Recently I wrote a post debunking some claims that Google+ is very active. In researching this, I came came across a rather worrying “quirk” with Google+ and Facebook: You can get multiple +1’s and likes from 1 Google+ or Facebook account on one piece of content.
By revealing my findings I feel like I’m making the internet a bad place. Well, I would if it weren’t for the fact that there are already so many worse people out there creating automatic like engines, one simply needs to Google “Facebook likes hack” to see a long list of people cheating the system.
Here’s how I tested this on Google Plus:
I found a piece of content on local tech news site Memeburn from a couple of days ago which had one lonely +1. Clearly it wasn’t getting a lot of attention on social media so it was a safe bet to use this piece for my test as it was unlikely to get more interest during the short 5 minutes it took to run my test. (nothing wrong with the contents of the article by the way, they always have insightful content)
All in all that’s 5 +1’s Google racked up from one user for one piece of content. I feel dirty…
Importantly here, this is not just the case with Google Plus, I also tested this with Facebook likes and shares with the same results. Also important here is that this isn’t just the widget Memeburn is using, try this on pretty much any site using an official Facebook or G+ like or +1 widget and you should get the same result.
So, if you have a blog post which isn’t getting much engagement and you want it to feel like there’s a frat party going down instead of it feeling like the annual agoraphobics anonymous camping trip, this is a quick way to garner a few likes fast.