Dan's Garage Door Blog

Garage Door Sales

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 at 4:17 pm by Dan Musick

DDM Garage Doors no longer sells garage doors outside of the Chicagoland area. In the past we built wood crates for shipping garage doors over the road. We recently stopped doing this because the $500-$1,000 freight costs were often as much as the price of the door itself.

We also tried shipping doors through the Amarr dealer network; the closest regional Amarr warehouse would deliver doors directly to our customers. We stopped doing that due to frequent complications regarding door features, lead time, and shipping details.

If you are still interested in purchasing a door, and if you are outside the Chicagoland area, we suggest you try a local Lowes, Menards or Home Depot. Their prices are reasonable, but you may have to wait a few weeks for the order. Sometimes local mom-and-pop stores have the door you need at even better prices. There are also a few companies that sell doors on line.

Sometimes it’s better to bite the bullet and hire a professional installer. From past experience we have found that an installing company can better size your opening and provide the best door for your application. I’ve never been impressed with the advice I’ve gotten at home centers.

 

High Lift Kit FAQ

Friday, June 16th, 2017 at 1:27 pm by Andrew Koetters

 

1: How much does a high lift kit cost?

A custom high lift from DDM typically costs $200 – $350 when an operator is not included and $600 – $750 when an operator is included. In addition to the kit cost, expect shipping costs of $50 – $100, sometimes more if the kit is pre-assembled or includes extra hardware. Note: these price ranges are estimates, NOT guarantees.

 

2: How long does it take to receive the high lift kit?

On average, DDM receives 20-25 high lift inquiries every week. When we receive an inquiry, we look it over and judge based on our 35 years of experience whether there are any measurements or specs of concern. We will often contact customers if something looks unusual so as to confirm that we have all of the correct information. If the measurements are reasonable and the customer contacts us soon after receiving the email quote, the turn-around time can be as quick as 1-2 days. Once the kit ships from our warehouse, shipping time within the lower 48 states is usually 1-4 business days. Expect longer transit time for Hawaii/Alaska, or if shipping internationally.

 

3: How high can I mount my high lift assembly?

Our custom high lift program designs each high lift assembly with the shaft mounted four inches away from the ceiling and jamb. This is to allow sufficient space for the standard high lift cable drum which has an outer diameter of almost 6”. This will place your horizontal tracks 7.75” – 8.75” away from the ceiling. On assemblies with more than 54” of high lift, the horizontal tracks will be closer to 10” away from the ceiling because even larger drums are required. In reality, the tracks can usually extend another inch or two without any problem, but we cannot guarantee the door will operate without issue.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2016/01/11/high-lift-how-high-can-i-go/

 

4: What does it mean to have a “balanced door”?

A “balanced door” is one which stays on the floor when closed, remains at rest when in the middle of its travel, and stays up when opened fully. This will be the case if you have the correct springs that are wound the correct number of turns. If your springs are correct but you still have problems balancing the door, you can usually adjust the springs accordingly, up to ½ turn in either direction. If you still have balance issues, check the cable timing on the drum. On a high lift assembly with the correct cables installed, the cable should begin wrapping on the flat portion of the drum as the top roller of the door begins rolling on the horizontal tracks. If your cable does not perform this way, then the cable is either too short or it was improperly installed.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2015/11/03/a-balanced-garage-door/

 

5: Can I reuse the springs from my previous application?

Most customers understand that standard length cables will need to be changed out for longer cables on a high lift assembly, but it’s a common misconception that the springs can be reused. Because the vertical portion of the door travel is now extended, there is not an immediate weight offload into the horizontal tracks. Additional turns are needed on the springs to account for the extra distance and extra stationary weight (see question 6). However, simply applying more turns to your current springs will not work because then the force of the springs will be too great when the door is in the closed position, and it will not close all the way. Instead, you need to purchase springs which are specifically sized for the new setup.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2015/11/12/common-high-lift-problems/

 

6: Why do high lift systems require more turns on the springs?

