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Paying For Twitter Followers Is Like Paying For Sex

Twitter followersWell, would you ever?  I mean really?  Pay For Twitter followers…

I came across an article in the last couple of days via Google Alerts about buying fake followers (link removed as no longer available) and a certain high-profile presidential candidate.

Over a 24 hour period he acquired nearly 117,000 followers – an increase of about 17 percent.  On closer inspection by Baracuda Labs, as part of a larger investigation of purchased followers, a huge proportion of these new followers were found to be almost certainly fake.

Another interesting article which I read about paying for Twitter followers discusses why people may feel compelled to pay for them.  Apparently you can buy 1,000 followers for around $15.

Well, for what it’s worth, I consider someone who pays for their followers to be no better than someone who would buy services from a hooker.  Is that a bit harsh?  OK, maybe but…

Why Would Anyone Buy Twitter Followers?

  • instant gratification;
  • to look good;
  • you don’t have to do any hard work to get them;
  • frustration;
  • laziness;
  • because you can’t get followers organically.

Hmmm, so my analogy isn’t too far off the mark then.

But the question is do you actually know what you are paying for?

Well, if you take a look at TwitterWind.com for example you will get a bunch of inactive Twitter followers added to your account.  OK, I thought the whole point of social media was interaction.

And if you don’t want things to look too suspicious on your account when you suddenly have loads more followers, you can get subscribers drip fed into your account weekly or monthly.  According to Metro News, some companies offer tailored arrangements in this way to give a more “natural effect”.  GetFastTwitterFollowers.Com is one example of this.

But, I guess the worrying thing would be you could find you end up with a whole load of spam bot followers added to your account if the company you use is unscrupulous.

It’s certainly a gamble!  I mean, how would you know which company you could trust?

So do I think buying Twitter followers is:

  • unethical? – I’d say borderline yes;
  • cheating? – most definitely yes;
  • illegal? – not at the moment;
  • against Twitter policies? surprisingly no.

Don’t be lazy, Twitter is about socializing and engaging with other people; making a connection.  Put in some hard work and make people want to follow you!

Whilst adding a few thousand Twitter followers to your account overnight might impress some people, not me I’m afraid.  Focus should be on the quality of the connections you make; not the number of followers you have.

Me?  Hey, who am I to tell you what to do? I’m new to Twitter, have very few followers at the moment and am not following many people either but I’m not tempted to boost my followers by cheating.

Go on then…  Your turn.  What would you do?  Would you buy Twitter followers?  Do you agree it’s cheating and perhaps even unethical?  Maybe you think it would help to boost organic followers?

Come on… Be social.  Share my post.  That’s what it’s all about after all.

Tim Bonner

Tim Bonner is a Stay At Home Dad, Blogger and Internet Marketer. Learn more about him here.

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  • Jeevan Jacob John

    Have done it in the past, Tim (but not buying, following for credits and mass follow, but then I realized the mistake and remove those followers and when I got the opportunity to start a new blog, I deleted the account itself).

    You are right. Focus on quality of those followers. Now, I would rather than 50 active followers and 50K inactive ones. It matters because social media is about being social and being social is about having active followers and friends. Gaining large number of followers is never going to work – First off, those followers aren’t active, and let’s say even if they are active, they aren’t your real followers. They followed you for money.

    And that’s the end to it. Of course, we could convince those people to be our actual followers, but I would rather spend time with gaining loyal followers from scratch than try to convert those paid followers into loyal followers.

    • http://tim-bonner.com Tim Bonner

      Hi Jeevan

      I couldn’t agree more with everything you have said.

      I get why people would do it but it just makes me suspicious if someone suddenly gains a whole load of followers overnight. It’s also kind of sad that these people feel they need to buy followers to gain fame or recognition. I’m sure it would impress some people but I think more and more people are also becoming wise to it.

      Don’t get me wrong though, Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber might easily be able to get a huge increase in their followers overnight so there are exceptions! But for everyone else, it takes hard work, patience and building some relationships and friendships to gain loyal followers.

      I was a little bit concerned about the title I gave this post but that’s the way I see it.

      Thanks so much for your comments Jeevan. They are always appreciated and thanks for stopping by.

      Tim

  • Chadrack

    Well said Tim. Frankly, I’ll never do it neither do I encourage anyone to do it. Like you said, social media is about interaction simply having numbers on your account because you want to feel good is retrogressive. I can’t really see why anyone will want that large twitter count. But as always since there are still many who want this many more will continue to engage in the business of selling twitter followers.

    • http://tim-bonner.com Tim Bonner

      Hi Chadrack

      Thank you for your comments.

      I guess it’s just about egos at the end of the day. What amazes me is that Twitter allow it although I guess it’s more publicity for them at the end of the day.

