Sunday, February 21, 2010

Buzz Faking

If you're trying to sell a product or a service, one way to do it is to create a buzz -- get people talking about it and, with some luck, trying it. Real buzz is great, but some sellers settle for creating their own, fake, buzz.

For example, they search help sites looking for problems their product can solve. Let's someone's selling SpamAnnihilatorGoldPlus 2.0. He could search for questions about stopping spam, then reply:
WebNewbie: I keeping getting spam in my inbox, does anybody know what I can do to stop it?
BuzzFaker: I had that same problem. My inbox was filling up with messages I didn't want. It was driving me crazy. This guy I know who's kind of a techie suggested a program called something like Spam Annihilate. He said it was the best and the price was pretty low considering how effective it is. I've been running it for a couple of months and I never get any spam in my inbox anymore. I found it by Googling the name.
That's pretty basic. More advanced Buzz Faking is entirely fake. The Faker posts his own fake questions, then follows it up with this own fake answer.

So how can you separate real help from Buzz Faking?

If the Buzz Faking is good enough, you probably can't. If it's not, you can find some signs.
  • The answer is a little too polished and includes a little too much information, for example: Oh, you really need SpamAnnihilatorGoldPlus 2.0 which you can get on sale right now for just $29.95 at
  • If the forum includes join dates (the date members joined the forum), compare the poster and the responder. If they joined on the same date, that's suspicious.
  • The same question and response show up on a bunch of forums. Most people don't post the same question over and over. Even if someone does, it's unlikely they'd get the same response on each forum.
  • A lot of posts mentioning the same product. A minimally creative Buzz Faker will change the question and answer in different posts.
You can try these techniques to uncover Buzz Faking:
  • Copy a string of words from of the question, paste them into Google and search. If it's Buzz Faking, you should find other posts. Do the same for the answer.
  • Look for identical spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Search the product name, then look for similarities between the questions and answers, like the names of the posters, the join dates, the dates of the posts, etc.

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