This thread is a continuation of a conversation that I started here. As Dani correctly pointed out, the discussion belonged in its own thread and should not have taken over the thread in which it started. It wasn't my intention to hijack that thread (and I apologize) but that's what happened.

you find advertising largely unethical

I find false advertising unethical. I find the other advertising merely annoying and only sometimes useful.

It’s not against the TOS or copyright rules of the library to use it in the way you are. It just wasn’t what the library was designed for.

So it's ok to use bots for unethical purposes as long as it's not what they were designed for?

Suddenly someone who is not in your industry at all, and has no programming experience, comes in and personally calls you an unethical person and a disgrace for using things not the way they were initially intended, citing their reason as because ten years ago their mother fell off a chair trying to use it as a step stool to reach a top shelf, and she permanently injured herself. And so now, anyone who publicly promotes using things not in the way they were designed is an unethical person.

For the record, finding new and useful (and ethical) ways to use things for which they were not designed is awesome. I think your example is a real stretch. If I was caught at work using a chair as a ladder I would be reprimanded. Let's take a real life example of using something for which it was not designed. Hydroxychloroquine is useful for treating malaria and lupus, but possibly fatal for treating Covid-19. This was promoted by someone with a large Twitter following. More than one analysis estimates that 60% or more of his followers are fake.

For the record, Covid-19 patients who were given this drug actually died faster.

Recommended Answers

This thread is a continuation of a conversation that I started here. As Dani correctly pointed out, the discussion belonged in its own thread and should not have taken over the thread in which it started. It wasn't my intention to hijack that thread (and I apologize) but that's …

Jump to Post

I disagree. The title of the thread asked where to buy Instagram followers. That certainly sounds like an attempt to mislead the public. Paying people to be your friends does not mean you have more friends.

Instagram followers are different than Facebook friends. The number of instagram followers …

Jump to Post

All 6 Replies

Just for the sake of argument, if you only have a thousand actual Twitter followers, what is the difference between

  • just claiming you have a million Twitter followers
  • creating 999,000 fake Twitter followers, then claiming you have a million

This thread is a continuation of a conversation that I started here. As Dani correctly pointed out, the discussion belonged in its own thread and should not have taken over the thread in which it started. It wasn't my intention to hijack that thread (and I apologize) but that's what happened.

Thank you for apologizing. Sorry if I came off a bit harsh. It felt very much like you were picketing at the advertising convention to the detriment of a new forum member, who should instead be warmly welcomed.

For the record, finding new and useful (and ethical) ways to use things for which they were not designed is awesome. I think your example is a real stretch. If I was caught at work using a chair as a ladder I would be reprimanded.

My example was not meant to point out that, in certain environments or situations, using things for ways other than what they were designed for is not appropriate. It was meant to point out that, in certain environments or situations in which something is the expected norm, coming in and berating people for doing it, due to your own unrelated personal experience, is not appropriate. In other words, your ethics have been shaped as a result of a lifetime of personal experiences e.g. forming negative opinions about Colgate ads. The OP in the thread did nothing to lead anyone to believe they were promoting false testimonials. Yet your reason for berating them seemed to be that you have an ethical issue with what they were doing due to your thoughts about Colgate ads from 20 years ago. I was simply trying to point out that a personal anecote such as being creative with a chair leading to poor consequences has absolutely nothing to do with being creative with code leading to successful outcomes. In other words, you saying it was a stretch is proving my point exactly. A poor impression of advertising you've encountered in your lifetime has nothing at all to do with the OP or question being asked.

When I first got interested in web development in the late 1990s, I initially fell in love with the idea of being able to create something, and then instantly see people all around the world use it. Prior to that, as a kid, my only experience with programming was the idea of being hired as an employee as part of a team of programmers who work towards building some software product, and then 1-2 years later, it ends up as a manufactured product on store shelves at CompUSA or ComputerCity. 15 year old me loved the idea that I could conceive of something, put it online, and there it was, ready for users.

But then how to get users? I was incredibly intrigued with digital marketing because I saw it as a huge strategy game. The placement and color of buttons affected how often people returned back to the site. The location of the the logo affected sign up rates. Every little component was a small part of a well-oiled machine, and the look and placement of every little bit had the power to affect metrics in a big way. Logo on the left and paragraph on the right. Horrible performance. Logo on the right and paragraph on the left. Amazing performance. Logo on the right and two paragraphs on the left. Worst performance of all. I loved the idea of following the metrics and tracking every tiny little thing.

That lead me to fall in love with the SEO industry, and then began my twenty year career in the advertising industry. That being said, I wanted to be a math teacher most of my middle and high school years, have been a self-taught programmer since four years old, and got a degree in Computer Science. I never considered myself to be someone to have any interest in traditional art or music or most of those sorts of things.

I never, ever, ever would have thought I'd be someone who would have ended up in a career in marketing. And yet I ended up doing what I've done my entire career due to an enormous love for the strategy game of it.

The exact same way that you find new and useful ways to use things for which they were not designed is precisely the way I feel about the digital marketing industry. My love for the industry is solely because of the combination of psychology, technology, statistics, and strategy needed to be successful. It's a strategy game to use subliminal techniques to get users to do what you want them to do without them realizing that it wasn't their idea in the first place. (Were you being manipulated into clicking that call-to-action button over every other button on the page?) It's a strategy game to take an existing tool such as Twitter, and invent creative ways to use that tool to help your business strategy -- yes, such as by buying followers. Everything in the industry is a huge strategy game with billions of little pieces, and the goal of the game is to have the most active users, make the most amount of money, produce the most amount of online content, or whatever your metric happens to be.

