How A Fake Human-Likes Marketing Agency Tried To Fool Us

The team at [our company] have been working hard to increase our reach, and we’ve been impressed by the innovation of many of the marketing agencies we’ve encountered along the way. We have even worked with some of them, though that’s another story. 

One such agency that has caught our eye is a startup called Human-Likes. It employs human workers to make fake social media accounts to provide “likes” for its clients’ social media content. 

In our industry, it’s not uncommon for companies to give a boost to their online presence through paid likes, but this agency is doing something new and illegal: 

Paying humans as low as $2 per hour in third-world countries like Bangladesh and Venezuela to create fake profiles on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, then add likes and comments on behalf of clients’ pages. How do they get away with it? 

The answer lies in a series of complicated steps that would put even Batman’s detective skills to shame:

How Digital Marketing Agency “fools” business owners like you?
Understand the tactics used by fake human-like marketing agencies
Learn how to identify and avoid falling for deceptive strategies
Gain insights into the methods employed to manipulate perceptions
Strengthen your ability to differentiate genuine from fake offerings
Enhance your skepticism and critical thinking in marketing contexts

1. They Don’t Have A Portfolio

The first thing that should raise a red flag is their lack of an online presence. Most legitimate companies have a website, social media accounts, and even testimonials from satisfied customers. 

At least one of these things will be present on any reputable business’ website or LinkedIn profile.

But not only does this fake agency not have any of those things they don’t even have a portfolio! 

And if you’re looking for their website in Google search results, you’ll find nothing but pages from other businesses claiming to be them (and posting pictures stolen from real agencies).

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2. They Don’t Have Samples

If you’re looking to hire a marketing agency, one of the first things you should do is check their sample work. By reviewing samples of previous projects, you can evaluate their skills and decide if they’re a good fit for your team. 

If an agency doesn’t have any samples available on their website or social media accounts, it’s probably best not to work with them because there must be something wrong with what they’ve done in the past for them not to want anyone else to see it.

Samples should be easy enough for anyone looking at them (or even just casually perusing) to understand what makes up their brand identity. If it looks like gibberish with no clear message or purpose behind it, then this isn’t someone who understands how branding works! 

They might also be hiding other problems from clients by making everything look perfect online without showing any flaws that exist in real-life situations such as:

  • Poor quality photos were taken at low angles against white walls (which means every room looks like an interrogation room).
  • Lackluster website design/layout that doesn’t reflect well upon either party involved (client vs designer).

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3. They Don’t Have Reviews Or Recommendations

The third tip to help you determine if a company is real or not is to check if they have reviews or recommendations. Reviews are an important way for customers to evaluate the quality of service, so it’s worth seeing what people say about this provider online.

If you come across a company that has no reviews or recommendations on Google search results, it could be because:

  • They just don’t offer any services that people would want to review in the first place (see above).
  • They don’t get enough traffic from their website and social media accounts for anyone to leave feedback yet.

4. They Insist On Upfront Payment

If you’re ever unsure if a company is legitimate or not, simply ask them for their payment policy. If they say upfront payment, chances are they’re a scammer. Good marketers don’t take money until after the job is done and proven successful. 

Scammers will take your money as soon as possible, then disappear without any proof of work being done or updates to show where they are in the process. 

Also, if they start asking for more than half of the total cost upfront and tell you that’s how it works when working with big companies like themselves (it’s not), then it’s probably a scam too!

5. They Fail The Smell Test Literally

You can tell when an agency is fake because they fail the smell test. If you’re talking with them in person, you’ll notice that they do not have a physical address or phone number. They also won’t have a website. 

This is because they are not an actual agency but rather one guy who wants to make money off of selling leads he doesn’t own and never will own (and his website isn’t even real). If you want to hire an ad agency, make sure it has all of these things listed on its website:

  • Physical Address
  • Phone Number

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6. Their Account Manager (Sales Person) Seems Difficult To Contact By Phone, Chat, Skype, Or Email

If you are a business owner, and you want to set up a paid account with this company, we think it’s worth asking some questions.

Where is their office located? What is their phone number?

How do they authenticate themselves as real people? What are their names? Do they have LinkedIn accounts or social media profiles that verify who they are and what kind of work experience they have in the digital marketing industry? 

