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  1. 1. Blog success lesson one : a popular Facebook page will cost five bucks. Rob Ledger Blog Success – How Travel Bloggers Fake It And Get Free Trips Travel blog success is very easy to f ake, it’s true. If you’re a travel agent, work as a PR rep in the travel industry, work f or a DMO, in travel marketing, or own a travel related business who is thinking about working with a travel blogger – pay attention. If you’re a blogger who just wants some more f ree stuf f , read on – I’ll show you how to get it. Sure, you may have heard that some of the top bloggers (and not-so-top- bloggers) are boosting their statistics and social media prof iles – but I’m going to show you just how easy it is, and exactly how to f ake travel blog success. Blog Success – Why Would Anyone Fake It? There’s a multitude of reasons – but the number one reason to f ake blog success, is to get f ree shit. Sponsored trips to exotic islands. Contextual link sales. Free hotels. Everything f rom f ree Samsung phones to rice crackers has been given away to unscrupulous bloggers, based on f ake statistics. It’s an industry wide problem. On one hand, bloggers want f ree stuf f . On the other – industry prof essionals don’t have the time, resources, or knowledge to investigate potential blogging partners, are not aware of just how easy it is to f ake blog success, or are unable to determine truth f rom f iction. I’m not going to treat you like an amateur – if you’re reading this, odds are you’re a prof essional in the travel industry, you’re a travel blogger, or you may be considering jumping on the bandwagon. So let’s take the f oreplay as done, and jump straight into the reaming, as a turn of phrase.
  2. 2. Blog Major twitter profile – incredibly easy to appear popular. How To Fake a Popular Facebook Fan Page This one is easy. Just buy page likes. How cheap, and how easy? Check it out – Blog Major has been operational f or just f ourteen days. and the Blog Major Facebook f an page has more than three thousand f ollowers. These are real people f or the most part. It’s impossible f or a casual viewer to discern paid page likes f rom “organic” likes. They’re even talking about Blog Major – you can see in the screen shot below, there are “4,264 talking about this”. Now that’s blog success – right? Five bucks. That’s all it cost to provide the impression of a successf ul, interactive, Blog Major Facebook page. There are many prof essional organisations that will get you as many Facebook page likes as you want. I just used a gig on f to prove the point. I actually paid f or two thousand Facebook page likes, and the guy delivered almost f our thousand. Bargain. Of course, targeted Facebook advertising would also work – but this is more dif f icult f or travel bloggers to pull of f at a reasonable price. How to Fake a Popular Twitter Profile Simple – buy f ollowers. This is a little more risky as Twitter are onto it. They have an algorithm to stop this sort of behavior – too many f ake f ollowers, or too many new f ollowers in a short time period, and you’re busted. Account suspended or cancelled. As you can see f rom the screenshot – with a combination of a f ive-dollar gig, and simply by f ollowing a whole bunch of people that already f ollow other travel bloggers, I’ve built a twitter f ollowing here in about a week. You know what? I saved the f ive bucks. Around 25% of twitterers have f ollowed me back, just because I f ollowed them. This will get the ball rolling, with an automated tweet here and there, and a f ew retweets – new f ollowers just keep jumping on the Blog Major twitter express. It could be thousands of f ollowers in no
  3. 3. Faking blog success by providing inflated web traffic statistics is incredibly cheap and easy. time. It’s almost f ive hundred f ollowers already, with very minimal work. It’s saf e to say 10,000 f ollowers could be had within a week, f or a very small amount of money (f ive bucks should do it). How to Fake and Inflate Website Traffic Statistics OK, so we’re all in agreement – social media statistics are easily f aked. But indicators of a successf ul travel blog go beyond social media metrics. What about f aking web traf f ic statistics? I’m sure you at least have a hunch that it is possible – but just how easy can traf f ic statistics be f aked? How are you going to get those f ree trips unless you can proudly state, with evidence, that your successf ul blog has tens of thousands of unique views each month? The easiest one of all. One-hundred-percent saf e, and if done correctly – undetectable. How? You just buy the traf f ic. Five bucks will get 10,000 page views. Or more. This will show up in Google Analytics. A travel blogger can then take a screen shot, add it to a media kit, and bam – you’ve been f ooled. Really, it’s that easy to have the appearance of blog success. I personally know a blogger that applied f or a partnership with the tourism board f rom a popular destination. They had very specif ic requirements with regards to monthly traf f ic. A level of traf f ic was required that I can assure you very f ew blogs meet. Fortunately, it cost this blogger just f ive dollars to inf late web traf f ic f or a week. A screenshot showing the total page views of the last thirty days was emailed through – and partnership was on. Trip of a lif etime – f ree. Any organisation relying upon page views for any reason, has no idea what they are doing. It’s that simple.
