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Online friends and 'likes' for sale

15:30 AEST Wed Apr 18 2012
AAP
Facebook fans and Twitter followers 'for sale'
Facebook fans and Twitter followers 'for sale'

Money can buy you friends- online at least.

Twitter followers and Facebook fans are for sale online, as scores of businesses offering thousands of fans or ‘likes’ on social networking sites come out of the woodwork.

The growing trend is alive and well in New Zealand, with a Trade Me listing in Birkenhead offering 1000 worldwide Facebook fans for just $49.

The business is run by 18-year-old Auckland University student Michael Khuwattanasenee.

Mr Khuwattanasenee told the New Zealand Herald he had two employees in Bangladesh who used "mass email methods" to get the fans in a couple of days.

He could also find Twitter followers and get views on YouTube videos, he said.

He had seen the value of having a large number of Facebook fans as he did not get much interest in his businesses until he had 2000 likes on his Facebook page, he said

There are free services, such as Increase Your Likes NZ, where businesses get together and "like" one another.

The site's administrator, Michelle Goulevitch, said it was better to have fans among New Zealand social network uses - as opposed to buying them worldwide.

"The argument I have with people who say 'I want to get my likes organically' is that's cool, go for it. But this is a proven method that works. It's about increasing your reach. You've got to move with the times," she said.