If so, do those profiles show photos of actual human beings working at this company – not just stock images taken from Google images search results for “digital marketing agency” or whatever?

Do they seem like real people when you talk to them on Skype/Google Hangouts/Skype-to-phone or over email/chat message/Skype-to-Skype voice call (etc)? 

Are they responsive in any way when you try to contact them by phone call/email/chat message/Skype voice call (etc)? 

Or does it feel like whoever is replying has only been trained how to hit the “reply” button without actually thinking about what he’s writing down before sending an automated response back out through the internet tubes where nobody can see him doing his job poorly?

Unless he does something really bad like plagiarize blog posts from other companies instead of using good SEO practices like keyword research + link building + content creation + content promotion tactics which would get him more traffic instead of stealing from others’ work!

7. Their Account Managers Always Change In A Short-period

How we see it:

It’s not a good sign when you can’t even keep your account managers on, because they will probably leave right after they get the sales figures that you are looking for. If that’s the case, how would those people feel about you? What do you think about this company?

What happened: Our contact manager was replaced twice in just a month! And at first sight, it is difficult to tell whether this is a bad thing or not. 

A new account manager could bring fresh ideas and insights into our strategy, but then again it could also mean that the previous one wasn’t doing his job well enough which may be even worse than having no manager at all!

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8. Their Terms And Conditions Are Full Of Holes

A good lawyer will take care to make sure that their terms and conditions are written in a way that protects everyone involved including their clients. 

That’s not the case with this agency, however. The terms and conditions page is full of holes that could potentially leave you liable for things like copyright infringement:

“You agree not to use any robot, spider, or other automated means…to use our site for any purpose without our prior express written permission.”

“You must not transmit viruses or provide links to other sites containing viruses on this website…We also have a responsibility to ensure that we do not cause harm through our negligence when using your services; 

So we will not be liable if we do this by accident (this includes where there are laws that say no one should be held responsible). If a law says otherwise then it overrides these terms so please read them carefully.”

9. They Have A Sketchy Return Policy

The return policy should be clearly stated. You should know the exact amount of time you have to contact the company and return your product, and you should understand what to do if something goes wrong with your order.

It should be easy to use. If a website makes it too hard for customers to reach out, that’s a bad sign especially if they don’t have any contact information on their “about” page or FAQ section (which is another red flag). 

If someone can’t easily find a way to get in touch with them about an issue, then there’s no way they’re going to take responsibility for fixing it. 

And even if they do offer refunds or exchanges, making things difficult could be enough of an inconvenience that people decide not even bother contacting them at all!

It needs easy access points in different locations around each page so that users don’t need special knowledge just because they clicked a link somewhere else while visiting another part of the site (i.e., footer links). 

This allows users’ eyes to scan content without needing much effort involved and ultimately increases engagement potential by reducing cognitive load when looking around which means more conversions down line!

10. Prices Are Too Low

Having the price of your product or service drastically reduced is certainly a plus. However, there’s a certain rule of thumb when it comes to saving money: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

We’ve all heard stories of people buying into ‘too good to be true’ offers only to later find out that they’ve been scammed. T

The same holds with some marketing agencies you might think you’re getting hundreds or thousands in savings with their services but what they’re selling you might not be worth what they charge and could result in you losing money over time.

11. No Special Reports, Analytics, Or Metrics Are Offered

The company should offer you a dashboard to track the progress of your campaign. This is something you would want to be able to see regularly, whether it be weekly or monthly.

The company should offer you a report that shows the results of your campaign. This could be anything from how many people viewed your ad, how many clicked through it, and even if they converted into leads or sales during their visit to your website.

The company should offer you a report that shows engagement with followers (or whatever metrics they have set up for their system). 

One way this can be done is by showing you how many times someone has liked one of their posts since signing up for an account with them as well as other information about any kind of interaction someone might have had with them over time.

12. No Uptime Guarantee Is Made For Sites And Servers Used For The Bot Activity

The website uptime guarantee is important for your business because it allows you to know that your server will be online 24/7, or at least 99.9% of the time. 

Your customers need to know that they can access the site from anywhere in the world and get what they want without hitting an error message or timing out on them. 

A bad website uptime guarantee means that there’s always a chance that their product will not load correctly when a customer tries using it, which makes buying from you feel like a risk instead of something safe and secure.

