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Ugh. +Alexis Madrigal of the Atlantic writes that an SEO shop is "selling" Google +1s.

"50 for $10, 250 for $30, or 2,000 for $170" is the going rate, he says. What a horrible idea.
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203 comments
 
I'm surprised it took this long for someone to set up something like that.
 
I still haven't seen what kind Effect +1's have yet.. You would be better off buying some HIGH PR Links for that.
Vorn Star
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This comment is sponsored.
 
I know a shop in India that will give you 1,000 +1's for a nickel. Wait...that can't be good can it?
 
It was bound to happen, after all there are services that promise to get you Twitter Followers or Facebook Friends
 
Or is it a Horrible idea? Haha he'll get banned soon lol
 
That is just freaking wrong....gah...google should sue them or something , hell there has to be some TOS violation for this or some sort of penalty for abuse? no?
 
all the more reason why Google needs to add the minus one button. We can offset these jokers.
 
grrr. lets hope google finds a way around it.
 
Should we be surprised?! I'm only shocked that it took this long....
 
And people were complaining on Google clamping down on the profiles...
 
Probably pretty useless. If I understood everything right +1s are especially important if they come from friends - which 2k fake accounts don't have.
The pure count is probably far less important.
 
Google will deal with it.
 
That sucks. Anyone that buys 1+ just to make their posts seem more popular need to get a life.
 
Figured that was coming.. Of course none of those +1's will show up to anyone who isn't their G+ friend so the immediate benefit probably won't be there and it will be Very easy for Google to shut them down.
 
yep ... was one the stream 2 days ago .... I did not share it
 
People are doing it like a week ago at sites like fiverr.
 
as long as there's a market for it, someone will do it
 
Just like paying for good film reviews. Phony, phony, phony.
 
Or we could provide valuable content that actually garners +1 for free!
 
It does not take long before something good gets perverted by commercialism.
 
If this is going to be part of the search algorithm, the +1's of seasoned Google+ users will probably count more than the ones of the new accounts. Much like the links from popular websites count more than the ones from the link farms.
 
Not surprising... I wonder what Google's response will be!
 
The Problem here is that Google have previously stated that amounts of +1's a site has will influence the order they appear in the Search results
 
This doesn't seem all that hard for Google to identify. I anticipate a new round of business complaining loudly about getting penalized for this type of behavior. This ought to be entertaining.
 
I wonder if they (or someone else) is selling FB Likes.
 
+Fabien yep it does seem pretty pointless to buy +1s -- you only see +1s from friends, so unless people start adding spammers to their circles en masse, they don't go anywhere. (And even when your friends +1 things, they don't end up in your stream yet -- just under the +1 tab).
 
With Google being Google and all, part of me thinks that they will manhandle this in no time. They sort of created this beast and I am sure they have planned accordingly.
 
It's things like this that make it more difficult for people to really understand how the internet works.
 
wait... others will come charging half price.
 
Yikes! What soul-sucking bottom feeders.
 
+gordonsroufe I don't believe "Likes" have a profound effect on search/traditional SEO.
 
i'm not even sure that I full understand how this is even possible. seems a tad alternate universe-ish to me...
 
With that many alt accounts you could also sell a way to make a nickname a common name. You could point out "look, hundreds of people also have the surname FluffyBunny1975, it's common."
 
+Pete Cashmore , Selling +1's is going to undermine, what I think is, the whole reason for +1's.. and that is to give 'real person' value/recommendations for content or websites and affects ranking in SERPs. I hope that Google clams down on them before it ends up like the "buy Facebook 'Likes'", you never knew if a FB page was actually popular and provided good content or they just 'bought' the 'LIKES' and the page was in fact pretty crappy and added no value to anyone at all.
 
There is a smart algo behind the +1 button. Not every +1 counts. 
 
+Eirik Rainer well, +1s don't affect search rankings yet, to the best of our knowledge. If your friends +1 a link, you'll see their faces in search, but it doesn't seem +1s influence pagerank yet. My hope is that even if Google were to use +1s to improve search, they'd do it in a personalized way (ie. you will see different search results from me because you have different people in your circles -- but neither of us would have our SERPs affected by spammers unless we circled them).
 
I'ma put some +.5s on lay-away ... If you're not from the hood, you might not know what lay-away is.
 
Sites like Fiverr are all about things like this.
 
Hopefully Google will come up with a way to block such crap.
 
Hmm +Joe Barbagallo it sure seemed that after clicking a like on FB that within a day or two 1) there were ads for similar things and 2) spam that could only be traced back to FB.
 
