There's a feeling that this sort of thing is harmless, but that depends on who you are. If you're booking a band for example, you could easily get burned. If you're a band buying fake followers, it's hard to tell where you ultimately stand.
But the bigger problem lies with the platforms themselves, and how much credibility they ultimately have with users and advertisers. A recently-released report from Gartner predicts that by 2014, 10-15 percent of all social media interactions - likes, friends, comments, whatever - will be completely fake. And that's on top of accusations that Facebook is driving heavy ad clicks from fake bots (and charging for them).
Meanwhile, the train of phantom interaction is steaming ahead, and this stuff is cheap. Here's a spam we received on Tuesday from a company called GirlPR, which is offering 25,000 fake Twitter followers for less than $200. This looks like a growing industry.
WILL Tuesday, September 18, 2012
This just throws the whole 'social proof" bullshit out the window.
PT Barnum Tuesday, September 18, 2012
This is a golden age for separating fools from their money.
I had to take a moment of silent reflection when they busted that guy who was selling on line book reviews cheap. sigh
But GirlPR has restored my faith that this sort phony social networking will make a few more entrepreneurs rich.
@WilliamBamf Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Welcome to the entertainment industry!
@andyscottwills Wednesday, September 19, 2012
@CrazyPellas Wednesday, September 19, 2012
If you're paying $200 for 25k followers you're being ripped off.
Tanner Guinn Wednesday, September 19, 2012
This. LOL. Who cares though? Honestly. We buy back our units, we generate fake fans for glamour, we only sell to less than 1% of the Earth's population, we rip off our artists, we appoint untalented hacks to head up some of the most important spots, it's the music industry. Interscope use to pay thousands of dollars to inflate Timbo and 50's Myspace plays. What else is new? Most of Lady Gaga's followers are fake, who would've guessed? C'mon now. It's like the two biggest things to talk about here are how Spotify hurts the music industry or how everyone's faking it to make it. It's nothing new, minus the fact that indies artists are overpaying.
@AaronHNahum Wednesday, September 19, 2012
You'll know what happened when my feed blows up next week!
@SOCANRodney Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Dacesita Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Also if you're a gig venue booking a band you can get heavily burned. all fans fake! hahaha. And the house is empty. lol