Having a strong social media presence is key for us photographers, word of mouth advertising at its finest. The hardest part is getting your following started, those first couple hundred likes are the slowest. To try and make themselves appear more popular some people are turning to the black market to buy likes and followers, and according to a Reuters report they are paying more than one would pay for fake credit card numbers.


The beast behind this is Zeus, a computer virus originally designed to scrape credit card numbers, which has been modified to create fake likes and followers to build a “buzz” for companies and users of Instagram. These likes and followers are sold in batches of 1,000 on hacker forums for as little as $15 per 1,000 for followers, and $30+ for likes.

As I mentioned above the idea behind this is that if you can create the perception that your business or product is popular then real people are more likely to jump on the bandwagon and like/follow your stuff too. It is dishonest and can be really expensive, but it works when done right. I would be lying if I said that I was ok with people doing this, but at the same time I can totally understand the allure.

I mean think about it, you are new to an area and you are trying to create a buzz for your new business. You could spend lots and lots of money on advertising, or you could spend a little bit of money on some fake likes and followers and in addition to your real likes/followers build the “popularity” of your business.

What are your thoughts on this? let us know in the comments below.

[via Reuters]