On Voting Bots

in steem •  6 months ago


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On Voting Bots

In response to a post describing why, in the author’s view, paid content promotion services are bad for the Steem platform, I was asked to share my thoughts on the matter. That post made some sweeping allegations against the owners and operators of such services, including that we have “remained silent” and refuse to answer questions posed by the community about these services and how they benefit the platform.

These allegations are blatantly untrue as myself and many of the other owners and operators of content promotion services are always available and open to discussion about these topics which are of key importance. I am not only open to, but also genuinely excited for, the opportunity to discuss the topic of paid content promotion services and what role they play in the future of the Steem platform.

The key is that those discussions take place in an open-minded, civilized, and respectful manner. I refuse to participate in any discussions characterized by personal attacks and disrespect for those with differing opinions as is unfortunately so often the case with online communications.

With that out of the way, I would like to start by discussing the two primary ways in which paid content promotion services benefit the Steem platform:

  • Providing real utility, and therefore value, to the STEEM token; and
  • Providing passive investors with attractive returns on their investment in Steem Power

Utility for the STEEM Token

Currently, the market value of the STEEM token is almost completely driven by speculation - as is the case with all cryptocurrencies right now. That is not sustainable however, so for Steem to succeed over the long term it needs to have real value, derived from real utility.

The STEEM token has a few different things that give it utility and therefore value, however the primary utility of the token is that it allows one to promote content on Steem-based websites. @ned says it better than I could starting at around the 5:25 mark in this video:

The transcription of the relevant segment is as follows (emphasis mine):

The 5th thing, and probably the most important aspect of the value cycles in all of this, is the idea that STEEM and SMTs really are the world’s advertising network. These are tokens that get laid across applications and they have these functional properties underneath everything that cause interfaces to basically sort order posts in terms of their value, and once you have posts sorted in their order of value, then any blogger curator content creator video creator or straight up advertiser can look at that sort order of value and say well you know if i just buy some more SMTs or STEEM i can promote my post higher up in that sort order and thereby get more attention which may help me sell more of my products, so that’s a good thing for me, there’s a return on investment.

So there’s a very natural, very sustainable, flow of value that’s caused by these tokens where value is coming in to buy or rent STEEM to promote content that causes sales in other places. That’s a value flow that’s very analogous to what we see with traditional advertising businesses like Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter. So all that is happening behind the scenes where there’s no company and that’s what’s so new about all of this and what makes it so possibly pervasive across the internet.

Paid content promotion services, currently in the form of voting bots, provide this utility for the STEEM token. Publishers can buy STEEM (and hopefully soon SMTs) and promote their content in order to sell more products, get more brand recognition, increase their followers, etc.

This is just like like advertising on traditional media sites, like @ned has said, but instead of this value going to the company that owns the site, on Steem it goes to Steem Power holders and helps increase the price of the STEEM token.

Some people have questioned whether or not this type of promotion actually provides these stated benefits for content publishers. Obviously that depends on the content that is being promoted, but @spiritualmax ran an experiment that clearly showed that using these services “increases your profit, your follower growth rate, and the SP value of your account.” Generally advertising works, which is why it is so prevalent, and there is no reason to believe it would not work on Steem-based sites as well.

Returns for Steem Power Investors

All of this content promotion is provided by holders of Steem Power. The returns are currently very attractive and therefore provide a very good incentive to invest in, and hold Steem Power, which I think we can all agree is a good thing for the platform.

I know of well over $100,000 that has been recently invested in Steem Power specifically for this opportunity and I expect that is just the tip of the iceberg for what is possible as the Steem platform grows and the word spreads.

I know one of the main issues people have with this is that it’s a small number of “whales” that are earning the vast majority of these returns. That is a distribution problem with Steem which pretty much everyone is aware of. It really has nothing to do with voting bots at all.

It’s just the way that Steem works that these accounts control the vast majority of the reward pool. It’s naive to think that they will give it all away and not seek to earn a return on their investment. If there were no voting bots they could still just as easily take the same portion of pool they are taking now, if not more! At least by selling their vote they are allowing everyone the opportunity to benefit through what is effectively free advertising.

The Problems

I want to be clear that I am not trying to say that everything is all sunshine and roses and that people are complaining for no reason. There are absolutely a number of issues with the Steem platform and with content promotion specifically.

My point is simply that paid content promotion services such as voting bots are not the cause of these problems, and getting rid of them (were that even possible) will not really change anything. Additionally I do believe that they add value to the platform and token as I described above so getting rid of them, in my opinion, would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I would love to discuss each of the problems in detail, but then this post would turn into a book and I would never get it finished! Perhaps I will try to address some of them in future posts if I can find the time and in those posts I can show how getting rid of paid content promotion services doesn’t solve the problem and also offer some potential alternative solutions.

For now though, I urge anyone who thinks getting rid of voting bots will solve whatever problem they see to really take some time and think through (a) how they plan to actually get rid of voting bots; and (b) whether anything would really be solved if they were successful.

Witnesses who run content promotion services

Last, but not least, I want to address the people who do not feel that witnesses or other respected community members should be running paid content promotion services and actively campaign against those that do. Let’s consider what would actually happen if those campaigns were successful…

There is clearly a large demand for these services both by content publishers and Steem Power holders, so if a campaign was successful to either force witnesses to stop running these services, or have them lose their position / respect in the community, then others who are not witnesses, or otherwise respected community members, would pick up the slack and run these services themselves.

Witnesses, especially those at the top, are typically very active in the Steem community, are trustworthy, and are truly doing what they can to make the Steem platform the best it can be. Some people might disagree with me, and there always may be a couple of exceptions, but I talk with many of the top witnesses on a regular basis and I wholeheartedly believe this to be true.

So the question you should ask yourself is: who do you want to be running the content promotion services on Steem? Who can we trust to run them in a proper and responsible manner? The top witnesses with the traits I described above, or random people whose intentions are unknown and who may not ever engage with the community or care about its long term success?

I know my answer, and I work every day to do what I can to ensure that the paid content promotion services on the platform are run responsibly and in a way that will hopefully benefit the platform as a whole.

In Conclusion

There are three main points that I hope my readers take away from this post:

  1. Paid content promotion services create real utility and value for the STEEM token
  2. The problems that exist are not caused by paid content promotion services, nor would they be solved if paid content promotion services did not exist
  3. It’s highly preferable to have these services run by top witnesses and other well known and respected members of the Steem community who will run them responsibly and have the best interests of the platform at heart.

Lastly, you - the reader - may disagree with the things that have been written here, and that’s okay - in fact it’s great to have different opinions and people who see things from different perspectives. The important thing, like I said at the beginning of the post, is to present your differences of opinion in a respectful and constructive manner.

I expect this post may stir up a good number of lengthy discussions in the comments, which, again, is great. I will do my best to try to read, upvote, and respond to each one that adds value to the discussion. It might take me a while to get to them all though, so please be patient with me!

For those of you who made it this far, thank you for your time and I look forward to continuing to discuss these topics as the Steem platform grows and evolves!


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Matt, first of all I want to say publicly that your first point about you wanting to engage with others in a honest discussion about the bots or any other topic is completely true... I have seen you interact on many occasions with me and others that you may disagree with, but you have always been approachable and helpful in trying to get across your point of view. So I think the point that people make about "bot owners" not engaging clearly can't be talking about you, since you are readily available and happy to engage. It is why I support you as a witness because I clearly think that you have the community at heart and care about the little guys too.

On your second point about the advertising, I completely understand the concept. And I would be thrilled to accept that point if people were using the bot services to advertise a product. But from what I've witnessed, I haven't seen anything approaching "advertising". I think most people that use the bots do so with the desire to 1) make a profit 2) have a scheme where if it gets high enough they will get some less informed people to upvote (or follow) or 3) want to increase their reputation so they can earn instant "respect".

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all bots need to go simply because they aren't really "advertising" yet, what I am saying is that people can see with their own eyes the truth. And when that advertising argument is used it diminishes the credibility of the argument.

In my opinion, we might one day have advertising so its good to have the architecture in place. And I completely agree some of the bots provide value for steemit, most of the bots provide value to the SP holders (which is good for short term demand for steem as you say), and some of the bots even provide value to the users.

Where I think the good bot owners such as yourself could improve the message is through continuing to increase your transparency... And I know you are the leader in this area as you are the creator of steembottracker which attempts to provide transparency (and does some really amazing things btw). So this comment isn't really so much directed at you, as it is to other legit bot owners. I think the bot owners have made a big effort to do so in the past few months too btw... Gone are the 6 days posts for instance. But there is still a wide range of abuse by the bot owners that give you all a bad name... Things like taking payments and not delivering the votes, changing the rules from one day to the next with no notice, some bidding on their own auctions to give a losing vote value. These are things that if they could be cleaned up will help you all a bit more with the image.

