Imagine instantly funneling thousands of friends and followers into your Facebook page or Twitter account for a few hundred bucks. The prospect may be tantalizing but services promising this are usually a bad way to go about social media marketing, or just a scam altogether.

8/27/2010 6:00:00 AM By: Nestor E. Arellano

As a child you probably heard your teacher or mother tell you: “You can’t buy real friends.”

Well the same is true in the world of social media marketing, according to several online marketing experts.

Sometime last year, Brisbane, Australia-based Web company uSocial began a widely controversial service of offering to provide businesses with Facebook fans and Twitter followers. The deal was $177.30 could buy you 1,000 brand new Facebook friends or Twitter followers.  Accumulating online friends and followers is a slow process for many start-up companies leveraging social media to improve awareness about their products or services, and this could be an enticing offer.

Link to Video: Michelle Corsano – Tips on Social Media Marketing

// uSocial also a Front Page service which guarantees to get your Web content on the front pages of social bookmarking sites. Many online businesses rely on positive “votes” they get from social bookmarking site visitors to generate traffic to their site. Since it typically takes hundreds votes to land the coveted front pages of social bookmarking sites as Digg, Yahoo!, StumbleUpon and Buzz typically you can see how many businesses might view this offer as a “bargain”.

Leon Hill, the 23-year-old creator of uSocial claims he figured out a way to boost the amount of votes a Webpage could receive by as much 1,000 within 24 hours. This means “a Website would sometimes be placed in front of millions of online Web-surfers’ eyes in a day or less,” he said in a press release.

Why should you buy “friends”?

“Every Facebook fan or friend you have is generally worth $1 to you per month, which is a figure anyone using this site correctly can back up. This means that even on a purchase of a 1,000 friend pack, you will not only return your investment in the first month, but earn more than five times what you’ve invested. Try and tell us that’s not a great investment,” according to uSocial.

However, social media experts tell that “buying friends” might not be a wise investment after all.

Social Media’s dark side

“This sort of business represents the dark side of social media,” says Michelle Corsano, referring to the practice of buying and selling online followers and friends.

The president of Burst Technology Marketing, a Toronto-based business-to-business online marketing firm believes organizations offering such services are shortchanging their business clients and companies buying online friends are doing their customers a disservice.

Corsano raised the point that fan purchasers can never be sure that the followers or fans you bought are genuine entities that will interact with your community or purchase your product. “What’s more, if you place these followers on your site, you’re lying to other followers who flock to you based on the belief that other people find your site worthwhile to follow,” she said.

Page Navigation (connects to articel source at

1) uSocial’s controversial services seem tempting. – Page 1
2) Businesses feeling the pressure to be popular on social networks. – Page 2
3) Top four reasons you should buy online friends or followers. – Page 3

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