BetaBeat recently looked into the world of purchasing “friends” for their Facebook profile, finding companies such as Bulkfans.com which provide various consumer facing entities this service, generating revenue for companies such as NJ-based SocialJump.
The practice of buying friends on social networks is not illegal, but to many it seems unethical. SocialJump claims that it does not violate any of the social networks’ terms of service, as Matthew Prepis, director of client management, says to BetaBeat that those who pay for the service are “people looking to do anything for a little bit of money. There are proprietary networks where you can subscribe to do this for a living. It’s a lot of just random people.” Alex Melen, CEO, of the friend finder, said, “they’re kind of the wholesale suppliers, and we pay them. It’s not that the people are forced to like or subscribe.”
According to Melen, most of the subscribers which let the company use their names, are musicians and artists looking to build a following on their Facebook page or other social networking applications. In addition to SocialJump, other companies are feeding off people’s desire to be “liked.” FansGalore, SocialKik and Bulkfans.com all promise Facebook friends at a price. As for the friends BetaBeat purchased, the site found that reports that they many had stock photos, weird names and “suspiciously similar backstories.”