To some, friendship is priceless, for others, it's worth about 14 cents.
To be clear, we are talking about friends on Facebook, the social networking site that some 300,000 business are a part of so far.
Whether you run a small business or could just use more “friends,” one company, uSocial, is willing to help you broaden your social network, for a price.
The New Cost of "Social" Security
Buying new friends will cost you: uSocial generally charges between about $197 and $1,300 for its services, though some deals currently offer 1,000 friends for $177.30 to 3,000 friends for $438.30. (Full pricing information can be found at uSocial.net).
While many social networking skeptics might immediately question the legitimacy of new so-called friends uSocial assures MainStreet they’re real, not just made-up pages and smart programs or bots that send out comments at random.
“We get [friends for customers] directly on Facebook by searching just like anyone else would,” says uSocial CEO Leon Hill. “When a client comes to us, we can target friends or fans for them in just about any industry or interest group and then we send requests or messages to them informing them of our client. From there, it's always up to the user to decide whether or not they want to follow the client, so nobody is being added to people's pages they don't want to be added to.”
By uSocial’s estimates, each additional friend can be worth $1 per month in additional revenue for you or your company, so making the investment in more friends may be worth it.
“The main reason I started uSocial is to provide high-quality advertising at a low cost,” says uSocial CEO Leon Hill. “Not only would I receive a bad reputation for my services if I were simply providing bots, but I would be delivering something to a client that would effectively be worthless."
Warning: Accounts Could Be Shut
Worthless or no, the trouble with buying friends is that uSocial’s methods may not be playing by Facebook’s rules, and that could mean trouble for your account.
“It’s our understanding that uSocial logs in as a user and manipulates their account. This is a violation of our terms by uSocial and any user who participates in their programs,” says Schnitt. “Thus, we’d caution any customer of their service that their account and investment is in jeopardy. If we find a user has violated our terms we may take action against them, including permanently disabling their account.”
In addition, uSocial has its own fine print.
For example, uSocial says it may create certain areas on its service platform that contains adult or mature content. So you may not want to hand over your small business social networking responsibilities to your young son or daughter.
And if you do decide to use uSocial to get more friends, remember you’re handing over a lot of control. Further, uSocial can refuse to work with you if they think the information you provide is untrue, inaccurate, not current or incomplete, the company says.
By using its service, you agree not to send unsolicited advertising, spam, pyramid schemes and certain other solicitations.
And while checking up on people, other businesses and organizations on Facebook might be tempting, by using the uSocial’s services, the company explicitly states that you agree not to “’stalk’ or otherwise harass another Facebook user.”
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