For those of you who may be unfamiliar with these types of sites, StumbleUpon and Digg are social media sites combining social bookmarking, blogging, and syndication with democratic editorial control. News articles, blog posts, and websites are nominated by users, and then promoted to the front page through user ranking and votes.
Subvert and Profit is a self proclaimed:
“ever-expanding black market for votes on social media sites…We are the crowd hackers, and we are very good at what we do.”
How does it work?
Advertisers buy “votes” to attempt to get their websites or articles to appear on the front page of Digg or StumbleUpon. They can buy as many votes as they like for $1 per vote. In order to fulfill this agreement with the advertiser, Subvert and Profit gives their “voters” a list of sites and articles that they can get paid $0.50 to vote for (they must vote all of them). I haven’t been able to find how large the list of sites that are sent to the voters is…does anybody know?
Subvert and Profit also offers voters a referral fee- 20% of the earnings your referred friends make, and 10% of the cost of advertisements that referred advertisers spend.
Is it legal? Immoral?
The whole feel of the site makes it apparent that the individuals that run the site know they are doing something that could their voters and advertisers in trouble, or banned from the Digg and StumbleUpon sites. On their FAQ page, Subvert and Profit proudly says, in response to the question “Won’t I get banned from StumbleUpon and Digg?”
In a blog post further answering this question, “Why our users won’t be banned from using Digg,” they admit:
“While this is a valid fear…we’d like to tell you how we’ve minimized the risk.”
Where will this lead?
I believe that Subvert and Profit will continue to acquire voters because the site pays for $0.50 for very little efforts. Voters recognize that this amount will add up and give them a few extra dollars for doing little to no work. Therefore, those that no little about or have no passion for the very essence of what social media is will simply sign up and reap the cash rewards with little thoughts of what they are doing to Digg and StumbleUpon’s authenticity.
Despite my thoughts that this site is wrong, I must admit that its a brilliant idea, and it seems as if the creators have done a very good job covering up their tracks. We’ll have to see where this goes.
For more about Subvert and Profit:
- Social Media Corrupted
- Who Keeps Social Media Honest?
- An Interview with the Creator of Subvert and Profit