Leesa Dean: Adventures of a Web Series Newbie #81

Pay to Play?
by Leesa Dean

moneybag1So I was all set to go to the WGA East web series screening/networking event when…last minute they cancelled it. It’s supposed to be rescheduled but we’ll see when/if that happens.

So instead, I met up for cappuccino with Anne Flournoy, who had invited me to the event in the first place and we ended up chatting about our experiences as indie web producers and all that entails.

Anne has been in this game for a long time.  Her series, The Louise Log, jumped off in 2007 (which was right when I started learning how to animate!)  She’s now in Season 3.  The series is based on a film she wrote/directed that was in Sundance and has gotten critical acclaim, plus she was able to crowd fund Season 3, which is impressive (especially in today’s climate).  We don’t know each other very well, had met at a few web series networking events when Chilltown launched, she’s a big fan and we had been planning to get together to talk shop for about a year.

We spoke a bit about the merits of Facebook, Twitter, etc. and Anne has paid Facebook to “boost” her views. I’ve never done that, so I was pretty curious to hear about it.

Facebook charges from $5 – $200 and up.  The more you pay, the more your posts are “boosted”.   While I didn’t ask how much she paid, she was NOT happy with the experience.  She found that while FB said her posts reached 30,000 people, it didn’t generate any YouTube views. Nada. None. Zilch. When you’re on YouTube, you can look at the analytics and see where all your views come from, btw.   And, bottom line, the entire reason you, as an indie web producer, even promote is to get the YouTube views (build likes and subscribers).

Further, she read some article saying that the whole thing was kind of a scam, which I was shocked to hear!  I don’t know how accurate it is but it seems to jibe with her experience.

According to her, nearly all of her views were centered in Asia which is essentially the same type of deal you get if you pay a third party source  you find on fiverr or message boards for views/likes.  In other words, they’re probably not 100% legitimate views.  And, according to some posters, marketers probably made up the profiles (just like they do when you pay illegal-ish third party sources). Which seems to make sense.  Yeah, they might show up on some timelines, but it’s unlikely people are actually reading the posts.  Wow. And yes, when you buy views/likes from a third party source for your twitter/fb or youtube account and they find out, they disqualify the views.

Pretty disturbing.

I never thought it was a great idea to “boost” views from FB only because of the way their timeline works.  Things mostly don’t show up in a timeline unless you actively have a relationship with someone and only if people comment a lot on the post. But still…

Conclusion: It’s tough out there for an indie. The Louise Log just dropped a new episode this week. Here’s the link.

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