Fraud in online advertising is a part of the Internet underworld that’s no secret. Everyday, millions of website visits are served by robots and non-legitimate traffic, and it’s become a widely known issue amongst ad tech companies across the globe. There are all sorts of malware programs available to generate fraudulent online traffic, and there are also brokers who sell it. What you may not know, is that there are also Internet marketing “agencies” who buy it from those brokers. And they’re buying it for you.
The dark side of the Internet is not too far off from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album – murky, mysterious, and seemingly otherworldly. And same as the band’s bestselling album circa 1973, the dark side of the Internet is a hot commodity. Some companies pay for it intentionally, and some prefer to be kept in the dark. After all, what their clients don’t know doesn’t hurt them… or does it?
The Impact On Your Bottom Line
We’ve all seen the small business who seemingly gained thousands of Twitter followers overnight; or a competitor who brags that they’re getting a few thousand website visits each day. The real question is, how does such traffic impact their bottom line? The answer: it doesn’t.
On Facebook, for example, non-relevant audiences will cause a severe lack of interaction with your business, which can single-handedly make all of your content to be less visible due to Facebook’s algorithm. Similarly to Facebook, your entire Twitter following could disappear overnight, should Twitter detect suspicious traffic. Purchasing non-legitimate traffic is something that happens everyday. If you’re a business owner working with any marketing agency, it’s crucial that you ask the right questions. Your website visits and social media fan base and followers should be relevant, local to your area, and organic. If not, you’ve wasted precious marketing dollars that could have otherwise turned into new customers.
White Hat > Black Hat
While popularity might feel nice in the interim, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. ‘Black hat’ marketing tactics have no value to you, and only serve as a barrier between you and the goals you have for your business. Black hat and fraudulent practices have the potential to damage your reputation with your real fans and followers. In some extreme cases, purchased traffic can contain spammers and hackers, which could tip off Google to penalize your website – and your web presence may never fully recover.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Whether you’re talking about organic search, social media, video, or any type of online advertising, gaining traffic from Internet users can all be done organically – by creating lots of content, and promoting it in the right ways, to the right audience. By focusing on ‘white hat’ marketing strategies, you’ll see that the long term payback will be worth it.
Are you ready to start driving quality website traffic and relevant social media audiences?