How Marketers Rig the Social Media Machine

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July 20, 2010 – Unfair sales of eGoods on the Internet has been a problem in multiple online commerce areas. From video game points to website hits, anything that has a virtual value can have a real world price.

The latest intangible items to be sold by the bulk are social media fans or followers. In the super fraudulent cases the followers a user pays for are nothing but mass-generated accounts called “bot-accounts” controlled by computer script to mimic human interaction with Twitter or Facebook.

Some companies, such as Followers for Sale, offer packages of followers that are actually real people. Facebook and Twitter users sign up to become part of the FoS family and they are paid a small fee to follow a client who pays for the FoS service.

This is nothing new in the world of Internet marketing, where paid reviews have been around for years. Many companies make their living off of hiring users to blog about their clients’ products, and viral promotion campaigns have been popping up left and right across the social networking sites.

The initial argument about “buying” fans/followers is that they’re not *really* fans! But some argue that even though the purchased fans (real or bots) aren’t real fans, they generate a sense of success about the account that purchased them. Real social media users will look at a fan page or Twitter account with thousands of fans and think that it’s a legitimate, real deal worth following.

The reality is that a real fan is worth way more than a fake fan any day. Real fans are interested in what you’re doing with your social media profiles, while fake fans are just a number on your profile page.

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