When the door is in the open position on a standard lift setup almost 100% of the door weight is sitting in the horizontal tracks. This allows the springs to be almost fully unwound, with about ½ turn on the springs just to hold tension on the cables. Once a high lift kit is installed and the tracks are modified, the door will still only open to just past the opening. Instead of sitting fully horizontal, a portion of the door will be held in a vertical position. Therefore, a percentage of the door weight still needs to be held by the springs. The new larger springs, requiring additional turns, hold this extra weight. Depending on the amount of high lift installed, it could be as much as 2-4 extra full turns. This is also a reason that the previous springs cannot be reused (see question 5).

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2015/12/11/how-many-turns-do-you-wind-a-torsion-spring/

 

7: Can I reuse the drums from my previous application?

You cannot reuse your old drums. Due to the longer vertical travel in a high lift assembly, the resting weight of the door will stay constant for the first few feet of travel. But as soon as the springs start unwinding they begin to lose force. The tapered ends of the high lift drums account for this by proportionally decreasing the moment arm as the springs unwind and thus helping the door stay balanced throughout this vertical extension. The flat portion of the high lift drum is then used as the weight of the door is offloaded into the remaining horizontal track (see question 4). Standard lift cable drums are completely flat and therefore the moment arm doesn’t change.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2015/11/12/common-high-lift-problems/

 

8: Why is my track extension shorter than the inches of high lift?

A common point of confusion for high lift customers is the fact that the track they are adding to the vertical (track extension) does not seem to reach the ceiling. In reality there are two dimensions, the length of the track extension, and the inches of high lift. The “inches of high lift” (see photo above) is the distance between the top of the closed door and centerline of the horizontal track, as a flat plane. Therefore, even standard lift systems technically have a few “inches of high lift.” The vertical track extension just adds to this dimension, placing the tracks as close as possible to the ceiling. The track extension simply adds to the inches of high lift, it is not equal to it.

 

9: I purchased a high lift kit in the last few years. Why are my cables fraying?

Back in 2015 we came across an issue with the high lift cable drums having rough edges. These rough edges were left by seams in the molds used for casting these drums. While the rough edges do not compromise the drums in any way, over time the installed cables can get worn down and start fraying. We have been working with customers that purchased high lift kits during this time to get the cables replaced and to fix the drums to avoid future issues. The rough edges can be ground down with a hand file or angle grinder and the drums can still be used without issue. We now make sure to grind down the rough edges of the drums before they are shipped out with a kit. Please contact us if you still run into this fraying problem.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2015/11/16/rough-edges-on-high-lift-drums/

 

10: Is a vertical lift a good alternative to a high lift?

The appropriate answer is “Which one do you need?” While high lift doors rise a given distance vertically before entering the horizontal tracks, vertical lift doors rise vertically for their entire travel. These doors do not require horizontal tracks because they rest above the door opening and “parallel” to the jamb. A vertical lift is typically the better option when there is sufficient ceiling height within the garage. Minimum ceiling height for a vertical lift is double the door height, i.e. 14’ ceiling for a 7’ tall door, etc. If the space is available, a vertical lift is a good long term option to allow maximum space for lighting, workshop equipment, or storage.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2011/10/13/vertical-lift-a-good-alternative-to-high-lift-garage-door/

 

11. How do I keep the windows from scraping the stop molding?

Because the door will no longer pitch immediately into the track radius as it opens, the track for a door with windows may require adjustment so as to avoid scraping the glass against the PVC stop molding or header. If you have windows installed on the door, in order to avoid the need for adjustment after installation, select the option in our high lift inquiry form that you have an outside lock or handle that you want to keep. This will provide the added pitch you need.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2016/02/08/gaps-on-high-lift-doors-with-windows/

 

12: What if I have low headroom tracks currently?

If you have low headroom tracks currently but sufficient headroom for a high lift assembly, the tracks can be modified to fit the high lift assembly using the parts we provide. You will need to separate the two track pieces in order to reuse the lower horizontal track and radius. We will provide the standard horizontal track angle to connect the track to the high lift angle. You will probably need to replace the top and bottom fixtures as well.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2016/03/15/converting-from-double-low-headroom-tracks-to-high-lift/  

 

 

Stewardship

Friday, June 9th, 2017 at 6:02 pm by Dan Musick

When my three kids were young I was struggling with ordering my life of family, business, church work and leisure time. I approached a fellow church member, Bill Pollard, for advice. He had successfully grown Service Master. I asked how to establish priorities. He replied, “You know, Dan, in the original English the word ‘priority’ occurred only in the singular.” Christ first, and everything else is ordered by that one priority.

He also made a statement that has been an integral part of building this business. “I don’t own my business, my family, or anything else. God owns it all. I am just a steward of all He’s entrusted to me.”

Learning to operate as a faithful steward requires a lifetime. It follows totally different goal setting and planning.

Stewardship opens the door to incredible opportunities. Most businesses operate on the basis of untempered, myopic greed. Even well-established core values and five, ten and lifetime goals can blind one to greater missed opportunities.

Stewardship demands evaluating and seizing the daily opportunities that cross our paths, some that will create instant results, some that will be left for the next generation. Leaving opportunities for others is good stewardship.

Good stewardship also recognizes God’s perspective on our lives. American society devalues age; God sees the treasures of the experience he has provided and expects stewardship of these life experiences. For example, the brawny 20 something year old who can build a house by himself later learns to hire others to build many more houses than he could build by himself. That’s stewardship.

Tragically, in America we’ve lost the value of our aging population, the rich wells from which great treasures can be drawn. This devaluation has also become part of the psyche of the American workforce. This defective perspective impacts hiring decisions and it hurts the self image of our aging population. “Who would hire someone in their 50’s with 35 years of experience?” I’m sure I’ve heard this from at least 100 men.

The truth is that as we gain knowledge and experience we always have more, and we become more, no matter the age. Wisdom and faithful stewardship takes responsibility for multiplying all that God has entrusted to us. May we all “succeed” in being found faithful.

When are leaf bumpers and push down bumper springs necessary?

Friday, June 2nd, 2017 at 11:48 am by Andrew Koetters

Leaf bumpers or push down bumper springs are recommended for use on residential standard lift applications when using a jackshaft opener, as well as certain commercial applications.

Normally, if space allows, a standard overhead rail type opener is used for standard lift systems. These openers pull/push on the door directly to raise and lower it. If more overhead space is required, or you desire a nice “clean” look, a jackshaft opener can be used. This type of opener mounts on the header, and raises/lowers the door by driving the torsion spring shaft directly. For residential systems, we recommend the Liftmaster 8500.  This opener is designed and mainly used on high lift assemblies, but with the proper steps, can be used on a standard lift system.

When using this opener with standard lift tracks, the spring bumpers are necessary to ensure safe operation. This is because jackshaft openers rely on the door weight to keep tension on the cable.  These bumpers mount to the back of the horizontal tracks and provide forward/downward force on the door when it is in the horizontal tracks.

 

If the door is in the up position with minimal weight pulling down, there is a slight risk of the opener turning the shaft, the door not moving, and the cable unwinding off the drum. There is then nothing to stop the door from crashing to the floor and causing damage or injury to anything or anyone in its way. To counter this, the bumpers provide constant force pushing the door down from the back, which should keep the cable taught.

The recommend Liftmaster 8500 opener comes standard with a cable tension monitor for safety. A common question we get from customers is whether or not the cable tension monitor on the jackshaft will be sufficient to stop the opener, and hold the door if the cables were to go slack. Generally, this should work, but we do not recommend relying on it 100%. The spring bumpers are relatively cheap insurance to guarantee that the door will work properly and safely.

If you are interested in using a jackshaft operator on your standard lift door, we suggest using these spring bumpers in order to prevent property damage or serious injury.

 

Clopay Pinchproof – The Downside to Unique Hardware

Friday, May 26th, 2017 at 1:00 pm by Andrew Koetters

Just recently, Clopay stopped manufacturing the hinges for their specially designed Pinch Proof doors. One of the most common models to use Pinch Proof hinges is the model 150S (commonly found in the western U.S.). These pinch proof doors were originally developed in the 1980’s to protect against damaging fingers and other foreign objects that could potentially get caught between the door sections. Although some manufacturers had already developed other “Pinch-Proof-type” options, the designers of the Clopay Pinch Proof system sought to create a simpler design that both professional and DIY installers and repairmen can understand. Despite the attempt to develop an option that was both safe and fairly intuitive, these hinges were constructed with cheap steel and have been known to break at a high rate. This is not necessarily the reason why Clopay manufacturers discontinued the part, but it is certainly a disadvantage of the design. Here is a sampling of the Pinchproof hardware:

 

If you have a Pinch Proof door and one of your hinges has broken, you are left with only a few options:

  1. You may be able to find a company that still has these hinges in stock. At DDM, we still have a number of #0 and #4 Pinch Proof hinges in stock, but we no longer have any #1, #2, or #3 hinges. The pins and covers for these hinges are also still available on our website. Because of the nature of the Pinch Proof system, you cannot simply apply one of the standard hinges that we offer. Instead of placing the pivot point directly at the point of separation between the panels, the pivot point of the Pinch Proof hinges are below the point of separation between panels. Refer to the patent drawings below.
  2. You may be able to have a local metal fabrication or machine shop repair the hinge. It may work for a short time, but it will only function as a temporary repair.
  3. Regardless of your initial course of action, you will ultimately be faced with the third option: to purchase a new door. We recommend choosing a door that is designed for and uses standard hardware.

 


Sources below*


While specially manufactured systems like the Clopay Pinch Proof doors may provide a number of benefits for customers, this does not make them inherently “better” than doors with standard hardware. Seeing as the parts for these specially designed systems are often not interchangeable with standard hardware, the manufacturers of such parts offer very few options for customers once the parts are discontinued. Although DDM Garage Doors sells specially manufactured parts such as the Clopay Pinchproof, Wayne Dalton, and Amarr hardware, we generally recommend using systems which have standard hardware.

 

 

*United States Patent and Trademark Office – U.S. Patent 6,006,817

http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?PageNum=5&docid=06006817&IDKey=EEC703709CED&HomeUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fpatft.uspto.gov%2Fnetacgi%2Fnph-Parser%3FSect2%3DPTO1%2526Sect2%3DHITOFF%2526p%3D1%2526u%3D%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html%2526r%3D1%2526f%3DG%2526l%3D50%2526d%3DPALL%2526S1%3D6006817.PN.%2526OS%3DPN%2F6006817%2526RS%3DPN%2F6006817

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect2=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&d=PALL&RefSrch=yes&Query=PN/6006817

 

Solid or Hollow Stop Molding?

Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 1:00 pm by Andrew Koetters

In the garage door industry two different types of PVC stop molding are used – solid and hollow. So which one is better?

At DDM Garage Doors we have kept both the solid and the hollow stop molding pieces as stock items for as long as we’ve been in business. Recently we decided to discontinue the hollow stop molding, and for one simple reason – our customers prefer the solid pieces. The shape, size, and material are all about the same for both, but there are some key differences that impact installation and use.

Even though both types are made of a PVC material, the hollow stop molding is more rigid and brittle than the solid. Being less flexible makes the hollow stop molding vulnerable to breaking when bent, whether during storage, or when handled before installation. Furthermore, the hollow stops are extremely susceptible to cracking during installation, especially when there is a stray hit from a hammer. This problem is even more likely to occur when installing the stop molding in cold weather because hollow PVC is more brittle.

The main advantage to the hollow stop molding has always been the fact it costs less, but is this slight savings worth it? Based on what we have seen over the years customers prefer solid molding over the hollow, which is just a small fraction of the total stop molding sales.

At DDM Garage Doors we endeavor to provide our customers with the best possible product, and we believe that the solid PVC stop molding is the superior choice.

 

Business Ethics

Friday, May 12th, 2017 at 4:30 pm by Dan Musick

Business Ethics:

A Comment on Matthew Stewart’s article “The B-School Boondoggle”

In the April 22-23, 2017 issue of The Wall Street Journal, Matthew Stewart reviews Duff McDonald’s recent book, The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite.

In this work, McDonald examines the history of Harvard Business School (HBS) and its damaging effect upon business management in America in his summary of a few of the business theories that “populate the promiscuous intellectual history of the (HBS).”

Stewarts affirms McDonald’s claim that none of them should be taken seriously. Stewart provides two reasons and implies a third: “First…they all start and end with the belief in a magic measuring stick that will reduce the problems of human collaboration to a game of numbers…second is that they always, always, justify the power and the glory of management. Did I mention the money?”

