Investigative team Sadbottrue has own technologies for data gathering and for meta-analysis of big data. We focused on findings and explanation of anomalies that influence on the tech companies. We are fighting against the social media and advertising fraud ecosystem.
The true story
Our investigation began with monitoring of strange activity in Twitter in summer 2015. Some people starts complain about annoying following by employees of Appz Venture. Even two editors of Businessinsider.com discussed it in twitter, but no one understands what’s going on. Ironically, all likes and retweets for this conversation are made by Appz Venture employees, but no one from the company does not explain why.
The company owns 39 domains, mostly inactive. Active sites are looks like made by a novice. It`s portfolio consists of 79 primitive apps, with non-original content and cheap clipart graphic. Most applications are paid ($0,99 or $1,99). More than half of them released in 2011. Appz Venture has the three clone accounts in Twitter. They have 14.9K, 12.6K, and 6.5K followers.
The company based in California. There is video of the office in the industrial area of Los Angeles with 2 branded cargo van in front of it.
According to Zoominfo.com, Appz Venture has a revenue $5 mil. ~ $10 mil. in 2014. Those apps and sites definitely can’t generate this cash flow.
SadBottrue.com team took 42 fake Appz Venture employees and examined their followers.
So, there are 13 accs conforming to the three conditions:
1. “Social” in the description.
2. Has 100k+ followers.
3. Follow 5 and more employees of Apps Venture.
We found that Forbes`s top social media experts are following bots. For example, @kimgarst follows 5 from 42 bots of the list of Appz Venture, and @jeffbullas follows 6 from 42. Stats show the completely different set of accounts in followers and friends in all accounts of social media experts, but one of them. Other words, the audience is not collected with the help of back following as experts advise.
Who else follows Appz Venture bots? 6 the very strange social media experts/entrepreneurs/managers. The most suspicious is the account of Terri Bauman @TerriBauman. During the investigation, we found associated with it fake social media expert Trinity Adam @trinityadam. They have 452K and 378K fake followers respectively.
Terri most actively promotes social media jobs, that looks like a chance for hopeless unemployments to make some money. But work she offers has its specificity: you need to bring new people to increase your earnings. It is in fact, an ordinary Ponzi-scheme. Trinity teaches how to increase your sales with Courses, like LinkedIn Marketing Training ($97 per disk), Top Email Marketing Campaign ideas for Your Business Success etc.
They have the common youtube account. It contains 32 short text videos about product management, 2 videos of Trinity Adam duration of 0:18 and 0:23, and 1 video of Terri Bauman 0:19. All photos for their accounts in social networks were made from youtube videos.
They both associated with EntrepreneursPro.Com @EntreprePro (288K followers). It collected all the commercial offers: work, courses, books, and training. There are at least two social media experts and one company's twitter accounts with more than 1 million followers combined. All accounts post every hour the same type of tweets.
Our team found that in real life Trinity Adam is an actress. She sells her voice for commercial videos on Fiverr.com under the nick Fayestap. Her real name is Jessica Faye. Terri Bauman is model and actress too, her name is still unknown.
According to Crunchbase, Fiverr is the world’s largest marketplace for creative and professional services, currently listing over 3 million Gigs in more than 100 different categories across 196 countries.
Our team found 230 Gigs are related to twitter followers. Another 43 Fiverr`s Gigs are related to Instagram followers. The same is for Facebook. At least 10 Gigs offers more than 10000 followers for $5.
Fiverr.com rates sellers according to the amount of transaction and customer experience from “new seller” to “Top Rated Seller”. According to the November 2015 issue by PE HUB, Fiverr.com generates close to 1 million digital transactions per month (~12 mil. per year). Fiverr.com takes $1 per every $5 sold Gigs. According to Zoominfo.com data, Fiverr.com has $35,000,000 revenue that means $175 000 000 Gigs was sold.