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Review Of The Covert Social Buzz Plugin

Review Of The Covert Social Buzz Plugin

Not all that long ago I did a post that showed you how to save money when renewing your domain. In that post I told you guys how I was going to use the money I saved to buy some WordPress plugins that would help my blogging. Today I’m going to tell you about the first WordPress plugin I’ve purchased with the money I saved. The reason I decided on this particular plugin is because it was developed by the same guys who made CovertMessengerPro. I use the normal version which has proven to get more clicks so I can only imagine what the Pro Version does.

The plugin I’m using is called Covert Social Buzz and the idea behind it is that it can generate fake social share numbers. This means that even though no-one has ever shared one of your posts, depending on your settings, it can display a whole lot of fake numbers. The question is whether or not this is an acceptable, moral marketing ploy or are you lying to your readers?

Covert Social Buzz An Ethical Marketing Ploy?

This plugin was developed on two premises, the first being that just like ad blindness people have become blind to social share media buttons because they’re everywhere and so people now see them as part of the websites background thereby ignoring them. The second premise is that most people follow the herd mentality and are more likely to share something if they notice that others have already done so.

I’m using the plugin on this blog, my SexualAids and my BuyOnlineLottoTickets blog. On this blog the plugin is displaying the actual numbers but on the other two I’ve decided to display fake numbers until the posts reach an accumulated 10 shares and then the actual numbers will be displayed.

The question still remains though, is it ethical to use the ‘fake’ numbers option of the Covert Social Buzz plugin? By using that option are we really lying to our readers? Is it an acceptable marketing ploy?  I’ve decided to start a poll to determine what you guys think because what you think really matters to me.

Is It Ethical To Fudge Your Social Share Numbers?

View Results

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The poll results will determine how I use this plugin on my other sites. This is a really important poll, one the deserves as many people to take part in it as possible and the only way that will happen is if you guys get the word out by sharing this post as many people on the social media circles as you can.

Oh yeah, I did say this was a review of the plugin didn’t I?

Covert Social Plugin Review

All in all I like it. It is easy to intall. It’s easy to configure and has many options which allow you to customize the way you want your social share button to look. As you can see by thefacebook like image below I’ve made mine look similar to the FaceBook ‘Like’ button. Just so you know the numbers displayed there are actual numbers and not fake at all. This is because the button shows the accumulated ‘shares’ from all the social media which I configured the plugin to show to my readers. This is easily shown in the image below.

social share icons

That image also shows the one flaw that I’ve been able to find in the plugin. That flaw is that it doesn’t always pick up all the social media shares. As you can see by comparing the results from the two different social media plugins Covert Social Buzz has failed to pick up the FaceBook ‘Likes’. I’ve made the developers aware of this and they are currently looking into it.

All in all I am more than happy with it and I feel it’s best feature is that it shows the accumulated shares because if the herd mentality is true it will help to coax others to share the post.

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Peter Pelliccia

I'm an Aussie blogger who loves to blog and share everything that I've learned on my blogging journey, including blogging tips and ways to blog for money. I am also trying to make my way on YouTube. You can follow my progress by subscribing to My Bonzer Channel.

This Post Has 38 Comments

  1. Twitter:
    Well, either no one else was brave enough to comment on it or their comments are in moderation. lol

    You know my feeling, and of course it would be a big “no”. I can easily understand why someone would do it. After all, people tend to like to follow the herd, so if they see a big number of shares or likes or even buyers they get curious and want to know what’s going on. People hate feeling left out.

    But in my mind it’s manipulation based on a falsehood. Yeah, I know, many marketers lie all the time; doesn’t make it right in my book.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Blog Action Day – The Power Of “We”My Profile

    1. Nope, now comments in moderation Mitch, you’re just the first one to take the plunge. Not many using the share buttons either :ponder_tb: although at the time of writing this comment three people have voted.

      As to the attitude of marketers, do you think that we’re having a hard time about it because we’re too bloody honest? :wink_ee:
      Sire recently posted…Uniforms Should Be Safe Functional & Look GreatMy Profile

      1. Twitter:
        That could be a part of it Sire. Truth be told, we don’t push people with lots of sales messages and that probably hurts our opportunities moreso.
        Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Ode To Joy Day!My Profile

    2. I’m with Mitch Sire, even though it doesn’t seem like a big porkie pie, it’s still a lie. I also don’t see the need to lie when hardly anyone looks at the buttons anyway, a better solution to get more shares would be to make the share buttons more noticeable or something like that.

