Last week I posted ‘virus, what virus?‘ and received a like from another wordpresser called ‘anjelicaalim93’ — or, so I thought,
Likes are nice, but not necessary. I’m not growing this blog with the goal of monetisation so I can retire to Tristan da Cunha or anything like that. In fact, I’m so unfollowing the ‘rules of social media’ that I’ve been likened to somebody that ‘talks at, rather than with, people.’
Which is harsh, perceptive and true.
Like the lairs of the right-wing fanatics I troll, this is an echo-chamber where I write for me alone. So the odd, unexpected like always prompts a return-click.
For starters, there’s Anjelica’s Gravatar. Enlarged, it loses some clickbaitiness. I use a cropped image of Beaker from The Muppet Show (to who I bear no resemblance). Not me, but hardly clickbait either.
Anjelica’s charming profile leads you to https://quarantinned.com which appears to be a news aggregator of coronavirus-related statistics and stories. But, just like the lovely Anjelica, the site is just a hollow shell. A click-farm.
If you can be bothered to look, you’re warned the site may contain affiliate links designed to “provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties.”
So I went looking for the hard sell.
Click on an article (“Invasive Lizards Threaten Wildlife In Georgia!“) and you see that the writer ‘AngieMari’ scraped it direct from The New York Post. Twenty more, and the exact same result. Author = ‘AngieMari’ / affiliate link = New York Post.
No sign of human activity, let alone Ms Alim.
So the site exists purely to drive you to the NY Post? And there’s money in this? I know, let’s ask another real internet person:
… uh, what was I talking about …
Oh that’s right — clickbait.
The other revenue source is direct marketing — an e-book titled ‘QuaranTinned Survival Solutions‘ which appears to be a mash-up of articles probably also from the New York Post which (for only $12.95) provide “creative and practical ideas that will bring hope, joy and inspiration in such dire times” and “fifteen high-quality video tutorials“.
Screams value to me!
There’s an odd, curiously sulky link at the bottom of the sales page — No thanks. I don’t want to know HOW TO better quarantine and how to reconnect to neglected or forgotten traditional family values — which dumps you back to Google.
In reality, nobody called Anjelica stumbled across my blog. She didn’t read a post and think, “Holy shit this Ossy guy is the shit!” and award me a like. Instead, a faceless bot crawling WordPress randomly attached itself like a lamprey.
Of the multitudinous (…) likes I’ve received, what portion were also parasites? Even those with actual humans (let’s be kind and call them ‘administrators’) behind them were odds-on likely motivated by the same purpose: entice a return-click to ensnare you in some banal marketing ploy.
I don’t want your shitty book ‘Anjelica’.
The New York Post is line-ball with the National Enquirer for journalistic credibility, so they can jam that up ytheir collective asses.
I don’t covet likes, and never will. This is simply because half of the people out there aren’t actually people. If that rubs those who follow ‘the rules of social media’ then maybe take this version of the Voight-Kampff Test. See if you’re human enough to resist a pretty face. Click here — and no, I’m not getting paid for the traffic.
Maybe it’s proof of my humanness that I can no longer tell the difference between a real person, a fake person, or a real-fake person.
It’s also lucky that I don’t mind talking to an empty room.
Thanks for this article! I got two likes and a follow from this account this morning and I was a bit confused, because I assumed wordpress wouldnt have any spam accounts. But that ‘Anjelica’s’ whole blog seemed kinda fake
You’ve got to admit, it IS a very clever way to attract visitors to a clickbait site. I’d guess the average mom and pop blogger isn’t going to think beyond “how wonderful that someone liked my post, let me see what they are about.”
Like you my initial reaction is to question, my method being to long press on the blogger’s avatar image, then search Google for that image. If more than one disparate link appears, it’s fake.
It is very clever, but fills me with despair. Eight billion people in the world, and we’re talking to bots?