The WordPress Reader can be a fascinating place to poke around and look at other people’s blog-ish habits. One of the things that interests (and puzzles) me is the like-for-like phenomenon. I think there are a fair number of people who do this, and there are some bloggers that I notice liking so many posts that I have strong doubts as to whether they’re actually reading (or even opening) all of those posts that they’re liking.
The like-for-like phenomenon becomes particularly obvious when you come across blogs with high engagement numbers but content that does not in any way warrant such numbers.
One example is a site that posts printer drivers. A post with drivers for the HP Envy Pro 6455 got 86 likes, because really, who wouldn’t want to read that, and who doesn’t have an HP Envy Pro 6455?
That pales in comparison, though, to the 252 likes for a font site’s post with download info for a font called Not Bad. Because again, who doesn’t want to include that in their day?
Or you’ve got the real estate company that does blog posts in Spanish and gets >200 likes per post from a lot of non-Spanish-sounding bloggers.
In turn, if you want to get a bunch of likes on your posts, you could probably look at the people who are liking posts on the printer driver and font sites and go and like their posts to climb aboard the like-for-like express.
Does anyone remember Sebastian? He was around last year and for a little while this year liking a whole bunch of posts, often within seconds of people publishing them. There were multiple reports about him on the WordPress.com support forum (including here, here, here, here, and here), and WP did take away his ability to like posts in the Reader, although it sounds like he kept creating new accounts and they had to do some chasing to keep up with him. And if you’re as fascinated by Sebastian as I am, Google “relatocorto” (the oh-so-creative name of his website, which translates to “short story”), and you’ll see that he’s managed to convince Google that he’s a legit place of business.
People do this kind of thing because it “works”, and people will keep doing it as long as there are people who will participate in like-for like. I remember Sebastian used to get a shit ton of likes on his posts (which probably resulted in him making money off the ads he had on his site). He has a Buy Me A Coffee page, and he’s had a lot of coffees bought for him, although I suspect that a chunk of that is him using other accounts to buy coffees for himself to make it look like he’s popular.
Like-for-like may be a pretty effective way to get a lot of (pretty meaningless) likes, but the artificiality of it really doesn’t do it for me. Is this something you’ve noticed or participated in?