Google ‘+1’s for sale!

plus ones for saleIt’s time to talk about another Google+ – the +1 button Google fairly recently introduced. The feature was officially rolled out in early June as an answer to the Facebook Like, allowing users to recommend content that their friends will then see via Google’s social search.

The +1 button launch brought concerns as to how the application would affect SEO. And while exactly how it affects page rank isn’t entirely obvious yet, we know it does. Which is why it makes perfect sense that +1s are now for sale.

plussem prices

A report in The Atlantic brought our attention to a site called, which is offering +1s to boost your site. At Plussem, for $20 you get 50, $70 nets you 250, all the way up to $360 for 2,000. The site describes itself, saying:

“Google are [sic] now striking back at Facebook with there [sic] version of the Like button. This will be used to judge contents [sic] worth [sic] by using real people to rate it rather than there [sic] own bots. To cheat the searching algorithm be sure to get the ball rolling for your site by purchasing Plus Ones.”

If you were able to muddle your way through that grammatically-challenged mission statement, you know that there isn’t some complicated operation going on here: The site has a person with a verified Gmail account click +1 on your desired content and that way each +1 your site gets originates from a different IP address. Plussem also spreads out its +1 bingeing to make it that much more convincing. We contacted Plussem to ask about their process and if they would like to comment on the attention their site is getting. We were told that “‘where there is demand there will be supply.’ I can not explain our process publicly. I can only say that we deliver our customers the service they request for a fair price.”

An SEO company trying to game Google is hardly revolutionary. The company’s stranglehold on search is motivation enough for Web publishers to attempt to understand the nooks and crannies of its algorithm – and to then exploit them. And Google does everything it can to keep its page rank process a mystery, possibly to a fault. Its Panda updates this year had varying results, and in some cases actually hurt its content farm crackdown. So given the power it wields over search, we don’t think it’s inappropriate for Websites to do what they can to figure it all out and try to boost their page rank.

That said, this type of marketing is generally bad news. First of all, we wouldn’t trust our money anywhere that can’t figure out the difference between “their” and “there” – that’s reason enough for caution. Secondly, +1s aren’t really worth the money at this point. The feature doesn’t have the kind of pull a Facebook Like does yet given Google+’s limited userbase. On the new social network, you can see what users give a +1 – but there simply isn’t a wide enough population on the site to make that useful yet.

Currently, +1s don’t have a big effect on search results. You only see them when one of your Google contacts +1s something, and we’re willing to bet you aren’t Gmail buddies with the spammers working for Plussem. Eventually +1s might become more visible to a larger population, but that isn’t currently the case.

Not to matter. The site that operates Plussem,, also sells Facebook fans, fake product reviews, forum posts, and a handful of other faux marketing services for your site. The SEO world is riddled with this type of trickery, and we don’t necessarily advocate against exploring and experimenting with methods to boost page rank. But given Google’s harsh punishments for this type of activity and its ever-changing algorithm, this particular scheme and many like it are definitely not worth the risk.

Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.

How to change your Gmail password in just a few quick steps

Regularly updating your passwords is a good way to stay secure online, but each site and service has their own way of doing it. Here's a quick guide on how to change your Gmail password in a few short steps.
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.

Insta-checkout? New Instagram service lets you shop without leaving the platform

Shopping on Instagram no longer means leaving the platform to checkout in a web browser. Instagram checkout launched in beta today with a handful of retailers, allowing users to checkout without leaving the app.