Today, after noticing the trend worsen, I decided to look into it further. Since I have a handful of spare accounts, I thought I’d put one or two of them to use as a case study on buying Twitter followers. Yeah, I now, but hear me out.

Why bother? Just like email spam, this issue of fake Twitter accounts is getting out of control. Not only from dealing with them as followers but because they are becoming more difficult than ever to recognize. At least at a glance.

I feel many bloggers fall prey to this scam and a “case study” will help convince new bloggers that its a bad idea. I don’t want to sit there and say, “Don’t do it” without having actual facts to support the reasoning. To me, it’s worth a small investment in time and money if it helps others potentially save money, time, and their reputation. I have personally counseled two different bloggers that fell into the Twitter buying trap and one of them simply quit blogging altogether. I hate that.

Rather than sit around and bitch about what’s happening, I’d rather understand what it is, how it works, and what we’re dealing with. I have a feeling we’re looking at an immense network of ten of thousands of accounts linked to a mother account. I’m also betting this is something Twitter can put a stop to with one swipe of their programming hand.

The case study: I searched Google for “Buy Twitter Followers” and the results were exactly what one might expect. A bunch of sites selling fake Twitter followers. A couple of them even state that the followers are not real. Others leave that little detail out. Just disgusting.

I did find one site, other than the legitimate (and high priced) Twitter account management services, that says they don’t use bots but actual marketing to obtain the followers. They say the followers are real. To say I am skeptical is in gross understatement. Anyway, since I don’t want to start at the bottom of the barrel, I threw 17 bucks at it.

We’ll see how well it goes. Once the followers begin coming in, I’ll try to engage and see if they respond. Avatar photos and completed profiles does not mean they’re real.

I’ll also look for indications the accounts are linked. By that I mean, were they started by the same person or company to build a network of accounts at their disposal? If that’s the case, these are not “real” account either. I suspect there’s a lot of this going on. In fact, I know something like that is going on with several large accounts that I’ve found. This is going to fun.

Below I’ll attach a screenshot of my “before” Twitter profile as well as one of my purchase receipt.

Don’t try this at home kids, it could hurt your reputation, as well as risk your Twitter account. I’ll keep you updated on this blog.

before screenshot

 

purchase receipt screenshot

 

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