Buying Followers in the EDM Scene; Who’s Faking It?
In the age of social media being used as a primary tool of marketing, a measure of true ‘influence’ within a space more now than ever, brands, companies, and celebrities utilize the sheer size of their fan base as a way to assert dominance in the industry and amongst their peers. That being said, it should surprise no one that some of these major success stories are not 100% the ‘social media strategies’ we are told constantly by the media, but in fact ‘fronts’ created by a phenomenon known as ‘buying followers’.
Buying Influence, Tanking Credibility
You may have noticed my constant mention of ‘buying followers’ lately on Twitter and how I think it invalidates the credibility of those who utilize it to get ahead (Not to be confused with ‘promoting tweets’ or ‘promoting handles’). But to take a step back, how does one exactly ‘buy’ followers? In 2012 Fast Company released an article exposing the practice of ‘buying followers’, and highlighting tools such as StatusPeople and Klout as measurement systems that help determine influence as a measure of ‘active follower’ interaction; separating the inactive fake ‘bought’ followers from active genuine fans. According to Fast Company, on websites such as buytwitterfollowers.org, as many as 5,000 ‘fake’ followers on Twitter can be bought for as little as $77, while on sites like usocial.net a massive 4,000 Facebook followers goes for an approximated $617. What does a ‘fake’ follower look like? Blogger Zach Bussey describes these mindless bots as a ‘jumble of letters.’
So Who’s ‘Fronting’?
So this got me thinking, how many of my beloved producers, DJs, and EDM anon handles are big fat fakers? If we use the tools mentioned by Fast Company, we might be able to do ‘background checks’ on followers and see exactly whose audience in engaged…and whose in comprised on mindless zombie accounts.
So who cares if you ‘fake it to make it?’…as it turns out, a lot of people do
“Turns out, buying followers is probably the worst kept secret in all of social media — and it has a potential for a nasty and public backlash.” Lauren Hockenson, The Next Web
When it was recently alleged that DJ Bl3nd bought his Facebook fanbase, it set off a backlash of negativity. In a heated exchange of Twitter, Diplo and DJ Bl3nd traded choice words (and later blows) as to whether Dj Bl3nd’s astoundingly (and suspiciously) high follow count on Facebook (~3 million) was a loving fanbase….or a purchased front.
So to test the validity of Diplo’s accusations, I ran the most thorough check of his Twitter (I realize it was his Facebook under fire, but I operate primarily on Twitter) on as many recognized validation sites as I could muster. Now, we must take into account that ‘bot’ accounts affect everyone, and that someone with between 1-5% fake followers is probably in the clear (or possibly has been targeted by those obnoxious ‘teamfollowback’ drones) and that being said, I think it’s fair to establish that at least 70% of your followers should be active of ‘good’ followers as according to StatusPeople’s ‘faker’ test (honestly, in school anything less than a 70 is failing, so why not apply it here?). In terms of ‘inactive’ followers, while some listing might appear to be in the red (more than 10%) having up to 30% inactive users is completely normal, and may reflect that some of your followers may be less-active twitter users (made an account, followed you, forgot, barely tweet…it happens). The number to really keep an eye on, and the comparison of ‘fake‘ to ‘good‘.
What I discovered was that after utilizing suggestions from as many the various credible tech news resources, Diplo may have some validity in his claim…but isn’t exempt from it either. Both he and DJ Bl3nd are reported to have more than 20% ‘fake’ followers, and less than 60% ‘good’ and active followers. While this seems a bit harsh to jump and assume either of these people are buying up followers, I did come upon some accounts with much more obvious implications. After digging around some more, a put together a small sampling of some handles who appear to buy followers, and some who probably don’t*:
(I left Diplo in there just for comparison)
I’d like to say for the record, that I have the utmost respect for all the producers, DJs, and anons listed….and I realize that these results more than likely reflect poor decisions by their PR agencies / management. I still love and respect your music, drive, and passion; truly.
*All results are not 100% conclusive, and are merely meant to shed some insight into which accounts ACTUALLY have active followers. I cannot speak 100% conclusively if these ‘fake’ followers were bought or not (only if they might have been).
It is important to note that these tools are publicly available, free, and gauge the activity and inactivity of your followers. Go check it out for yourselves.
This entry was posted on April 29, 2013 by ragehound. It was filed under Teachings of Mama Hound and was tagged with bad kids clothing, Buying, Dancing Astro, DancingAstro, Diplo, DJ Bl3nd, edm, EDM Lounge, EDMLounge, Fake, Faking It, Fan-Farming, Fast Company, Followback, Followers, Klout, Oops, Op Ed, opinion, Optimize, scene, Score, Social Media, Stats, StatusPeople, Steve Aoki, Strategy, Team Followback, Truth, Twitter, Twitter Counter, Will.I.am.