      1. I agree but then apparently marketing an lying, or stretching the truth go hand in hand. Take all those commercials for example where celebrities promote products. I’m sure most of them don’t use them so that means that both the celebrity and the guys producing the commercials are virtually lying.

  2. people often intend to view those pages that are voted a lot and they often find nothing curious in there and so are just made sick of trusting all bloggers. it is not something relevant to honesty or something else.

    1. Actually Aaslin, the share button doesn’t appear on most blogs unless they’re actually viewing the post. The intention of the numbers is not to get them to read the post, one hopes the title and content will do that, but to get them to share the post.
      Sire recently posted…Become A Lotto AffiliateMy Profile

  3. Twitter:
    What leaps into my mind as I read about this plug-in is “liar, liar, pants on fire”. But – when listing the ethical boundaries of advertising in general you find it to be a very short list.

    Personally I would not use this. And I suspect that it may backfire for others in one of two ways. First if its use becomes widespread readers will come to assume that any large social share numbers they encounter are fake. The other is that when I see a post that’s been shared nine billion times I tend to think, “This is old news, no need to share that.”

    But; that’s just me… I don’t tend to follow the herd.

    1. I agree about faking large numbers Allan which is why I’m only displaying low numbers on the other blogs until I get 10 actual shares and the the real numbers kick in.

      I’m actually wondering if there’s actually other plugins out there that do the same thing because I’ve visited other blogs that have heaps of shares and after reading the post I’m left wondering why they have so many.
      Sire recently posted…Friday Funnies #39 Best For LaughsMy Profile

      1. Twitter:
        Ahhh… but the question then becomes: when you said to yourself, “That’s a crappy article, why is it getting so many shares?” was your mouse creeping toward the SHARE button? If not, then either the Herd Mentality is no so compelling as these folks say or you too are a rogue steer. :-)

        1. I was never one to follow the herd Allan. I’ve always preferred to make my own path. As you know I usually go against that A Listers and the like believe and so far I like the way things have turned out.
          Sire recently posted…Will Adbeans Affect Your PRMy Profile

  4. Twitter:
    Well, I won’t use a plugin like that on any of my sites. And it’s not just because it’s unethical, which it is, but it might hurt reputation from your readership. Eventually many bloggers will recognize the share button and know where it came from; then, even if the settings are showing honest numbers, people will assume it’s dishonest.

    I knew about this plugin last week when Kimberly Castleberry sent a warning out to her list to be on the lookout for this “disturbing new trend in crap-blogs” (her words).

    I’m not trying to judge, I trust you because I’ve been following you for a long time. But if we’re going to grow and profit, as bloggers, nothing seems more important than building trust and reputation so people will feel safe in clicking the links and making purchases based on our recommendations. Just my opinion. :)

    It looks like it’s not catching all of your StumbleUpon numbers either. You show 6 right now in the side share buttons and 0 in the new plugin.

    1. You know Brian, it’s a shame that there will be people out there that will abuse the plugin and you’re probably right, in time it may cause people to distrust bloggers that use them.

      I’m going to continue to use it for awhile though because I want to see if it does have any effect. On this blog I will run it alongside the other one so people can see I’m not fudging the results. As for the other blogs the fake numbers are so low I don’t think anyone will think they are fake, and when you consider the sex blog, seeing someone else has shared it before you may encourage others to do so.

      As for it not showing the stumbles, I did mention it not showing FaceBook Likes and it seems that occasionally Stumbles may be missing as well.
      Sire recently posted…WordPress Plugin That Improves Your Bounce RateMy Profile

  5. I’m with Mitch on this one, I wouldn’t do this at all, manipulation doesn’t sit well with my conscience.

    1. That’s cool Ben, it’s obviously not for everyone.

  6. Hi Brian,
    I was thinking whether is it right or not to use the covert plugin and at the right time I read your comment.Now I strongly feel that using such kind of plugin will break the trust of our readers and they wont have the sense of belonging which they had before.I think the natural way to build relations are the best way to do so.

    1. That’s true, one should never do anything that would break the bond of trust they have with their readers.

  7. The most important thing a blogger should possess it that he should be able to develop a trust with his readers.I think the plugin which you have described will surely help to increase the clicks but the important part of all is that it about cheating your readers who have developed a trust on you as a blogger.Hence i would rather not try this option.

