This afternoon I decided to glance at my stats for the first time in a good while. I noticed something curious with some new followers.
In the last 10 days or so, I have a handful of new followers that piqued my curiosity. These followers all have different blog names, different user names, different Gravatar profiles, and guess what? They have the same profile photos.
I poked around a little on each one and they appear to be aggregate sort of blogs but they each share a few things in common.
- Each blog carries ads.
- Each blog has an affiliate disclosure statement (they make money off the site and off the ads if you click through them).
- Each blog writes on various topics unrelated to each other.
- Each blog was designed by the same person who happens to be an IT-type possibly from Russia.
I know a lot of my followers are not real. Many of us have fake followers. This one bugs me though. This is definitely black-hat SEO and it bugs me that they follow my blog, pepper their photos and links in my likes and follows which could lead one of my followers to inadvertently click through on their bait.
I followed this all the way through to the web designer’s LinkedIn page. I do not wish to interact with unscrupulous people so I am teetering on deleting the followers and blocking them.
How did I catch this? I show my followers Gravatar photos on my blog. It is easy to see the duplicate photos of ‘fake’ people. I even did an image search on the photos but received no hits. I am guessing these photos were taken from someone’s social media account unbeknownst to them.
It is a sad situation when people must take the low road.
What would you do?