An investigation by the Newsbeat team at the BBC has found that many high profile music stars are raising their social network status through buying links.
In a drive to get their tunes into the charts, artists are buying up Facebook likes, Twitter followers and even YouTube views, rather than have a dedicated search engine optimisation strategy.
Link buying in this way is very much frowned upon by search engines, and how they will act will be interesting to watch. Only recently, a major flower distributor was penalised in its rankings for spurious promotions.
The networks themselves are also not happy with the practice. A spokesman from Facebook said:
“…there is a good chance those likes will be deleted by our automatic systems.”
Twitter similarly had a damning verdict, as it also claimed the practice was outside of its rules:
“Twitter reserves the right to immediately terminate your account without further notice [if] you violate these rules.”
YouTube also said that buying views breached its SEO guidelines, and any such activity found being used could result in an account being closed.
Many of the artists found to be buying links will surprise many too. Quite apart from being low and mid-level performers, some of the world’s biggest acts are at it.
In its statistical report, the data monitoring firm Next Big Sound says it is obvious which stars have been buying links. However, the CEO refused to name any. Alex White said all information would be released in a compiled report to be published later in the year.