Anyone want to trade a +1 for 2 +K's?
 
That's expensive. I'm surprised that the Indian "data-centers" haven't undercut the price yet. They already have operators in real time breaking captchas for under $4/1000.
 
Pay Per Plus. I predicted it days ago. I'm always 5 - 10 seconds ahead of my time.
 
another way to come up at the top of search results
 
A horrible way for profit and an easy solution for webmasters.
 
You can buy Twitter followers at 1 cent per account.
 
Coming soon.. a robot +1 script
 
Google may buy 2000 +1 and wait to ban users who work with this SEO Shop
 
to add to Elena's comment, ive seen 250 free facebook 'likes' and 100 twitter followers being promoted by companies, so i guess it was just a matter of time. I guess agencies (other than SEO based) could buy or use these to skew the results of campaigns they have created.
 
+Pete Cashmore Hope you're right about the page rank. Hopefully the circle influence will only go one way. ie I see results you've +1'd because you're in my circles, not I see the random Spambots +1'd results because I'm in their circles.
 
Given the gadzillions of +1s available and in active circulation, could anybody afford enough of them for this scheme to even work?

If you're going to sell an infinite resource, you have to see this as the trainwreck it is.
 
Even if I had a company profile on Google+ I would not buy phony +1s. Now that people have seen the article, they will pay attention to posts that get more +1s than they deserve.
 
Google does an amazing amount of personal customization to rankings. When I do searches related to my articles I come up on first page for some competitive searches. But, when I search in a private session on FireFox I'm down around page 10.
 
Eeeeew ...
... memories of Gold sweatshops for WoW?
 
....and I'm selling LIKES on FB.
No worries, that is a lot of work - won't last.
We'll just check out our +1's and see if they are real- if not BLOCK.
 
Unfortunately this kind behaviour was always going to happen but it was just a matter of who would take the lead. In anycase, I'm confident google have thought of the implications & have developed a strategy around this.
 
This is not as bad as loosing large amount of positive review on Google Places. Google local has totally destroyed the reviews and listings that were associated with them. +1 is half of the Googles problems. They really need to get their brains together and fix the problem. The new kid on a block like Bing might just take over all of the sudden.
 
These guys will just filter out themselves from what's relevant and useful. And they will help Improve the roadmap for G+
- It's great this kind of stuff happens right now in the beginning. However i think this kind of misbehavior is going to be a whole lot more refined as we go, which is quite worrisome.
 
In the words of Howard Moon of the Mighty Boosh, it's not the quantity of the fan but the quality of the fan.
 
I don't think selling +1's will succeed for long. Google doesn't like people who try to game them. They have already gotten quite good at spotting fraudulent Adsense clicks. With all the data they have at their disposal, it shouldn't be difficult for them to spot patterns that don't quite add up.
 
That's whats wrong with this world, no scrupples, or morals. If you can't earn it, then buy someone off, or fake your way around. Sheesh
 
This is why this type of thing shoud be taken off. Let's face it it's just a lazy way of commenting. I liked the google side wiki, I guess it didn't succed.
 
Got to respect the genius of entrepreneurialism. As long incomplete information and inefficient markets exist, there will always be arbitrageurs profiting from speculative fools with plenty of money willing to front run the rest of us into every emerging opportunity.

From the bleak history of public apathy, and non-existent of personal initiative to right any wrong, anytime, anywhere, no mater what, the default message from the community/industry is loud and clear: It pays to cheat, especially if one does not get caught. For all of us who whine and complain, but do nothing impactful enough to collaboratively penalize and deter potential abusers, we are personally accountable for, and deserve everything we get.

Here my own deduction of what could be coming next: "Chain Reciprocating", a la Twittering. It's all FREE, and so easy to escalate virally! Theoretically speaking, if 10 million people can collaborate to +1 to each other, everyone will end up with as many as 9.99999 million +1's. All anyone has to do is put a line on the G+ profile that says: Attention, "I +1 back!"

Guess what, we already have 20+ million G+ beta testers ;P...
But then again, this is only one person's personal opinion. Right?
 
Definitely a lot of spammers on here, I was glad to hear that Google is taking serious cleanup action finally.
 
This is about the time we start a movement for a minus button.
 
I know a few companies doing this.
 
There is always someone who messes up a good thing for every body.
 
Here we go already! Oh well, what people don't want to work to create they always seem able to buy. ~sigh~
 
But G+ will weight results to the individual, giving preference to +1s from people in your circles. 
 
