All this computer hacking is making me thirsty, I think I'll "like" a Tab.
May 25, 2012 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Is it really possible to be a freelance Facebook "like"-er?

I recently heard this episode of Planet Money in which they described different businesses that pay for people to "like" things on Facebook. They mentioned a site that supplies the freelance workers who do this. I looked at the site (freelancer.com) but couldn't figure out how this might work on the worker's end. It looked like a lot of the jobs were searching for bundles of people in a specific demographic (200 likes from Brazilians living outside of Brazil, for example). Has anyone actually done this? Once you sign up as a freelancer, do you have to bid on every job you want? That seems like it might take more time than the actual "like"-ing. The podcast made it sound like you could make some decent pocket change if you did this, and I happen to have a fair bit of downtime right now.
posted by Kitty Stardust to Work & Money (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
This sounds like a great way for the brokers to make lots of money and for the freelancers to make pennies an hour (a deal that would only appeal to the desperate.)

If something seems to good to be true, it probably is.
posted by Kololo at 8:08 AM on May 25, 2012


I know you are talking about FB likes, but this type of activity falls into a larger area of dishonest online advertising.

So yes, you can do this, but you also violate the Terms of Service of Facebook. Essentially "likes" are supposed to be honest affirmations. However, when you are hired to do the job, that defeats that honesty. I work on several freelance sites for a living. I do not do these types of jobs at all. However, when I see them posted, I enter a violation report and usually the job is pulled. The point being simply that there are people like me who will do our best to keep jobs like that mucking up our honest work sites. On a couple of sites I work out of, I have a very good record of spotting fakes and my violation reports almost always result in if not just a removal of the ad, but a removing of the account entirely. Just so you know. I don’t play around with this crap and will show no mercy for these pathetic scammers and their jobs.

There is also a legal element to this and while I do not know where a "like-er's" responsibility lies, it is still out there and there have been quite a bit of talk about it back and forth. The US Federal Trade Commission has a document regarding fake reviews which I am pretty sure FB Likes could fall under.

FTC Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (PDF)

Finally, should you go down this path, remember it is your IP address that is going to be targeted and possibly banned from certain sites. The question you should ask yourself is whether the pay from the Fake Liking Gig is worth more to you than using the service itself. Remember, should there be an issue that is targeted with your fake-liking, it is you that is going to suffer, not the person who hired you. While IP Banning is not all that widespread, with the recent IPO of FB, I would assume they are going to step up their monitoring of fakes on their network to increase the value of their service.

Bottom line - find another job. Fake reviews, likes, thread postings etc etc can pay some money if you set aside your scruples, but in the end, you are just contributing to making the net a less desirable place to be. And should the hammer fall due to your participation in the faking, it is you that will be left holding the bag and the people who hired you will run off to make a new fake company to post new fake addresses and have unsuspecting newbies like you that they can lure into this less than honest job with claims of quick and easy money and the whole cycle repeats.

I could go on and on about this from other technical angles to including the fact that if you are doing this type of work by hand, you are doing it wrong. To really make some money with this, you need automation and when you start with that, it is a whole new level of stupidity.

Oh yeah, one last thing…..you probably won't get paid either when the whole thing falls apart.

Ok enough.
posted by lampshade at 8:23 AM on May 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


Search engine evaluation is a legit version of this kind of pocket change work. See Appen Butler Hill, Lionbridge, Mechanical Turk, WorkforceLogic, and Leapforce.

Apply to all of them because (except for Mechanical Turk) they take a while to tap you.

I have just started doing this for Appen Butler Hill.

