A few months ago, I wrote about the boom industry of fake Twitter followers. Since then, the practice has become even more mainstream – so much so, that I thought I would try it out for myself.
Very recently, I began a personal side project (no clients involved) with a brand new website and a brand new corresponding Twitter feed. There’s nothing more discouraging that looking at a Twitter page with a single digit number of followers, even if you know that that number will grow fairly quickly. So, I thought about buying some Twitter followers.
I didn’t want my new Twitter page to explode overnight, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the experiment, so I turned to the site, Fiverr – where people do any number of things (from singing Happy Birthday in a Marilyn Monore voice to SEO) for just $5.00.
After doing my due diligence and reading reviews, I settled on a “seller” named “everythinggirl,” who promised me 1,000 “real” (as opposed to bot) Twitter followers within seven days. I approved the $5.00 charge through my PayPal account and reluctantly gave everythinggirl my Twitter password, which she said she needed because my account needed to follow people to get followers.
It didn’t take long. Within hours, Twitter followers started dribbling in. After around 24 hours, and a couple hundred Twitter followers, I logged into my new Twitter account to see what was happening, only to find that Twitter had suspended my account for following people to aggressively.
I checked the box promising to never do it again, changed my password and immediately instructed everythinggirl to stop the campaign.
Everythinggirl responded with a curt message blaming me for the suspension – saying it was because I was unfollowing her followers. Even after I explained that I didn’t start unfollowing people until after the account had been suspended, everythinggirl continued to blame me. She also continued to correspond with me, even after I left her several messages asking her to cease.
Eventually, she offered me a refund, which I refused, saying that I’d rather review her services. I have also taken the matter up with Fiverr and their response, thus far, is that I cannot review her services because she didn’t complete her services – despite the fact that she didn’t complete her services because I wasn’t happy with her services. Quite the Catch-22, huh?
In all sincerity, I don’t want a refund of my $5.00. I learned several valuable lessons, including a how-to in the relatively seedy world of fake Twitter followers. If you so desire, you can gather fake followers with a simple search. Today’s fake follower thread is #follobackinstantly. If you follow the person posting that hashtag, they will, presumably follow you back. Interestingly, all of the followers everythinggirl provided had similar hashtags.
I also learned that the reviews on Fiverr are rather suspect because if a buyer does get a bad service, the service has to be complete before it can be reviewed. If a buyer cancels before completion, their opinions will not be registered. If the seller fails to complete the service, the buyer can’t register a review – they can only get their money back.
Twitter seems to be on to the scam of fake Twitter followers. There are more “legitimate” companies who provide fake followers, and presumably not through the various “I’ll follow you back” users. Of course, they do cost more money.
As a business owner, you have to ask yourself if fake followers are worth the risk. Even if they get by Twitter, your feed will be loaded with “people” who seem very out of context with the rest of your Twitter page. It will be clear to any Twitter savvy real followers that the others are fake.
My new fake Twitter followers are now gone. Within a bit over a week, I have almost 100 real Twitter followers. Sure, that number is still very low, but it’s growing on a daily basis.