Gaming the Social Networks with uSocial

uSocial couldn’t be prouder for accomplishing what few can accomplish: the company promises first pages on Digg, Yahoo! Buzz, StumbleUpon, Propeller or any other social bookmarking site… The promise is apparently not vain as it already attracted the attention of the mainstream media and names like U.S. Marines, the Mormon Church and the Korean Department of Tourism are allegedly already on board.

uSocial (usocial.net) should go through a re-branding process in my view: what about asocial (which defines as “hostile to or disruptive of normal standards of social behavior”)? This is what uSocial really is: disruptive of normal standards of social behavior of any of the networks above. Disruptive because any paid strategies that attempt to game the system of a social bookmarking network result in second-hand articles becoming popular in the detriment of other original and more valuable sources, irrelevant information on the first page, unsolicited requests for voting, and so on.

Usocial

Another dangerous practice that made uSocial even more popular is the “followers trade.” On Facebook or Twitter, for a nominal fee, any looser can become a hotshot. uSocial guarantees 100,000 Twitter followers in 365 days for an investment of only $3,479 (normally charged at $4,970)! Oh, the generosity! Heck, you can even get 5000 new friends in your Facebook account in no time, for an investment of only $654.30 – or 10,000 Facebook fans for only $1167.30 – what a bargain! Smaller packages are, of course, available and I am sure there are enough “marketers” falling for such a strategy. Go on, build up a network the easy way – and let us know that you did. We will then know that your name is synonym with “trustworthy.” Or not…

The folks at uSocial are definitely very full of it. Not long ago TechCrunch announced that “Michael Jackson “bought” Twitter followers from uSocial” – and of course uSocial’s Leon Hill expected people to believe it!

“I can’t admit that we dealt with Michael Jackson directly, though we were in touch with someone in his family recently who tasked us with conducting a Twitter campaign on an account relating to him,” he said in a statement on TechCrunch. “It was exciting to say the very least to conduct work with such a big name.”

Yeah, sure! Who in a right mind would ever believe that the King of Pop or his family needed help from obscure social network snake oil sellers?! Of course Hill could not admit that he dealt with Michael Jackson directly – the man was already dead when TechCrunch published Hill’s blasphemous statements. Either Hill is psychic or he was simply trying to capitalize on Michael Jackson’s death – both ways we now know how uSocial plans to use its customers’ money to buy front pages at Digg and Twitter followers.

No matter how hard I try, I cannot think of any “pro” using uSocial. Their business model appears to be based on a bunch of lies and empty promises.

uSocial is synonymous with spam and from a PR’s perspective, buying anything from this vendor is a practice worse than buying links or spamming the search engines with irrelevant content.

Buying followers, links or engaging in any questionable social media practices that are potentially harmful to user experience on these sites are things no PR should ever consider. And if your customers suggest such marketing tactics, advise against.

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