I think that the digital advertising industry is very similar to most industries in the business world. You need to have a great poker face to be a good negotiator. You need to understand psychology of motivation to work in business development. Does your definition of being unethical extend from the advertising industry to everyone who very creatively and strategically negotiated a one-sided business deal in their favor?

My definition of being unethical in the business world is going back on your word, breaking an agreement, or violating terms of service.

The OP in the thread did nothing to lead anyone to believe they were promoting false testimonials.

I disagree. The title of the thread asked where to buy Instagram followers. That certainly sounds like an attempt to mislead the public. Paying people to be your friends does not mean you have more friends.

A poor impression of advertising you've encountered in your lifetime has nothing at all to do with the OP or question being asked.

Again, I disagree. I pointed out the ad as an example of misleading advertising. Even though it is misleading, it could technically be defended as still accurate. However, artificially inflating your follower numbers, or paying someone to give your movie a positive review is more than just misleading. I think that crosses a line.

You mention your interest in SEO. Learning how search engines work and how they rank web sites is just a smart thing to do. Adding keywords to headers (I assume that's a thing - I really have no idea) in order to increase your ranking is fine as long as the keywords relate to your site. If you just add unrelated keywords in order to game the system then that is wrong, even if you are only trying to build your brand. Spamming other sites with messages that contain links to your site is also wrong. We certainly don't like it when others do it here.

Were you being manipulated into clicking that call-to-action button over every other button on the page?

I don't know what a call-to-action button is. But if a button says "click me to do something" and instead does something else (like install malware) then that is unethical. If the site uses psychological techniques (for example to draw my attention to something on the page) then that is acceptable.

goal of the game is to have the most active users, make the most amount of money, produce the most amount of online content, or whatever your metric happens to be.

Prosperity Gospel churches (indeed, most evangelical churches) satisfy some of those metrics by preying (pun intended) on the gullible. Some continue to hold packed services and some are insisting that members forward their stimulus cheques to the church instead of foolishly spending it on food. Successful doesn't necessarily mean ethical, honest, or even legal. By the way, to date at least 30 fundamentalist preachers who insisted on holding services have died of Covid-19.

Does your definition of being unethical extend from the advertising industry to everyone who very creatively and strategically negotiated a one-sided business deal in their favor?

If they lied to get that deal, or used threats or extortion, then yes.

I disagree. The title of the thread asked where to buy Instagram followers. That certainly sounds like an attempt to mislead the public. Paying people to be your friends does not mean you have more friends.

Instagram followers are different than Facebook friends. The number of instagram followers you have is not a representation of how many friends you have, or akin to paying people to be your friends. It's a representation of how many public fans you have of the pictures you post. Very big difference. Facebook is for people who know each other in person. Instagram is not.

You mention your interest in SEO. Learning how search engines work and how they rank web sites is just a smart thing to do.

You realize, of course, that the entire SEO industry, which, again, is a multi-billion dollar industry, with many public companies on the stock market, is in its entirety all about how to game the search engines to outrank your competition.

I don't know what a call-to-action button is.

A call-to-action button is the primary button on the page that the marketer wants the end-user to click on (it's the Sign Up button, the Purchase button, etc.). It should stand out from all the other secondary links and buttons on the page that may catch the user's eye. It's the button that triggers the primary action that, from a usability perspective, you want the user to take when on that page.

That being said, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this topic. Our values are just soooo far off on this one.

I do want to add, though, that I certainly don't think that our difference of perspective is generational, as you suggest. I think it's more of a difference between businesspeople / people in the marketing industry and those who are not business / marketing people. My views have been developed over the course of a 20 year career in marketing.

It's a representation of how many public fans you have of the pictures you post.

If they are fans then why do they have to be bought? If I say "this is my girlfriend" it means one thing. If I say "this is someone I pay to be my girlfriend" it means something else entirely.

A lot of places offer a stripped down version of their product or services for free in the hopes of enticing satisfied users to pony up for the full-featured paid version. One case in point is the This Is True newsletter. Those who opt for the free version get four news items weekly in their inbasket (plus a teaser as to what they are missing). Those who buy a subscription get the full nine items. Word of mouth was sufficient to build readership.

all about how to game the search engines to outrank your competition.

Like I said, it's only smart to know the rules of the game and play by them, with the caveat I already stated - play fair within the rules.

My views have been developed over the course of a 20 year career in marketing.

Obviously mine are from the opposite perspective so it's only natural we should have different opinions. I can live with "agree to disagree."

OK, I've read these exchanges and there are cultural differences that to me explain why it's OK for some and not for others.

For Reverend Jim, let's take "this is my girlfriend" and sure enough in Japan you can rent them and more. How about an entire family? (example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLBNO33bMX0 )

So given the global reach of Daniweb you can see that some may think it's perfectly acceptable to buy follows, likes or whatever those thumbs up are per platform.

Let such folk chase the rabbit (reference to gray hound racing where they never, hardly ever? get the rabbit.)

There are entire businesses built around behaviors that are not that good for us. Gambling, smoking and what else?

Be a part of the DaniWeb community

We're a friendly, industry-focused community of 1.20 million developers, IT pros, digital marketers, and technology enthusiasts learning and sharing knowledge.