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29 Comments

Product Hunt sock puppets? 🤔

The other day I shared my product on PH and it did ok, breaking my previous Product Hunt record, hooray! All kinds of people were thinking my product is cool. I'm killing it!... Or so I thought.

Product Hunt sock puppets

Hang on a second. There's something off here. Something is slightly weird about all these white dudes in ties voting for my product. 🤔 I don't want to come across as prejudiced but it is very much not a white-dude-in-a-tie type of product (it's for making weird niche video games).

I am a naturally skeptical person, so I drilled down into their profiles.

Kevin Johnson sock puppet

Ok Kevin, what is going on with you. You have no followers and you're not following anybody. You're into Marketing, Developer Tools, and ... Artificial Intelligence? Hmm. Maybe it's legit. Maybe you really do like those 50 products you have upvoted. I mean you joined back on April 26th, so I'm sure it's fine.

Let's take a look at another White Guy in a Tie ™.

Carlos Anderson sock puppet

Carlos! My friend! It is so good to see you and I'm delighted that you upvoted my product. It's super cool you are into building roguelike videogames pal!

But wait a moment Carlos. You also have no followers. You also are following nobody. You also have 49 upvotes (close to 50), and you also are into Marketing, Developer Tools, and ... Artificial Intelligence? And you also signed up on April 26th? Hmmmmmmmm.

Alright. I must be seeing things. Lets check out a last dude to prove or falsify the hypothesis that something fishy 🐡 is going on here.

Fernando Garcia sock puppet

Et tu Fernando? Mo! 😱 For reals? You also no follow, 50 upvote, marketing, dev tools, AI, and signed up on April 26th?!?!?

And let's face it, the tie really clinches it. FAkE. No real human being would wear such a tie with that expression on their face.

Folks I think that settles the matter. These are not real people and there is something deeply fishy going on at Product Hunt.

I mean I love upvotes as much as the next person, but I would prefer to get real and valid feedback from the market any day, even if it's negative. Hmmm.

Any idea what's going on?

  1. 13

    This is just someone warming up their bot accounts on other products before they use it on their own down the road. Happens on every website that uses upvotes for ranking things.

    1. 3

      Even if PH are not creating this fake activity, they have a strong incentive to let it happen because it makes the whole site look more popular than it is, especially if nobody notices or complains.

    2. 2

      And you are certain, how?

      I believe it's a common misconception, and blindly relying on authority.

      Someone can create a paid community for $99/month, invite 50 people for free. And everyone else going to think 50 people already paid 99 so it should be worthy. It's not bots but faking the activity.

      Same goes on social dating applications, filled with fake woman profiles, that boys gotta pay to talk with them. Again not bots but faking the activity. It could be a poor girl with 100 profiles trying to answer each message on time or worse a guy :)

      I still believe tiktok faked the number of views, thus become so popular but I can't prove it. Yet I know other two examples happening quite frequently.

      Either way, it's maintainers responsibility to keep their site clean, everyday there are tens of submissions happening, what if everyone tries the same. Is it okay if there are only a few or what's limit.

      Should I start a business that $1 for vote?

      1. 1

        For anyone curious,

        Yesterday on PH.

        121 products
        6587 total votes
        4464 unique voters

        Votes on that day | Account Creation Date | Username

        27 2015-01-03T12:49:40Z prasadyeluru
        25 2020-01-10T15:42:56Z zolani_matebese
        22 2014-08-27T18:06:54Z shaebot
        14 2015-08-02T04:09:40Z irishisharma
        14 2016-08-09T16:55:21Z barnabybones
        14 2020-09-11T12:03:41Z deleted-2844976
        14 2018-10-04T15:11:49Z ermanergun
        13 2020-09-08T12:57:40Z harry_menda
        13 2020-09-10T11:09:10Z sgdl_sachin
        13 2020-09-11T05:19:07Z mbt_hub
        13 2017-01-23T08:45:23Z juliashtelm
        13 2020-09-09T17:37:15Z ashtonhawkins1
        12 2020-09-10T11:06:57Z malikstar17
        12 2020-09-11T12:26:14Z marccollier1
        12 2020-09-09T10:54:03Z jessenolan
        12 2020-09-11T10:26:46Z deleted-2844823
        11 2020-09-10T11:13:08Z shan_fisal
        11 2018-10-21T01:14:30Z xin_jiang
        11 2020-09-11T11:38:02Z conniedouglas1
        11 2020-09-11T16:14:37Z hildadrake
        11 2020-08-22T06:35:50Z tek_on_deck

        Almost 50% of the top voters and 20% of the all voters created within the past 7 days. Apparently votes still counts even after accounts were deleted.

        1. 2

          Thanks for the numbers, very illuminating.

