response back.
If you think you have fell victim to a bot attack, it's best to ask the company you paid for more insight. You will also want to take a look more in-depth into the followers or plays (whatever you paid for) and see what's happening. It is relatively obvious to spot a bot. They usually come quickly and in clusters. There will be a massive influx in followers from some sketchy sources or no sources at all. Similar to a click farm, these profiles will look absurdly fake with weird names & even more mysterious royalty free images. You will notice that almost all of these new followers have basic accounts and come from the same location.
The hardest part is understanding the difference between "throwaway" accounts and bots. A throwaway account is still a real person but only use their account to sign up for things and never look back. It's mostly a junk email. It's real but probably inactive. A bot is nothing but a fake name and picture that was made to follow the masses with someone's computer program.
It is unfortunate that we live in a world where it's straightforward for people to make bot services and various other forms of scams or fraudulent schemes.
We hope that these few but crucial tips help you in the future! Our team is always here to help with anything!