If you were offered 10,000 Twitter followers for $15, would you take the bait?
No? Well, some people did…and they are being caught red-handed.
It may not cost a lot to inflate your Twitter followers, but the price of losing your reputation can be catastrophic.
A new Twitter application is dominating the social news circuit.
It claims to calculate the number of fake followers associated with a Twitter profile. Countless ordinary people are gregariously using the tool to check the accounts of some of the most high-profile people of this century—in every industry imaginable.
When I discovered the tool, I was immediately intrigued and wondered about its accuracy. I ran the tool on my account because I know I haven’t purchased any followers, and this is the result:
Whew! I guess I am safe, but the news isn’t as welcoming for other high-profile people such as Lady Gaga, Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, Barack Obama, top bloggers as well as entertainment personalities.
Take a look at these current stats:
Amitabh Bachchan: twitter.com/SrBachchan – 54% fake, 36% inactive, 10% Good
Barack Obama: twitter.com/BarackObama – 35% Fake, 36% inactive, 29% Good
Priyanka Chopra: twitter.com/priyankachopra – 49% fake, 39% inactive, 12% Good
Sachin Tendulkar: twitter.com/sachin_rt – 58% fake, 35% inactive, 7% Good
Lady Gaga / twitter.com/ladygaga – 30% Fake, 39% inactive
Justin Beiber / twitter.com/justinbieber – 27% fake, 41% inactive, 32% Good
Shakira / twitter.com/shakira – 36% fake, 43% inactive, 41% Good
So I am sure most of you do not care about Justin’s Beiber’s fake fans, but you may be interested to know the frenzy is not only isolated to the entertainment industry.
In a recent article, Fast Company discovered that the Senior VP of Shop.com had 81% fake followers and many other anonymous bloggers and marketing leaders are under fire for their shady behavior.
Negative Twitter Spam Anyone?
We know that negative SEO has been making headlines in recent months as Google has tightened its hold on the search results. I wonder if the birth of this tool could backfire on reputable people and create a movement of negative Twitter spam?
Imagine you are trying to outperform a competitor and you decide to purchase 50,000 fake followers for a competitor’s account. These rapid Twitter follower spikes are setting off red flags everywhere. Conservative author Louise Mensch’s Twitter follower count jumped from 66,000 to 110,000 virtually overnight. She attributes the rapid increase to spambots or a hacker attempt and asked for them to be removed.
Is the application 100% accurate?
In actuality, the tool is only accurate when assessing Twitter accounts with 100,000 followers or fewer since the application only measures up to this amount. So in the cases above, the application based its numbers on only 100,000 followers, which would make the percentages inaccurate for high-profile accounts. The application originally only assessed 5,000 followers.
Obama’s original fake percentage was 41% but with this larger dataset, it has decreased to 35%, while Romney’s increased from 12% to 15%. With the ambiguity and the varied number of followers, it is impossible to make an accurate assessment of either account.
But, for accounts with fewer than 100,000 followers, it may become a thorn in the side of people who have inflated their Twitter followers via monetary means.
Be Natural or Fake?
Every time we turn around, it seems as if the age of manipulating numbers, rankings and metrics is slowly becoming a distant memory.
I understand, though, why some people feel they need to resort to purchasing followers. They are faced with massive competition and it can be difficult to gain exposure even if what they provide is of supreme value. We have all been struggling with website downgrades and ranking issues even though many of our sites were following Google’s webmaster guidelines.
Even with this vast indifference, do you think it is wise to purchase Twitter followers?
One side of the fence claims it is the only way to be competitive…too many people are using manipulation tactics and getting away with it—it’s the only way to stay afloat.
The other side claims you should be natural at all times, regardless.