Lots of companies have done it, think MegaUpload, Paypal and Reddit to name a few, they created a false aura of activity so that first-time users got the impression that the platform is already in business and stay on. Over time the userbase grows and the platform sustains activity without having to fake it.
Here are three ways to “fake it til you make it” so your site seems effortlessly thriving:
1. Seeding and Weeding
The old “fake profile” trick. Ever wondered why online dating sites get off the ground? Well its simple really, most of their founding users are fake! Once REAL users come to the site and see activity (conversations etc.) they are incentivized to stay on. Eventually the site will hit their engagement goals and have enough real users to disable the fake profiles.
In the book, Paypal Wars, Eric M. Jackson talks about how PayPal grew a base of sellers by creating demand for their service. They used popular marketplace ebay to facilitate this and built a bot to purchase items that demanded the seller use paypal to complete the transaction. Overtime Paypal gained notoriety for being a reliable payment gateway and was eventually integrated with ebays offering.
A platform is useless without complementary products. Marketplaces, especially, are dead without sellers posting on them. To solve the problem, some marketplaces create fake supply to attract buyers.
Encourage behavior you want to see on the site
Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman divulged that he used fake profiles to post links to initially simulate conversation. He made sure the links that were shared on the site matched the kind of content he wanted to see on the site. The Result? Reddit now has a flourishing culture of link sharing and has built a reputation for it’s citable information and insightful discussions.
Beacon New Ventures is a new model marketing & venture capital partner currently expanding its footprint in the Asia Pacific region. With an office based in Singapore and another in Melbourne Australia, the business has a broad client portfolio both local and abroad across various categories.