But I will agree with you that the bots are not the cause of the problems that people have with the platform. My opinion is that the bots provide that utility you discussed for the owners of the SP, ie you can monetize their votes so they can be passive owners of steem. Let's face it, that is really what the bots do (including minnow booster and smartsteem too)

So whether the paid upvotes are "advertising" or simply a way for people to make a profit, they by themselves are definitely not the problem. And frankly I use bid bots myself to make a profit, so I don't see anything wrong with that either. I think the problem people have is much deeper, and the bots bear the brunt of the anger as they are easy targets because of 1) some bad apples that take advantage of users 2) lack of transparency (but getting much better) and 3) there is a lack of consistency in enforcement of what is considered "good".

In my opinion, the true thing that people get frustrated about deep down is the point you made here. It is dead on.

I know one of the main issues people have with this is that it’s a small number of “whales” that are earning the vast majority of these returns. That is a distribution problem with Steem which pretty much everyone is aware of. It really has nothing to do with voting bots at all.

It’s just the way that Steem works that these accounts control the vast majority of the reward pool. It’s naive to think that they will give it all away and not seek to earn a return on their investment.

And by the way, I think this problem will get fixed too... One way or the other. People don't like to think that the prices going down are a good thing, but in reality it is how the free market adjusts for imbalances. I have faith that things will get better in the future. And I have a lot of respect for many people I have met through this platform. And that definitely includes you! Thank you for what you do for all of us and for taking the time to talk about these issues that we face in an open and honest way!

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I don't agree with the bidder's profit motive of bid bots, there's clearly no value added in that transaction to the platform, and while I understand that it's something that helps a minnow earn, it does no good for the platform. I anticipate arguments about this attracting new folks to the platform, but I don't think that is the right approach and is largely short term thinking for a social media platform.

As for advertising, I would feel a hell of a lot better if the native promotion worked better and made bid bots obsolete. That leads to a healthier platform in my opinion, because now the rewards pool can focus on content independently of advertising. I already know there are some good ideas for that so I'm curious to see how the discussion evolves.

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I hear your point @eonwarped, and as far as user of the bots not adding value of to the platform I would also mostly agree with you. But it is what it is. They way it currently sits, the owners of the system have delegated so much of their voting power to encourage the use of bidbots, minnowbooster, and smartsteem that it essentially necessitates that people earn a profit or their wouldn't be any more vote selling. There are no natural buyers yet of the "advertising", and until that develops we will have the owners do what they can do to get their return on their SP. They aren't going to let is stay unused, I can promise you that.

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Yeah I know how that goes. It's just that it's a shame that everyone thinks that that are entitled to such gross returns on their SP to begin with. It's the old fight between doing more for the platform vs maximizing what you can for yourself. In my ideal world even when advertising develops the $$ won't go to SP holders anyway. We'll see...

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As for advertising, I would feel a hell of a lot better if the native promotion worked better and made bid bots obsolete.

This is the best possible outcome for the platform.

Currently, SBD is sent to @null for "promotion." In exchange for this sacrifice, you are rewarded with a higher ranking on a separate tab which nobody in their right mind would visit.

In my opinion this was the most terrible idea ever to exist, and I'd like to have a conversation with whoever came up with it. Not to shout or demean or attack in any way... to listen. I want to understand the reasoning behind that decision, because in my view, it alone is to blame for the current situation.

(That's right! I don't blame bot owners for doing what they're doing. They're doing what the platform allows them to do. The bidbot problem is systemic. It's a problem with our consensus code, full stop.)

Let's replace the current in-built promotion mechanism with one that actually assigns higher trending ranking to promoted posts, in proportion (let's say 10x) to the amount of STEEM (not SBD) that was burned. That's the first step and it would help the platform in several ways:

  • Clean up Trending, since users are no longer pumping out low-quality posts just to "promote" them for a profit.
  • Encourage the sale of SBD into STEEM, which would help fix our dollar peg.
  • Encourage the burning of STEEM, which increases the value of everyone's stake.
  • Provide a promotion service the bots simply cannot compete with.
  • End all legitimacy of the "promotion" argument in support of bidbot usage.

Hi @yabapmatt

Thanks for taking the time to write this piece.

I concede to being vocally against bid-bots, how they are managed by some, and am guilty too of casting general assumptions that the owners would rather not discuss their implications for STEEM and Steemit.

This post has proved some of the above not to be the case.


I'll save the long-winded response for another post on Bots at some point, but would like to ask the following:

What would Steemit look like if we all delegated our stake to bid-bots?

and in response to:

If there were no voting bots they could still just as easily take the same portion of pool they are taking now, if not more!

Do you not think that (minus bot owner take), delegating to a bot is essentially self-voting?

Cheers.

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I 100% agree with your very last point Asher...

Do you not think that (minus bot owner take), delegating to a bot is essentially self-voting?

I agree with you that delegating to the bot and then receiving 90% is the same as self voting... There is practically no difference as it is just monetizing your vote value. The 10% is what the lazy man gives away so he doesn't have to open his account and then self vote. (plus may a fraction of that to not look so bad)

That's why I think this issue is a lot more complex, because the owners of the system are doing one thing, and then the community are frowning on the exact same thing done at the lower levels. Its also why people get mad when someone flags another (think haejin), because you can always find a shittier post that got a big upvote and then got to keep it. We see it every day.

I think the solution will happen when the whales are begging at some point for the "community" to develop. Usually that will occur when they want the price to stop going down. At this point there is not that kinda pain. Its fat city for many of the owners.

But it will change and they will come knocking at your door and they will say "Asher, what can we do for you so that we build a strong community?"... "Can we delegate you 100k steem power and have you build out a network where the people are happy and feel like engaging daily?" "Where is fulltimegeek, can he help us lead people to be good community participants?"

You watch, it is coming... Maybe not this week or the next... But when the price gets low enough that will be what happens. The demand for community builders like you will grow very large (and also that applies to Matt with his services too)

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Oh yeah, I feel like this needs to be a component of every discussion. Delegating to a bid bot is absolutely just self voting with the stake from the point of view of the delegator, but even more efficient. (Well except for shameless self upvoters that make sure they vote their own comments throughout the day to not"waste stake".)

I suppose a little goes to the bidder and the bidders gets some promotional value (questionable and even then, unpredictable), so it's better than the delegator actually self voting, but not by much.

One might ask, so what should they be doing with their stake anyway? Delegations to places that increase the value of the platform, obviously. Long term thinking and their own steem will explode in value. Making their bid bot generated SP look like dirt in comparison.

Hey, okay, otherwise we can build a better platform and let these bid bots rule over a drying pond. Shrug.

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As I responded to Asher above,

I agree with you that delegating to the bot and then receiving 90% is the same as self voting... There is practically no difference as it is just monetizing your vote value.

So is it any wonder why people get confused? When the guys that own the system do one thing (whales), its kinda hard to complain about lesser people doing the same thing (every other fish).

Its kinda funny... when I use minnowbooster I see many of my friends in the vote totals because they sold their vote away to minnowbooster. But they will frown on someone who upvotes their own post. I don't blame them though, they are encourage to do such things on a regular basis (sell their votes that is)

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Yeah I totally struggled with this disparity. Some people take the position that it's okay until your vote gets to a certain point, but I feel to be fully consistent you have to reject the behavior altogether. And the people that take such positions are really at a disadvantage vs the ones that don't. Oh well....

I've been waiting on this post for a while. I knew you had it coming. And I couldn't agree more with what you've said. For example, I run a promotion service (upvote bot) myself and can say that because of this service I have put an extra $10,000 of my own hard-earned money into Steem that I wouldn't have done otherwise. I also know that many of my delegators have powered up their Steem (locking it in and increasing the value) just so that they could delegate more to my service.

Content promotion is a key component of all media sites and I think it should be embraced here as well because it adds value to our platform and token like you've mentioned. I know that the biggest concern most people have is about the rewards pool and the way in which the Trending page is ordered. But to my understanding, the rewards pool doesn't really grow. It's long-term utility is dependent on the value of Steem's value rising. So get rid of upvote bots (SP holders and investors) and that value will drop... therefore damaging the value of the coin and causing more harm to the rewards pool. Please correct me if I'm wrong on that.

As for the trending page, I feel it's pretty simple to tell who has paid for promotion and who hasn't. And I also think that once HiveMind (communities) is added this will take care of most of the complaints. Our sub-steemits (if you will) will have much better categorized content for you to view. So it wont' be as likely that you'll see things that don't interest you.

Anyways, just my thoughts. But I really appreciate you taking the time to write this article. I've been waiting to hear your thoughts for a while. 👍

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Thanks @brandonfrye! I've been working on this post for a while and went through quite a few drafts and different directions. It's really hard to clearly explain your thoughts on things!

You're definitely right about the reward pool - the amount of STEEM in it does fluctuate a bit but it's fairly constant. The value all comes from the market price of STEEM, which is currently driven mostly by speculation, but ultimately will be driven by the token's utility.

And the trending page, I think that should just be gotten rid of entirely (which I've posted about before). I actually had an entire page written about that in a previous draft of this post but I felt the post was already long enough and I didn't want to get off on too many tangents.

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You're probably right. I've spoken with a lot of Steemians who say they rarely visit the Trending page except to see what the recent flag wars are about lol. I would be perfectly fine with it going away or at least showing new users to Steemit something else when they first log on.

