It’s a dog-eat-dog world, especially out there in the Twittersphere — and on all social media platforms, for that matter. If you’ve ever felt like you were lagging behind in the popularity department of the social media world, fret not, because now there are numerous companies that will (for a small fee) follow and like your activity to create the impression that you are a cyber celebrity. And you thought buying friends only applied to Greek life.
The way it works is this: companies, such as SocialYup.com, create fake users or pay existing account holders to follow and like the activity of their customers. Sounds like soft-core identity fraud, you say? While probably not that extreme, these companies do propel social media moguls such as Facebook and Twitter to frequently update their algorithms in order to identify the fraudulent accounts.
Most of these companies frame their services as social media marketing, or helping to promote their customers’ business ventures. Pinfol.com proclaims on its homepage, “All you need is love. We are all social beings. We speak Pinterest. We follow. We pin. We repin.”
Fifteen dollars spent on Pinfol will earn you 100 followers; $95 will buy you 5,000 followers. Want to know how to identify these fake fans? Look for the proportion of a Pinterest user’s followers that do not have a bio or a photo — these are probably frauds.
SocialYup.com promises to help spread the word about your business not only on Facebook, but also on Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Through SocialYup, 500 Facebook likes will cost you $30, while 20,000 Facebook likes will set you back $699. To identify a SocialYup customer, look out for Facebook pages that have thousands of fans, but no one in the “talking about this section.”
Looking to seriously improve your Twitter cred? For the investment of $1,750, FanMeNow will score you a million Twitter followers. Or if YouTube is your platform of choice, you can buy 30,000 views for $150 through 500 views.
It is hard to tell whether or not these services are legitimate, let alone worth it. While SocialYup is Paypal verified, lending it a certain degree of authenticity, Pinfol was given a low trust rating according to ScamAdviser.com. There is no doubt that social media has become a critical part of business strategy and brand marketing, especially for small businesses. However, since these faux followers and friends can be detected amongst real fans, it might be better to spend some time developing your social media presence organically, and establishing connections with customers who can help enhance your popularity through their own authentic social media activity.