    1. 1

      haha good find on douglas

    2. 1

      https://www.producthunt.com/@mabelgraham
      https://spearlsharp.com/

      https://www.producthunt.com/@kelvinbello
      https://oge.mit.edu/graddiversity/msrp/2019-msrp-interns/james-obute/

      I think you got the gist of it, all created around 26th, no followers(except ali, ali the mass follower :D) no following.

      https://www.producthunt.com/@jamesnewton10
      https://www.producthunt.com/@williamsalinas
      https://www.producthunt.com/@frankgiroux
      https://www.producthunt.com/@arthurgamez
      https://www.producthunt.com/@staceyjones10
      https://www.producthunt.com/@curtisbarnhouse
      https://www.producthunt.com/@ericsingleton2
      https://www.producthunt.com/@davidbuck9
      https://www.producthunt.com/@sonlynch
      https://www.producthunt.com/@robertscott35
      https://www.producthunt.com/@wayneolsen
      https://www.producthunt.com/@ronlogan4
      https://www.producthunt.com/@jasonvillegas2

      I couldn't able to list more than 40 voters on each posts and couldn't manage to paginate. I'm not sure how they do it and I don't feel like digging it more. But this list came from last and first 20 voters.

      Sad part is, thanks to fanboys, this will taken as someone creates a bot. A bot that a user can spot, but not the owners. A bot that can be tracked by a user, not the maintainers. No-one gonna think, that's an attempt to present the site as an (more) active place.

      edit: lol 43 sales already.
      https://www.peopleperhour.com/hourlie/product-hunt-100-quality-worldwide-upvote-to-your-product/491363

      1. 2

        I had to laugh, on that peopleperhour page, there are reviews of this particular service. One five-star reads "very authentic, great quality for cost". To which the dude replies "thanks". I think Kendrick Lamar said it best: There's levels to it, you and I know.

        1. 2

          Laughter is contagious I guess, laughs authentically thanks.

      2. 2

        Man that's insane. I didn't think of it even once. Given the daily active users of product hunt, I too think from where those tonnes of upvotes are coming.

        1. 1

          Guess we were too naive, further I dig more I surprised. These are currently created accounts with more than a few upvotes but have things in common.

          2020-09-11T08:21:09Z bryanhojianan
          2020-09-11T09:29:07Z disha_tare
          2020-09-11T09:34:14Z andoniaf
          2020-09-11T10:01:14Z elma_davis
          2020-09-11T10:07:29Z darrinmorales
          2020-09-11T10:24:16Z jeremyweber2
          2020-09-11T10:25:30Z monaparks
          2020-09-11T10:26:46Z marcellarodriquez

  2. 3

    I think just in general, Product Hunt is all kinds of shit. Even without these fake accounts that you’ve identified - the homepage is curated. Curators are simple gatekeepers. This means if the small number of gatekeepers at ph don’t take a fancy to your product then you’re doomed.

    There’s no reason why every product listed couldn’t be on the homepage and let nature take its course. Shit stuff will sink to the bottom and great stuff will rise to the top.

    The “curators” could spend their time removing stuff that is objectively spam rather than promoting stuff that’s subjectively worthy.

    I might just have scoped my next side project lol

    1. 2

      removing stuff that is objectively spam rather than promoting stuff that’s subjectively worthy.

      Had to stop + hat tip you for that zinger @Primer

  3. 2

    I guess they are just boosting their numbers, so they can sell their overpriced promo packages.

    There is nothing wrong with Product Hunt, but it's just too overhyped. Post there, do some basic preparation, but apart from checking industry news and generating some SaaS knowledge/ideas for your own products, it's nothing special.

    1. 1

      I reckon PH are well past the point of having to fake interaction in terms of growth, market awareness traffic from genuine people etc.. As others have said, its more likely that someone is warming their own list of bot accounts to use on their own product. 'Seed' votes if you will, as opposed to PH themselves creating the fake interaction.

    2. 1

      And they were asking 10000$ for 3 days newsletter feature. All by showing these fake numbers. Pathetic

  4. 2

    Yeah I noticed that when we started getting subscribers to our upcoming page. A huge amount of them were spam/fake.

    1. 2

      Same here, at least 150 fake subscribers to my Upcoming page since a couple weeks ago

  5. 2

    most communities (including reddit) have been known to deploy bots to encourage activity

      1. 2

        https://mashable.com/2012/06/19/reddit-built-with-fake-accounts/

        fake account != bots, but serves the same purpose of encouraging activity

        1. 1

          Thanks for the reference! Much appreciated, will read.

