This post has been rattling around in my head for a while and I feel I need to get it off my chest. I’ve been blogging for almost 4 years on and off now. I was really proud of that achievement and I was planning on doing a giveaway as a way of thanking my readers for sticking around. But, I’m just so deluded with the state of blogging at the moment, I’m actually unsure whether I want to continue. (I probably will, I’m just being melodramatic and a bit angry).
There’s been a lot of changes in blogging over the 4 years I’ve been a small part of it. I’ve enjoyed watching small bloggers becoming absolutely huge and the impact they’ve had. It’s been fascinating seeing it unfold. I love so many different elements of blogging and the blogging community in general. BUT here it comes FAKE FOLLOWERS. It is such a huge bugbear of mine, and LOTS and LOTS of you feel that way too. (There’s also the whole issue of non-disclosure which I talk about here).
For a while now blogging has had a problem with fake followers (I blogged about how to spot fake followers here). Most of the blogging community knows that it goes on but there’s still a huge amount of people that do not realise it’s happening. Instagram is particularly rife. Twitter isn’t much better either to be honest, but there’s easier ways of checking fake followers on Twitter than there is for IG. Sites like this one or Twitter Audit let you check people’s followers easily.
Something I noticed about Twitter Audit that may be of interest to you. When someone has been audited a while ago it won’t show the most up-to-date results so you need to pay around 50p (I think) to re-audit (which of course I did). Examples: an old audit was showing someone with lots of fake followers but when I re-audited the fake follower count went down, this was also backed up with fakers.status check. And alternatively someone who had around 50% fake followers changed to 20% real. The most drastic was someone showing only 10% fake which then changed to a whopping 11% real! So nearly ALL their followers are fake. I double checked with fakers.status again and yeah that’s about right.
So that’s the crux: it’s easy to check if someone has fake followers so why don’t brands do it more? Ultimately, I guess humans are naturally trusting, unless you’ve a reason not to be. One particular person I noticed who has lots of fake followers was done by accident. I had no reason to believe they’d purchased fake followers and they always seemed “genuine” (and that’s a whole other blog post: perception of people over the internet). I was a little bit shocked tbh. Since then I’ve discovered quite a few bloggers with fake followers, ranging from small time bloggers to big bloggers. Bloggers with much, much larger following than I have who have absolutely amazing content are getting passed up because brands don’t think they are big enough. Instead brands are giving work to “big” bloggers who have a considerable fake following. Surely it’s easy to check engagement and real followers? So for the life of me I can’t figure it out. Instead of the tide turning on this it just seems to be getting worse and worse with more bloggers taking the easy route and purchasing a few thousand followers every now and again. Many have said this is a form of fraud and eventually it will catch up with them. But how are brands going to know if everyone is keeping quiet? *sigh*
Recently I discovered that some of my photos had been used without my permission. One case was completely innocent while I have serious doubts about the validity of the reason another person gave me. However, it was quickly sorted but this isn’t just happening to me bloggers are stealing other bloggers content, both images and words, and passing it off as their own. Corrine from Skinnedcartree.com blogged about her experience here. This is so disappointing and really pisses me off.
I love blogging, I love the community and I love the opportunities it’s given me. But, I am so disillusioned with it currently. How can you compete with someone who has actually got considerably less followers than you but it looks like they’ve got thousands more? If you want to work with brands followers still count (and so does engagement). I’d love to have unlimited funds to purchase items for my blog but I don’t so I rely on the occasional PR sample to give me content. It is so frustrating knowing that some bloggers are not what they claim to be yet us genuine, honest bloggers can’t say anything for fear we’ll experience the backlash because we’re “jealous”. Or do you think it’s about time we were more open about people purchasing fake followers or stealing content?
What do you think?