Inside Chinese ‘Click Farms’

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Inside Chinese ‘Click Farms’

[GIF via English Russia]

A “click farm” is where fake ratings and rankings for mobile apps and social media posts are manipulated. Here’s a look inside. 

This footage was recently uploaded by Russian site English Russia

It looks similar to the set-up shown in another click farm from 2015. (Note that similar "tables"have been available for purchase online in China.)

[image id="1120007" url="https://www.gizmodo.com.au/content/uploads/sites/3/2017/05/17/wnus15o6tm4ekewlelgn.jpg" caption="(Image: Weibo via Tech in Asia)" align="centre" clear="true" ]
[Image: Weibo via Tech in Asia]

At that time, Tech in Asia reported that China media surmised that the image showed a woman manipulating App Store rankings by downloading, installing, and then uninstalling apps over and over again to bump up its rankings. This certainly wouldn't be unheard of, because Tech in Asia also reports that on popular Chinese e-commerce sites, there are ads for "App Store ranking manipulation" services.

Below are more photos that apparently show inside these click farms from iFeng, Tech Web, CZong News Info, Weibo and Duowan

[image id="1120008" url="https://www.gizmodo.com.au/content/uploads/sites/3/2017/05/17/qzffqbtx229qm3ypc50v.jpg" caption="(Image via iFeng)" align="centre" clear="true" ]
[Image via iFeng]

[image id="1120009" url="https://www.gizmodo.com.au/content/uploads/sites/3/2017/05/17/wht037irfaokdz3p4bf2.jpg" caption="(Image: Weibo)" align="centre" clear="true" ]
[Image: Weibo]

[image id="1120010" url="https://www.gizmodo.com.au/content/uploads/sites/3/2017/05/17/u2nv5bro0xqt7f9k7ucu.jpg" caption="(Image via Duowan)" align="centre" clear="true" ]
[Image via Duowan]

[image id="1120011" url="https://www.gizmodo.com.au/content/uploads/sites/3/2017/05/17/lmk6gapcej2loliw5bvn.jpg" caption="(Image via CZong News Info)" align="centre" clear="true" ]
[Image via CZong News Info]

[image id="1120012" url="https://www.gizmodo.com.au/content/uploads/sites/3/2017/05/17/bbiifvuycyfgcsvfryve.jpg" caption="(Image: Weibo via Tech Web)" align="centre" clear="true" ]
[Image: Weibo via Tech Web]

[image id="1120013" url="https://www.gizmodo.com.au/content/uploads/sites/3/2017/05/17/w9ipxwhxo2qkxpiwpydf.jpg" caption="(Image: Weibo via Tech Web)" align="centre" clear="true" ]
[Image: Weibo via Tech Web]

[image id="1120014" url="https://www.gizmodo.com.au/content/uploads/sites/3/2017/05/17/jftptdj1qee3v4tifhms.jpg" caption="(Image: Weibo via Tech Web)" align="centre" clear="true" ]
[Image: Weibo via Tech Web]

[image id="1120015" url="https://www.gizmodo.com.au/content/uploads/sites/3/2017/05/17/df4dbqryx3kmem9rmyd0.jpg" caption="(Image via CZong News Info)" align="centre" clear="true" ]
[Image via CZong News Info]

Tech In Asia explained that Apple is trying to prevent PC-based iPhone emulators, so the only way to get around that is manual labour. 

Comments

    • Sadly, exploiting cheap labour in far away places is exactly why we do have nice things.
      We suck, basically.

    • There are always going to be people who create wealth through bottom-feeder tactics.
      Infomercials, click bait, message board spamming, pyramid schemes.
      Unfortunately the internet enables all this to accelerate.
      I suppose what gets to me the most is these people are willing to be completely devoid of integrity and morally bankrupt to make a few dollars. It’s shameful.
      This isn’t the way most of us think.

  • So my question is, are they producing the apps that they are falsely promoting? And I wonder what apps they are? Shitty vapourware games?
    Would this be the most efficient way to have an income stream from this?

    • I would expect that they sell X likes / 5 star reviews for $Y. A much easier business plan than trying to actually make apps!

    • There are a lot of legitimate businesses that pay these kinds of places to upvote their products. A lot of them are the 99c shovelware games and apps that rip off other more reputable apps but more often than you’d expect you hear of less shady businesses getting caught out for faking reviews.

  • Maybe I’m missing something here but why would they use physical phones instead of Android VMs?

    • I guess for YT Clicks VMs in massive amount like 500 or so would not work and youtube would detect that these clicks are ilegitimate. Havin “500 friends” over at your house with their phones is a different story tho. Because 500 different devices are “watching”

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