Industry News

Fake Twitter Followers Are Big Business

 NL- according to, of my 10,000+ followers, I have 3% fake, 23% inactive and 74% good followers. You can check any twitter account with this app. It’s free.

 by Naughty Tweet Network CEO Pete Housley:

Last week a story hit tech-news site Mashable about a company called which had developed a tool to check Twitter accounts for “fake followers.”

As Mashable reports, its first target was President Barack Obama; according to the company’s analysis “about 30% of Obama’s followers—or 5.7 million—were labeled as fake by the analysis, while nearly 40% were found to be inactive.” This was in response to some accusations that presidential contender Mitt Romney had illicitly added 200,000-plus followers.

A few months ago Porn Star Tweet issued a series of warnings to adult industry performers and companies who were purchasing or acquiring Twitter followers by means not condoned by the Twitter rules and terms of service. This started a groundswell of emails, tweets and telephone calls from all over the industry—some tattling on others who they knew “bought followers,” some concerned over being outed. Perhaps worst of all, the companies that had been looking to finally jump into social media and invest some dollars could have been scared away.

As evidenced by the Obama story, and now one about Lady Gaga having “fake monsters,” the problem is not localized to the adult industry but is widespread. A quick search on Google will provide you with a slew of options to “Buy Twitter Followers.” For the budget minded, check out the variety of options on where you can add 20,000-plus “real looking followers’” for a mere $5.

Seems like a great idea to talk to 20,000-plus followers for so cheap, right? Well, it would be if these were real people at the end of these accounts, but they’re not. It would be like packing a ballroom for a seminar with cadavers, which is sometimes how we feel when we talk to people about this subject.

Where did this all start? A few companies early on noticed that social media was a platform that would work for them, and they looked to endorse some performers and platforms to reach their followers. Porn Star Tweet is one of those platforms that has been supported by many such companies over the last three years.

When people started noticing that there was money in social media they started looking for fast ways to get into the business. Being that the number of followers seemed to be the key metric by which companies were measuring who to sponsor, buying followers seemingly offered a quick way to reach the top.

Porn Star Tweet is not an organization here to police adult entertainment and social media. Many people contacted us saying we should name names and out the individuals and companies cheating. But the facts aren’t that cut and dry—well, not to us at least.

So last week when the articles hit about Obama and Gaga having a slew of fake followers we decided to take a hard look at the tool. The first thing we quickly noticed in reading about the tool is that it’s using only “sample data” where it randomly selects 1,000 followers of the accounts most recent 100,000 followers (assuming the account had more than 100,000).

Here’s how they put it:

“For those of you with 100,000 followers or less we believe our tool will provide a very accurate insight into how many inactive and fake followers you have. If you’re very, very ‘popular’ the tool will still provide good insight but may better reflect your current follower activity rather than your whole follower base.”

So results may vary widely based on the sample. Statistically you should be able to take a random sample to get a ‘good insight’ on the kind of followers a given Twitter account contains. There are other tools out there as well that measure similar metrics including and

Thus far no tools have surfaced to look at the entire follow base and analyze it; until then if you take all three tools into account you should get a rough idea of the validity of the account. Of the three we find the most credible and quantifiable results from; but not 100 percent foolproof.

It’s worth noting that none of the ‘buy follower’ programs require credentials in order to gain followers; as in the case with Mitt Romney their camp claims that some third party added 200,000 followers without their knowledge or consent. So in the case of some performers there might be some overzealous fan who wants to buy them followers (instead of that Hello Kitty iPhone Cover off their Amazon wish list), which could skew results.

@PornStarTweet with 76,475 followers scored 7 percent fake, 35 percent inactive and 58 percent good; @AVNMediaNetwork with 31,242 followers scored 7 percent fake, 36 percent inactive and 57 percent good; @AVN Awards with 26,244 followers scored 8 percent fake, 38 percent inactive and 54 percent good.

We’ve heard all the arguments for and against buying Twitter followers; many of the believers in buying followers subscribe to the “lemming principle,” suggesting that good followers will follow just because you have 300,000 followers, so you must be interesting. If the results from are to be believed, then that simply doesn’t prove to be true.

In the end social media is still about engagement: not simply how many “followers” one has, but how many pay attention. We suggest to clients interested in sponsoring Tweets on platforms to do short test runs to measure results as well as tweak the message. Companies looking to invest in social media should use tools like this one to check into options before cannon-balling into the deep end to find the pool is only 32 percent full.

Pete Housley, CEO
Naughty Tweet Network
@petehousley (only 3% fake)

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