What are bid bots?
Bid bots are services, that allow you to buy votes. It took me a long time to make up my mind whether that is a good thing or not.
Basically, you send a certain amount of Steem or SBD to one of those bots and attach the url of one of your posts, and in return they will upvote that post of yours.
Of course this only makes sense, if the upvote amount is higher than the one you’re paying. The reason so many bots have a bad reputation is that often that’s not the case and you lose money.
Are they ethical?
I've been torn about the ethics of bid bots for a long time.
I've always viewed Steemit a bit like a business. Our readers and upvoters are our customers (because that's where our income is coming from), so the better content we create and the better and more relationships we maintain here, the more successful we will be. Just like in real life/business.
So when I first heard about bid bots, part of me was like, "Hey, good for them! They found a niche, a demand, and created a solution for it. Great! I may never become their customer, but I can see how some people could be interested in that." Something still felt icky about those bots, though.
At Steemfest in Krakow last November, however, I talked to a few Steemians (who are highly committed to the Steem network), and they told me that particularly the @ocdb bot is a good one. Good as in ethical. It has a guaranteed profit margin, so you know you can't lose.
Photo from Unsplash
So I decided to test it. You can see in my wallet, that I am often sending Steem to @ocdb, and you will also see @ocdb commenting and upvoting my posts. I have done this for almost 4 months now - ever since Steemfest 3.
If you look at what my posts earned before November, compared to now, it will look like I'm making 10 x more. Of course I don't, because I'm paying for this.
But you know who is making 10 times more than before? My upvoters. And that is what finally convinced me to keep on doing this and invest even more in these upvotes from now on. This is actually good for the community and for my relationship with my followers, even though I don't have time to interact and engage as much anymore as in the past.
I have about 50 people upvoting my posts on average. My posts make about $1.5 - $2 organically. A $2 post will pay out $1.50 to me, the author (75%) and distribute the other $0.50 (25%) amongst the upvoters. So that would be $0.01 per upvoter on average (it depends on many factors, though, how much each upvoter gets).
Now, if I invest in a bid bot and buy an upvote that results in this same post earning $20 instead of only $2, then I have ten folded the earnings for my upvoters. Not for myself, because I paid for it, but for everyone else. Because now the amount that gets paid out amongst them is $5 instead of just $0.50. My own return is much less, because I may have to pay $18 in order to get a $20 upvote. So my profit is very little, but it’s still a profit.
Plus, it helps me increase my Steempower ten times faster than through organic earnings. I believe I earned more in the last 4 months (or just as much) as I earned in the 1.5 years before that.
You can see a little bit of discussion on this here in this post by @celestal.
If you're still new here - you do need to accumulate quite a bit of Steem or SBD’s first, before you have enough money to buy votes from the @ocdb bot, but this way you’ll have enough time to think about whether you find these bots ethical or not.
I can’t say much about all the others; I am only using the @ocdb bot, because it has been endorsed by Steemians I respect and trust.
To me it is an investment in the Steem platform, because
a) instead of cashing out, I am reinvesting my Steem, which is good for the network.
b) the largest part is paid out in Steempower, which increases my voting power and also provides stability to the Steem price (since I can’t just withdraw and sell it all - it takes 13 weeks).
c) as mentioned above - it allows my upvoters to earn more and so increases their Steempower, too, which again, is good for the platform.
This a win-win-win situation, where all parties involved benefit.
The only tiny disadvantage I see, is that my reputation got quite inflated by using this bot. I never really looked into what actually increases the reputation, but it's now very clear to me, that high $$ upvotes have a heavy influence on it. But if all of those upvotes have been bought, then that reputation score is actually a lie.
What's your opinion on bid bots?
For now I will continue, and I'm planning to even raise the stakes a bit. We're still in a bear market, and I want to make the most use of that, by accumulating as much Steem as possible for my upvoters and myself.
I have no plans of cashing out anytime soon, unless I find myself in a situation where I really need it. For now, I'm just saving up for Steemfest 4, which is always the best use case for spending Steem, right? :)