      Surely eventually Twitter are going to have to get rid of some of these computer-generated inactive accounts? There must be hundreds of thousands by now!

      The companies mentioned in my post also sell Facebook likes, Google +1s and other social media followers. It just goes against what these social media sites are about surely?

      Ah well, at least we’re doing the right thing Chadrack.

      Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog.

      Tim

  • http://adriennesmith.net Adrienne

    Hey Tim,

    Now that was a great headline my friend. Well done and it definitely got my attention.

    So, when you’re brand new to the online world of building a business it’s pretty likely that you’re going to be fed with this numbers crap. I mean who is going to take you seriously when you have no followers, no friends on Facebook, no comments on your blog posts, etc. It takes time to make those connections and as per my last two posts I’ve pointed out that we are an instant gratification society I’m afraid. People want things now and for the most part aren’t willing to wait for it.

    I did the numbers game in the beginning because I was taught that very same thing. I never paid for it but I have a feeling a lot of those people were either bots, fake or could care less about my stuff. So probably about two years ago now I started deleting everyone and just started over.

    That’s why you won’t see a lot of friends on my Facebook profile or me following a lot of people on Twitter. Quality over quantity any day and if you do that you’ll cut down on an awful lot of spam.

    So, guess you know what my answer is! Great post Tim.

    ~Adrienne

    • http://tim-bonner.com Tim Bonner

      Hey Adrienne

      Thank you for your encouragement and your great comments!

      I was a little worried about the headline but thought what the heck it’s what I think and if it grabs people’s attention all the better.

      It actually came about from one of your posts Adrienne How To Never Run Out Of Blog Post Ideas.

      I put three of your suggestions together based on what I read that day on a Google Alert about fake Twitter followers. Hey presto!

      I can see why people would want to buy followers; the instant gratification thing. I think it’s very short-sighted though. Whilst it might boost organic followers in the short term, in the end people would find you out based on the Tweets you make! I agree totally; quality over quantity any day.

      I’m not sure whether it’s the right thing to do but I keep my Facebook profile away from my business. I direct anything to do with my business to my Facebook page. Any friends on my Facebook profile at the moment are people I have actually met and know offline.

      Thanks once again for visiting my blog Adrienne.

      Here’s to a great week.

      Tim

  • Ife

    you don’t need to pay for ‘meaningless’-followers on twitter…. Just use the hashtag #teamfollowback #ifollowback and follow any one who follows you, you would have 30,000 followers within one month.

    • http://tim-bonner.com Tim Bonner

      Hi there Ife

      Thanks for visiting my blog.

      From my point of view using those hashtags completely misses the point of using Twitter. It’s about being social, creating lasting relationships and talking to one another.

      If you hashtag in this way you’re just going to get followers like sheep. It’s a lazy way to do things.

      It’s really the same point as in my post. It’s the quality of the network that you create not the number of followers you have.

      Thank you for your comments anyway, even if I don’t agree with using the hashtag in this way.

      Tim

  • Donna Merrill

    Hi Tim…Love that headline!

    As for me, I like quality better than quantity. I also cannot understand the concept of having fake followers.

    Twitter is a social tool. I do my own Tweeting, retweeting and answering someone who Tweeted me. It is conversational that way and to me more ethical.

    I’m not the ethics goddess, but it is simple common sense. I think if someone wants to impress people, it comes organically. It is conversational. Not automated.

    Plus..with all the spamming and scraping going on in the social media world, I like to choose my friends wisely.

    Thanks
    Donna

    • http://tim-bonner.com Tim Bonner

      Hi Donna

      I’m becoming a bit more confident about my headlines! Glad you liked this one.

      I totally agree with everything you said. Twitter used properly should be about making relationships and friendships. You have to gain people’s trust by making that connection.

      I like to try and make sure people who follow me are real. I’m not totally sure you can but I always look to see if they are Tweeting.

      You’ve hit the nail on the head there Donna. You definitely need to choose your friends wisely!

      Thank you so much for your great comments. I really appreciate them.

      Tim

  • http://pitytrain.com igor Griffiths

    Well Hello Tim

    I have received paid followers as part of a deal for YouTube views and comments both of which as you rightly point out were worthless but at first glance seem like a reasonable idea and actually recommended by some marketers!

    As many have pointed out, success in business comes from engaging with people and helping them, however if you cannot see the real tweets due to the high number of auto-posts then all you have done is harm your business in the long term.

    igor Griffiths

    • http://tim-bonner.com Tim Bonner

      Hi there Igor

      Thank you for visiting my blog.

      I can see why buying Twitter followers, Facebook likes or Youtube views and comments may seem tempting at first. I believe overall though it can damage someone’s reputation rather than enhance it. People get found out in the end!