  6. 1

    Hello Product Hunters! We are creating a slack group to share ideas for PH launch. If you like to join, you can fill out this form. https://forms.gle/LehhYocbCSPMnFU36

  7. 1

    If you search "buy product hunt vote" on fiverr, then you will literally see a bunch of people are selling the "services". So :)

  8. 1

    Account Creation | Username
    2020-04-26T13:28:01Z davidbuck9
    2020-04-26T13:29:47Z ericsingleton2
    2020-04-26T13:31:37Z curtisbarnhouse
    2020-04-26T13:33:38Z staceyjones10
    2020-04-26T13:35:29Z arthurgamez
    2020-04-26T13:38:24Z frankgiroux
    2020-04-26T13:40:53Z williamsalinas
    2020-04-26T13:42:46Z jamesnewton10
    2020-04-26T13:45:17Z kelvinbello
    2020-04-26T13:47:40Z robertscott35
    2020-04-26T13:50:01Z joshuaanderson23
    2020-04-26T13:52:32Z toddwood6
    2020-04-26T13:54:18Z eddieyates
    2020-04-26T13:56:30Z mosesbirk
    2020-04-26T13:58:48Z nicolemitchell6
    2020-04-26T14:00:46Z normangilmore1
    2020-04-26T14:03:14Z fernandogarcia39
    2020-04-26T16:15:47Z carlosanderson3
    2020-04-26T16:42:24Z christopheranderson38
    2020-04-26T16:46:50Z charlesmiller23
    2020-04-26T16:50:57Z kennethjung4
    2020-04-26T17:00:50Z jessebudd
    2020-04-26T17:05:46Z hygenssucces
    2020-04-26T17:10:32Z jakeboyd3
    2020-04-26T17:30:49Z rafaellesure
    2020-04-26T17:33:24Z johnthompson82
    2020-04-26T17:36:38Z lavernesparks
    2020-04-26T17:42:44Z kevinjohnson110
    2020-04-26T18:47:16Z jordanwilliamson6
    2020-04-26T18:49:54Z benjaminmccormack
    2020-04-26T18:56:51Z manuelchurch
    2020-04-26T18:59:39Z mabelgraham
    2020-04-26T19:01:51Z edwinparker1
    2020-04-26T19:07:15Z billylupien
    2020-04-26T19:09:20Z denniswilkins
    2020-04-26T19:11:35Z michaelcrawford20
    2020-04-26T19:13:30Z hughyost
    2020-04-26T19:15:11Z joshuaclark15
    2020-04-26T19:20:04Z simonpatton
    2020-04-26T19:34:38Z christophermanna2
    2020-04-26T19:36:28Z beckylocke
    2020-04-26T19:40:33Z davidseibel
    2020-04-26T19:41:27Z sema_
    2020-04-26T19:46:45Z dalerobinson5
    2020-04-26T19:48:56Z vernonsmith8
    2020-04-26T19:50:55Z vincentmontgomery
    2020-04-26T19:52:55Z dennislopez6
    2020-04-26T19:55:52Z robertfreeman16
    2020-04-26T19:59:30Z danielhughes20
    2020-04-26T20:01:27Z johnnythigpen
    2020-04-26T20:03:14Z ericjimenez4
    2020-04-26T20:05:55Z paulsnider3
    2020-04-26T20:07:54Z jasonmorgan20
    2020-04-26T20:10:06Z bobbyjauregui
    2020-04-26T20:12:31Z curtjones
    2020-04-26T20:16:29Z beckieklinger
    2020-04-26T20:18:42Z brianstrickland
    2020-04-26T20:21:32Z danielstover2
    2020-04-26T20:24:27Z alantyler
    2020-04-26T20:24:59Z shamim_akhter
    2020-04-26T20:26:23Z davidwysocki1
    2020-04-26T20:28:24Z johngraham46
    2020-04-26T20:35:18Z robertlattimore
    2020-04-26T20:39:12Z emmanuelmendoza5
    2020-04-26T20:42:47Z raymondalexander1
    2020-04-26T20:46:24Z jamesstump
    2020-04-26T20:48:58Z leewheelock
    2020-04-26T20:51:05Z fredchristensen2
    2020-04-26T20:54:00Z mohamed_essam5
    2020-04-26T20:54:18Z nanniepoole
    2020-04-26T20:56:27Z moramadan
    2020-04-26T21:01:38Z ramin0
    2020-04-26T21:05:51Z hamsa_mansour
    2020-04-26T21:07:09Z nouran_elkabbany
    2020-04-26T21:08:55Z sara_farouk
    2020-04-26T21:11:34Z nour_elmokadem
    2020-04-26T21:16:47Z hadeel_mahmoud_shalaby
    2020-04-26T22:39:28Z shyousry
    2020-04-26T22:46:41Z nour_el_din
    2020-04-26T22:54:51Z nadine_mansour_1

    Extracted just from 2 posts, good luck everyone on your next submission :)

  9. 1

    I don't agree with your fashion assessment at all of the third profile - IMO the expression is a great fit. That's a really really good "bad" tie with "bad" knot that's tied single-slip in a comfortable way and you can tell the top button is not buttoned behind the tie. It screams "comfortable as a professional" without the need for tweed.

    AI+Marketing+Dev Tools = profile/keywords of most of the recent analytics startups I've seen trending here and elsewhere.

    With GPT3 on the horizon the only way we should expect to get "real feedback" going forward is using real customer interviews ala Mom Test.

    1. 1

      lmao top notch tie analysis my friend

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