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This is an interesting comment, because without the trending page, I would argue that bid bots are irrelevant (from a promotional point of view). (Or are you thinking about leaving HOT in there?) So if you do make a post about it, I would be happy to read it.

I will be addressing the main part of this well-written post shortly(ish). I have plenty to say :P

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Here's the post i made a little while back about getting rid of the trending page: https://steemit.com/steemit/@yabapmatt/what-if-we-got-rid-of-the-trending-page It's really just the global trending page i'm saying to get rid of, and just keep the content-specific ones.

Overall I think there needs to be a balance between advertisements and interesting content. The global trending page clearly does not strike a good balance. Also Steem currently poses a weird situation where advertisements and interesting content overlap that you don't see in most traditional media.

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Ah okay I see. I don't actually have a problem with the concept of a global trending. But more filters and search functions are much needed.

In terms of traditional media, it's funny because botting and shady engagement services try to optimize the metric that would grant access to exposure, but it seems to be difficult enough that it isn't causing major problems (or there are systems in place to look for it perhaps). So the actual platform provided promotion service is used, and clearly marked as such.

On steemit we only have the the former kind (okay fine promoted was the attempt at the latter and... Yeah we all know that's a joke), and it clearly just looks shady, even if that isn't the intent. Like you say, it all blends together. And only a platform change will help with that.

Bid bots are a promotion hack that have the intended promotion effect, but there are so many downsides (to be written... Bleh). I think someone needs to drive the way to a healthier ecosystem.

(And I don't think communities will solve all the problems)

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So here's my take from someone relatively new to STEEM and sees the massive opportunity that the promotion 'bots' have...

Like you mentioned in your bio, they are content promotion services / software in my opinion too. The 'bot' brand almost hides what they CAN be used for...Promoting (hopefully) great content!

I do my best to create the best content on the blockchain I can . That being said, getting on the radars of others isn't that easy here. So waiting for a 'whale' to upvote or engage with you can take some time.

Time I'm willing to invest in for sure...

I'm here for the long run and have a multi-year plan for developing my brand on this platform.

'Bots' are helping me on my journey!

As a content creator on this platform I look at every time I invest in a bot, I'm not doing it for any return other than...Getting my stuff out there to more people. And it's working, slowly but surely.

Is it a perfect solution? Nope. And I'm sure things will improve overtime. But as a content creator who WANTS to promote his stuff on the blockchain...I enjoy the services you and other provide.

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Well said, @jongolson. Creating your best content is all you can really do and I know that you do that very well. Glad we got connected early on!

One of the complaints we've seen is that bots are "mindless" and are upvoting crap posts. Of course this is subjective... but there really are spammers, plagiarizers, and down-right con artists using our promotion services. Luckily there are people like @themarkymark who have spent countless (and thankless) hours combatting this and creating the ultimate Steemit blacklist.

And with the latest @postpromoter code created by @yabapmatt I believe @buildawhale's blacklist (run by @themarkymark) is added in by default. I know that I've personally added his blacklist to my service and many others have done the same. And this goes back to what Matt said about those running these services being trustworthy. We've all got to do our part to be responsible and ultimately the community will judge for themselves.

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You guys all have a tough job and thankless one too. And I get the arguments from all sides, there is a ton of garbage out there...But like you said man, in your comments above...Content promotion is key for all media sites. You have to take the good with the bad. That's social media LOL The more money coming into STEEM though, I think is great.

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I had the same experience myself when I first started, and I've heard from many other people like us whom these services have really helped. I appreciate your support and I wish you the best of luck on your Steem journey!

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Oh for sure. They are a huge help. By no means I guarantee though. And I think if people have the right mindset when using them, and follow it up with the engagement, etc...It's a great game plan for success long term here.

This post brought up a lot of interesting aspects of promotion/advertising in relation to the value of the Steem token that I hadn't thought of before. For that I thank you @yabapmatt. I, too, have been awaiting this post from you and the angle you took on it is informative and intriguing. I have used bots occasionally- dabbled with them early on, but didn't get a positive ROI or any noticeable benefits for my account on Steemit. This, coupled with the general "frowned upon nature" of using voting bots on the platform led me to try to grow my account organically. But I really appreciate where you're coming from here. I agree with you that most of the top witnesses do have a high degree of awareness on the platform and want it to succeed. Again, I hadn't thought of advertising services as boosting the token in quite that way. That's of course a huge boon to many of us powering up SP.

Of course, like so many, my main offense in the voting bot category is just the way it makes Steemit appear to an outside group of people due to the overall poor material on the trending page (so much better stuff out here making less than $2!). I understand it would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible to truly control the quality unless someone was fully dedicated to the task as a full-time job! I am glad to hear you say "do away with trending". Like many others I don't read it, but find/follow/peruse content "through the grapevine" so to say.

Personally, I've found it more sustainable/lucrative for my account to delegate SP to a private bot service that then gives me a daily upvote. It's nothing to get me anywhere close to "trending", but it provides me a steady positive ROI. As I said above, my experience was different than spiritualmax's in that I didn't find using the bots really helped my account grow. I'll be interested to see how SMTs, Oracles, Communities, etc all shift this current conversation significantly. It seems that with the SMTs and Oracles on top of the blockchain, Steemit.com and its issues will fade as the Communities come into focus. Again, thanks for writing this piece and sharing your thoughts as a witness, bot owner and all around person who cares about the future of Steem.

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Thank you, @mountainjewel!

I'll be interested to see how SMTs, Oracles, Communities, etc all shift this current conversation significantly. It seems that with the SMTs and Oracles on top of the blockchain, Steemit.com and its issues will fade as the Communities come into focus.

This is exactly right. As far as I understand it steemit.com was supposed to just be a proof of concept site to show what can be done and other third-party sites would come along and carry the bulk of the usage. It seems that the Steemit team is still focusing on trying to empower third-party sites to overtake steemit.com and then they can choose the best UI/UX for their audience which I think is great.

That's the whole point of SMTs and Communities and I, like most people here, are really really looking forward to that!

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That is an interesting point Matt... It would make a lot of sense if you are right. Maybe they really don't care about steemit being anything other than a proof of concept site. If that is really the plan then it would explain many things!

While I'm against using bidbots myself, this is an interesting post that reminds us in a very clear way that attracting capital is one of steemit's primary aims (and it's always been clear about this from the outset. )

I basically have the same opinion (or I think it's more of an objective fact) that bid-bots are basically the mechanism whereby advertising takes place, although I'd never really thought about the idea that the revenue generated is more widely distributed than to just the owners of the big corporate sites, which is something I'll have to take away and think through.

I think it's just that all of us who prefer not to use bid bots just value the human validation more than self-valuation/ validation, but then again perhaps we're just naive in that we haven't adjusted this brave new age of micro-capitalism.

When I say 'think through' above I mean what I need to think through is why I'm perfectly happy to spend £1/ day on targeted Facebook ads, and earn £100s a month through advertising from WordPress, when I find the idea of self advertising on here through bid-bots as somehow demonstrating a lack of integrity.

Perhaps it's because it's my professional services I sell through those other platforms and more of of my personal interest stuff I share through here, which I think still has value, and I think that's true of many of us 'community curation types' who are haranguing your comments stream... we're not here to sell services.

As you and everyone else says, perhaps it's soon to be that the advertising services and the community aspect separate out so all of this will be moot, I can't see the bots going anywhere. Until then, it grates seeing good content undervalues and mediocre content bid-botted up, which is maybe something of a long term problem because surely for steemit to have utility as an advertising platform, people have to actually be using it? And clearly many people are being put off by not being able to get any kind of return (and maybe because of a sense of injustice caused by relative deprivation), so something does need to be done about making a distribution more equal, but I'm rambling and point taken about that not being a bot issue.

Bit tired to go into any more depth and am still thinking these issues through, just wanted to put something out there though.

It's still a very new space of course, full of contradiction and innovation so none of us can be certain what's going to happen moving forwards.

Useful article.

It's great to see an intelligent counterargument from a voting bot provider as typically they are silent on this issue, and vastly outnumbered by the amount of people crying out to ban voting bots.

This is a multi-variable discussion but typically I see most people latching onto one piece of the argument and then completely ignoring all other aspects along with their potential benefits.

Like you say the issue is around inequality of reward distribution on Steemit, which is definitely broken. I was very turned off at first when joining the platform (before investing $1k of my own money) because you start with 15SP, which isn't even enough to earn curation rewards. Then as you earn SP, the delegated amount drops away.

So you spend a lot of time literally earning nothing in terms of net SP, and the rate at which you earn SP at first is incredibly slow which is very demotivating. I think more needs to be done to help people get off the ground when they join Steemit and this should be accomodated with increased controls to prevent people having multiple accounts.

If you get an intelligent and balanced critique of this post from someone, will you share it to continue the discussion? It would be great to get some feedback from the devs on this but I haven't seen anything to date.

Great article @yabapmatt. You've certainly contributed a lot to the community and I would say you are engaged.