      I think a lot of people are using auto-posts these days on Twitter. I don’t but I can see a point when it might be come useful. More so though for scheduling responses to Tweets. I use Tweetdeck generally for Twitter everyday use.

      I don’t like auto-post after auto-post from people as it just gets confusing! I especially don’t like too much advertising through auto-posting. I tend to stop following someone very quickly if they over-advertise.

      Thank you for your great comments Igor.

      I hope you are having a productive week.

      Tim

  • Matthew Stock

    Hey Tim-

    I couldn’t agree with you more. And loved the analogy! Def caught my eye.

    I’m new to Internet marketing consulting. I had a lot of success with inbound marketing at my basement marketing and decided to turn “pro” with the help of Marcus Sheridan.

    I never got caught up with meaningless metrics and always remained solely focused on generating lead and more sales. Not many people are interested in following the daily doings of a basement waterproofing company. When their basement is wet they go right to Google.

    For my Internet consulting biz, I guess it would be nice to continue to build a Twitter following organically, but the truth is most of them would never become paying customers. Tweets don’t pay the bills. Customers do.

    • http://tim-bonner.com Tim Bonner

      Hey Matthew

      Thank you for visiting my blog.

      I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing if your Twitter followers don’t become paying customers.

      I use Twitter just to make connections with people. Over time you will hopefully get some decent traffic back from Twitter to your website.

      Then that traffic may feel confident enough in you to sign up to your list. You can then do selling from there but don’t overdo it.

      If I’ve learnt anything so far about internet marketing, it’s that things take time!

      Thank you for commenting Matthew.

      Tim

  • http://billdorman.me Bill Dorman

    Yo Tim, of course I’m going to pop in on a post talking about sex. However, I was disappointed at the lack of pictures.

    Pay for followers…..ha….I’m so passive you have to show up on my doorstep for me to follow, but I will check you out so hopefully there is a chance of some interaction down the road.

    Having been in twitter for awhile I do know the majority of people are not floating, by screaming by in the twitter stream. So even if you follow me or I follow you I am likely not to see any of it unless you specifically tag me. Therefore, follow me follow you doesn’t mean much I suppose…at least to me.

    Insurance huh? You loved it so much it made you stay at home…..:). My youngest son is interviewing for a job at our agency next week. I’m excited for him; I think it will be a good fit.

    I have been to Edinburgh and St Andrews; paid for by an insurance carrier thank you very much. Feel free to ask me over anytime and we can play some links golf indeed.

    I have you in my Reader now….look out….

    • http://tim-bonner.com Tim Bonner

      Hey Billy Boy

      Glad to see you over at my joint!

      Lack of pictures, eh? Ah, I remember your post about butts… I’ll take a leaf out of your book the next time!

      I’ve been a busy boy on the Twitter front these past few weeks. I’m trying to get social there so I’ll remember to tag you.

      I enjoyed working in insurance and then pensions but became disillusioned in my last job. It seemed the right time to do something completely different and it’s made such a difference to our lives me being at home. In a good way I mean! We’ll be moving house in the next couple of weeks. My wife is going to be the Housemistress of a boarding house at the private school where she works. So we’ll all be living on site. Interesting times ahead.

      Good luck to your son. I remember you saying something about it over at your place. That’ll be great if you could work together. Does he know what he’s letting himself in for working with you?! Only kidding, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

      Hey pop over for a game of golf any time. I haven’t played golf in years though so it’d be pretty lousy!

      Thanks for the comments it was good to see you here! Does this mean I’ve made it now I have a Bill Dorman comment on my blog? ;-)

      Tim

      • http://billdorman.me Bill Dorman

        Absolutely; you have made it indeed….:)

  • http://joshuawilner.com/ Josh

    Hi Tim,

    I have thought about it from time to time but never done it. I know for a fact that I wasn’t hired for two positions because they looked solely at numbers and didn’t think that bots or inactive accounts would be an issue.

    Now maybe that is not the kind of client I or anyone else wants, but I understand why someone might consider taking a shortcut because there is potential for earning a buck from it.

    If you look at my numbers it is clear that is not how I am going about it, but…

    • http://tim-bonner.com Tim Bonner

      Hi Josh

      Thanks so much for visiting my blog.

      Wow, that was all about the numbers, hey? Don’t get me wrong, I can see why a company would be looking solely at numbers and also why people would want to buy popularity.

      I just think in the long term that could be a risky strategy. People tend to get found out in the end and then it’s all over the media.

      I guess some companies just want to bypass the whole purpose of the likes of Twitter and Facebook and that is being social!

      Thank you for your comments Josh. Have a great week!

      Tim