"Likes" are the new currency on the web. People are begging their friends for them, brands are forcing you to like something before you can access whatever it is they're giving away. Likes are also a measure of success, as big as search rankings in the eyes of some people.
It's no surprise then that, just like search rankings, people are gaming likes and that it's only going to get worse. That's the prediction of some Gartner research and, while these predictions, especially in the fast moving social web field, tend to be way off, this one seems fairly legit.
The research company says that by 2014, some 10 to 15 percent of all likes will be faked, i.e. paid "likes" just like there are paid links. Well, actually, Gartner refers to online reviews of any kind, including likes.
That's even worse, but understandable. On Amazon, good reviews can make or break a book and the same goes for plenty of products.
"With over half of the Internet's population on social networks, organizations are scrambling for new ways to build bigger follower bases, generate more hits on videos, garner more positive reviews than their competitors and solicit ‘likes’ on their Facebook pages," Gartner's Jenny Sussin, a senior research analyst at Gartner, wrote