Bots are advertising and I avoid advertising. I want to see what I want to see not what the highest bidder puts in front of me. I've not been on steem much lately as a consequence. A lot of advertised content has been of no value to me.

Having said that I think you have valid points. It's a complex issue. And indeed the fact that the money is so skewed to the whales is deflating. But this happens everywhere in life. Not just steem.

It also means that if I want my post to be seen then I have to engage in the bot buying. But this is the same outside of steem.

Ultimately the bots are a response not a cause. And what is a paradigm shift in blockchain is that the governance of how people operate is led by the protocol. So new protocols (blockchains etc) will be created until a balance has been found.

👍🏾🙏🏿

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I want to see what I want to see not what the highest bidder puts in front of me.

Well that's why you can create your own feed and choose who you want to follow. I love my steem feed!

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I’m not educated enough about this topic to make a proper comment. I do see both sides of the coin. I agree that many blame what’s broken on here with the obvious enemy. There are so many other problems that many just don’t want to dig further to find root causes. Or simply not care to acknowledge.

No more of my spammy comment. You have plenty of lengthy ones to keep you busy. I wanted to reply to this comment because I saw your feed remark.

I hope I don’t spam that feed of yours! 😀

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Hi @yabapmatt and thank you for the vote. It is deeply appreciated.

Yes, but my feed was mostly all resteems. Wherever I looked I seemed to be getting articles that were paid upvoted. The effort to find content got bigger than the time I had.

I work 12 hour shifts on a psych ward 3 - 4 times a week. I already know im going to take a percentage of my check to delegate to @jerrybanfield, and @postpromoter because its a great investment. Its a mother fucking excellent fucking investment. Are kidding me. Daily returns just for holding and delegating the influence of steem. This kills a traditional savings account. Thats a major incentive.

Plus I do music. Music is 80% PROMOTION!
I have spent a lot of money promoting my music on platforms like youtube, and IG and all it gained me was a little bit of followers, but promoting with a bot gives me back a return on my on my investment, more followers, and increase the value of steem in general because i had to buy steem to even promote. Thats a win, win, win. I would have spent the same $300, $500, $1000 anywhere else to get my music in front of peoples eyes, why is it a problem here?

Yes there is a lot of hoarse crap on the trending page, buts thats everywhere. People are promoting on facebook, people are promoting on youtube, people are promoting on twitter, people are promoting on instagram, people are promoting, on billboards and guess what?
Sometimes what they're promoting in my opinion is a piece a shit, but these platforms are still taking the money happily anyway.

Everywhere in the modern world are dull people who have the money to show you their new unremarkable work.

You got a 25.00% Upvote and Resteem from @ebargains, as well as upvotes from our curation trail followers!

If you are looking to earn a passive no hassle return on your Steem Power, delegate your SP to @ebargains by clicking on one of the ready to delegate links:
50SP | 100SP | 250SP | 500SP | 1000SP | 5000SP | Custom Amount

You will earn 80% of the voting service's earnings based on your delegated SP's prorated share of the service's SP pool daily! That is up to 38.5% APR! You can also undelegate at anytime.

We are also a very profitable curation trail leader on https://steemauto.com/. Follow @ebargains today and earn more on curation rewards!

I have always thought that you are a good person as I see you are transparent, opened up yuor code that helped people create bots which is also one thing that a lot of people dredge up against you, blaming you on the bid bot epidemic and creating the Steembottracker.

The way that I see it when someone uses the bid bots just for the sake of profit then they are just deluding themselves. Shitty post + boost will make people do the opposite and not engage with you and may even down vote you.

Quality post + boosted at the right time can net you additional eyeballs in your post. followers, which can boost engagement and of course some SP.

I look up to Max and when I joined the Empire saw how to properly use bots and have gotten stronger and faster in terms of my growth.

It also provides liquidity and utilization which is very important. The more the token circulates and create need the better it is.

Then investors see potential and bring in their money into the platform.

One thing that irks a lot of people is they say it kills engagement. I would say I am still pretty engaged and build and support communities.
Although I have to say renting delegations has been so expensive nowadays.

I know that I won't be making mad money in curation but i do it to be able to support people so maybe that is one thing that I don't like about bid bot delegations since it is harder for little fishes like me to rent.

The longer I'm here, the more I'm starting to think that the paid voting bots are a form of arbitrage that arises from an imbalance in the incentive system.

I have long advocated for each author to be able to set their own author/curation reward ratio on a per-post basis. It just doesn't make sense that an inexperienced author and an experienced top-performer would give out the same percentage to their curators. With adjustable curation ratios, newer authors could compete by giving some of their rewards to their voters.

Because that capability does not exist, maybe paid voting bots have arrived to arbitrage the gap.

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I think they are sometimes used that way but generally regardless of the incentive system it's important to have a way to promote/advertise your content here. Simply setting a high curation percentage wouldn't get you the visibility of buying promotion.

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Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't often look at the trending page, so I'm not sure how much visibility they're providing. OTOH, I guess that's true with more traditional advertising too. You place an ad, but you have no guaranty that it will ever actually get someone's attention.

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I also rarely look at the trending page (except sometimes just to see what all the fuss is about). But it is what everyone who is new to steemit.com sees first, and it gives a very bad impression. It's as if the first thing you see when you go to Facebook is a list of the highest paid advertisements!

My suggestion was to get rid of the global trending page and instead ask new users to choose a few interests and then show them trending posts from the categories they choose. That way there will be a better mix of promoted and non-promoted posts and they will at least be more relevant to the reader.

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I would actually love that. I remember seeing somebody create a UI mockup (think it was similar to Pinterest if I'm not mistaken) and it showed new users making those selections. Not only is that more personal to the end user but also allows Steemit to provide up better content for said user.

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That is a good idea. I am fairly new user and it took quite a while to get my feed showing mainly stuff I am interested in. Picking some initial areas of interest would definitely make the new user experience better. I suspect alot of new users see the trending page and maybe start to question whatever positive impression of Steemit bought them there in the first place

I use postpromoter and feel it makes me post better content. I only use it when I have something I think is worth while. It also helps build up my steem-power so I can use it to reward other's good content.

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I use postpromoter and feel it makes me post better content. I only use it when I have something I think is worth while.

This is exactly how it's meant to be used!

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Well done! Sadly, you are one of the few taking this approach!

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I don't agree. If you post crap it should be rejected.

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ahh but, that requires a decision making process, and who are the bot owners to judge quality of content?

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That's were it get dicey.

Bots are not problem and they are legit business on Steem and they are improving Steem value. According to data, there is less than 2% of votes coming from bots. Good thing is that lately bot owner have started to fight against spam and they are only ones who can do that by creating blacklists for spammers...

I only can say Thank YOU @yabapmatt for this post!
there are so many Steemit users who see the voting bots only negative.
I can say as a still Plankton user, the bots are such a great tool for all of us to promote our posts to get more audience.
The bots are a part of the Steemit system and can be used so.
Since I start using bots my steempower grow, my followers get more and more, the audience of my posts increased very positive.
I only can say Thank You, especially to your fantastic tool Steembottracker.
Thank you @yabapmatt !
Best regards
Tom
Resteemed, much more negatve thinkers should read that!

what are your thoughts on allowing ads on steemit. As you would know that all popular ad platforms like google, facebook etc are banning crypto ads, it would make sense for a blockchain company to allow them on its site. This will also provide tangible value to steem tokens.

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Well that's what this is really - you post content and you can pay to promote it. Those are ads. You're probably talking about Steemit Inc selling advertising directly on the site which I don't expect they will ever do nor do I think it makes sense for them to do that. Steem is a decentralized system and this is sort of a decentralized way of having advertising.

Also one thing I don't think enough people realize is that the advertising on Steem is practically free right now. You get most, if not all, of the money you spent back when your post pays out. Really every ICO or other crypto project that is trying to get users should be buying STEEM to advertise to this audience. It just shows how early and unknown Steem is that that isn't happening yet.

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I understand your point, my only problem with the current system is its adding way more inflation.

Lets say we don't have bots, then only few posts will get upvoted, which in turn will mean lesser number of steem will be distributed hence lower inflation. Due to current system, lot more steem tokens are getting added into circulation which is hurting steem price. We need a way to burn steem token somehow.

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Burning is accomplished by sending coins to @null.

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That's not correct. The inflation rate of STEEM is on a fixed schedule and will continue on that schedule regardless of how many upvotes are cast.

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Thats something i did not know. I will have to study more to understand economics of steem then. Thanks for your reply.

Personally I don't mind them at all. Having the ability to promote your posts is part and parcel of any platform today - and it continues to drive value in the platform. Ultimately there will be an ecosystem for promoted content, and there will be an ecosystem for found content. Personally I'd like to be in the latter...but I don't hate the former.

23.05.18 I send you 5.35 for promote my post. But I didn't get upvote on my post and didn't get my sbd back. Please chack it

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@hphabib you have been sent a refund. Please accept my sincere apologies for the issue.

