Even since Google announced +1 and said that it will be considered as one of the signals to determine the ranking of a content in the search result, we have been wondering how long it will take for people to start gaming it. Anything that uses votes to determine ranking has always been susceptible to being gamed. Websites like Digg and Reddit, which relies on user votes to determine which submissions gets to the front page have been facing this problem for a quite some time.
Now, with the introduction of +1, it seems like this has spread to Google as well. Many websites have started offering Google +1 in exchange for money. A website plussem.com is offering +1s at the rate of $20 for 50, $70 for 250 and $350 for 2000. Apparently, all of these +1 will not come from bots. They promise that they will come from different IPs and it will be spread out to make it look natural.
Some facts about the Google +1′s that we deliver
- All +1′s come from people with a google account that has been verified by phone (Phone Verified Accounts)
- All +1′s come from real people. No bots are being used!
- All +1′s are being given by manually going to your website and clicking the +1 button
- It’s untraceble because the +1′s are being given from different IP’s
- All +1′s are given dripped over a couple of days so it looks natural
Obviously Plussem seems to have gone to great length to make sure that Google cannot detect its +1s. However, this raises the question as to if this is worth it. Is it worth trying to game one of the many signals and risk getting caught by Google?
If you are thinking of buying +1 from such services, consider this:
- If Google catches you trying to game its result, they may punish you by moving your website further down the search result.
- Generally, a +1 from A influences what A's contacts see in their search result. It does not seem to have much impact on what people who have no relation to A whatsoever get in their search result. So, is it worth it?