Like farms vs. apps’ genuine likes

Facebook has recently announced one in a row of changes regarding the structure of advertising campaigns that should significantly improve control for advertisers. Read more HERE.

Facebook is obviously trying to improve its advertising ‘system’. Maybe because Facebook ads, especially those which main intention is to drive fan page Likes, have recently been criticized. The story behind this ‘criticism’ started in 2012 when Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC technology correspondent, decided to make a small experiment in order to explore the merits of Facebook advertising by setting a bogus bagel company online. He started this online business called VirtualBagel and made fan page on Facebook to promote it (Virtual Bagel LTD –

Virtual Bagel

The name is interesting with even more interesting idea behind it, explained with slogan used for promotion: “We send you bagels via the internet – just download and enjoy.” It is more than obvious this ‘business’ had some special ‘intentions’, which are clear for most of us, but it turned out some Facebook users didn’t mind liking something so obviously odd.

Logical question is “Why?” Why are people liking something that doesn’t make any sense? The answer is more than interesting.

Paid Likes – how much do they cost? Value?

First to explain the process of getting these 3,000 likes. After he started this ‘business’ and created Facebook fan page, the next step was – promotion. So, he created his first advert with the main objective to reach people who were most likely to Like his page / business, spending $10 on advertising campaign. He targeted only those countries he was interested for – United States, UK, Russia, India, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

His ‘business’, according to number of likes, was more than successful. VirtualBagel page collected 1,600 likes within 24 hours, with just $10 spent on ads. At the first glance this might sound great but after deeper analysis, it turned out it was really bad. Rory Cellan-Jones discovered these likes came from India and Egypt, countries where is already known “Like farms” or “Click farms” operate. Read his story. 

Like farms consist of people who are paid tiny sums of money to click Like button on almost every page they see. This is actually a direct answer on question why buying likes is not such a good idea – you are not ‘buying’ quality customers and people whose interests are in correlation with what you are doing. You are buying fake likes, ending with fake numbers and very low post reach since fan pages with so many unreal likes face trouble in reaching ‘genuine’ people. When you have a whole army of unreal public, it is very hard to reach the real one, right? 

BBC technology correspondent realized ads didn’t buy quality customers but numbers solely! Likes visibly shows popularity of your brand but if they are bought with ads only, you will get far more likes which value will be diluted with their unrealistic number. Facebook said it is not in their interest to have these click farms because anything that reduces engagement and actual viewership is not good but fact is this is reality and is happening – a lot!

So, another question rising from this story is “Does Facebook pay click farms to generate revenue for them?” Searching for the answer, science blogger Dr Derek Muller followed the example of BBC reporter by setting up his example page called ‘Virtual Cat’ and carried on his investigation on this matter.

Virtual Cat


He made a video to present his findings and published it on Veritasium, a popular science video blog with more than million subscribers.

We are bringing you just one quotation from this interesting video: “There are two ways to buy ‘likes’, the legitimate way and the illegitimate way. Sites like these use click farms in developing countries like India, the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Here employees are routinely paid just 1 dollar per thousand clicks of the like button. So Facebook explicitly forbids buying likes this way. Instead they offer the ‘legitimate’ way to pay for likes by advertising your page. Prominently displayed is a link to “Get more likes” with the promise: “Connect with more of the people who matter to you.””

But, if we go back to the story from 2012 and look at it once more we see Rory Cellan-Jones used legitimate way to buy likes but his page ended with tons of fake likes! The conclusion is very simple – buying likes is dangerous and can make serious problems for your fan page!

Is there a solution?

Is there another way to collect likes, fans, audience, engagement, but genuine one?

Yes, there is!

Applications for Facebook fan pages have already been proved to be the best like collectors, if likes are something you need and want to gather. But, genuine ones since people who use applications and participate in some quiz or fun animated game are real people, not those paid to click Like button for 1 $. And not only likes but engagement as well since people play games, talk, comment and share links to get bonus points or simple to spread the word about something interesting, intelligent, fun and new. New visitors are coming through those links, seeing your page, liking, registering and participating. Sounds like great brand advocacy, right?

Collecting LIKES

Applications have great ability to collect contact details with adjustable contact forms designed by fan page admins. People are filling in data in order to register and participate in some quiz and potentially win valuable prize. So, it is a kind of exchange as a step-by-step process. First visitor becomes a fan by liking the page, then he fills in contact form provided in order to register for the game and then he plays the game with a chance to win.

Audience collected this way will stay and will keep following you because you provide engaging good quality content everyone like. People gathered around one fan page or brand through apps will most likely first become loyal fans – just one step away from loyal customers.

At the end just to conclude “Why apps?”


  1. Applications collect genuine likes from real people
  2. Applications gather high quality contact details for further marketing activities
  3. Applications are effective word of mouth communication and one among best brand advocacy tactics.

If you are not sure, TRY NOW! 

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