In my honest opinion I think more people should be buying steem and there should be a little less bid bot buying. I've been seeing a lot of negative ROI's lately especially during peak times. I think a higher steem price would be beneficial to the platform.

we need post promotion and i am thankful most of it is being handled by responsible parties that are trying to be fair with their services.

i support the work you guys do and i often use your services to enhance my own account.

Paid votes have to be bad if we expect the best content to rise to the top and hit the trending boards.

You weren't here much before the bots existed. Even if we magically got rid fo the bots it doesn't mean vote selling stops. It just moves into Discord and DMs where newbies CANNOT get access. It becomes black market vote selling and swapping... This is so much better than what it was.

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Have you checked sweetsssssssj or kpine's wallet recently? :)

The black market was not, and could not never be as efficient as tracking the bots and eeking out every last bit of VP - I don't feel we are in a 'so much better' place in this regard.

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It used to be the same 15-20 people were in trending for 2k posts every time. It's different now. it went from teh chosen dozen to anyone with money to spend.

I know that people want the best content to rise up rather than the people with the most money to spend. I'm not against that if there's a good way to do it, which I think comes from altering downvoting so it doesn't cost people money to do.

The crusade again bid bots is often a crusade against platform investors that want a profitable return as opposed to interested in reading 20 articles about Canadian Deer Testicles every day to find the best one.

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The crusade again bid bots is often a crusade against platform investors that want a profitable return as opposed to interested in reading 20 articles about Canadian Deer Testicles every day to find the best one.

You should drop by the tag #comedyopenmic / @comedyopenmic @aggroed, getting a strange tinglie suspicious you might enjoy the show

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I and many others have money to spend, but what would this place look like if we all chose to buy or sell our votes?

The crusade against bid bots is often a crusade against platform investors that want a profitable return..

Delegate to @curie, delegate to @comedyopenmic, or whatever communities content you are interested in seeing and take a curation rewards share?

It's not as profitable for sure, but it would certainly make @ned feel more comfortable in a Bloomberg interview = positive press = more people = we all become steadily wealthy.

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Yes, making it "investor friendly" in the present means it's very anti-user right now. There are very few such investors who are willing to invest in Steemit in its present form, and it's up in the air what happened to Upbit a few days ago. There would be untold numbers of investors willing to invest heavily in a platform with 1 million+ and growing real users which is why this place should be catering to people right now, not investors. Unfortunately all changes are coming from the top-down via STINC and not bottom-up, as most witnesses don't care what the masses have to say about ways to improve the platform for ordinary people. Short-sightedness is in abundance when it comes to how this place is run.

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You know I delegate 80k Sp to useful communities right? I have 10k SP into msp-curation which is a manual curation project?

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I wasn't aware of the scale, that's brilliant - thank you!

And although a reply to you, it was for everyone to see. I don't know what SP you are at in total, but this sounds like a large % is going out to support communities.

I rent 4k SP, give 7k out for nothing. Can we have more of us please?

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You well illuminate the essential difference between the extant profiteering through vote buying and stake-weighting, and delegations that increase the distribution of Steem and thus encourage the healthy profit motive of capital gains.

Thanks!

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Have you tried deer testicles sauteed in bear lard with some fresh rosemary and basil?

I bet that's tasty.

@yabapmatt sir,Now @postpromoter is unfavourite bot for all. Some reasons. Upvote time minimum 20 min and low voting weight.I think it's better 1 weeks ago's condition.I hope sir @yabapmatt sir see this.

If it weren’t for the voting bots, I’d probably be abandoning steemit due to how hard it is to gain attention and engagement otherwise. I hate and am discouraged when I put good content out and no one sees it but me.

@yabapmatt do you have any idea why rewards are changing within the time? I've used bots several times and I've noticed that within each day estimated reward seem to pretty much always drop. Example:

111.jpg

Noone downvoted this post and yet my predicted rewards in SBD went down from 78sbd do 71sbd. Which is insane.

I thought that rewards may drop once price of steem and SBD is also dropping. But right now both STEEM and SBD increased their value but my rewards seem to be lower than just a day ago.

I would appreciate if you could share your thoughts. It seem that whenever value of steem and sbd is changing, it affect our rewards negatively.

Yours
Piotr

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The value of the rewards shown on steemit.com and other frontends depends on the market price of the STEEM token. It uses a 3.5 day average of the price. So the reason you saw a lower reward value is because the 3.5 day average price of STEEM was lower when you looked a day later than when you looked originally. Similarly if the market price of STEEM increases the payout value you see will increase.

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Thank you for your kind reply.

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i'm very sorry for such a late reply. have been away for several days but Im back now :)

just wanted to thank you for your previous comment

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvote this reply.

Minnows don't have a chance to get noticed even if they produce quality content. The upvote services makes it possible for those who are new to the platform to get noticed. Upvote services are the great equalizer.

I am a living example. I've been here for only two months but my rep is already 59. On top of that, I'm seeing a return on my investment. I invested a little of my own money and used that to promote my posts.

I just wish there'd be more services like minnowbooster that guarantee a profit. The bid bots are good for getting your post to the trending page but there's still a chance that you'd lose money.

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Advertising generally costs money, so I don't think there should be any qualms about losing out on a send to a promotion tool.

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When you advertise, you expect a return. You can't expect a return from the limited audience from steemit unless you're targeting white males interested in crypto and gaming. So, at least for now, the minnowbooster model works the best for me.

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But you don't expect a 10-20% return within 7 days. The return comes when people who notice you keep coming back to upvote.

Great piece, @yabapmatt.

I think what is being overlooked is the obvious to me of what the root cause of this "need" of using bid bots is to begin with. The answer to that question, in my view, is the lack of viability to begin with on steemit and inability of good quality to rise to the top organically. If someone new really could come on steemit, post a decent quality piece and see it go viral on steemit to make decent money, then growth would become organic. In my view firming up this core foundation is where the focus should be on and not SMTs that seem to me to be more of a distraction and may become a problematic build on a weak foundation. Now maybe I'm over simplifying it for some, but the core foundation of any business is the always the customers and that is where steemit seems to be failing thus far.

Thank you for your opinions on vote bots. I am new on the platform and have found that the returns I get from delegating to bots makes it worth being here.

I have followed and read the blogs of some of the people who are against bidbots an have been looking for reassurance as to why they can be a good thing for Steemit.

Many of the people who complain about bidbots are trying to make a living by posting on steemit. I suppose that some few people can do that. The majority of users, however, will have to keep their day jobs and come to steemit for fun. The moralizing and shaming make it not very fun.

I have an idea to implement up/down arrow like on reddit and steemit power will be used on tipping. For now there is common idea and social agreement on this platform to upvote own content, which I have also do because will loose money, if not done so. Even posting button has upvote by default checked. Liking own conten on another social network is embarassing. Patology here is like = money = good content. New voting system will rely on unlimited likes / dislikes and content will be scored that way. Tipping own content will become considered like selfupvoting on other platforms. I will get rid also of curation. It does not simply work well. Even if you are first, ones with better power comes before you anyway. Additionaly curation causes fake smiles and even not reading post just upvoting promissing one in exchange of potential profit.

@yabapmatt I've been learning a lot from your post. I'm new to steemit since January 2018. I have one account and enjoy writing encouraging post and I'm getting a lot of up votes and comments lately. I like using the bots but at the same time some of them don't pay. I don't understand how @grumpycat can come and take money from my posts? I believe I'm following all the rules. Not a clue what I'm doing wrong? I upvote most of the people who comment on my post because they will get a little bit for commenting. I don't even know if I receive anything for that? Anyways thats not why I upvote. I'm a little confused on the whole issue. you have my witness vote and I use your bot. Can you give me a little direction pls

@yabapmatt Hey man, I'm interested in having you set up a voting bot for me. What is the best way to get in touch with you?

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@metama You can contact me on steem.chat or the PALnet Discord

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How can I find you on steemil.chat?

Posted using Partiko Android

a think wat we all want it the same a good platfrom. and open openness how its working in the back. this post is a good start. personal
am I against bots bots or say it in a different way am against bad post bad
boost up. so good white listing or sample testing of users can help. a few days a go a read on somebody doing this..this is good. the clip from Ned was very true just the sad truth of the open wallet system her we can all see it. and on Facebook we think is not there as a normal user.

Todo es por donde se mire el cristal.

Algunos pueden satanizar el uso de los bots. Pero otros los podemos usar de manera honrada para avanzar en steemit.

Podemos hacer artículos de calidad igual o mejor de los que no usan los bots para obtener ganancias más rápidos porque muchos de nosotros vivimos en países donde la situación económica es fuerte y no podemos darnos el lujo de simplemente esperar a obtener las ganancias a largo plazo.

Aunque respeto la opinión de cada uno si los usa o no,es importante que veamos más allá de la situación.

Podemos combinar calidad y negocio en steemit.

Well said, agree with you 💯

Good stuff man! i've been watching your youtube videos and i'm hoping that it'll help me through the beginning of my steemit life! ^-^

well presented information , ty

I will also add that every voting bot should have a support where people can reach out to them for complaints on missing votes. Some of these bots don't deliver votes and don't refund or you have run after them for days. You have been helpful on this topic and I hope enforce this.

