Have you ever heard of a ‘shill’? Is this a new word that you are not familiar with? If you spend any time on the internet reading reviews, comments, or forums, then you may have seen the word shill before. What is for sure is that you have come in contact with a shill even if you haven’t been aware of it. Are you still confused about what a ‘shill’ is? Continue to read on.
Shills and Scams on the internet
Our lives have been changed in many ways due to the internet; for the most part our lives have been changed for the better. Unfortunately, the internet is also a den for shills and scams. One of the ways that you can become a target for scams on the internet is by believing the comments posted by “shills.”
Shills – What (or who) are they?
A shill is similar to an internet troll, in that they are people (or fake profiles) who leave comments on internet forums for a reason or purpose. A troll’s main goal is to make an uproar or cause a fuss within forum, but shills are generally paid to leave a positive review for a product or they may try to discredit a competitor. Some shills working for solution based companies might complain about a company or product just so they can provide and sell a solution. For example, it is common for timeshare cancellation companies to plant shills on a number of forums, sometimes in a pair. One shill will complain about a timeshare purchase, and the other shill (usually the same person under different pseudonyms) will reply as though they were a genuine person to share how the timeshare cancellation company helped them out.
Paid to be positive
Many times it is hard to know if a review or comment is genuine and from a real customer that is pleased, or if the comment is fake and written by shills. Most of the time the shills are paid to post positive comments about different products to spread a trend just by endorsing a certain service.
Shills and Scams – How can you distinguish them?
It is a fine art to judge shills and scams, especially if the shills are great writers. You can tell if a comment is written by a shill if you copy and paste the comment into Google search and this will let you know if that same comment had been posted at other locations on the internet. Usually, the shills are too lazy to write new comments for each of the websites. Another way to see if a shill wrote a comment is by checking the social networks of the commenter. Are their photos all stock? Do they have a lot of friends on their social networks? If they don’t have a lot of friends or just stock photos, then they are probably a shill.
TripAdvisor is hot on the trail of shills and scams
TripAdvisor is a noteworthy website that has caught on to shills and scams, and they are handing out penalties for any companies that are paying shills to write positive reviews for them. If you think that a comment that you have just read has been written by a shill, then you can report the comment. This will help honest and genuine companies that deserve the praise along with making shills and scams be penalized for their fake actions.
The History of Shills
The word shill actually comes from “shillaber”, which is a word that was traditionally used to describe a circus workers or trouper would pretend to purchase tickets on the opening circus night right after the circus master had just advertised the show to the waiting crowd. This reaction would create the need for ‘real’ customers that felt like they had to hurry and purchase the tickets. Shills were often found at auctions where they would bid and bid on an item to raise the price.
Have you been tricked by shills and scams on the internet? Please share your comments.