Is There A Benefit To Paying for Facebook Fans For Your FB Fan Page?

In a world in which larger numbers provide proof of authority and expertise I wonder if there is a benefit to paying for fans for your Facebook Fan page.

I posed a similar question earlier this year regarding whether people should pay for Twitter followers and the general consensus was that it shouldn’t be done.

There is no doubt in my mind that organic growth is far superior to paying for fans, followers, comments, likes and all things similar. Dig through this blog and you’ll find lots of commentary about why comments are not currency and support for building your community around you.

Read through the various posts and you’ll find more than a few posts in which I referred to Steve Jobs as Voldemort and talked about the Cult of Apple. Yet if I was going to search for an example of a community of fans and fanatics Apple would be at the top of the list.

Think about it. It is not hard to find computers, cellphones, tablets and MP3 players for less than what it would cost to purchase the corresponding Apple Product but the Cult of Apple doesn’t care.

That is because Apple has convinced them that price is not the factor to base their purchasing decisions upon. They aren’t the low priced leader and you won’t ever see them be.

In a perfect world our community would be populated by that same rabid support.  The readers of this blog would tell their friends. family and colleagues that they HAVE to read this and that it is a mistake not to.

Building The Cult Of Jack

It could be fun to create my own cult. Hell, who doesn’t want minions and groupies. Minions and groupies are happy to do all the scut work and handle the chores you just don’t want to do, but I don’t see it happening. Nor do I really want it.

What I want is to build a bigger platform and to reach more people. What I want is to build a bigger community which leads me back to the initial question and more thinking out loud.

Is there a significant difference between advertising and paying for people. Would that provide a short cut to the top and or make it easier to break free of the noise? What is natural growth for a blog? What would happen if I spoke every month at various conferences about social media?

One could argue that the additional exposure and the inclusion as a speaker at a conference(s) might yield significant benefits and that I’d gain a lot of new readers/fans/followers that way. Of course I would still have to retain them, but let’s not get into details.

While some of this is clearly tongue-in-cheek I can’t help but wonder. Every where we look there are stories about this. Google Klout and see what you find. Read Mark Schaefer’s post about Klout scores and ask yourself what you would do if you saw an easy way to gain that exposure we were talking about.

Conclusions

Part of what I love about social media is that it affords the opportunity to experiment and to try things. That is what led me to Triberr and  it is going to continue to be part of what I do here.

I am going to keep poking, prodding, twisting and turning to see what happens. I might even try paying for those fans just to see what happens. There are multiple opportunities on Fiverr and I might give up my morning coffee and oatmeal to try it.

Will I feel slimy afterwards? Maybe or maybe not. I am experimenting and that requires taking some chances. Ultimately that won’t be what makes or breaks me. Content and people drive this corner of cyberspace. If I don’t provide content that makes you think/feel you won’t come back.

If I don’t work on building relationships with you it will make it that much harder to keep your attention.

So, what do you think about all this? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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  • http://www.brucesallan.com/ BruceSallan

    I still wrestle with both these concepts…buying followers for Facebook or Twitter. When I see someone on Twitter with tens of thousands of followers and  handful of tweets, I do NOT follow back. With FB, it seems if you don’t have organic “likes” they won’t stay there and then they’re meaningless! As with you, JB, I love Triberr and that does seem a great way to get more hits/views of our websites/blogs!

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @BruceSallan Hi Bruce,
       
      Even with the “organic” likes there is an ongoing question about how to keep them engaged and interested in what you are saying/doing/asking.
       
      I haven’t ever considered buying followers on Twitter because I always figured them for bots, so I don’t know why I don’t see things the same way on FB. Call it another case of logic and lack thereof.
       
      All I know is that we are both chasing similar dreams via similar paths so I always watch to see if you have figured out the secret formula. ;)

    • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

       @BruceSallan 
       
      There’s several reasons a person could have tens of thousands (or more) of followers on Twitter. The three most obvious explanations are as follows:
       
      1. They are an easily recognized celebrity, industry expert, spokesperson for a powerful brand, spokesperson of a group or generation, etc.
      (or)
      2. They participated in zombie-esque “follow” trains – popular among the MLM crowd 
      3. Bots (paid)
       
      I know a lot of people that fall into the second category. It was the big thing in the first two years of Twitter. 
       
      On the other hand, if we’re talking about engagement as Gini emphasizes, the limit may vary but rarely can a person consistently and effectively “engage” with more than 100 connections. A small army of Interns may extend that to 500. In fact, Guy Kawasaki used to say this was his secret recipe for social media.
       
      The problem, of course, is that your sincerity and intention does comes into question If you try to engage 20 new people per week. Or interns are acting as your surrogate. Because obviously you have little or no time to keep up meaningful conversations with the last 3 months of “keepers” ( lets say 12) as you move forward on this week’s 20. And there is something really creepy about interacting with someone – but not really,
       
      If we want to be virtuous in this regard, it’s not a choice of the lesser of two evils. The choice has to be to do no evil. Period. And that’s a doozy to be sure.
       
       

      • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

         @BruceSallan 
         
        I meant to say that it’s creepy to think you are interacting with someone but actually it is an intern, etc.
         
        That said, it is an old and long practiced technique. My first political internship was for a Congressman and that was all about me answering constituent letters as the Congressman. And I was just a dude in high school. But I still remember some of those letters. Some real heart breakers…

  • SmashFit

    @BruceSallan Happy Father’s day Bruce xo #friendsofricki

  • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

    An interesting question that comes up here: what can Jack do with social proof on Facebook?
     
    Does it support that unicorn otherwise known to us as organic growth? Does it really improve your conversion rate by percentage points? Or does social proof, like everything social, have it’s own set of faeries and urban myths? [grin]
     
    Jack, I can show you step by step how to get a minimum of 1,000 facebook friends and fans (real people) per month without paying anyone. Guaranteed. But would such truly be worthy of your time and effort?
     
    I’m unsure that it would be worthwhile. I don’t even know if you offer a specific product or service.
     
    Of course, there is a friendly fee that I must mention: one 64 ounce bottle of Dr. Bronner’s liquid Peppermint Magic Soap, one 64 ounce bottle of Masterpiece Classic BBQ sauce, and USPS Priority Global shipping to Romania.
     
    This special offer is only valid for Jack.

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @Faryna Hi Stan,
       
      Let’s cut to the chase at the moment I am not offering a specific product or service. The blog has led to freelance work in a number of areas. I have done a lot of writing and helped people with their social media efforts in a number of different ways but that wasn’t something that I advertised or promoted.
       
      I am not convinced that social proof is as big a deal as some people make it out to be, but I figure there is no harm in exploring it either.

  • http://www.newsuperaffiliateblog.com/ AdrienneSmith

    Well this topic definitely got people talking didn’t it Jack?  I agree with everyone, you have your own cult.
     
    Now I’m not paying for fans but I know someone who is and she’s got a killer business going.  Her reasoning behind this is to get them to her fan page so that she can share more valuable information with them which will entice them to opting into what she has to offer business wise.  Heck, she retired her husband from his corporate job is only ten months from using these methods so it does work.
     
    I just personally would prefer to grow my fan base a little more organically and per my last post I intend to get them asking me more questions there.  The way I see this, your blog is where you want your audience the most.  Or if you have a business, you want them on that site.  If Facebook were to shut down for any reason tomorrow, all that hard work would have been in vain unless you were able to get them to follow through with a particular call to action.  
     
    Okay, I rambled way too much on that one but I think you’re getting my drift here.  For me personally no way.  Great conversation piece though.  :-)  

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @AdrienneSmith 
      Hi Adrienne,
       
      You didn’t ramble at all. The fundamental question here is what happens when you pay for fans. Will they engage with you and if they do, where will they do it.
       
      I always push to keep my “clan” here as much as possible because this is where I have the most control. As you mentioned there is no way for me to prevent Facebook from shutting down my page.
       
      If they go under, change directions or decide that there is a TOS violation all the hard work we  put in there could be for naught.
       
      Have to admit that I am curious about this woman you mentioned and what sort of business she is running. It sounds intriguing.

  • http://www.richescorner.com/ richescorner

    I personally like the challenge of growing organically, rather than paying for an audience. I do think that it would be one way to raise your social proof numbers, but I’m not sure it’s worth it just to build up social proof.

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @richescorner organic growth is always superior in my mind. The question is whether there is enough of a benefit to try “gaming” the system. Not sure that there is, but…

      • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

         @TheJackB  @richescorner 
         
        Can anyone here define organic growth? [grin]

  • amikaeyla

    @johngarrettX @TheJackB So does it? Seems like someone must be benefiting given the number of folks selling the service.

    • johngarrettX

      @amikaeyla @TheJackB i wouldnt suggest unless you have specific criteria/expectations and put in enough research. check link for my tale lol

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  • nigelcameron

    @ginidietrich I really want to be able to buy friends; or at least rent them. High quality, reliable, guaranteed.

    • ginidietrich

      @nigelcameron LOL! Rent friends…now there’s a concept

      • nigelcameron

        @ginidietrich If Zuck thought about it I’m sure he would see its potential!

  • http://armentdietrich.com/ ginidietrich

    Doesn’t paying for your Facebook fans defeat the purpose? I always liken it to going to a networking event, standing in the middle of the room with your hand out, and people place their business cards in your hand. You go back to the office with a ton of business cards, but you didn’t talk to a single person. So, even though you’ll email them, they won’t return your email because you’re seen as spam. They don’t know you and now you’re spamming them. That’s not how it works.

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @ginidietrich
       
      Hi Gini,
       
      I suppose some of it depends on your goals. But couldn’t we come up with a discussion that is similar to the example I offered for @margieclayman only with a PR spin.
       
      We’ll use me again as the guinea pig, er client. The goal is to gain more readers. We pitch a bunch of media about Jack the writer/blogger and suggest that tons of people will love to read about a father’s thoughts on parenting/life/love and his fiction.
       
      As part of the media blitz we put together a party where the attendees eat, mingle and are given a book filled with my work.
       
      The best situation and most ideal is to build and develop relationships in the “usual” fashion. Do it via blogging- readers come to learn about the writer by reading posts and get to engage in the comment sections throughout the blogosphere.
       
      I like that better, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious if there were benefits to doing things the other way.

      • http://armentdietrich.com/ ginidietrich

         @TheJackB  @margieclayman But you’re building relationships with human beings and that can’t be forced. You  have to build trust. You can do that online now much more quickly and efficiently than offline, but it still takes time. It’s the only way it works. Buying fans or readers does not make you influential or someone that people want to read. It’s an ego-driven metric.

        • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

           @ginidietrich  @margieclayman It is primarily an ego driven metric and not a way to build a relationship.
           
          I have had many of my fellow parent bloggers grow irritated with me when I have pointed out that certain blogs don’t have as much influence as they like to say they do.
           
          The reason they average a gazillion comments or have a billion followers is because their content consists of giveaways and people love to win free stuff.
           
          One of the many things that prompted this post was my thinking about ways to market and promote my books. It is like putting the cart before the horse (haven’t finished writing them) but it was kind of fun to play with.
           
          I sat outside staring at the moon and wondered if there was an easy way to supercharge my exposure. Thought about whether an agent or publisher would “magically” discover me because of the additional exposure and thought about ways to make it happen.
           
          Some make sense and some are nothing more than blog fodder, but there is merit in exploring ideas. Space travel was scoffed at and so was the idea that the earth orbited the sun so…

    • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

      The American Marketing Association defines marketing thus:
       
      “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
       
      Marketing is many things. Obviously. Engagement is one among many marketing activities. Spam, however unfortunate and -perhaps- messy, is another. Nonetheless, I think everybody would agree that engagement and spam should not be confused.
       
      As Gini suggests, purpose will best help us define the marketing activity to which the end is best served.
       
      What’s the goal to be achieved? Does having 10,000 FB fans, for example, help you achieve a worthwhile goal? What’s at stake? if the stake is real and urgent, then we maybe it will be easier for us to talk about when and how that can be accomplished.

      • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

         @Faryna All good questions.

  • FrumeSarah

    This is a hard one because society seems to evaluate based on numbers. But for me, I am excited most by the conversations that happen on my blog. Far more exciting than a bunch of numbers.

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @FrumeSarah A while back a Chabadnik stopped me to ask if I had wrapped tefillin that day. I told him that I had and watched as he checked my arm to see if I had any lingering evidence.
       
      I laughed and told him that when you wrap at 7 am there are no marks to be found at noon. Anyway, we had a discussion about marketing and how to reach more people.
       
      If I remember correctly he said that he would gladly spend a million dollars to get people to show up at one of their functions. He didn’t expect to grab everyone but figured that they had to “capture” some of them and that would make it worthwhile.
       
      I don’t know if I agree completely, but I do agree that numbers seem to be weighted more heavily than they sometimes should be.

      • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

         @TheJackB  @FrumeSarah 
         
        The problem is not always simply about the perception (right or wrong) that bigger is better. Conversion rates can really suck. Nor does engagement always scale effectively and cost-effectively.
         
        That Chabadnik knew a thing or two. I bet he turn that million into five with a little luck. 

      • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

         @TheJackB  @FrumeSarah 
         
        The problem is not always simply about the perception (right or wrong) that bigger is better. Conversion rates can really suck. Nor does engagement always scale effectively and cost-effectively.
         
        That Chabadnik knew a thing or two. I bet he could turn that million into five with a little luck. 
         

  • http://www.AdamBritten.com/ AdamBritten

    Please keep us updated with the results of your experiment. I’m against paying for any kind of interaction on social media (and that includes missions on Empire Avenue, which is essentially paying, but with digital currency.) But I do support testing it out as a learning opportunity. But at any point when people are seriously doing it, they should think long and hard about what kind of image they are projecting. It’s easy to spot someone who is faking their way through this social media cloud.

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @AdamBritten Hi Adam,
       
      This is tied into our discussion about the advantages of reaching the “right” people. We are in agreement about that. I think you are right about asking whether it reflects poorly on people.
       
      I tell my children that when the lights go out at night and they are alone with their thoughts they will always know whether they did the right thing. I want to go to sleep feeling the same way.
       
      I will keep you and everyone else posted as to what I do. I think I am at 316 or 317 “fans” right now. If you see that jump dramatically you are welcome to ask if I paid for the others or to check the news to see if I cured cancer.

      • http://www.AdamBritten.com/ AdamBritten

         @TheJackB I’m hoping for the second ;)

        • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

           @AdamBritten You and me both. If I could I would do it immediately.

  • http://www.slymarketing.com/ Jens

    I believe that you already got your own cult, the cult of Jack is increasing every single day. You don’t have to pay. Just keep on doing what you’re doing. That’s more than enough.
     
    Happy Friday Jack.

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @Jens Hi Jens,
       
      I prefer to do build things that way because it doesn’t take any “work.” All I have to do is be myself and everything else falls into place. But, part of being me is digging around to see if there are other things I can do.
       
      Happy Friday evening to you.

  • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

    What is authenticity? I’m confused. Are we talking about the dignity of the human person? Oh really! [grin]
     
    Or is the kind of authenticity that we are talking about that eccentric iron gauntlet that is thrown down by the A listers – a moralistic propaganda perpetuated by unwitting and complicit gate keepers and acolytes?
     
    Sorry about the dramatic neo-deconstructionist text. But I had a profound Foucault moment. [laughing]

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @Faryna It is a reasonable question.
      it is

  • margieclayman

    I’m entirely against the concept of paying people to like you on social media platforms. Although words like “transparency” and “authenticity” are overused buzzwords, I think that they are still important, and this is an instance of why. How can your numbers be truly authentic if you are paying people? To me, it can’t be done. Then again, I’m trying to keep my humanity :) 

    • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

      It’s good to see Margie come to the party!

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @margieclayman Hi Margie,
       
      Thank you for coming by. I’ll use myself for an example. Would you view things differently if I gained new “fans” because I paid a million dollars to run an ad campaign promoting my blog?
       
      Is there a difference between doing that and buying some via a service?
       
      I go back and forth about some of it. I don’t know that I see significant benefits to be had by paying for more fans. I haven’t had to use my current numbers to search for work or tried to become a speaker at a conference.
       
      There may not be any correlation whatsoever between the two. And the idea of my having a greater shot at being “discovered” isn’t all that different from throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks.
       
      But, I like these kinds of discussions because they open up all sorts of ideas and I see a lot of merit in that.

  • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

    I got mail! Just now! From my President! [snicker]
     
    Stan,
     
    I’m about to sit down for lunch with a few grassroots supporters who are being flown in from Arizona, Maryland, Michigan, and Ohio. It’ll just be me and these four supporters, with enough time to relax and have a real conversation. I can’t wait. I’m not going to get to do too many more of these before November. That’s just a fact. So if you’d like to be there…
     
    Thanks,
    Barack

  • http://weforgotyounot.wordpress.com/ CrossBetsy

    Sharing a lesson I learned this morning…maybe you won’t see it. I do.
     
    My son’s (15) teacher gave him a pickle jar with a frog in it yesterday.
    My son, James, found him downstairs this morning, 2 hours ago.
    Turns out, frogs don’t like to be kept in pickle jars just swimming around.
    So I drove him to the pond and let him go.
    At first he was confused ’cause there were no other frogs around. But he swam away slowly anyways. That’s what frogs do.
    My son’s going to be mad at me. :)
    James wants him back, too.
    Everyone has an opinion.
    I sit and think about how much fun the frog is having…or maybe he has already been eaten by a big ‘ol fish? Maybe the pickle jar is looking pretty good right now? Doubt it.
     
    Blogs, frogs, business….you gotta be free (to experiment). 
     
    Have a happy day, Jack!

    • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

      It would have to be a pretty big pond and a pretty big fish, Bets. Or a snake. Or if it is a domestic-lab animal, it will just starve, languish and die. 
       
      If the frog was given to your son, why did you STEAL his frog? [laughing]
       
      Opinions and perceptions may and will abound. [smile]
       
      There’s still a lot of people on welfare that shouldn’t be. There’s also people who did their best and failed and they need help too. It makes my head and heart hurt to think about it.
       
      Here’s how I see it and it is not pointed at you, Bets…
       
      If you have to make the money that puts the food on the table, pays for the private school, etc. and you can make that happen, indomitable ignorance comes at a cost to you, yours, and all of us.
       
      Maybe, you only see the cost of your kids going hungry for a few days (until someone with more sense does your job as a caretaker and parent). Maybe you don’t care if they can’t get a proper education that prepares them to thrive in a competitive marketplace.
       
      But even if that is all you see, it’s a lot. A lot to be paid for having a poor opinion of what’s going on. And, if I read Jack correctly (and a hundred of his blog posts), he wants to make good enough to take care of his family via writing, blogging, etc.
       
       
       
       

      • http://weforgotyounot.wordpress.com/ CrossBetsy

         
         
         @Faryna My point to Jack was that he is right to do anything and everything to get the job done even if nobody agrees. Most great things happen when we take a risk to grow and to provide.
         
        I think we all have too many opinions about how others choose to do things instead of being supportive of ingenuity and drive. 
         
        I also agree with trying something new and watching to see what happens. You can only picture what you know before the adventure/experiment. During and after the new stuff appears that you weren’t aware of before. So the paying for “likes” and followers will teach something. What? Who knows. I’d love to try it.
         
         
         
         
         
         

        • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

           @CrossBetsy 
          I thought that’s what you meant. [laughing] But I wanted to have a little fun.

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @CrossBetsy Hi Betsy,
      I love experiments. Emerson has a great line about all life being an experiment and that we should make as many of them as we can.

      • http://weforgotyounot.wordpress.com/ CrossBetsy

         @TheJackB Question (I don’t have the time to research the answer). How much $ for how many likes?
         
        I know that IF I want to put up affiliate links on my blog it has to be self-hosted (cost to me), but since my traffic is too low, I can’t always get that going.
         
        So, does paying for the “likes” justify the commission (if clicks convert to purchase of product from affiliate)?
         
        In other words (and I don’t even know if any of this is right!) do I get my money back for the cost of the blog and “likes”? Better yet, if my traffic is low but “likes” are high, why would I expect to get ANY commission?
         
        If there isn’t enough traffic naturally (because real people are stopping by AND “liking” my Facebook page, isn’t it logical that a higher % of them would click on those affiliate links?
         
        Do you get what I’m asking?
         

        • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

           @CrossBetsy Betsy,
           
          If you use Fiverr it costs $5 bucks but there is no guarantee that any of the “likes” or people that come from that will choose to engage with you.
           
          That is assuming that they are real and not bots. It is possible that some of them might start reading but you still run into the same challenges of convincing them to click and purchase from affiliates.

  • rdopping

    Isn’t the whole thing ego driven? Whattya want to pay someone for to get people to like you? C’mon, really? Hey, who am I to say, if it works for you then have atter but just remember to ask yourself, do these bought friend really care about me?

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @rdopping Hi  Ralph,
       
      I don’t want/care/need people to like me. That is my gut reaction. It is how I blog and it is how I live.
       
      But, I have “bigger” goals and plans that I am interested in so I figure there is nothing wrong in opening up the floor to share my thoughts and ask for yours.
       
      There are two “ideas” behind this. Bear in mind that these are rough concepts and that we can tear a lot of holes in them. I will be the first to say that there is more value in a targeted list than in scattered buckshot.
       
      However that doesn’t negate certain things. People do look at numbers and not all of them take the time to pick them apart.
       
      For example what impression do people get when they look at two FB pages and see that one has 50,983 “fans” and the other has 300? Do they automatically assume that the one with the larger number is “better” or that the person/company is smarter etc.
       
      Ideally people will do more than make a judgment off a single glance, but in practice I am not so sure.

  • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

    I could write a dozen blog posts about this subject with both arms tied behind my back, blindfolded, and knees busted with a baseball bat. And I’d still have a big grin on my face.
     
    Oh – that reminds me. I just got an email from David Axelrod.
     
    Who the heck is Dave Axelrod?
     
    Dave is the former senior advisor to President Barack Obama. Now he’s slumming on the online Obama campaign.
     
    …………………………………………………………………..
     
    Stan,
     
    This is a make-or-break moment for middle-class Americans — and anyone who cares needs to watch the speech President Obama made in Cleveland today.
     
    In this election, we face a choice between two fundamentally different visions of how to grow the economy. The path Mitt Romney and his Republican allies want to take us down is exactly the one that led us to the 2008 crisis. We have to reject those policies and embrace the President’s vision of growing the economy, not from the top down, but from the middle class out.
     

     
    As supporters, it’s on us to get this message out there.Watch the President’s speech, and share it with your friends, family — heck, share it with everyone you know.
     
    http://my.barackobama.com/The-Presidents-Vision
     
    If you can, please donate today.
     
    Thanks,
     
    David
    …………………………………………………………………..
     
    I hope I haven’t offended you, Jack. By pasting half of the message here. I know you don’t like to link out wildly. But I assure you, my friend, my intention is not to promote the Obama campaign. I’m just trying to keep this discussion real.
     
    My intention is to illuminate the conversation you’ve started in this blog post and extend it to include spam, marketing, blah blah blah. I’ve attempted to opt-out of the Obama spam campaign several times and my several attempts to opt-out have failed.
     
    Cutting to the chase, an American president, a first lady, and a former presidential advisor (and others) have no problem marketing their cause, their ambition, and their ideas. Via spam and other means – but my emphasis is on marketing. Their dignity, reputation and outcome are none the worse for wear.
     
    Now what we need here at Jack’s place is an honest debate. I think that’s what Jack wants more of.
     
    This particular debate is about two fundamentally different positions. This isn’t some abstract debate.
     
    This is the defining issue for you and me as bloggers and social media users. It’s about economics, it’s about us and it’s about social and it’s about a choice about how to make our dreams happen – or not.
     
    This is about a make-or-break choice that will have enormous impact on the outcome. Yours and mine.
     
    At stake is not a choice between two roads diverging in a yellow wood a la Robert Frost. One road is grassy and wants for wear. The other bends in the undergrowth. That’s poetry, indeed.
     
    The debate is about whether we make our dreams happen or we beat a dead horse with puritan-victorian prejudice and disdain.
     
    Yes, I’m still talking about whether or not you should be paying for fans, followers, subscribers, or other what.
     
    The pithy, insightful answer to Jack’s question is that one is neither serious nor likely to succeed in what they are doing (dream making or otherwise) if they are not doing marketing.
     
    Side Note:
     
    WTF does organic mean?! Take your “organic growth model” to Harvard’s Business School and see how those idiot professors won’t be able to stop laughing at you. [grin]
     
    Go to Coca Cola’s Board of Directors tell those people in bespoke $10,000 suits and bespoke $5,000 shoes about organic growth. Then ask them for the VP job of sales or marketing. Think they’ll recognize your genius? Will they hire you on the spot? 
     
    Don’t forget to remind them that you got your MBA from the business school of Twitter, Facebook, and Bloggy. Or that you know all about that guy that founded a company in his Harvard dorm room and took it to a 100 Billion Dollar valuation with organic growth.
     
    Note to the note:
     
    The point of sarcasm is often to cut to the chase. My use of it here is pointed at no one in particular.
     
    P.S. The success of Facebook and Twitter had nothing to do with organic growth.

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @Faryna Hi Stan,
       
      To a certain extent we could compare this to engaging in Machiavellian tactics. Is there a benefit to doing whatever it takes to “make it work.” If we pay/use tactics that some would scoff at but end up with a “positive” result have we gained or lost.
       
      You are right I am interested in an open debate and I want to talk about goals and ways to achieve them. This is community building on both sides and in between.

  • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

    I could write a dozen blog posts about this subject with both arms tied behind my back, blindfolded, and knees busted with a baseball bat. And I’d still have a big grin on my face.
     
    Oh – that reminds me. I just got an email from David Axelrod. Who the heck is he? Dave is the former senior advisor to President Barack Obama. Now he’s slumming on the online Obama campaign.
     
    …………………………………………………………………..
     
    Stan,
     
    This is a make-or-break moment for middle-class Americans — and anyone who cares needs to watch the speech President Obama made in Cleveland today.
     
    In this election, we face a choice between two fundamentally different visions of how to grow the economy. The path Mitt Romney and his Republican allies want to take us down is exactly the one that led us to the 2008 crisis. We have to reject those policies and embrace the President’s vision of growing the economy, not from the top down, but from the middle class out.
     

     
    As supporters, it’s on us to get this message out there.Watch the President’s speech, and share it with your friends, family — heck, share it with everyone you know.
     
    http://my.barackobama.com/The-Presidents-Vision
     
    If you can, please donate today.
     
    Thanks,
     
    David
    …………………………………………………………………..
     
    I hope I haven’t offended you by pasting half of the message here. I know you don’t link to link out, sometimes. But I assure you, my friend, my intention is not to promote the Obama campaign. I’m just trying to keep it real.
     
    My intention is to illuminate the conversation you’ve started in this blog post and extend it to include spam, marketing, blah blah blah. I’ve attempted to opt-out of the Obama spam campaign several times and my several attempts to opt-out have failed.
     
    Cutting to the chase, an American president, a first lady, and a former presidential advisor (and others) have no problem marketing their cause, their ambition, and their ideas. Via spam and other means – but my emphasis is on marketing. Their dignity, reputation and outcome are none the worse for wear.
     
    Now what we need here ay Jack’s place is an honest debate. That debate is about two fundamentally different positions. This isn’t some abstract debate. it is the defining issue for you and me. It’s about economics, it’s about us and it’s about social and it’s about a choice about how to make our dreams happen – or not.
     
    This is about a make-or-break choice that will have enormous impact on the outcome. Yours and mine.
     
    At stake is not a choice between two roads diverging in a yellow wood a la Robert Frost. One road is grassy and wants for wear. The other bends in the undergrowth.
     
    The debate is about whether we make our dreams happen or we beat a dead horse with puritan-victorian prejudice and disdain.
     
    Yes, I’m still talking about whether or not you should paying for fans, followers, subscribers, or other what.
     
    The pithy, insightful answer to Jack’s question is that one is neither serious nor likely to succeed in what they are doing (dream making or otherwise) if they are not doing marketing.
     
    Side Note:
     
    WTF does organic mean?! Take your “organic growth model” to Harvard’s Business School and see how those idiot professors won’t be able to stop laughing at you. [grin]
     
    Go to Coca Cola’s Board of Directors about organic growth and then ask them for the VP job of sales or marketing. Think they’ll recognize your genius and hire you on the spot?
     
    Note to the note:
     
    The point of sarcasm is often to cut to the chase. My use of it here is pointed at no one in particular.

  • http://hypertransitory.com/ John Garrett

    I can speak from personal experience on this one. About 2 years back I paid a service to add 1,000 fans to my Facebook page. It was an unmitigated disaster.
     
    Immediately I could see that it was purely bots with Justin Beiber and Chris Brown avatars. Either that or non-native english speakers who I wouldn’t be able to interact with even assuming they were real.
     
    Get this, the service “over-delivered”. So instead of 1,000, I got about 1,500. Thanks. I had to delete all of them one at a time. Aargh, my achin’ carpal tunnel…
     
    If you check my page now, I only have about 300 fans, it’s taken me all this time to get to that naturally lol. Oh, well.
     
    Now there’s other services out there and the game is undoubtedly different. People are more savvy and with reviews sites and such people will know if they’re buying bot fans.
     
    I will say this: the only time I would consider buying fans like that again is if I had a page I was trying to get started and I just didn’t want to suffer the embarrassment of single-digit fans while I tried to build up real connections.
     
    As long as you go in armed with the knowledge that these are either bots or people who are likely not going to interact with you or help your brand/site in any way except to just sit there as placeholder squares in the Like Box then you should get what you pay for.
     
    I wouldn’t demonize anyone for trying it out. I hope whatever services you use manage to add some value to your community!

    • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

      John makes an excellent point. Whatever you do, do what adds value.

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @John Garrett Hi John,
       
      I appreciate your sharing your story with us. One of the reasons that I have been hesitant to try it was because I had some concerns about whether it would generate lots of off topic comments that would require extra work to monitor.
       
      I also wondered who I would end up with and whether there would be any engagement. So then I thought about whether there would be benefits from having a “bigger” number to present.
       
      But then I thought about tossing out the idea just to see what people thought and to find out if anyone had experiences with it. Thank you again for sharing.

  • http://judyleedunn.com/ JudyDunn

    Well now. Andrea’s comment on my blog that Jobs is Voldemort is making more sense now. Ha! Didn’t know where that came from.
     
    I guess I’m old-fashioned. (What was that old Smith Barney commercial (probably before your time), “We make money the old-fashioned way. We EARN it.”)? I won’t pay to get followers. And if I did, they would be fickle and not necessarily interested in  my content. I’ve seen those Fiverr promotions and they are not relastionships. They are just transactions. 
     
    On speakers, I know for a fact that Bob (@bobwp) has exploded his visibility by speaking at conferences (BlogWorld, various WordCamps, etc.) That kind of networking, I think, is worth its weight in gold. 
     
    Good luck with that cult. But just watch out for Voldemort.   : )

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @JudyDunn Hi Judy,
       
      You are absolutely correct about those being transactions and that they aren’t followers. However I do have some thoughts on this regarding what I would do if I had more resources.
       
      If I had the spare cash I would try running an ad campaign or two. It is a way to promote the blog and it is not all that different from the Fiverr stuff. It doesn’t sound or feel as icky but I am curious to see what would happen.
       
      Perhaps nothing would come from either, but I am not 100% convinced of that. I know a lot of people besides Bob who have made dramatic inroads by speaking at various conferences.
       
      That is a different sort of advertising because it provides a face to face opportunity to “prove” your expertise and authority.  It is also a chance to share content.
       
      It is a good way to build relationships and it very well could be how I do things one day. For now I don’t know what will happen, I am just playing around with ideas.
       
      As for Voldemort, well I am well aware of where that dude is hiding. :)

    • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

      I appreciate Judy’s fear of market dynamics, business, and worldly success. There is a dark and evil spirit at play in these things, indeed.
       
      Neither Smith Barney, Rockefeller, nor Dale Carnegie understood old-fashioned the way Judy does. That’s not a criticism, it just is. If you don’t recognize Dale’s name, he was the the author of that wildly best-selling (and friendly) book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. That’s not a criticism, it’s just a correction.
       
      From wikipedia:
       
      Perhaps one of [Dale] Carnegie’s most successful marketing moves was to change the spelling of his last name from “Carnagey” to Carnegie, at a time when Andrew Carnegie (unrelated) was a widely revered and recognized name.
       
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dale_Carnegie
       
       
       

  • http://billdorman.me/ bdorman264

    Hells bells, try it; if it makes you feel icky just shut it down. 
     
    Growing organically might give you a more solid core but it could take much longer too. I think finding a way to get on the speakers bureau at some of these conventions is an excellent way to get ‘known.’ 

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

       @bdorman264 I have to find a listing for a person that sounds like they are “honest” and then I’ll take a hard look at it. I am pretty sure I’ll try it and see what happens.
       
      As for the speaking, well after I figure out what is going on with the deal I am working on I can look into doing something like that a bit more seriously.

    • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/ Faryna

      How do you think an organic growth model would do in the insurance business, Bill?
       
      You don’t have an ad in the phone book, you sit on the porch, and hope someone stops by to buy insurance from you. If that works and it pays well, please hire me Bill.
       
      Disclaimer:
       
      i have not personally paid for fans or followers but I have advised clients to do so. And I have managed such transactions on behalf of clients.

      • http://billdorman.me/ bdorman264

         @Faryna Stan the man, we took our ad out of the yellow pages 20 yrs ago. We aren’t quite that laid back in trying to identify prospects, but identify them we do as we want them to be a good fit for our model. We expect our relationships to be long term and you don’t get that typically from ‘shoppers’ and this is who you attract through the yellow pages. 
         
        I am my own ‘Me, Inc’ but when I’m out and about networking people know I am interchangeable as Lanier Upshaw Inc. 
         
        We’ve been in business since 1941 and still locally owned so it has been a sustainable model so far. 
         
        A lot really depends on what your model is and what you are trying to accomplish with your efforts, right?