In his book, McDonald emphasizes a commitment to “the pursuit of corporate donations and consulting contracts” early in its history rather than genuinely pursuing knowledge. Meanwhile, HBS hails corporate managers as “the moral center of modern civilization.” Such a commitment and pedagogical strategy has encouraged the development of a market stocked with managers who possess little to no moral conscience and who justify criminal practices because they – being the corporate managers – determine morality.

Stewart’s article documents disturbing examples of corporate managers whose business practices and lifestyles demonstrate the effect of this commitment by HBS. This is not to blame HBS with all of the problems present in American society. However, such an approach has certainly not encouraged ethical behavior within the business sector where the greedy take and others suffer loss.

Our experience at DDM Garage Doors confirms the dark side of McDonald’s study. In recent years our website and YouTube tutorials company have suffered countless attacks. To cut corners thousands of unscrupulous companies and individuals have stolen images and text from our website. In addition to this, one greedy competitor has used click farms to drag down the ratings on our more popular YouTube tutorials such as our “How to Replace Garage Door Torsion Springs” video as well as videos of other competitors. As a result a substantial portion of our annual budget is spent on legal work to protect our intellectual property.

That’s the moral landscape of American Business. Harvard Business School’s contribution to it is an American tragedy. Thank you, Matt, and thank you, Duff, for helping us see our failures.

(Written by Daryle Worley with comments from Dan Musick)

 

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16th, 2016 at 3:21 pm by Dan Musick

Food, gag gifts and lots of laughter. ‘Tis the season.

Missing are Dan – I took the picture, and I’m not proficient at selfies. Also missing is Daryle Worley who had better things to do. He’s getting married tomorrow.

Before eating I read from John 1.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. “(John 1:1-5, 14 ESV)

Here is a summary of my comments I shared as the hot food cooled.

The infinite God became a finite infant, without ceasing to be infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God. God is Spirit and spirit cannot die. God became human so He could die for our sins. His justice required it; His love and mercy compelled Him. Since the difference between God’s perfect holiness and our sinfulness is infinite, only an infinite sacrifice would suffice. Jesus, one of us, was born to die and rise again, that we who believe in Him might live with Him – forever.

Embrace this wonderful Christmas gift. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:9-10 ESV)

Blessings during this wonderful Christmas season!

Warehouse Manager & Personnel Manager Wed

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 at 1:53 pm by Dan Musick

Way to go, Neal and Jorie! Congratulations! We wish you all the best as you begin your lives together.

Neal and Jorie, October 21, 2016.

Neal has been a huge help since we were working out of our garage not many years ago; now he has his hands full with a large warehouse full of parts to inventory and ship.

Jorie has helped us part time since September of 2015 as she has finished her education and prepared for her wedding. She’s been a tremendous help performing a variety of skills, including the completion of our first employee handbook and helping us set up employee reviews. She’s also advised us on a number of other personnel issues.

She’s a great worker and she would be a valuable asset for a larger company who can use someone full time with her education and skills. In May of 2016 she received her Master of Arts degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Elmhurst College. You can discover more about Jorie in her resume.

Click Farms

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 at 1:09 pm by Dan Musick

click-farms

Over the past year, my company—and many others—have been the victims of a disturbing business competition strategy being used by certain disreputable companies, whose aim is to falsely cast their targeted competitors as being “disliked” on public media sites. The goal of this unethical strategy is to harm the target’s online reputation, which has become increasingly vital in today’s technology-driven environment. Unfortunately, this-so called “Click Farm” trend is on the rise. I wanted to write this article to show how you can recognize and avoid sites that use click farms to influence your buying.

What are Click Farms?
“Click farms” are a type of deceptive practice done by people who are trying to gain more followers on Twitter, “likes” on Facebook, artificial views on YouTube, or another form of website in order to gain a higher ranking on a search engine when consumers search for their posts online. Online traffic to the page is simulated to make it appear like actual customers or viewers are clicking on links. While real people are clicking links, they are not customers but rather people paid to do nothing but click on links, browse on the page for a little while, and then move on to the next link using fake profiles that appear to be from different geographical locations than where the paid clicker lives. (2) These click farms do not use the businesses’ services or products; they do not know anything about the services or products; and in fact they may be thousands of miles away from the businesses they claim to like or know about.

