There are many ways to build your brand nowadays and establishing a presence in the market is sometimes as simple as paying a promotional company to do the job for you. However, we’ve recently seen a rise in the use of less than ethical promotional techniques, and while they may sometimes bring impressive results, one needs to consider the long-term implications of their actions. It’s not just about hurting your own brand (and that can certainly happen), but those who participate in “black hat” activities contribute to the degradation of the overall quality of content we see on the Internet.
Your Brand Might Be Destroyed if Your Shady Activities Come to Light
Whether or not you’ll get caught is mostly a matter of luck. Various things can bring shady promotional practices to light, from major Google updates to changes in the way browsers work (both have happened in the past). If you do get hit in this manner, you can pretty much forget about any brands you’ve been promoting through those channels. The Internet does not forget, and online users can be very vengeful when they realize they’ve been getting duped all along.
You’re Polluting the Internet
You might not care about issues like this, but you should. Many people are producing low-effort content meant to drive clicks to a shady website right now, and this is affecting all of us. The next time you have to scroll through several pages of search results to find what you were looking for, remember this point. Those who don’t pay attention to their impact on the internet environment should have no right to complain later on when they get affected themselves. Unfortunately, this is hardly consolation for the rest of us who are playing by the rules.
The only thing we can do is to ensure we’re on the good side. There’s a reason why companies like Click Intelligence focus on the fact that they rely on white hat methodologies exclusively. This kind of reputation is invaluable right now.
It Might Cost You More in the Long Run
One of the main selling points for black hat promotional methods is that they’re cheap. You can often get an impressive number of clicks with just a few dollars, but you may not realize that you’re setting yourself up for a trap in the future. Did you just pay some guy to give your latest Facebook post a thousand likes? Click on that post and scroll through the list of people who’ve liked it – notice anything odd? Chances are, the vast majority of them will be from countries that are nowhere near your target audience.
So what, it’s still free likes, right? Maybe, but don’t be surprised if, in the future, Facebook starts automatically promoting your new posts to people from those countries, giving you little exposure elsewhere. After all, you’ve taught the algorithm that those people should be treated as a priority thanks to your little “hack.”
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can boost your brand through cheap techniques and cheat the system. It will come back to bite you later, and the consequences might be catastrophic.