What valuation do you place on friends and friendship? Many people would claim they are priceless as they make life a whole lot easier to deal with. And more fun to boot. But they’re not priceless, they’re actually available to buy in bulk. At least the Facebook variety is.
How many Facebook friends do you have? 100? 200? 500? Very few people have more than that many friends purely because it’s impossible to truly know so many people and keep up with them. In fact, in real life you probably have less than 50 friends, but Facebook extends the idea of friendship to include anyone you may have had one online conversation with.
If you’d like more friends without actually having to make the effort to find them and nurture lasting relationships then uSocial is the company for you. USocial already offers a number of services which take the effort out of social networking. You can buy votes on Digg, Yahoo Buzz, Propeller, and StumbleUpon, and in July the company offered the chance to buy Twitter followers.
And now it’s moving onto Facebook.
According to AdAge, uSocial is now offering us all the chance to buy Facebook friends for a tidy sum of money. One thousand Facebook friends will cost you $177.30 while 5,000 will cost you $654.30. An absolute bargain I’m sure you’ll agree. At least that’s what uSocial suggests on its Facebook Marketing Services page. I can think of a number of things I’d rather spend that kind of money on.
I’m obviously not the sort of client uSocial is looking for. Even though I have something to sell (my writing), I prefer to build my friends and followers lists naturally, actually developing relationships worth developing with people who aren’t just interested in me because they are being paid to be. Call me old-fashioned but that’s just how it is.
I’m sure there will be takers for this service but it should be noted that Facebook’s ToS prohibit the use of “personal profiles for commercial gain,” meaning uSocial and the users it is paying to befriend those willing to pay for the privilege aren’t actually allowed to do what they are doing. Whether Facebook will have better luck in stopping the practice than Digg and the others have been remains to be seen.