    1. Trust is very important, but it’s not like you’re stretching the truth about a product, something many bloggers actually do.

  8. Hi SIre,
    I think trust is very important and the deciding factor for the success of your blog because sooner or later the readers will know about such plugins and not so true practices.Hence it is better to stay away from them instead of hanging on to those.Thanks for sharing this post.

    1. That’s how I learn stuff James

  9. Twitter:
    Hey Sire,

    I purchased it and immediately didn’t like it so asked for a refund. The only reason I got it was for my other affiliate blog that I’m just creating. It’s not a blog I intend to use for tons of comments but we all know, just like you mentioned, that people view social proof as whether the content is even worth their time.

    Now do I believe it’s really ethical to fudge numbers. No, not at all but for a new site I wanted to test it. I wasn’t happy with how many fake numbers it generates and doesn’t give you the option of putting those in yourself. I wasn’t looking for it to be in the hundreds, I just wanted to show a few.

    I also don’t like that you have nowhere to add your Twitter ID and you know my pet peeve regarding that. I refuse to share anyone’s content that doesn’t have that set up properly.

    So all in all I did not like the plug-in but that’s just my personal opinion. Glad to hear that you’re happy with it though.


    1. Adrienne, what you’re seeing on this blog is the actual numbers, although it doesn’t always pick up the Stumbles for some reason. As for the fake numbers, you can adjust that in the settings. Without looking I’ve set it for 10 or something on those other blogs and I’ve set it that low only so they believe they are not the only one to share the post.

      Some may say that is bad, but it’s now way as bad as all those who fudge their earnings or sales or tell people how great a product is when they haven’t even tried it.

      As for the Twitter ID, I thought I did have it set up in my CommentLuv Premium settings. Must check that.
      Sire recently posted…Why I Love WP Zon BuilderMy Profile

  10. The question then becomes: when you said to yourself, “That’s a crappy article, why is it getting so many shares?” was your mouse creeping toward the SHARE button?

    1. Of course not, why would I if it was a crappy article. If it was a good article though I would be tempted but I would resist the tmptation if I saw that no-one else had made the effort.
      Sire recently posted…Friday Funnies #40, Babies Rap Pastor’s Ass et alMy Profile

  11. Nice post.I read your post and i was quite excited to know about such a plugin.I thought even i would purchase it and begin using it but then after reading some comments posted i thought it would be better if i do not purchase such a plugin.I agree with all of them that it would break the trust with our readers because someday they would gather that it is cheating them but still it was quite reading your post as always.

    1. I agree that some would feel that way, and so would I if they fudged the numbers to such an extent and it didn’t reflect the quality of the post. I would never use it that way. I just want it to reflect a few shares so that they won’t feel like they are the first one to share it.
      Sire recently posted…WassupBlog Now Hosted On A VPS HostMy Profile

  12. Seems to be an interactive tool; I think I’m gonna try this real soon. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I am going to try out this tool because i find it very interesting.I know that trust is very important for your audience but i just want to try out this one and check out how it works.Thanks for sharing this post and informing about the plugin.

  14. Twitter:
    Hey great post and review we use allot of social features on all of our websites and have used paid tools such as wibya toolbar which was an epic fail (i do not recommend) i can see your still using the plug in and it does catch my attention, maybe something for us to look at. Thanks for the review!

  15. I tend “ethicality” is less of a question here, because the answer is clear and objective to views or standpoints.
    Personally, my blog do not display the amout of shares on social networks. I display it prominently enough, to capture my reader’s attention, but I wouldn’t display the share counts.
    Thanks for introducing us to this plugin thought. It’s worth knowing such a tool exist, if I ever do resort to such tactic ;)
    Good day!

  16. Truth be told, we don’t push people with lots of sales messages and that probably hurts our opportunities moreso

  17. Twitter:
    I know that someone said that lazy readers will click your social media share buttons only if someone else had already clicked on them.
    Even if this theory is true I don’t like/approve the idea to manipulate social media share numbers..Even pump social shares with artificial like/tweet doesn’t sound good.

    I’d tried some marketing sites in the past, but sometimes it’s not worth the time spent.

    1. It all depends how you use it. I have it set so it only shows a random number under 10. Once that is reached it shows the real shares.
      Sire recently posted…Mistakes Bloggers MakeMy Profile

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