One @sneaky-ninja bot has not refund my 2 SBD for like 3 days now even after commenting on his post and there is nothing more I can do pray that he refunds. The voting bot system is Centralized right now because if somehow a bot miss your post, instead of holding it responsible, you may never be refunded like it is your fault.

I think (if it is possible) the voting bots should halt their operations for 1 or 2 days and let's see what happens to the trending page.

It would be interesting to notice the accounts coming up, the highest payout, and quality of the content on the trending page. I also use bid bots and just curious to see the difference on stemit with bots and without bots.

This will also give answers to the people who curse bid bots.

What do you think?@yabapmatt

I loved the video but the gun shots in the video made me laugh :D

That was extremely educational @yabapmatt. I'm learning so much everytime I log onto Steemit. Your post is overwhelming, because I'm still learning more about the blockchain and what it means to me personally. The bigger picture is mentally stimulating and I'm finding that I need to understand SMT's. The thing I love the most about voting bots is the return on investment, but also the efficacy of use. I've been on Facebook since 2011 and have never used their advertising services professionally. Steemit on the other has made a lay person such as myself perform as an investor and entrepreneur which is very valuable if you're living in a Third World country where financial education is worth more than gold..

I think the main reason upvote bots are so widespread is because steemit lacks a good way to promote your posts. I know there is a "Promoted" page but no one ever uses it.

You got a 16.51% upvote from @postpromoter courtesy of @yabapmatt!

Want to promote your posts too? Check out the Steem Bot Tracker website for more info. If you would like to support the development of @postpromoter and the bot tracker please vote for @yabapmatt for witness!

Well done
you are said very well

thanks for sharing

You got a 21.00% upvote from @brandonfrye courtesy of @brandonfryeroi!

Want to promote your posts too? Send a minimum of .10 SBD or Steem to @brandonfrye with link in the memo for an upvote on your post. You can also delegate to our service for daily passive earnings which helps to support the @minnowfund initiative. Learn more here

this is noteworthy

@yabamatt Well said. Thank you

English version

A partir de ahora para ser miembro y recibir votos y resteem:

delegar 100 SP (si tienes Power Dawn programado no te deja delegar, quítalo y lo vuelves a programar después)

o también puede ser :

donar 3 STEEM para poder arrendar algo menos de 100 SP por 4 semanas, en esta modalidad la membresía dura eso, 4 semanas.

Necesitamos más stemians. Si conoceis a alguien que quiera entrar en la comunidad, que lo diga y lo incluimos. Lo importante es que publique con frecuencia y con cierta calidad.

Se pueden leer las bases aquí en español

saludos
@rafestrape

¿Abrimos un Discord Chanel?

This is a very general discussion and here are my own opinions. You see about using voting bots, so many people out there just don’t get the concept cause if they do, everyone will generally accept voting bots as the most essential things on the platform

Paid content promotion services create real utility and value for the STEEM token

The concept of promotion on steemit should be better understood , any business, projects , ideas , contents that actually wants more exposure even outside steemit is being promoted so I don’t see why promotion on steemit should be a taboo

The problems that exist are not caused by paid content promotion services, nor would they be solved if paid content promotion services did not exist

Paid promotion to me hasn’t caused any problems and I don’t think removing them will actually change anything.

It’s highly preferable to have these services run by top witnesses and other well known and respected members of the Steem community who will run them responsibly and have the best interests of the platform at heart.

I believe this is a decentralized system, everyone is trusted cause nothing is actually hidden but whoever runs voting bots. I believe voting bots is the number one thing for steem power investors and why should this be taken away.

Thanks for this deep discussion

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Great points. But steem also gives the promise of a space without advertising. Where content is what is most important.

But you are right ,advertising brings money into the blockchain and that makes steem valuable.

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But steem also gives the promise of a space without advertising.

Does it? Where does it ever say that it is supposed to be a space without advertising? As Ned said in the video it is "the world's advertising network". In my opinion the value of STEEM is all about advertising. The difference between Steem and traditional sites is where the value derived from that advertising goes. On traditional sites it goes to the companies that own the site, and on Steem it goes to the holders of the tokens and the content publishers on the platform.

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Steem didn't make the promise in that way. It was that I saw a place that was about the people not the corporation. "Promising".

It is as good to see the intelligent countergroup from a voting provider, as they are silent about this

This is a multi-variant discussion, but in general, I see most people cut into pieces in a reasonable way. Ignore everything completely.

When you join the platform where the opinion is distributed on the Steemit, the issue of discrimination in the matter of discrimination, which is clearly broken, in the first place I used to tremble very much, then as you earn SP, the amount allocated to the drop

So you spend a lot of time on a large part of Net SP, and the rate at which you initially earned the SP is incredibly slow, which is very daemoniting. More needs to be done and it should be acquired with additional control to prevent people from multiple accounts.

If you get an intelligent and rich criticism of this post from someone, will you share it to continue the discussion? Some feedback would be great but I did not see anything in date.

It makes a lot of sense to run promotion services. For one it gives new account holders a chance to promote their works that would normally not be seen on account of their low steempower. There are many advantages to promoting. It increases reply score, steempower and also profits for the users.

Definitely content promotion is not bad yet all. I myself use these services to promote my posts. With the help of bid-bots I increased my reputation score from 25 to 52 in just two months after joining steemit. Otherwise, I would have been struggling to find a place on this platform.
I have invested my hard earned money on buying Steem and SBD so that I may earn some profit here. Everyone is here to get a share in daily reward pool. No one can deny that he/she is here just to earn some money for him/herself.
Content promotion is not bad as I have already mentioned but bot owners should also see that many a times average or below average posts become trending on this platform just because of vote buying. People follow herd mentality. They don't see a post is worth their vote or not. They just see that a post is in the trending section and they rush to vote it. Also, some bid-bots are cheating people. Sometimes they don't upvote after sending bid. They don't even reply. Do we have any mechanism to address this problem ? I think the answer is no. Also, people are sending too much SBD or Steem to bid-bots in comparison of their vote value which becomes a matter of loss for every participants in that voting session. Should bid-bots not refund the excessive amount to the senders? Who are the real winners on this platform? I think the bid-bots because they earn for their vote and also receive huge curation rewards for upvoting. This becomes a win-win situation for them, though the ROI of them is most of the times negative for the senders.
In my view bot owners should address these issues as early as possible. They can implement mechanism that after a certain amount a post would not be upvoted. They can refund the excessive amount. They can impose the maximum limit on sending bid in single instances. They can blacklist the abusers (some bots are doing this) and distribute the curation reward to the community. There are many ways. Problem is not the unavailability of solutions but the problem is the lack of will.

Kickass new banner Matt!

As for this topic, I think the better thing to do would be to:

  • Clean up Promo
  • Clean up Trending
  • Have Promotion work around Burning SBD or Steem

How would you do this? Well, the trending being about rewards is wrong... I dont know if it is possible, but a more advanced algorithm to detect:

  • Bounce Rate
  • Time Spent on Page
  • Content Quality (number of words or media, readership on the Fle. Scale etc)

what we should have is a downvote option. which is not as severe as a flag but lets the creator know like, "hey, you know that post of you drinking soup and Switzerland, yea the one you spent 700 STU on is trash and you're not going to get a full return on your promotion because we all down voted it. please do better.

Votebots for the most part result in a loss for the consumer, a profit for the owners. Due to the payout structure, where half is in SBD and some weird percentage way below half is awarded in SP one never receives the value they invested back. This gives the bot owners and those who delegate the SP a means of bypassing this skewed payout by getting it all up front in SBD, then they collect gravy on the curation payout a week later.

If people want to help those who have get richer while they get poorer they better damn well make sure they have a great product. And not sure how much the visibility is really there. Who even looks at Trending and Hot?

I am not rabid against the bots as some are, but I do believe they have made search a mess and make the rich richer and the poor poorer. I wish there were more honesty from not only bot owners but you and your bot tracker site when it comes to leading your clients into believing they will make a profit when they will not. I have to wonder if this is the reason why SBD, which is supposed to be pegged at 1.00 is worth so much more.

My friend who uses the bots crunched the numbers and according to the math being pitched a bot order would have to pay out at 200% roughly for the person to break even on paying for these services.

Seems like a scam to me. But all is fair in business I guess. I know I personally will not vote for a witness that is running one of these bots. It is hard enough to get newer people to stay. They come, believe they must use these bots and it will make their already pitiful payouts shrink as they hand over more than they make from your votes. I believe this is poor vision for long term sustainability so in good conscious can't lend my vote to those profiting from this.

Thanks for opening this discussion.

You said true
i agree with you
thanks for sharing

I think voting bots & paid voting services have arisen out of the vacuum the poorly implemented Promoted feature has left. But the inbuilt promotion system is a great concept as it eliminates middlemen and profiteering, instead spreading the benefit to everyone through the burn mechanism. Simple fix #1 that would give competition to vote services is just to break it out of a segregated tab & mix it into regular content pages.

