The Problem With… Buying Facebook “Likes”

Posted by on March 11, 2012

In 1963, American novelist Kurt Vonnegut published a book entitled, “The Cat’s Cradle” which explored the confrontation between technology and morality. While many critics dismissed the book on the grounds that it was far too satirical, Vonnegut shared an idea that wove itself into the fabric of our social subsconscience. His idea was simple, “In this world, you get what you pay for.

In the blog world, the amount of Facebook “likes” you have is directly proportional to your perceived worth. People are visual, and when they want to compare one artist’s size to another, they often use Facebook “likes” to determine an artist’s total reach. Conversely, for artists, Facebook “likes” can be the difference between getting booked and not getting booked. Purchasing “likes” increases “groupthink” a behavioral science theorizing that the probability of any individual adopting a trend or artist increases with the proportion who have already done so. Simply put, the more “likes” your Facebook page appears to have, the more likely that someone will take the time to discover your page.

Despite their motivations, buying Facebook fans is counterintuitive. There are many services, like, that offer pricing packages depending on how many fans you’d like to purchase. In their advertising, they promise a “100% money back guarantee.” What they don’t tell you, however, is that many of these supposed “fans” are bots and fake profiles. I recently looked at a certain artist’s page that I suspected of purchasing likes to see if I could spot any fake profiles. Here’s what I found:

Interesting to say the least. Take a look at those who are commenting and liking on the post below. Specifically at the first visible comment. I don’t know about you, but “Big Jilm” and his “funding” comment look suspicious to me. He’s either a man of few words, or he’s clearly a fake profile. Further, take a look at those who actually “liked” the post. John Gavin, check. 22 people, check. Free Ipad 2 Click Here, questionable. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

If you’re an artist who buys Facebook “likes” you can rest easy. I won’t be calling you out today. However, there is a service (NextBigSound) that I’ve embedded below that allows you to track an artist’s analytics with relative ease. Just plug in your favorite artist and let the debate ensue.

Although dated, Vonnegut’s central theme still holds true today. As we continue to advance technologically, we will inevitably face moral and ethical dilemmas. Fans want to support artists they believe in and trust. If you’re an artist that’s currently buying Facebook fans, reconsider your marketing plan. Your fans aren’t stupid, don’t treat them like they are. If you’re not where you want to be in relation to how many fans you think you should have, then make better music. That’s what it all comes down to. Besides, you get what you pay for.

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