Several rungs above this are elance and odesk. I have not personally worked for either, but I have helped a computer student of mine get some legit work on elance.
posted by skbw at 8:24 AM on May 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


EDIT: keep jobs like that mucking up our honest work sites

should have been "keep jobs like that from mucking up our our hones work sites"
posted by lampshade at 8:26 AM on May 25, 2012


Go to Fiverr.com and search for "facebook likes"; this will give you an idea of the industry, as well as a convenient place where you can offer these services.
posted by darth_tedious at 8:33 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I did a few writing jobs on freelancer.com. It's shitty work for pennies. You mostly bid on jobs against people in third world countries. Someone will post that they want 20 300 word articles. People bid on what they'd charge to do that and how long it will take. So I might bid $100 ($5 per article) and say it will take 3 days. Thirty other people may bid anywhere from $40 and 2 days to $150 and 5 days and any variation thereof. The buyer decides which bid to accept. You do have to bid on the jobs you like and it doesn't take long.

I did about 4 jobs before stopping and all but one was writing articles on how to make money on the internet; how to make money without a job; and how to make money in affiliate marketing. They all seemed geared to generate/manipulate Google Adsense revenue. I wrote garbage and I have no idea where it ended up. You don't usually get credit for your work, which is a good thing.

The problem with the "like" buyers is that they're trying to generate fake interest in Facebook pages and youtube views. How can you generate 10,000 likes? You either have to create that many fake Facebook accounts or have a group of people create that many accounts. You bid on whether you can deliver that many likes in a seemingly legitimate way.
posted by shoesietart at 8:34 AM on May 25, 2012


I've seen freelancer sites that solicit bids for people to post on messageboard threads, and answers along the lines of 'yes I have lots of experience as a message board poster, both legit and paid' so this is one version of it. I'm not sure how it would work given that the boards I post on are very quick to spot and shut down spam, but I would imagine from this point of view Facebook is more effective - there's no way of telling whether someone's 'like' is genuine or paid for.
posted by mippy at 9:06 AM on May 25, 2012


How can you generate 10,000 likes?

There is a whole cottage industry of people who write apps that get around FB protections and can mass enter FB likes on the order of tens of thousands at a time. They also do the same thing with Craigslst, BackPages and just about any other advert site you can think of.

Another thing to remember is that when using these apps, it will spike your usage activity with your ISP and create problems there as well.

mippy - "there's no way of telling whether someone's 'like' is genuine or paid for."

Facebook will know.
posted by lampshade at 9:10 AM on May 25, 2012


I suggest you check out Amazon's Mechanical Turk if you're interested in this sort of repetitive, low-paying manual computer work, because it probably pays as well or better, and doesn't involve manipulation of advertising.

https://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome
posted by imagineerit at 10:38 AM on May 25, 2012


I personally think you'd be in some dodgy territory here as far as ethics and taxes, too.

For instance, I write reviews. If I get an item for free and review that item, I disclose that, because I feel readers should know that; it speaks to bias. i may be more inclined to write a favorable review. Most publications require journalists to do that.

You feel like you are fine with liking things for payment and not revealing that. For the record, a lot of bloggers once thought as you do, and since many were not journalists, they weren't technically required to reveal anything.

Some of their readers, though, felt duped when they made buying decisions based on reviews they thought were genuine, and found out the bloggers only gave positive reviews because they got something in return for it.

Which is why the FTC decided to require disclosure of that information upfront. So if you live in the US, you must disclose whenever you get compensation for a post, tweet, Like, etc.

I have personally turned down lucrative offers to do similar things, because of the shadiness of the terms, where I was asked to not fully disclose my vested interest. i wouldn't touch this Facebook scheme of yours with a ten-foot pole.

So, ethics aside, legally you should not let anyone convince you to do this Like scheme if you are not free to disclos you are being paid for it. Because if you do, you're the one who could end up in legal trouble.
posted by misha at 10:57 AM on May 25, 2012


Thanks for the responses. I was more idly curious than anything else. I do have a job, but it has periods of downtime during which I'm pretty much free to do whatever, and I could always use a few extra ducats. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to try this with my real profile. From what I've seen on some other sites, bot "likes" get paid half the rate that real profiles get. I often wonder how one gets into these darkside internet gigs. Also, it makes much more sense that the vast majority of people doing this seem to be from overseas, where the low wages might have greater purchase power.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 11:41 AM on May 25, 2012


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