I’m going to copy over a comment I made in another discussion about a month ago for another promotion system to compete with bidbots.

My dream for advertisement is this...

Steemit partners with a service such as Anonymous Ads. Their simple embed code gets whitelisted so it works on Steemit. Anonymous Ads of course begins accepting & paying out in Steem in addition to their current Bitcoin.

Every Steemian can now create banner ad slots in their posts. Rather than bid bots & the trending page, it becomes a valuable alternative to purchase ad space direct from other Steemians to promote your own blog, posts, & projects.

We get a working advertising system vs. the current broken promotion system. Ad revenue creates a de facto unlimited payout timeframe allowing good content to be “evergreen.”

The system should be largely self policing too. If a blogger goes overboard with ad slots they’ll risk being unfollowed or outright flagged if folks are truly miffed!

Anonymous Ads already has the ad inventory creation & management tools. It would probably be extremely simple to allow their code and create a user driven advertising market overnight.
And of course the system also easily allows outside advertisers to tap into Steemit, and Steemit creators to advertise on outside sites as well from a single account/dashboard.

The ad service takes a percentage of course, and it could be increased or divided to allow some back to Steemit Inc. or for burning purposes.

An alternative “partner service” with a better bid system but no crypto roots is Project Wonderful.

The overall idea behind both these aims is to give control to users, eliminate middlemen, and give the bots competition and see if their business model still thrives.

this seems to be a 180 turn from "one account one vote" ... which i'm not mad for, i feel the freedom to choose outweighs the idea of any group or subgroup on what defines "bad" and what defines "good", it has a mute button, it could use a block button. I'm well aware it's a blockchain but a simple out-of-sight out-of-mind on the Steemit UI could already do wonders, a single flag that allows people to hide posts by default could also help, if the main chunk adopts common sense. There's a reason why adblock exists for a while now : to give people the choice wether they want to see it or not, but wether you see it or not, its still there

... quite confused by all the things i hear lately , regulation has never been a good idea on planet krypton so far and i doubt it will be, i think the community works pretty fine for something without real enforcement where everyone can see everything for all time, so i'll stick to it, just a little out of sight would be a lot out of mind for people who get annoyed easily, or people who don't know how to use the search , or theres probably dozens of reasons , better (and easy to use for dummies) filters on the U.I. :)
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also a lot of fud going around and yes, i think its the takes of the powerusers to find ways to sell the steem chain to wallstreet class money, but without going public, definitely without giving up sovereignty and going public, that would be a bad thing. To find alternative uses, ANY alternative use that could entice a few millions this way, would always be a good thing lol

there should be some serious brainstorming at whale level on that. It would benefit everyone, not just the already rich if the price can go up because wallstreet money comes in and THEN , preferebly before that, awareness campaign on NOT to dump sh*tloads at once in the sea, so to speak or its back to start

fyi - total bids for "pushup" are not appearing on the steembottracker site - fyi

Thanks for the article! It feels like I learned months worth of info about STEEM and SMT in just one article! 2 thumbs up!

I appreciate this explanation and you presenting your argument as to why running voting bots is beneficial for the platform and why banning them would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, to use the same analogy. One thing that I didn't see much discussion about is about whether or not distributing your power in that manner is ethical, which anecdotally speaking, it seems that most of us agree is not (and by "us" I mean the people in my orbit). But that's only one issue.

I think that while having the bid bots may have some effect of raising the value of STEEM as an investment (and therefore its value as a token)--which I admit, is an argument I had not considered until I saw it laid out so eloquently--it simultaneously has the indirect effect of cheapening the value of the project and by extension, the token. A consistent experience that I see from just about every newbie (which I shared) is that they almost gave up at some point in the first week because they saw hundreds of dollars next to what is essentially spam littering the front page, while earning dustvotes that turned to nothing on their own. You have to provide the caveat to newbies that they basically need to ignore the front pages of this site, which is obviously a huge problem for the usability of this site, since we don't really have a solid search and navigation system for fresh content.

There are also all sorts of other issues related to artificially raising the value of content that did not surface on its own merit. You mention advertising, but how often is that front page spam content really "advertising" (except by the loosest definition of the term, i.e. "self promotion")? You say that our arguments are naive, but these arguments seem pretty naive to me too. There are already official mechanisms on this site that allow you to pay to promote your content, which are basically rendered useless and ineffective because of these home-grown voting bots, so the proverbial "baby" in the bathwater that you speak of could easily be resolved by other means. You may be one of the "good guys," but there are plenty of bad actors who are running bots or taking advantage of them, and I don't see this blacklisting and self-policing that you speak of, and if it exists, then it's certainly not doing the job adequately.

I hope that I didn't offend you in expressing my personal opinion. I truly appreciate reading these counter-arguments, and it gives me a lot to think about.

Sir, I will suggest to insist on bots having a support or always checking the replies on daily bases. It's been over 9 days since @sneaky-ninja missed to vote on my post and I have not broken any of his rules yet, no refund of my 2SBD even after several comments on his latest post. Many others too are complaining.

If the whole idea is to have a decentralized system, how are these acts by bots different different from those of the centralized governments we have? A bot missed to vote on your post, you loose your money like it is your fault.

I have just given you my witness vote and I pray you take necessary actions.

Screenshot (74).png

what APR are people earning on steem?
When just curating?
When delegating to voting bots?
The voting bot owners themselves?

Greetings, I dont understand the Vote Value for @promobot
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BBB.jpg

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@badnews The vote value shown on the bot tracker site is in USD by default. If you would like it to match what is shown on steemit.com and other front ends please change the currency setting to show "POST REWARDS".

Hi @yabapmatt this is more of a technical support question on Steem Bot Tracker; I can't seem to see the Details or any other options appear when I click the Actions button on any of the bid bot listing. Maybe I'm the only one experiencing this since a couple of days ago? In any case, a head's up on this issue if it's not just me, and hope it gets resolved. Thanks.

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@webgrrrl what browser / device are you using? The site is made for desktop and definitely doesn't work well on mobile devices, but let me know if it's something else.

Sir @yabapmatt

I sent 6 SBD to postpromoter for an upvote, but it did not upvote, can you refund it sir, I cant afford to losse it this way. I am very little minnow sir, please help me out and also I request you dont upvote at this point and it has no meaning now, so kindly refund my 6 sbd, i will be grateful to you.

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I am very sorry about that! Your payment has been refunded. Please let me know if there is anything else you need.

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I am really touched by your kindness sir when I saw 2 sbd extra in refund. My heart felt respect to you sir. I have never seen such a kind person in my life in any social media. I am grateful to you and obliged.

Hello,@yabapmatt today I have sent 5.100 sbd to @postpromoter But I didn't get the upvote from the bot!
If there are any technical problems?

I therefore pray and hope that you should kindly return my sbd.
Chat Conversation End
bid 1.JPG

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I am very sorry about that - your payment has been refunded!

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thanks you for your service

Dear @yabapmatt , sorry to inform you so earlier, im supposed to wait 24 hours but my post has not been promoted by postpromoter, i checked several time, postpromoter received my payment, Here is my post link: https://steemit.com/movies/@mrjames/6

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You have been sent a refund for the missed vote. Please accept my sincere apologies for the issue.

Hello,@yabapmatt today Few minutes ago I have send 5.350 sbd to @postpromoter and but
I won't get upvote from the bot!Also my bid was not added to the next round. Please check it if there any technical problem.
For this post:https://steemit.com/story/@apon6431/2gb9af-a-romantic-love-story-or-no-04-or-part-04

I therefore pray and hope that you should kindly return my sbd.By the way postpromoter is so much correct then any other bot. But today i face problem.
I hope you will solve it as soon possible.

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You have been sent a refund for the missed vote. Please accept my sincere apologies for the issue.

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Thanks for this lovely behavior.

Something wrong with your bot? Didn't receive upvote for 50 SBD

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You have been sent a refund for the missed vote. Please accept my sincere apologies for the issue.

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No issues bro.

Just a suggestion, kindly put your discord(if you have) link in the profile somewhere. Steemit community is more active on discord than anywhere else.

I sent 5 SBD to promote my Post but it wasn't Upvoted.

I guess there was some Missed Votes as it seems there were Many Missed Votes.
Can you please check it out @yabapmatt.

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You have been sent a refund for the missed vote. Please accept my sincere apologies for the issue.

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It's all right @yabapmatt .

Thanks for the Refund.

Hello sir, sorry for the comment but I have not received my upvote. I have sent to @postpromoter 5.36 sbd for this post but I have not received upvote yet please check my post.

https://steemit.com/sports/@anilkumar125469/best-of-luck-kkr-hope-you-will-play-well-today

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@anilkumar125469 you have been sent a refund. I sincerely apologize for the issue!

Hi @yabapmatt,
Is it possible to get on your list of "Other bots" on "Steem Bot Tracker"?

Please see our into post to our service:
https://steemit.com/steemit/@upvotebank/upvotebank-update

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@upvotebank has been added to the list of other bots on the site.

