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I get it…businesses want more fans. Each fan is an opportunity to not only reach a person on their terms, but also an opportunity to have your message shared to that person’s network. That is what we in the industry call a positive return on investment.

But just as I’ve argued in the past against software to boost your twitter followers and programs to auto-tweet for you, I “don’t like” buying fans.

I came across this blog post today, Pay Per Fan: What Big Brands Are Paying For Facebook Fans. According to the article, this is a normal cost structure for hiring a company to acquire new fans for you: 30,000 fans for $1.50 cost per fan
60,000 fans for $1.25 cost per fan
$20,000 per month to acquire 10,000 fans per month ($2.00 CPF)
4500 fans for $9,000 ($2.00 CPF) That’s outrageous. When you compare it to email lists, the prices aren’t absurd, but there is a difference. Not that I’m an advocate of SPAM or that I have ever supported direct mail, but at least with those things you can be fairly confident you’re reaching a target demographic. I can’t imagine how a company can guarantee 10,000 new fans a month that all fall within your brand’s target market, unless you sell toilet paper. I mean, everybody needs that, right? What do you think? Is this a fair practice? Should I lay off? Does this tactic trivialize those of us building actual a strong, engaged fan base? Tell us your thoughts!

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