On the Black Market, You Can Actually Buy and Sell Bundles of Facebook Account Credentials

FacebookNPR has a great story about companies buying Facebook likes and what you might really be buying. Anyone who has been following me knows I preach… do not buy likes and followers. It will not get you anything. The only person who wins is whoever you are paying.

One statement really jumped out at me, “Another company that sells likes showed us a Nashville country singer who was a client. She had a lot of likes — mostly from Egypt.” Do you think for a second those are real fans who are going to support you? NO! You need to spend some time to seek out your fans. There is no easy button.

Here is article I recently wrote about the power of a small, real fan base.

Read this article and think about it.

by Steve Henn and Zoe Chace

For $75, This Guy Will Sell You 1,000 Facebook ‘Likes’ : Planet Money : NPR

Looking to get more popular on Facebook? Alex Melen will sell you 1,000 “likes” for about $75.

Melen runs an Internet marketing company. About six months ago, companies he worked with started coming to him more and more with a simple problem: They had created pages on Facebook, but nobody had clicked the “like” button.

“You would go there, and there would be two likes,” Melen says. “And one of them would be the owner. And people right away lost interest in the brand.”

For the right price, Melen can fix that.

Facebook knows an incredible amount about hundreds of millions of people — what they like, what they want, who their friends are, where they live. This is the key reason why investors think the company is so valuable. But that value only holds up if the data is real — if all those people actually like what they say they like.

When Melen sells likes to a company, he goes through an intermediary, who in turn could be working with people anywhere in the world. The people on the other end are just doing it for money. They get paid a very small amount — 10 cents, say — each time they like a company.

“Right now on the black market, you can actually buy and sell bundles of Facebook account credentials,” says Ben Zhao, a computer science professor at UC Santa Barbara. “Tens of dollars or hundreds of dollars for hundreds or thousands of Facebook accounts.”

In some cases, there are no people involved at all. Those fake accounts are controlled by robots and create fake data. (Melen says all his likers are real people.)

The people who pay Melen for likes range from an LED light bulb company to a publicity company for a reality show.

The show had 95,000 Facebook fans already, but it wanted about 25,000 more. These likes really matter to television networks, which sell advertising based in part on the number of likes they have.

Facebook knows this sort of thing is going on. And the company has created an elaborate system to root out bad data. It has social bot hunters whose job is to track down fake Facebook profiles and kick them off the network. But it’s still happening.

Another company that sells likes showed us a Nashville country singer who was a client. She had a lot of likes — mostly from Egypt.

via For $75, This Guy Will Sell You 1,000 Facebook ‘Likes’ : Planet Money : NPR.

4 Responses to “On the Black Market, You Can Actually Buy and Sell Bundles of Facebook Account Credentials”

  1. Chris
    December 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    This got offered to a page I’m an admin for, and I immediately turned it down. Some musicians are still in the old MySpace frame of mind where it’s only the numbers that matter and can be easily persuaded that this is a shortcut to great things. The overall number is not that important, but engagement is, and this will destroy any chance of getting decent engagement… Sure, it will look like you can increase your ‘fans’ by 500% or whatever, but you are effectively decreasing your engagement percentage. It also means money spent on legitimate ads and sponsored posts might be wasted as you are paying to get them shown to fake fans. The worst bit is there is nothing you can do about it once it is done – no way to get rid of those fakers. You are stuck with poor engagement and there is nothing you can do about it. Best thing to do is avoid like the plague to start with.

    Reply
    • Michael Brandvold
      December 23, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

      Facebook and YouTube have been deleting fake Likes and Views and Twitter is looking into doing that. Its just throwing money away if you buy fans.

      Reply
  2. Nicholas Buckland
    January 13, 2014 at 2:28 am #

    I suppose they would use it to leverage deals with modern-day record companies pumping up their status as opposed to thinking these people would actually buy their music. I suppose it’s not how popular you are but how popular you appear to be. KISS knew that, this is probably the modern equivalent. Although very embarrassinbg for the artist if ever it as revealed and they were found out to be investing money into “click farms”.

    Reply

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