Geez. Well, if there's a loophole for creative fundraising on the part of a starving G+ geek, u sort of have to respect it. Not agree, certainly not buy the +1's, but kudos for creativity.
 
This is not new. People buy "likes" on Facebook everyday. In fact Facebook helps you buy likes from a targeted demographic.
Nads Y
 
I think it was bound to happen with all the viral marketing and hype.
 
you've earned 10 bucks :)
 
Gross. This may lead to Google developing a way to verify interest patterns.
 
lol won't take Google long to start blocking IPs in the +1 total.
 
In the old language of the elves.... #fail
 
There can be only one solution: Retina scans
 
isn't natural like google wants! I am more than shurely that Google will find soon a way to block those spammers
 
awful. first time FB is better than g+
 
Why do we have to refer to it as: '1000 +1' why not just say '+1000s'

Example: 'my site has +1000s already'

As for the idea of '+1 black market' I have trust in Google to solve it. 
 
Btw, I wonder who will get to 'Google+1' first? That is +1 with 100 zeros beside it. That should cost a fortune even given the low rates charged by these Asian data farms. 
 
These idiots are always around, and what's worse, there'll be dozens of idiots who take them up on it. On a similar note, there was a company advertising on TV here in Australia, selling Google Places listings, and the big tagline was 'with Unlimited Leads!' - it really got me annoyed. I know it's not as bad as selling +1s, but seriously....
 
I would be really suprised if Google dudn't anticipated something like this would happen eventually. They must have a protocol in place for this scenario.
 
This just makes me wonder... How long will it take Google to react and what will the counter-action be?
 
I'm not surprised this is happening. I would be surprised though if Google hasn't predicted it and been working on some algorithms to look for patterns of this behaviour. If it identifies a high volume of +1s from one source, it could look into that and disregard tha activity.
 
Hopefully Google will find a way of putting a stop to this.
 
It had to happen sooner or later +Pete Cashmore just as well it is being gamed now while Gplus is still in it's testing period - they can then figure out how to sort the wheat from the chaff
 
Yeah I reported on this a few days back as well, I've seen more of these sites popping up. What a shame.
 
That sounds pretty expensive and an easy way to make money. =P
 
I thought Mario games was outdated?
 
I put the button on my blog. But I don't think I've had takers yet. Wonder if there's going to be a market for +1 forgeries. :P
 
Not difficult to believe, others are providing fans for FB pages for a price as well.
 
First thing I though when the +1 arrived was this. Not a surprise...
 
Lol I'll buy that for a dollar
 
Google won't have it. Just came out of a webinar where they spoke about this and I'm pretty sure it won't take long before they're taken down for breach of the usage agreement of +1. Most likely to be those who pay for this service rather than the providers who will be challenged too.
 
you have to think that google would retaliate for something like this... like delist the company from search results.
 
dear god, could this be the beginning of spam hell on google +?
 
Google could go after the people/businesses offering this sale, no? It's clearly a violation of the whole G+1 concept so I would think this kind of sale could easily be banned...
 
Artificial Social Media Marketing never works - didn't people learn that from those companies who let you 'buy followers on Twitter'?
 
The chink in the armor... the competitive human element!
 
There's always a way to beat the system.
 
Unbelievable and sad...goes with selling rooting cards on eBay for the Nook Color and selling in game gold in WOW for real money...anything to make a buck.
 
Good! Maybe some engagement will now start happening - for all the people on this network the landscape of conversations is barren.
 
There has to be a way to ensure authenticity in a web platform.
 
I shudder to think what kind of progress we'd see in the world if these people would spend as much time on legitimate work as they do on looking for loopholes and scams.
 
+Pete Cashmore People are going to try and game the system as much as possible for self-benefit. You are going to really see the effects of this when Google + releases it's business profiles. I personally work in the vacation rentals industry, and the things people do to try and get people's business via social networks is disgusting. misleading and unethical.

An immediate example:

An advertising company located in Myrtle Beach, SC actually setup a Facebook page claiming they were the "official Facebook page of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina". So, when people were searching on Facebook for Myrtle Beach, they came to this page thinking that it was ran by the city of Myrtle Beach.

Little did these fans know, that this website is being ran by an advertising company that is representing Myrtle Beach as THEY see fit, and actually charging local businesses in the Myrtle Beach area to advertise on that Facebook page on a "cost per fan basis", and we're talking about a website that has over 300,000+ fans.

So, if a fan of "Myrtle Beach" asks: "Hey, I'm looking for a condo in the area, who should I rent through?", the advertising company would only refer that fan to either:

a) Their own external website
b) A website of a local vacation rentals agency who paid them for promotion.

