A new ‘black market’ service that allows advertisers to pay for influence on social networks has attracted criticism from the blogging community.
Subvert And Profit is quite upfront about its business model – advertisers pay $1 per vote on the Digg social news bookmarking site. Such activity can attract considerable attention for products and services.
The enterprise is trying to attract an army of Diggers to perform the votes on its behalf. It says it will pay $0.50 for each vote they make on an advertiser’s behalf.
“We are a new kind of black market,” the homepage admits.
Subvert And Profit is not the first service to offer to game social media ecosystems. A magazine feature last month lifted the lid on several techniques. But the new focus has brought more criticism to the door of the latest entrant.
Online marketer Blonde 2.0 said Subvert And Profit was “abusing the democracy of Web 2.0”:
“It is one thing to promote a product you use, like, and think can be useful to your community. It is another thing to digg a story for a product you don’t even know just to get hard cold cash.”
Valleywag blogger Nick Douglas said the outfit is doomed to failure.
But the operatives behind Subvert And Profit are either unrepentant or taking an April Fool too far:
“While we are parasites, we do not wish to kill our hosts. Furthermore, the democracy of Web 2.0 is already hacked, rigged, and flawed enough for our impact to go unnoticed.”