How $15 will make me the most popular marketing student ever

If money can’t buy happiness, what can it buy?

Studies have shown that money can’t buy happiness. But can it buy popularity? Can it buy influence? These are questions I’m attempting to answer in an experiment I’m running.

So … it turns out you can buy Twitter followers. It’s actually pretty easy. Now, there are a lot of “professional” Twitter follower buying services out there, but I’m opting to lash out on the $5 online marketplace, Fiverr. I chose to use Fiverr for a few reasons:

  1. Its sellers offered the best value for money, in terms of new followers per dollar (providing they actually deliver on their promise).
  2. Using an online marketplace means I don’t have to hand over my personal details to some shady website. Let’s face it, the websites selling these kinds of services are not the ones you want to be giving your email address and payment details!

I currently have 284 followers on Twitter.

As a reference point, as of today—Thursday, 16 August 2012, at 11:04 PM in Melbourne, Australia (UTC +10 hours)—I have 284 followers on Twitter. That’s the base number we’ll use before making any purchases.

Twitter followers for @AdamJaffrey 2012.08.16 2304

The plan.

I tried to find the most legitimate sellers I could. I plan to purchase 3 different “gigs” on Fiver, which promise to deliver:

I’ll purchase these gigs in a staggered fashion over a few days to ensure the service providers don’t get confused with each other—I’d hate to short-change myself!

But, why?

In that same study I mentioned earlier, researchers found that whilst money doesn’t lead to happiness, social status does. In particular, respect and admiration from your peers has more to do with your well-being than how much money you make.

Let’s be clear, this is far from a scientific study with proper control variables and statistically significant measurement mechanisms. What it will test, though, is whether you can buy “popularity” (using that term loosely, considering these new followers are almost guaranteed to be bots).


Will my new-found popularity impact my real life? Will people take me more seriously because I’m influential? Maybe I’ll get free kickbacks and faster customer support than before. Maybe I’ll get that dream job I’m looking for in advertising!

Or maybe it’ll mean nothing. Probably that.

Update (17/08/12 at 10:05 AM): My Klout score is currently 57.62. It will be interesting to see whether this changes over the course of the experiment, too.

19 Comments

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  1. Bridget says:

    Very cool… Look forward to hearing the popularity verdict

  2. Paul says:

    Isolation makes me suicidal. If I have something airing on TV, people care about me and I’m not suicidal. Its hard for me to feel content (I’m not able to feel the happy/love sensation because I cannot trust), but I am able to feel content when people care about me.

    • Adam Jaffrey says: (Author)

      Hi Paul. Firstly, I think those issues are beyond the scope of my blog and something you should seek professional help for.

      However, if you feel valued when others care about you, then why don’t you continue to create masterpieces that will delight others? Whether it’s music, comedy, other arts or even other cool stuff (build a business!)—only you have the power to create something wonderful.

  3. I’m not sure that ‘most legitimate’ as a phrase belongs hand-in-hand with the promises that are being made… but I look forward to seeing the results of this little experiment! And smart decision to use an online marketplace to protect your details!

    • Adam Jaffrey says: (Author)

      Haha! Too right, Kristel.

      Using the Fiverr marketplace actually turned out to be a better idea than I initially expected. Fiverr handles the payment via PayPal on behalf of the seller (i.e. your email address and PayPal details are never passed onto the individual service provider) and (from what I can gather so far …) only pays the provider when the service has been completed.

  4. Haha – nice little experiment. Are there any possible downsides to this? You’re not breaching any of Twitter’s ToS, are you?

    I’ll also be watching your Klout score to see if it changes. :)

  5. Zac says:

    I’d be cautious of the long-term implications. Wouldn’t you be better off, both for the sake of the experiment and your rep, to do it on a new account?

    • Adam Jaffrey says: (Author)

      What “long-term implications” do you mean, Zac?

      The problem with using a new account is that I won’t be able to analyse any real world effects this experiment may have (if any). The only way to witness these effects would be to have the account linked to me, officially.

    • Adam Jaffrey says: (Author)

      Do you really think I have a reputation to damage in the first place? Also, what kind of damage could this do to my reputation? It’s pretty clear that this is an experiment.

  6. James says:

    Adam, great idea certainly one I will be following with interest! in fact just had a look at your twitter page and seems to have done quite well! nice work!

  7. Very intriguing.. I’ll be interested to see what happens.

    I have heard of someone (we’ll call him John) that has a similar thing going on. He spends his days creating email accounts and documenting them in and excel spread sheet. He then gets outsourced by companies such as Coca-Cola to watch their new ad on youtube 20,000 times or like their group on Facebook. Needless to say, John has a tedious job, but it apparently pays well.

    Not sure if this is cheating or promotional (ie more view the more eyes see it, ripple effect)

    • Adam Jaffrey says: (Author)

      Hey Marisa, thanks for your comment!

      That sounds very interesting. Surely there would be a way to code it all so that it’s less tedious, though?

      It’s a fascinating thought, though. I have read some research recently about information cascades and herd behaviour which pertains specifically to this issue. Maybe this is a good strategy (albeit, with questionable ethics) for brands …?

Trackbacks for this post

  1. Buying Twitter followers, the legal and ethical implications | by Adam Jaffrey
  2. Base numbers for my Twitter experiment | by Adam Jaffrey
  3. Results of my Twitter experiment | by Adam Jaffrey
  4. Tips for buying Twitter followers | by Adam Jaffrey

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