It's behavior like this that has made me absolutely hate Facebook, which is a major reason I've heavily embraced Google +.
 
+Pete Cashmore I dont understand your comment that only people in your circles see the +1's ,, I see a +1 count sometimes in the hundreds given by people i do not know ?
 
I think this will be no longer available because this is Google 
 
It's America, baby. Everything is for sale.
 
That is an argument against a -1 button because people would also sell them. Imagine being able to but 1000 -1's for a competitor.
 
Why does this surprise? Facebook and Twitter has their share of blackmarket crookery. Google SEO has something called as blackhat so google + is no big surprise.
 
This thread is worth about $25 with 126 +1's.
 
The first thing i said when +1 came out was it could not possibly have any effect on search results because it is so open to manipulation. And this is only the beginning. So I would assume that +1 has no noticeable effect on rankings? What is Google's position on the +1? Have they ever said that it would have an effect? If so, good luck keeping your index relevant!
 
I've already encouraged all of my employees to +1 our website but definitely not worth buying them.
 
So what? Companies have been selling Facebook Likes. Here's the thing: it only matters or will be seen only if the people +1ing or Liking the links are in your social graph.
 
LMAO! Saw this coming a mile away. HOPEFULLY Google cracks down on this STAT or else their +1 system will be useless in terms of SEO.
 
I read this and posted it yesterday too. So annoying but we did see it coming.
Roger V
 
It's not my battle, but google should patent dividing someone's time spent online by the number of +1's, which would kill the spammers off since each +1 would then matter less and less - and more accurately reflect natural human behavior. Sort of like pagerank for attention.
 
Ill trade you 10 +1's and 5 Tweets for 3 fan pages and a linkedin and 10 likes...LOL
 
And anyone stupid enough to buy them is going to be out some cash when Google changes how the +1 ranking system calculates rankings. Perhaps only phone validated Google accounts can +1. They'll have to. This kind of behavior defeats the whole purpose. Google might as well sell better rankings themselves... oh yeah... they already do...
 
People will do anything to make money....how lame!
 
Might be a disaster when all your +1s are from #Teamfollowback people then your gig is up :)
 
That is just ridiculous. What ever happen to earning ranks. Cheating is lame!
 
Wow that's hilarious. Just another SEO company that does not know how to do SEO.
 
Lame yet totally foreseeable. I'm sure that's going on with facebook's "like" button
 
Agree with Cindy, surprised it didn't happen sooner. No less unfortunately though.
 
The dark side of the Internet.... and people will buy!
 
Let's see how Google tackles this one... They've tried with web farms, so what will they do with for-pay +1s?
 
not surprising, Google needs to be more discerning in ranking G+ members
 
That is SO Schmucky... like buying Twitter "Followers" People are always looking for the short-cut buying of eyeballs instead of taking the time to build relationships. That's SO Yesterday's Mentality...
 
I'm always amazed at the cottage industries that pop up to game the system. I remember seeing an ad on Facebook that promoted acquiring "likes" for your social campaign, it's funny but expected that it would happen to Google+. I wonder who the schmucks are that actually pay these clowns?
 
I had offers before Google+ even went past beta, sent by email back in July
 
it was bound to happen. One of the arguments AGAINST the +1 button was that it could be exploited and abused to make artificial SEO. Let's see how Google handles this as more opportunists catch on to that vulnerability.
 
The value of a +1 is tied to the reputation score of the person making an endorsement, and to the reputation of the person receiving an endorsement.  A bundle of +1s sold in a manner like this is like buying less than an empty parcel of unfulfilled potential - they are buying something that may negatively impact them.

See the claims section of Google's pending continuation patent titled "Agent Rank" (US Patent Application 20110289095)

http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220110289095%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20110289095&RS=DN/20110289095

A +1 doesn't impact how Google might perceived the quality of a piece of content directly, but rather the reputation score of the person who digitally signed that content. 

If I have a high reputation score on a certain topical subject, and I endorse something via a +1, or by sharing the content, or by leaving a comment on the content in a Google Plus thread about it, my endorsement helps improve the reputation score for the person who wrote that original content.

If I have a low reputation score in that topic, or none at all, and I endorse it, I add nothing to the reputation score of the person who wrote that original content.

I suspect that if I received a bundle of endorsements at the same time from a service like this, it could even be used to negatively impact my reputation score.
 
it's all artificial today. it's like no one gets a chance accept the ones who can dough out the cash. It's no wonder everyone is learning how to hack (develop).
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