  4. 4. On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for all travel bloggers drops to zero. And I know what some of you are thinking – “yeah Rob, but that’s not UNIQUE page views, ya know, dude, like f rom dif f erent IP’s”. It’s just as easy purchase UNIQUE page views, f rom dif f erent IP’s. A f ew bucks is all it takes to have your travel blog appear just as successf ul as any other. Traf f ic statistics are utterly meaningless. Say it again. And you’re f ooling yourself if you think any dif f erent. So now we’re in agreement: 1. Social media popularity can easily and cheaply be faked to make your blog appear successful. 2. Blog traffic statistics can easily and cheaply be faked – both page views and unique viewers, to indicate blog success. So lets move on to some f iner grain stuf f . How to Make an Article Look Like It’s More Popular Than It Really Is 1. Buy Social Media sharing for a specific article. Another easy one – pay f ive bucks of course. For f ive bucks, you could have around 150 – 200 legitimate social media shares on a particular blog post. See those little social media sharing icons at the top, and the bottom of this article? Of course, by now you should be wondering whether or not they’re real (they are) (or are they). Write an article, buy retweets, buy Facebook likes, buy Google plus-ones. Instant blog success. 2. Add fake comments. This can be done by the blogger, in no time. Who knows if the comments on this article are real? I may even add a f ew down below myself , just to get the ball rolling. 3. Buy traffic. If the blogger wants to provide traf f ic evidence f or a job well done on an article, as well as
  5. 5. f ollowing step one and two, – they can simply pay f or traf f ic targeted at a specif ic article URL, and take a screenshot f rom Google Analytics f or proof . “Hey thanks f or the f ree trip, I got 35,000 views on that article with a thousand social media shares, screenshots attached”. Of couse, you’re f ighting f ire with f ire. Other top bloggers are onto this. Ever thought it was strange that a blogger with the personality of a wet mop got a book deal or f ree trip? Yes. Now you’re thinking. So, if you want to compete, you need the combo-attack. Here’s a f ew more travel blog success tips. Blog Success – Other Tricks of the Trade. Faking Google Pagerank (PR). Ideal f or press kit appeal with the SEO savvy PR/DMO, or contextual link buyer. Yes, it’s more than possible – it’s easy. Combine all of the steps above, and then approach a larger organisation for article syndication. The concept: “oh hey, I recently published this really popular article on a highly topical travel related thing, it’s had so many shares and hits, check it out, you should totally put it on your website with a link in my author bio”. This just stokes the f ire of your blog success. Comment on other blogs as much as possible – particularly in a related f ield (that is, other travel blogs). Travel bloggers love to comment back. If I was looking to partner with a travel blogger, I’d be cautious of any blogger where 99% of the comments are all f rom other travel bloggers. Is that really your target market? Bloggers that attract comments f rom other travel bloggers?Doubtf ul. Join the “Global Bloggers Network” and “Travel Bloggers” Facebook groups. They love nothing more than liking, re-tweeting, sharing industry contacts, and generally just helping each other out, getting f ree shit, and sticking it to the man. Join as many Triberr groups as possible. Free social sharing of your articles. Now with extra back- patting. Just How Widespread is This Blog Success Faking, And What To Look For It is widespread. How do I know this? First, I’ve had f irst hand accounts of travel bloggers telling me about these practices. I’ve been blogging in one way or another f or more than a decade – I’ve met more than a handf ul of bloggers in my time. Second – there are tools that let you check f or these things. Fake Twitter f ollowers can be f ound out by using this tool. Facebook it’s not so easy. You need to use your gut. If a blogger has more than 10,000 supposed f ans, and yet each status update is only liked a handf ul of times – odds are that blogger has a whole bunch of paid/f ake Facebook f ans. Check the Facebook insights, look f or any steep jumps in the number of likes. As f or f ake traf f ic statistics, and f ake social sharing – these are extremely dif f icult or impossible to detect. Summary – It’s Easy to Fake Blog Success Think about this rationally. Would I be writing an article like this, if I wanted to utilize these techniques on a regular basis? Or is it more likely that I think there is no harm with giving these f ake-blog-success techniques some exposure? Maybe I just want a bit of exposure myself . It’s f or you to decide. My opinion is – knowledge is power. Here’s a f un game – test your f avourite blogger. Analyse them. And then report the results here. Just joking
  6. 6. – this isn’t a witch hunt. Personally I believe there’s much bigger f ish to f ry in this world. If tourist boards, DMO’s, PR reps, and marketers of large corporations want to give away f ree trips without so much as a cursory investigation into who they are providing these trips to, or any real analysis on ROI, that’s their prerogative. If bloggers want to f ake blog success – go f or it. I hope I’ve convinced you that the appearance of blog success, on the surf ace, is not as dif f icult as you may believe. Feel f ree to use this article as a how-to guide, and f eel f ree to ask f or more inf ormation in the comments. Alternatively, if the contents of this article, or the practices described here, touch a nerve with you in any way,or could af f ect your livelihood, then share this article. Rob PS, there is one place where you are safe from anything fake. The Blog Major spam-free email list. Subscribe for free.