Monthly Archives: April 2012

Is it ethical for social media monitoring providers to use Tweetbots?

Should social media monitoring firms use TweetBots to increase their website’s SEO?

Its happening and it sure seems unethical to me.

Here is how it works:  There are several firms that will re-tweet for a fee.  The firms are used for marketing and to increase a company’s website’s SEO.  One is called PayPerTweet.  Here is a quote from their home page:  “PaidPerTweet lets you hire Twitter users to blast your link, ad or announcement to 100s of thousands of Twitter followers in an instant.”  Another provider is called Retweet.it.  Their website claims, “We have built an amazing community of retweeters that are eager to share one another’s tweets with the world. And with a wider reach of your message, your traffic will greatly improve.”  Retweet.it doesn’t even claim to have people re-tweeting.  They likely use Tweetbots. These are just two providers that represent the industry.

So, does it break the bank to get one of these firms to re-tweet for you.  Nahhh….For $180, Retweet.it will re-tweet your message 1000 times.  Here is their price page.  PaidPerTweet has a little different model.  They run something like a re-tweeter auction.  Anyone can hire people to re-tweet for them.  I saw prices ranging from $.02 to $3.

So, why is this a big deal?  Simple.  Social media monitoring firms pull a lot of data from Twitter.  These re-tweeting sites, and others, use artificial means to knowingly increase the presence of the social media monitoring firms in social media.

Is paying for retweets an ethical practice for a social media research firm who are in the very business of selling social media research as a valid research technique?

Clients need to understand, not only the ethics, but also the implications.  Are the Social Media monitoring firms letting clients know of these sites?

Next week, we will explore how someone with a grudge and a few hundred dollars can really give a brand manager heartburn.

 

 

Google Breaks Old Research Rules…and New Ground

They say one of the keys to innovation is to break a rule that really doesn’t matter anyway.  Google has done it again.  This time, they have broken the paradigm that a respondent must answer an entire battery of questions.  Why was this necessary before?  Simply because it was the most efficient way to do it…back when we were doing paper surveys.  Today, it is simply not the most efficient way. Congratulations to Google for seeing through the cloud of common practice and providing a faster and cheaper way to obtain research data.

As reported the past few days by Bob Lederer of Research Business Daily Report, Google Consumer Surveys now offers survey questions a la carte for as little as $.10/response.  Its pretty simple.  In the past, to access a free premium content site, you often had to sit through a 30-second ad.  It was irritating but bearable because you knew that it paid for your free content.  Google has replaced that ad with research.  Answer a question, you get access to content.  Its faster for both the reader and the researcher, a win-win.

Some researchers express the concern that people won’t take the question seriously.  Seriously?  Do they really believe that respondents will be any less serious when they have to answer a single question than when they are 18 minutes deep in a 25 minute survey?   This concern is typical of the industry when innovation comes along.  It will prove to be moot.

So, who really benefits most?  DIY researchers.  Its easy.  Its fast.  Its cheap.  Time will tell about the validity.  If privacy concerns and legislation do not stop this train, this type of research will grow into a major option for researchers.

Will this be the end of survey research?  No.  Like the telephone, CATI and online before it, it will prove to be yet another tool to help make research faster and better.

As I have said before, this is the most exciting time EVER to be in research!

 Scroll to top