USA Today reported this week that there is a company in Australia that is selling Facebook friends. The company uSocial is charging up to $700 for 5,000 friends. Which breaks down to $.14 a friend. Which when you think about it is not much.
This is not the first time uSocial has been in the commercialization of social media. They started with Digg, and then went to Twitter and now Facebook. They say they are there to do the work the clients are too busy to do.
This sort of defeats the purpose of social media in my opinion. The purpose is to build a relationship with your consumers. A company can get you 5,000 friends but the relationship still has to be managed. I think you can have a company do this for you, if you’re 100% transparent. If you read this article, uSocial does it on behalf of the client with out disclosing that they and not the company are finding friends.
I don’t think this has caught on in the States yet, but I’m sure companies will be starting up in the future. Social media will be around for a long time to come, it’s not a fad like many out there are saying. It may not be Facebook or Twitter but it will be around in some form. Companies must manage the media and use it to further their relationships, not mine it for prospects.
I will be blogging more about managing relationships in social media very soon. It takes time and can build you advocates for your brand!