Share the sweat labor

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 3:23 pm by George Smith

From the Guardian, the aroma of digital sweatshop labor, the oxygen of the sharing economy, global crowd-sourcing software for grifting:

Dhaka-registered Shareyt.com, meanwhile, claims to act as a middleman to connect companies seeking to boost their profile on Facebook, Twitter, Google +1, LinkedIn and YouTube.

“We made it as simple as mouse-clicking,” the front page of the site says, claiming that it is “a crowd-sourcing platform to help you improve social media presence and search engine ranking FREE”.

It adds: “Whenever and wherever you need massive workforce to complete petty tasks, call for Shareyt and get it done like magic! You can’t imagine the potentials [sic] until you explore!” It claims to have generated 1.4m Facebook likes and to have 83,000 registered users.

The implication is that the site “crowdsources” clicks – that lots of people around the world mutually help each other to promote each others’ work.

But Sharaf al-Nomani, Shareyt’s owner, told Dispatches in an undercover meeting that “around 30% or 40% of the clicks will come from Bangladesh” – which implies about 25,000 people in Dhaka using computers laboriously and repetitively for hours on end to boost the visibility of specific products to order.

The article goes on to say it costs anywhere from fifteen to one US dollars for one thousand “likes.” Various large firms, US and British, are documented as using it to promote various things on the “social network.”

“Workers punching the keys might be on a three-shift system, and be paid as little as $120 a year,” it reads.

The Silicon Valley is deeply invested in a winner-take-all economy and the software it develops is sometimes solely generated for corporate business and expressly aimed at harnessing the cheapest global labor for purposes of outright fraud or of no actual value to society.

The winner-take-all Internet ecology absolutely guarantees relentless gaming and rigging because you only exist if you are in the top rank of results, whether it’s search, recommendations returned by algorithm, or any metrics involving counts.

Now recognized as fact: Perception of popularity generates popularity.

There’s a penalty for being total rigged crap but it’s not severe. People do not respond as enthusiastically if something with big pooched numbers is innately horrible, but many still respond in some way, anyway.

It wasn’t always like this. Internet search and rating didn’t just all boil down to who were biggest players with the most capital and whoever else could rig the game most efficiently.

“I suspect that a lot of the behavior we see in Silicon Valley is reminiscent of the behavior of the robber barons in the Gilded Age,” Frank of Pine View Farm told me and I certainly agree. “They also believed that their good fortune was the mark of destiny, rather than the mark of a few brains and a lot of luck and timing.”

You really wanna choke down a megaton of sharing economy fun?

Get a load of Sean Parker’s Big Sur wedding photos at Vanity Fair.

Parker, he of Napster, and Facebook, a fortune resting first on the optimization of the stealing of digital music, being paid ransom to acquire said technology, and continuing the spree with ownership of services like Spotify, which pay artists half a penny to for sharing a tune on the digital streaming service.

Vanity Fair blurb:

In a V.F. exclusive, social-media baron Sean Parker and singer-songwriter Alexandra Lenas traded vows amid towering redwoods. Photographed by Christian Oth and Mark Seliger, the must-be-seen-to-be-believed lush images—appearing here for the first time—show nuptials guests like Olivia Munn (holding a bunny!), Sean Lennon, Allison Williams, and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. You can see the couple’s “performance-art??? vision for their wedding come to life—Parker, 33, oversaw all details, from the leather-bound keepsake volume for guests, to the nine-foot-tall wedding cake, to the fur-pelt-strewn beds in the lounge area. Dedicated to their love of old-growth forests, the celebration—which included Tolkien-ized costumes for all 364 guests by Lord of the Rings costume designer Ngila Dickson—cost Parker $4.5 million for the wooded site alone.

Beware, a website of the infinite download.

The sharing economy — from the archives.

Rigging YouTube and Facebook.


  1. Chuck said,

    August 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Robber barons? You mean, like Jeff Bezos buying the Washington Post?

  2. George Smith said,

    August 5, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Yeah, I just saw that. Maybe he can lower its tax burden by incorporating part of it as a front in Luxembourg. His Mechanical Turk crowd-sourcing operation also seems an ideal synergy — “write a 250-word article” — 2 cents. The Post had a longish story on it, obviously. Did you know Bezos got a $300,000 “loan” from his parents to start Amazon? Boy, what I could have done with that money. Just our bad luck to not have been born into wealth. Now he’s worth 23 billion, they estimate, the 44th most wealthy American or something. He thinks on a planetary level.

  3. Chuck said,

    August 5, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I take consolation in that I have more hair than he does.

    Sergey Brin is getting into synthetic cow:


  4. George Smith said,

    August 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    This is well said:

    Prof Tara Garnett, head of the Food Policy Research Network at Oxford University, said decision-makers needed to look beyond technological solutions.

    “We have a situation where 1.4 billion people in the world are overweight and obese, and at the same time one billion people worldwide go to bed hungry,” she said.

    “That’s just weird and unacceptable. The solutions don’t just lie with producing more food but changing the systems of supply and access and affordability, so not just more food but better food gets to the people who need it.”

    The latest United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report on the future of agriculture indicates that most of the predicted growth in demand for meat from China and Brazil has already happened…

    Perish forbid Brin would invest money in figuring out how to ameliorate the winner-take-all society his search engine makes.

    $330,000 for synthetic meat that’s going nowhere because they won’t be able to figure out how to add lungs and a circulatory system. He’s really set the world on fire.