The Times reviewed business and court records showing that Devumi has more than 200,000 customers, including reality television stars, professional athletes, comedians, TED speakers, pastors and models. In most cases, the records show, they purchased their own followers. In others, their employees, agents, public relations companies, family members or friends did the buying. For just pennies each — sometimes even less — Devumi offers Twitter followers, views on YouTube, plays on SoundCloud, the music-hosting site, and endorsements on LinkedIn, the professional-networking site.
The Times goes on to name some people with fake Followers. I wouldn’t be so quick to rush to condemn those people. I was once the target of harassment on Twitter by some malicious bastard who was buying fake Followers for my account. It got so bad I had to scream at Twitter to delete them. For a time, I even had to Protect my account against the onslaught.
And this is a stupid metric that will collapse the entire industry of advertising and marketing and promotion:
High follower counts are also critical for so-called influencers, a budding market of amateur tastemakers and YouTube stars where advertisers now lavish billions of dollars a year on sponsorship deals. The more people influencers reach, the more money they make. According to data collected by Captiv8, a company that connects influencers to brands, an influencer with 100,000 followers might earn an average of $2,000 for a promotional tweet, while an influencer with a million followers might earn $20,000.
“Influence,” so-called, comes from trust, not popularity. I know lots of people in the publishing world with high Follower counts. I also know they’re crooked bastards who I wouldn’t trust to even pet one of my cats! You really want your company, product, or service associated with some sleazy fuck?
And this guy has the social media equation totally ass-backwards:
Several Devumi customers acknowledged that they bought bots because their careers had come to depend, in part, on the appearance of social media influence. “No one will take you seriously if you don’t have a noteworthy presence,” said Jason Schenker, an economist who specializes in economic forecasting and has purchased at least 260,000 followers.
People take you seriously based on your actions and what you tweet, dummy!
All of this makes me wonder — and I don’t have the inclination to do my own research — how many accounts in the “self-help/motivation movement” are infested with fake Followers? That’d be hypocrisy on the grand scale: While telling people to work hard, they go and inflate their Follower counts with bots instead of doing the hard work necessary to grow them.
Get off Twitter. Get off Facebook. They’re a time-sink scam and neither one has any reason to change the way they operate. It’s fraud all the way down.
Previously at Mike Cane’s xBlog: