Celebs Buying Legions of Fake Online Followers

Reports are coming in that some of the world's biggest names have been purchasing their online fame by way of digital marketing company "Devumi."

Devumi is just one of several dozen companies which offer its clients Likes, Followers, Shares, Retweets and more in exchange for cash.

This in itself is not so shocking.  Devumi can provide high-paying clients literally hundreds of thousands of followers (the NY Times reports John Leguizamo, Kathy Ireland and Michael Dell are just a few of the firm's clients).

But who exactly are these "new followers" who seemingly come out of the woodwork to fulfill Devumi's side of the deals? 

  1. Devumi staff (including outsourced Filipino support)
  2. Bots (fake accounts)

Devumi staff are able to react to clients online postings as a real fan would, and accurately interact with the posts themselves.

Fake accounts on the world's most popular social networks (ie Facebook) number in the millions.  Customer service agents at those companies delete tens of thousands of fake accounts every single day.

It touches on a broader issue of how social networks inflate their "user" numbers to the public.  The dramatically high figures so often reported in the news as "billions of users" need to be understood as "billions of accounts."


Think duplicate accounts.  Ever forget your password and make a new account?  There's another one.  How about those oh-so-cute profiles people make for their pets?  Are they users?  No, more like accounts.

And none of those "accounts" fall into the largest category of "non-human operated" accounts, which would be the bots - fully automated accounts.

So what's with the appeal?  The obvious one is that of the eternally-running popularity contest.  

But beyond that, these top influencing individuals receive money through their powerhouse online presences.  The larger their reach, the more opportunity for the big social networks and online corporations to push their advertisements to.

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