I have been on Steemit since June 2017. I have found Steemit a great place to post content and also read other interesting content. I have had the opportunity to mingle with a number very interesting people who also have great enthusiasm for Steemit. I have introduced a few people to Steemit as well. So far, they all seem very happy to be on Steemit.
Now here comes a concerning problem. Steemit is a great platform that provides everyone with an opportunity to earn money from the content they post. This also presents opportunities to abuse the system. Therefore, I have dedicated this post to explain some of the strategies that are being adopted to make money in a rather underhanded way.
Comments just like posts can be rewarded. Unlike posts, comments do not appear on ‘hot’ or ‘trending’ lists. They just remain with the post and appear in the commenter’s section of their Steemit page. Basically, comments lack the same level of potential exposure that posts might be able to obtain. This can be ideal for someone trying to abuse the system.
The ‘rewarding comments’ trick is best done using two accounts. One account belongs to a whale/orca (account with a lot of Steem Power) or an account with a large value of delegated Steem Power (SP). The other account is likely to belong to a minnow (someone who has very little steem power) with an account that is not particularly well- known, follows very few people and is followed by very few. The minnow creates a post. The minnow uses a tag which will ensure minimal exposure. The minnow then comments in that post. The whale comes along and gives the comment or comments maximum upvote/s. See the gifs below for a visual explanation.
Here is a screenshot for a closer look
Here is another example of consistently upvoted comments.
A large upvote close to the payout of the comment reduces the chances of getting caught and/or punished with downvotes. This now leads me to the next trick.
Day 6 Upvotes
The day 6 upvote is another trick. This trick also requires the help of a whale/orca and works best for a posting minnow. The minnow creates the post. The minnow selects a tag rarely searched. The post sits in Steemit unnoticed for 6 days. The whale comes along and gives the post a maximum upvote in the final day before payout. The value of the post increases dramatically but it does not get picked up on the main ‘hot’ or ‘trending’ lists as it is too old. The post has a high value but goes close to unnoticed. It is important to avoid getting noticed as this might result in downvotes or backlash regarding Steemit abuse. See the gifs for a visual explanation.
Notice the value of posts that have not paid out and the value of posts that have paid out.
Here is a screenshot for a closer look.
There are several other tricks people can play on Steemit to earn a few quick dollars. These tricks mostly involve the help of a whale. Whales giving their friends maximum upvotes regardless of the quality of their content is something that I have seen fairly regularly on Steemit. It may appear nice to help out friends but some of these posts are just a handful of pictures and a small amount of text and these posts are receiving upvotes of more than 50 SBD.
Some people use delegated SP to upvote themselves; this could be posts or even comments. See below for an example of whale upvoting themselves as well as someone else upvoting themselves using delegated Steem Power.
I use bots for most of my posts. Some people could find buying upvotes unethical. On Steemit it is becoming more of a necessity to get content noticed. I wrote many, in my opinion, good quality posts that got payouts of less than 1 SBD. I found about the bots and their upvotes gave my posts the visibility to be appreciated. Not everyone is using the bots to get visibility, some are using bots in an attempt to gain a quick profit. This is evident when people bid for upvotes for posts that are in their final days before payout. These upvotes will not get these posts on any lists and it helps them to avoid downvotes. Using bots on the final days before payout is highly ineffective for making profit for two reasons.
- ROI for many bots are negative after curation as many bots are flooded with bids at the end of the bidding period.
- Payouts are split between SBD and Steem Power. Even a positive ROI is likely to result in less SBD. Hence, bidding for upvotes from bots is a pointless exercise.
How to detect possible abusers
So how do we find out about these tricks to make money from Steemit. In my opinion, there are two good sources. One of them is on Steemit. Just follow the instructions below:
- Go to the page of anyone that you suspect might be up to something
- Click on rewards.
- Click on curation.
- Look for particularly high curation rewards.
- Click on the link and see what you find.
- The gif below explains how to do this.
The date of the payout of the curation reward will give you an indication of when the upvotes were made in respect to the date of the post. This will help you identify if day 6 upvoting strategy has been used.
Not every high upvote is a sign of abuse or someone making a quick buck. The content could be deemed by the upvoter to be worth the high upvote. Not every whale is trying to scam Steemit.
The second good source of information is steemd.com. Simply go to steemd.com or go to someone’s steemit page and change steemit to steemd in the url and you will have access to all of that person’s activities.
The level of transparency in Steemit is very impressive. It makes it very hard for anyone to cheat the system without getting caught.
Simple changes to solve all these problems
There are several ways Steemit can be manipulated to make a quick profit. People are always going to find ways to try and cheat the system. Considering Steemit is new, there will be loopholes. Getting into downvote wars over any of this is counterproductive.
These problems should be very easy to solve. Simply place a maximum upvote value on comments and posts. There seems no reason anyone would upvote a comment by more than 5 SBD. If it is such a great comment, other people will upvote it and the value will increase that way. The same goes for posts. A maximum upvote of 10 SBD or maybe 15 SBD should be sufficient. If it is a great post, others will upvote it and the value will continue to go up. Same principle can be applied to bots as well. Maybe a limit of 5 SBD per bid can be put in place (this may seem rather ironic considering the amount I paid bots for this post). Putting a maximum value on upvotes will facilitate the spreading of upvotes to more people as there will be more available voting power to spread around.
Steemit is a new platform, let’s not damage its reputation with greed. If Steemit is to grow it needs to be welcoming to everyone and not just friends of whales. Today’s minnows are the future of Steemit. Greed and abuse will destroy Steemit's reputation and value, which is bad for everyone, especially those with the most invested, which is, ironically, the whales. Short-term greed will lead to long-term pain. I believe many of the whales understand this, I also believe many of the Steemit whales have good intentions. Only time will tell.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Please feel free to comment and share how you feel about existing greedy behaviour. It would also be great if you could share some suggestions on how this behaviour can be halted.