Boosting traffic to their particular page serves to benefit no one but the person employing the click farms, in getting more people to their page to buy more products, but does nothing to help the customer. It does not help you to find the best products, nor does it guarantee that they will not cheat you into buying products that will not suit your needs. At DDM we promise to assist you in finding the parts that will fit perfectly to you particular garage door, and we will not talk you into buying anything that will not work for you or that you do not need.

How Click Farms harm business.
Importantly, Click Farms not only harm the target business, but they also harm the businesses that are using them. The reason is that they create an inflated idea of what products you, the customer, actually need. It leads consumers to believe that certain products may be more desirable than others, and leads businesses into stocking more of one product and not another, due to the (wrong) perception based upon the faulty media. This can lead to customers being unhappy because the products they need may not be there because of inflated demand for other products, as well as price discrepancies due to a perceived demand not panning out for the businesses.

Click Farms don’t even help the people getting paid to do it. While you as the customer are not being helped by click farming, the people hired to do the Click Farming are not benefiting in any way either. They are paid measly wages in order to sit at a screen clicking for hours to make almost no money per day. By purchasing from companies, or clicking on links to these companies that buy these services, you, the customer, are leading companies to believe that this type of advertising is working, causing them to continue to pay these click farming companies for their services, and having the workers there continue to be paid almost nothing for their work.

What can be done?
When it comes to Click Farming, knowledge is power! Luckily, there are ways that can help you to spot this kind of shady behavior in order to protect yourself from scam artists. Below are ways to spot Click Farming on different social media mediums, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. While not all social media sites are covered, the rules discussed can also be taken as a general rule for other sites as well.

How to Spot Possible Click Farm Activity.
Some of this malicious activity is easy to spot, such as comments on YouTube videos. If the comments sound like inane nonsense, then the comments more than likely came from a click farms, or at the very least from a fake profile. Capitalized letters also indicate a fake profile. Comments that don’t fit in with the content of the video should also be suspect.

Another way to discover this behavior is to check the statistics of a given video. To do this, simply click on the “More” tab under the video.

click-more

Next, click the “Statistics” option.

click-statistics

On most videos the cumulative number of views, which is what Google sees, look perfectly normal.

click-daily

If you look on other videos, and if you click the “Daily” option tab you may find a different story.

synthetic-views

As you can see on this YouTube video, there are only two specific periods of time that show a sharp and dramatic increase in the number of views accumulated, while the rest of the time there is a fairly steady stream of only 50-100 views per day. This is an easy way to spot click farming, as there is no logical way that over two short time periods tens of thousands of people watched the video every day, only to have views dramatically trail off yet again to only 50-100 per day. YouTube, Google and other pages have been clearly manipulated.

A view stream should look much more like that in the image below from our “How to Replace Garage Door Torsion Springs” video.

normal-views

At its peak when Google showcased it as the lead video on a search of garage door springs, the views on our video never reached 1500 per day rather than the more than 25,000 daily views from artificial click farms views. Notice, also, the clear day to day fluctuations over the history of views.

Another way competitors interfere with businesses is by buying dislikes on videos in order to drive people to look elsewhere to buy parts. For example our “How to Replace Garage Door Torsion Springs” video shows 1,103 thumbs down in the image below. A disproportionate number of dislikes also lowers YouTube and Google rankings. In the image above notice the decline in late 2014 and early 2015. This decline correlates with the thumbs down views on our YouTube video and the synthetic views on competitors’ videos. This unfairly hurt our spring sales proportionately.

click-farms-dislikes

 

Notice below an increase in spikes on our video which looks fishy even to an unsophisticated user. There were 977 dislikes posted on two short time periods in late 2014 and early 2015.

ddm-dislikes-graph

As you can see below 366 of the thumbs down came from click farms in Vietnam.

ddm-dislikes-vietnam

And you will also see below that 517 came from Russia.

