The important question is, how much do such followers cost and is it worth it?
- Popularity rules.
- Increase search engine rankings.
- Expand your reach.
- It’s cheap.
- Poor quality, bots or inactive users.
- No definitive ROI.
- Some require password.
- Verboten by Twitter.
J. J. McCorvey of Inc. magazine (Nov 2011) starts out with a Newt Gingrich similar scandal and conducts a series of experiments, buying 1000 dummy followers off eBay for $20, then an entire account with 3700 followers for $35, then 2000 followers for $18 using Tweet Adder. Here’s their conclusion:
By the end of our three-week-long experiment, Kreznik had amassed 3,154 followers, and Stone had 3,580. Not bad for a total of $73. Still, the whole process left us feeling queasy. Is the strategy a good idea for businesses looking to build a strong Twitter presence? Probably not, says Chris Paradysz, founder and CEO of PM Digital, a digital marketing agency in New York City. A hefty Twitter following might bolster the appeal of celebrities and politicians, Paradysz says, but for companies, the risks outweigh the rewards, especially if there aren't real people behind the accounts who could eventually become actual customers. "Having that type of follower count only really matters if my last name is Kardashian," he says. "For a small business, cash is everything."
While strongly advising against this practice, Jon Loomer offers his suggestions on increasing followers without outright buying them:
- Invite Relevant People. Not all your friends, only those who might be really interested.
- Promote Your Page Online. Have a Like button on your website.
- Promote Your Page Offline. Signage in your store, “for daily deals” – on receipts, cards etc.
- Run Contests and Offers.
- Be Interesting and Provide Value. exclusive deals, info on general sales and specials but also human
- Run Ads. $50 to attract 50-150 new fans.
And then we have the “sellers”. Here’s a quick overview of prices:
- facebooktraffic.org: $35.99 – 1000 over 3 days, $65.99 – 2000, $99.99 for 4000 in 5-15 days
- twitterfollowersbazar.com: $29.95 – 1000 – 3-5, $79.95 – 5000 – 5-7, $149.95 10000 7-10 NP
- intertwitter.com: $14 – 1000, $26 – 2500,$65 – 10000, $43 – 5000 (all in 3 days); also, bulk: $127 – 20000 – 5, $237 – 40000 – 6, $347 – 60000 – 7, $399 – 80000 – 7
- customtwitter.biz: $7 – 1000 – 3, $15 – 2500 – 4, $25 – 5000 – 5, $45 – 10000 – 6, $75 – 30000 – 7 NP
- customfacebook.biz: $15 – 250 – 1, $20 – 500 – 1.5, $30 – 1000 – 2, $50 – 2500 – 5, $95 – 5000 – 10, $180 – 10000 – 15
- fiverr.com: anything from 400+ for $5 to 90000 for $5 – but are they scams?
- ebay: mostly RT for sale but also followers; prices vary wildly
- fanmenow.com: see attached screenshot for twitter real followers; fakes range from $20 for 10000 to $275 for 200000. Fb: from $25 – 250 to $525 – 10000 for facebook in USA or about half worldwide; fakes: $20 for 1000 to 50000 for $1000. “Reals” require password.
It is difficult and somewhat useless to find Pinterest followers through these methods; you might want to look at the “ultimate guide to Pinterest” first. We haven’t really looked at the offer for Google Plus as it still has a long way to go – but G+ is catching up quickly. Finally, even Gizmodo has joined the fray with an article on buying followers for unsuspecting friends as a prank. Which finally brings us to the motivator for this article.
The story that initially took me to the articles above is a bit more complicated: a blogger noticed a huge jump in followers for some self-declared “influencers” and exposed it; they claimed somebody else did it to them and they were innocent victims of a smearing campaign.
When I went to Arhi’s blog to read more I discovered this quote:
I fail to understand this. Where is all the hatred from? Why can’t you accept that others have an opinion, good or bad, it’s theirs? Why should a battle of ideas be necessarily taken personally? Why, after months allows you to unfold as you want in my house, come and get me USLinos [political affiliation pejorative] and others?
When have you forgotten to be men [or “people”]?
For those lacking context, this dude has joined the current political fight in his country on the side of those who want the president gone; a referendum is coming up in two weeks or so. The sign above, which he posted on this blog, is a play on the president’s name, “Basescu”, which could be translated in English as “Fartenson” (in Romanian, “to fart”=”a se basi”).
Recently, a Romanian journalist discovered that he and the other “greatest blogger” had purchased followers to appear more influent than they are (which translates in more advertising money).
What amazes me is that this guy, who is far from being an angel, wrote in his blog in one of his first articles on the topic (possibly /revedere-traian/), either in the body or in the comments, that he sees any pro-basescu comments he will delete them “with pleasure”). One such article still has this in the body: “PS: În continuare, fără băsisme. Mulțumesc.” meaning “no basisms, please” (/basescu-trebuie-plece/).
In the meantime, that comment has been removed or I can no longer find it. But this attitude, of starting a fight then playing the victim is quite common in that micro-universe. Here’s a comparison graphic:
“Cum concluziona prietenul şi colegul meu FutRecurent (sper că nu i-am futut toată ideea următorului articol), Arhi – cel care publica deunăzi un video în care transmitea haterilor care “îl muşcă de fund” (faină vorbă, a început s-o folosească şi Vasile) că, citez, “au pula mică” -, are peste 75% din e-penis artificial. Bine, asta, coroborat cu burta, care-i obturează vederea celor 25% rămase, îl face cel puţin eunuc. Dar astea-s doar constatări matematice, statistică, dacă vreţi, chiar dacă vă va spune Zosnicul în comentariile acestui articol că-s de fapt injurii gratuie, limbaj jegos şi invidie.”