Ethics rarely come in to play on the internet. Whether it's some company manipulating their Amazon reviews by hiring on Amazon's Mechanical Turk, or some podcast show loading up reviews on iTunes to breakthrough on the top of the charts. Not everyone does this and they are the good ones that have ethics. They often lose to those that aggressively tip the scales in their favors, by being the "good guy". Ethics are always questionable at best, but it's always good to open a conversation about them to see where you draw your own lines of comfort.
Here on the AM Podcast Network, my ethics are in check, and that does not imply that I am better than anyone else. I haven't employed any padding in popularity dealing with reviews or even techniques like paid traffic. If this website gets popular then so be it. If it doesn't take off then I have had a good time all by myself, and got hands on training in web development. Other podcasters have taken to the internet communities trading reviews and bargaining for higher positions from it. It's real, and it's happening. You know the way... join the G+ group, someone says,"come on in and review mine and I will review yours. Then you have 2 elated reviews that really shouldn't of happened to begin with. They are false positives.
So when it comes down to whether you should or not, it's a question only you can answer. If you are trying to make money and want to build links for your website, add reviews for your show, or buy a mailing list, then do it. No one will stop you and you will prosper at least a little bit. You will do it at the expense of being called out by your peers potentially, or perhaps nothing will ever happen except your show gets famous. Can you live with taking the easy road? Maybe you are the type of person that wants the challenge and make their own path and taking that easy road is no appealing at all. What makes you tick? I think you already know where your ethics are.
We all know who we are by the time we are adults. Personally speaking, I take advantage of SEO techniques and leveraging social media to drive organic results in Google and I also take advantage of communities. Beyond that though, not much. It's all about content. However, I am capable of using the darkside. I have just chosen not to. Manipulating the system costs money. Sometimes it costs a bunch of money too. Have a look at how much:
Things you can purchase:
If you want to know where to buy those things, a quick search will show you Fiverr.com, eLance.com, Digital Point, and probably countless communities willing to help you along. Remember though that all of this may come with penalties. Those penalties come in the form of being deindexed in Google, perhaps deleted from iTunes, having your facebook page suspended, or anything else like that applied to whatever you manipulate. Not everyone gets caught though. It's much like speeding, where some get a ticket while most speed right on by.
- Soundcloud Plays
- Youtube Views
- Paid Traffic
- Twitter Followers
- iTunes Reviews
- Press Releases
- Links for Your Website
- Facebook Fans
- and much, much more.
So in the end you have to ask what works for you. Can you take a bit of risk for a larger payoff?
Go ahead and have a listen to me on Soundcloud, and while you are there hit the follow button. =)
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