Back in the days of Myspace, you could buy friends, purchase song “plays” and find apps that mass-messaged users. Now, popularity scams have moved on to Twitter, granting the wish of anyone interested in lying about how popular they really are on teh Internetz.

This practice on Twitter has been existed for quite some time: according to a recent study by Barracuda Labs, the earliest known fake Twitter account dates back to January 15th, 2007 (@krails). Since then, there has been quite the pileup, as the study found at least 11,283 Twitter users that have purchased more than 72k fake followers. That’s big business for “dealers,” who can make “as much as $800/day for 7 weeks of selling followings if they can control 20,000 fake accounts.”

More nuggets:

  • The average price of buying 1000 followers is $18
  • There are 20 eBay sellers and 58 websites (within top 100 returns of searching “buy twitter followers” in Google) where people can buy (fake) followers
  • 53% of Abusers (those users who bought followers) have 4,000-26,000 followers
  • The average number of following for a fake account is 1,799

So how did these details surface? Over the course of 75 days Barracuda Labs purchased 20k to 70k followers for three test Twitter accounts and analyzed the data from there. The full study is definitely worth a look, so check out the link below:

➤ The Twitter Underground Economy