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Thanks!!!! :-)

i didn't got my vote back and it's about 18 hours! will you please check sir? :)

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@sfturzo you have been sent a refund. I sincerely apologize for the issue!

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mention not! thanks btw ^_^

Hello @yabapmatt, The robot didn't vote for my post. How to solve this problem. Thanks;)
Post:
https://steemit.com/swmchallenge/@rosy440/hakki-zade-kafe-istanbul

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@rosy440 You have been sent a refund. I sincerely apologize for the issue!

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Thank you!

Who owns boomerang?

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@deliberator Please contact me on steem.chat or Discord.

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What channel on discord?

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Is this your scam bot? I am hearing many complaints like mine, half value upvote compared to bid, is it your bot?

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You can reach me on the PALnet discord here: https://discord.gg/9vVv9q9 I do not run the boomerang bot and do not have any affiliation with it.

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Hello, @yabapmatt . why not response about this!!

Hello,@postpromoter and sir @yabapmatt; 36hours ago, I have sent 5.350 SBD one post and 5.350 SBD another post But I didn't get the upvote from you!

post link:

arrow-clipart-animated-gif-3.gif here my two links:

  1. https://steemit.com/story/@shabbirahmad/my-love-story-in-first-night-or-this-is-sweet-life-art-or-love-story-140

2)https://steemit.com/story/@shabbirahmad/my-love-story-or-this-is-sweet-life-art-or-love-story-139

If there are any technical problems?

I therefore pray and hope that you should kindly return my sbd.

Missed Upvote 1 : https://steemit.com/story/@shabbirahmad/my-love-story-in-first-night-or-this-is-sweet-life-art-or-love-story-140
1.JPG

Missed Upvote 2: https://steemit.com/story/@shabbirahmad/my-love-story-or-this-is-sweet-life-art-or-love-story-139

2.JPG

sir, you know i am plankton in steemit.But at any notice i can't find my answer.Please refund my SBD.I am waiting for you.
Chat Conversation End!

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@shabbirahmad you have been sent a refund. Please accept my sincere apology for the issue.

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@yabapmatt sir, Thank you so much. I got that. :-) God bless you.

Hii Respected @yabapmatt, today I am very depressed when I buy vote from one of the bot named @boomerang working under your steembottracker. I send him 9.821 SBD and astonishing to see that he just giving me 4.81 Vote. this is not fair with me, I hardly earned with day and night working and this bot looting me by scamming. he stopped the max bid suggested timer for dodging us. It is my humble request to you plz check the matter with your personal interest and Refund or balance my loss and also take action against him because he is scamming with innocence. Thanks in advance.

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@rabeel I have contacted the owner of boomerang and asked that he resolve all of the complaints or i would be forced to remove the bot from the site. In general though I would suggest that you only use bots that set a minimum ROI value since those limit the number of bids that can come in in each round to guarantee a set level of return.

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Thanks, @yabapmatt, when i send then i checked the ROI, but @boomerang dodging us by manipulating the system steembottracker of (max suggested bid) just scamming.
anyway thanks for replying and encouraging.

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Thanks @yabapmatt, my problem solved. really appreciated you.

Hello,@postpromoter and sir @yabapmatt; 36hours ago, I have sent 5.350 SBD one post and 5.350 SBD another post But I didn't get the upvote from you!

post link:

arrow-clipart-animated-gif-3.gif here my two links:

  1. https://steemit.com/story/@shabbirahmad/my-love-story-in-first-night-or-this-is-sweet-life-art-or-love-story-140

2)https://steemit.com/story/@shabbirahmad/my-love-story-or-this-is-sweet-life-art-or-love-story-139

If there are any technical problems?

I therefore pray and hope that you should kindly return my sbd.

Missed Upvote 1 : https://steemit.com/story/@shabbirahmad/my-love-story-in-first-night-or-this-is-sweet-life-art-or-love-story-140
1.JPG

Missed Upvote 2: https://steemit.com/story/@shabbirahmad/my-love-story-or-this-is-sweet-life-art-or-love-story-139

2.JPG

sir, you know i am plankton in steemit.But at any notice i can't find my answer.Please refund my SBD.I am waiting for you.
Chat Conversation End!

Hello sir ,

23.05.2018 I send you 5.25 for promot . But i did't get upvote on my post and you did't back my sbd. Please return my sbd.

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@wasif33 You have been sent a refund. Please accept my sincere apology for the issue.

Hello Matt, I know this post is 'old' and my comment is not related. But I sent 5 SBD for a post 5 hours ago and have not received an upvote from @postpromoter. Wondering if you can look into it when you have a chance?

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@glennolua it looks like you transferred 5 SBD to the postpromoter savings account. That's why it did not pick up your bid. I have just sent you a refund.

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 4.32.45 PM.png

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Hey Matt, thanks for the reply. I woke up at 4am PST (California) for work and made the exchange from my phone. Probably not the best time to work with wallets and transferring crypto as I was sleepy...

Lesson learned, thanks again!

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Hello, @yabapmatt . why not response about this!!

Hello, @postpromoter and @yabapmatt. 2 days ago I send you 5.350 SBD. But you do not upvote my post. And do not refund.
If there are any technical problems?

I therefore pray and hope that you should kindly return my sbd.
Please, sir, Refund my SBD.

I also comment in @postpromoter post. But @postpromoter no response.

post link - https://steemit.com/photography/@fxsajol/youtube-channel-suspended-youtube-channel-termination

This post is from yesterday and boomerang is still broken.
Pasting it here to being it to your attention.
@boomerang
I lost money on your voting bot because its not updating on steembottracker.com
It showed only 4 bids while you were actually oversold:

Wallet snapshot

Your bot is losing people money because of it. Mine is a small acct and it takes lot of effort for me to recover from losses.

CC: @yabapmatt If this is an issue in the site, can you please check it out

I think upvote bots are not good in the long term in spite of the benefits for those that use them in the short term. They retard the growth and full potential of what Steem.

Maybe an option to filter out posts with paid votes would be good for people. If don't come to Steem for ads, I come here for outstanding content. With bid bots in place, sometimes the best content is difficult to find.

Hello, @yabapmatt . why not response about this!!

Hello, @postpromoter and @yabapmatt. 2 days ago I send you 5.400 SBD. But you do not upvote my post. And do not refund.
If there are any technical problems?

I therefore pray and hope that you should kindly return my sbd.
Please, sir, Refund my SBD.

I also comment in @postpromoter post. But @postpromoter no response.

Comment link: https://steemit.com/postpromoter/@uncommonriad/re-postpromoter-postpromoter-terms-of-service-20180524t083446307z

Post link: https://steemit.com/story/@uncommonriad/boss-husband-sixth-episode

Capture 100.JPG

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@uncommonriad You have been sent a refund. Please accept my sincere apology for the issue.

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Yes, I got it. I am very happy. Thank you so much @yabapmatt

Hi @yabapmatt sir
I have a missing bid
IMG_20180526_171847.jpg

Can you please check, I haven't received refund yet.

Here is the link to post
https://steemit.com/voting/@uxair/selfvoting-roi-evil-calculations

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@uxair You have been sent a refund. Please accept my sincere apologies for the issue.

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Thank you

Hello, @yabapmatt . why not response about this!!

Hello, @postpromoter and @yabapmatt. 2 days ago I send you 5.350 SBD. But you do not upvote my post. And do not refund.
If there are any technical problems?

I therefore pray and hope that you should kindly return my sbd.
Please, sir, Refund my SBD.

I also comment in @postpromoter post. But @postpromoter no response.

post link - https://steemit.com/photography/@fxsajol/youtube-channel-suspended-youtube-channel-termination

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You have been sent a refund.

Hello, @yabapmatt . why not response about this!!

Hello, @postpromoter and @yabapmatt. 3 days ago I send you 5.300 SBD. But you do not upvote my post. And do not refund.
If there are any technical problems?

I therefore pray and hope that you should kindly return my sbd.
Please, sir, Refund my SBD.

I also comment in @postpromoter post. But @postpromoter no response.

Comment link:https://steemit.com/postpromoter/@shakilkhan/re-postpromoter-postpromoter-terms-of-service-20180524t090015336z

Post link: https://steemit.com/story/@shakilkhan/only-three-decimal-five-minutes-from-high-school

ertr.PNG

hi @yabapmatt is there any channel I can reach you? email or discord maybe?

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@grimjaw I am available on steem.chat or the PALnet discord. Same username as on steem!

Hello, @yabapmatt . why not response about this!!

Hello, @postpromoter and @yabapmatt. 3 days ago I send you 5.300 SBD. But you do not upvote my post. And do not refund.
If there are any technical problems?

I therefore pray and hope that you should kindly return my sbd.
Please, sir, Refund my SBD.

I also comment in @postpromoter post. But @postpromoter no response.

Post link: https://steemit.com/story/@shakilkhan/only-three-decimal-five-minutes-from-high-school

Every time we post our blogs to twitter etc we are advertising the platform and the token. That's what I got from Neds video. SMT's may expand knowledge of the steem token and hopefully demand.