13. The Company Name Is Inconsistent With Their Domain Name, Address, And Telephone Number

Then there is the name of the company. Is it different from its domain name? Its address? Its phone number? Email address? The answer to all three questions is yes.

The company name was “Marketing Agency,” but its domain was called “SEO Company.” 

The address on LinkedIn was different than the one listed on their website, which itself was different than what we found when doing a reverse lookup on Google Maps (which also showed three offices). And what about that telephone number? 

Was this just a typo or did they intend for us to think they were some other company entirely perhaps a competitor!

14. There’s No Online Presence For Most Of The Team Members

If you’re looking for a marketing agency to work with, look at the online presence of the team members. If you can’t find any information about them, that’s a red flag. A strong online presence demonstrates how professional someone and their company are.

This includes:

  • Strong LinkedIn profiles (with recommendations from former clients) and/or an active Twitter account
  • A website with plenty of information about the company, its services, and of course who works there! We’ll talk more about this later on in our post when we get into what questions you should ask potential agencies during your research phase…

15. The Content On The Website Is Written

The copy on the website is terrible. It’s riddled with grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and a lack of any coherent tone or voice.

The writing lacks clarity and consistency, which can make it hard for users to navigate around the site as they won’t be sure where to go next or how to find what they’re looking for.

It also fails to demonstrate professionalism or authority by providing no context for its readers (who are potential customers), making it seem like it was written by an amateur who has no understanding of the industry in which he or she operates.

And perhaps most tellingly (and most importantly), there is no personality in this copy at all. As we’ve mentioned before: if you’re going to write on behalf of someone else then make sure that person comes through loud and clear otherwise why would anyone trust your recommendation?

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16. They Claim To Do Everything Under The Sun

The company claims to do everything under the sun. It will do anything for you and provide the best service possible. The team is the best in the business, with some of the most experienced people working on it. 

The technology is also developed by some of the top experts in their field, who use state-of-the-art methods to do so. Finally, they offer some of the most competitive prices around cheaper than any other comparable agency!


With the rise of social media, it’s becoming easier to deceive people. The fake marketing agency above is a perfect example of this phenomenon. They were able to fool us into thinking they were a real company. 

Unfortunately, this type of deception has become more common than ever before thanks in part to the internet and its ability to connect people from all over the world with each other at any given time. 

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources you might find valuable:

Risks and Vulnerabilities for Affiliate Marketers: Explore the potential risks and vulnerabilities that affiliate marketers should be aware of. Learn how to safeguard your affiliate marketing strategies and campaigns effectively.

The Ethics of AI: Fake People and Their Implications: Delve into the ethical considerations surrounding the use of artificial intelligence to generate fake human faces. Understand the implications and ethical dilemmas associated with AI-generated content.

Understanding Ad Fraud: Detection and Prevention: Get insights into the world of ad fraud, including its detection and prevention methods. Learn how to protect your digital advertising investments from fraudulent activities.


Got questions? We’ve got answers.

What are the main risks faced by affiliate marketers?

Affiliate marketers often encounter risks such as fraudulent activities, commission theft, and regulatory compliance challenges. It’s crucial to implement robust security measures and choose reputable affiliate programs to mitigate these risks.

How does AI-generated content impact digital ethics?

AI-generated content, including fake human faces, raises important ethical questions about authenticity, consent, and potential misuse. As AI continues to advance, it’s essential to consider the implications and establish ethical guidelines for its use.

What is ad fraud, and why is it a concern for digital advertisers?

Ad fraud involves fraudulent activities aimed at generating fake ad interactions, misleading impressions, or clicks for financial gain. Advertisers are concerned about ad fraud as it wastes resources, damages ROI, and undermines the credibility of digital advertising campaigns.

How can affiliate marketers identify and prevent commission theft?

To prevent commission theft, affiliate marketers can implement tracking mechanisms, monitor affiliate activity closely, and work with trustworthy affiliate programs. Regular audits and transparent communication can also help in detecting any anomalies.

What strategies can advertisers use to combat ad fraud effectively?

Advertisers can employ various strategies to combat ad fraud, such as utilizing ad verification tools, partnering with reputable ad networks, setting strict targeting criteria, and monitoring traffic sources for suspicious activities. Regular data analysis is essential for identifying patterns of fraudulent behavior.

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