.ddm-dislikes-russia

An additional 50 thumbs down came from Moldolvia, India and Thailand. In these developing countries click farming has been seen for years as a semi-respectable way to make a living.

ddm-dislikes-moldovia-india-thailand

The countries above are known for being hot spots for click farms. Only 10 of the 977 dislikes during this time period came from the U.S. and Canada, showing that this video must be helpful in English-speaking countries, and that it is generally well received.

Because of the vicious nature of the YouTube environment we have re-posted this video, our “How to Measure Garage Door Torsion Springs” video, and our other better videos on our own servers.

Click Farming occurs on Facebook and Twitter too.
Facebook and Twitter are less easy to see, but are still harmful and can appear to be much the same. Similar innate comments that don’t often make much sense with the post they are attached to can be ways to spot these kinds of activity. If something seems too good to be true, seems like an ad, or looks like it was typed out by someone who doesn’t know how to use a keyboard, then it probably is the result of click, or “like” farming. They are simply searching for likes for their own malicious purposes, and are not attempting to alert you to anything that you should be paying attention to.

Twitter click farmers operate in the same way, getting you to click links to things you don’t care about by making them look interesting or grabbing your attention in some way. Even if a page seems like something you like or want to pay attention to, be sure to keep up with the page because it may be changed to suit whatever the creator’s purposes are at the time, and they may use your likes of their posts to advertise their products that you may never have liked in the first place.
With friend requests, be sure to be on the lookout for people who you don’t recognize, and have few friends on their profile, and quite possibly no mutual friends with you. Their biographical information will be almost nothing, even after becoming friends with the person, leading you to wonder, who is this? And why am I friends with them? These are more than likely fake accounts created by click farmers that are sold to other companies in order to boost a social media presence. The same goes for Twitter; if they don’t have many followers, and their followers are no one you know, or very few people you know, they are more than likely a fake profile.

A Call to Arms: Avoid companies that hire click farms!
The best way to find the best products and the best sellers of those products is to look for sellers who don’t use click farming to generate more apparent activity on their pages and videos. Sellers who are honestly seeking to help you, the customer, find what you need know don’t need to use click farming in order to please customers. “Like” farming may not even take you to what you are looking for, but may redirect you many times to pages that don’t fit what you are looking for. You should avoid any of this type of pages, videos, or posts because they do not have your best interest in mind. Remember also, that companies who use shady tactics to influence your buying will usually treat you with shady gimmicks such as upselling.

Buying from ethical companies also benefits you. By allowing the companies which desire to help you find the product that you are looking for actually sell you products that suit your needs, you support companies with goals beyond increasing their bottom line. According to The Guardian’s Charles Arthur, “31% of consumers will check ratings and reviews, including likes and Twitter followers, before they choose to buy something.” In checking these ratings, be sure to look out for the pieces of information that can help you to tell whether it is a fake rating, or a real review from a customer. As with YouTube comments, if there is innate nonsense in the review, then it is more than likely fake and not produced by a real person. Knowing how to find these signals is very helpful in determining whether or not you will want to buy a product from the particular company. (1)

Companies who employ click farms are also hurt because once customers hear about click farms being used, they become skeptical of all numbers of views or likes if they seem high for whatever reason. Or, seeing the high count of views or likes, the customer may be drawn to the page without even thinking about whether or not it is helpful for their needs. (2)

If you’re a company looking to hire a professional who has a broad knowledge of social media, and have judged this by the amount of Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and Instagram followers the person has, then you could be misled as well. They may also be fake, bought so that you, the employer, would be more likely to hire them because of their experience with social media. “If those numbers are fake, you’re wasting money and probably hiring the wrong person” (2). This causes you to be “losing the race for talent,” as Sherman puts it, putting you behind your competitors, and creating a problem for your business.

Being aware of this can help you when buying products, hiring for your business, or just in the general scope of being on social media. Exercising care and caution in picking who to purchase from, and interact with on social media can help you protect yourself from scammers and others seeking to rip you off.

Citations:
1. Arthur, Charles. “How Low-paid Workers at ‘click Farms’ Create Appearance of Online Popularity.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 02 Aug. 2013. Web. 18 July 2016.
2. Sherman, Erik. “4 Ways Click Farms Screw Your Business.” Inc.com. Inc., 10 Jan. 2014. Web. 18 July 2016.