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Is it legally permissible to buy fans? (New Views and Poll)

Is it legally permissible to buy fans? (New Views and Poll)

Almost a year ago I was concerned with buying fans and followers on social networks. At that time, I saw it as misleading users under competition law by deceiving users about the number of fans. In the meantime, I have had many conversations on the subject and heard arguments that are mine Setting changed to have. Nearly.

Table of Contents

How does fan buying work?

When you buy a fan, you acquire a click contingent. The whole thing works as follows on Facebook fan pages, for example:

  1. Users who want to earn money register with the provider.
  2. You “order” 1,000 fans from the provider and pay X euros.
  3. The provider shows its users their fan page on its platform until 1,000 of them have clicked the "Like" button.
  4. The users receive a few cents for the clicks and the provider receives a commission.

Summary of previous contributions to fan purchases

I have cheers from the postage account in the post: Is it allowed to buy from Facebook fans? the fan purchase classified as a misleading competition law. The crux of the matter was that Effect of fan numbers on users. I thought the number of users was a

  • special ability to deal with customers, extensive networking and great awareness to pretend and this
  • the users in their economic decisions influenced.

Therefore, I compared the fan purchase with incorrect information about the number of customers of a company. For example, anyone who has 1,000 customers but advertises with 5,000 customers is committing a competition violation.

Counter arguments - comparison with advertising space and competitions

The posts came up great response, but also criticism. The providers expressed the opinion that they offer nothing other than a species Advertising space. Companies present their fan pages on the and reward users with a small amount of cents for the click.

But not just the providers, but many fansite operators see it that way. When I ask in the “Social Media & Law” workshops, the opinions of the participants are 50/50. I think that is a very good argument Comparison with sweepstakes. Here, too, users often just click on "Like" to take part in the competition. This means:

  • Contest: Fan versus performance (= chance of winning) - Allowed
  • Fan purchase: Fan for performance (= cent amount) - Also allowed?

I find this reasoning convincing. At least so much that I doubt my original view. And because it ultimately depends on the user's point of view, I would like you to In your opinion ask (Update: Survey ended December 15, 2015):

Do you find that “bought” fans deceive users in a similar way to misrepresenting the number of customers? Or can they be compared more with fans that have been generated through competitions?

[poll id = "2"]


  • I am concerned here with the legal aspects. Another question is whether bought fans or followers make marketing sense.
  • * The provider mysocialclix.de, whose picture I used above, is one of our clients. However, I already had the above views before the mandate. They were not influenced by the mandate.

[callto: book_1]

There are 18 comments on this post
  1. "That's why I compared the fan purchase with incorrect information about the number of customers of a company."

    This thesis still goes too far for me. Without any further statement ("So many fans found our article good and therefore clicked"), the bare number of fans is exhausted in the statement that a corresponding number of people have "clicked". No judgment * why * they did that. Since it is well known that fans are also attracted via competitions, the average viewer of the number of fans certainly does not expect that this represents a particular level of trust. Rather, he will assume appropriate marketing, which in my opinion also includes fan shopping (even if this measure is also likely to be bad marketing). Therefore: In my opinion, there is still no anti-competitive situation due to a lack of deception,

  2. In the case of a competition, it can be assumed that the person was initially interested in the company and its products in some form, then became aware of the competition and then became a fan in order to get a chance to win. In this respect, “being a fan” does not say anything about whether the person actually likes the product, but it does say something about the level of awareness. This is not the case with fan purchases, because the “incentive” to become a fan is what makes someone aware of the company in the first place, and so in my opinion it is a deception.

      • Hmm, of course I have to agree with you. Good argument. I am not a lawyer, but as an internet user and consumer I can only say that I definitely find “fans” that I buy to be misleading, but of course that doesn't say anything about the legal situation. 😉

  3. Hello Thomas,

    For me, advertising with bought fans is very clearly misleading within the meaning of Section 5 (1) No. 3 UWG.

    The number of fans is a recommendation marketing, similar to the display of a grade, which is determined by a rating system. The commentary literature compares the recommendation of one's own company by third parties with “awards and honors” or test advertising.

    The display of (also) purchased fans is only permitted and not misleading if it is pointed out directly that some of these fans were purchased.

    This is comparable to the decision of the OLG Hamm (judgment of November 23, 2010, I-4 U 136/10) on the evaluation, which was only achieved by promising a voucher for the submission of a review, thus also the review was bought: http://www.shopbetreiber-blog.de/2011/09/19/darf-man-seinen-kunden-gutscheine-fur-positive-evaluations-anbieten/

    The advertisement that X people clicked on the Like button is, in my opinion, enough to say enough. Because the name of the button with the words “Like” says that people clicked on it because they like something. And not because they were paid to do it.

    In my opinion, the comparison with the competition lags a bit. Because people are not bought there. And most people should actually like it when you organize an attractive competition.

    In this respect: At least not a change of heart for me. And if the OLG Hamm has to deal with it, I'm pretty sure that they will say that advertising with bought fans is inadmissible.

    Best regards

  4. From my point of view, what's going on on the page is much more important. So it is of little use if a site has thousands of fans, but there is no fan activity on the site. There are many examples in the hotel industry that have thousands of new fans practically overnight, but they don't interact.
    A side on which nothing is going on does not help either!
    Purchased fans don't bring business!

  5. We have already commented on this several times.


    Let's take an entrepreneur:

    1) He books TV advertising for his Facebook page and pays a contribution X. This generates fans for him. He pays for every minute of advertising.

    2) He books Facebook or Google AdWords advertising for his Facebook page and sets a limit. This also generates fans for him. He pays per click on his advertisement. Google, in turn, pays site operators who display this advertising.

    3) He starts a competition and invests in the prizes. This also sets its limit. Participation is open to people who like his page. This generates fans for him. He pays once for the prizes and the handling of the competition.

    4) He books advertising with e.g. fanSlave and sets his limit. This also generates fans for him. He pays per person who likes his site.

    The difference does not reveal itself to us.

    In no case is a user forced to like a page.
    It is probably more than a long way off that a user will decide for 2 cents to like a page and then see advertising from it every day without being interested in the page.

    This assumption is obviously much closer to a competition with high prices and this route is officially allowed!


    fanSlave team

  6. [...] the controversial topic in building the Facebook fan community is and will remain - Is a fan purchase legally permissible and what do experts say about it? But one or the other leaves a bitter aftertaste of self-deception when buying a fan. Who […]

  7. All very interesting arguments. Can follow each side. Let's see how it all develops.

    Many greetings, Johannes

  8. A really interesting article. We had already given some thought to the legal point of view. We are currently planning to start campaigns on Facebook to attract fans. On a blogger basis, we have had quite good experiences with a competition, so we wanted to do it again this time with a competition. Of course, it also brings us more, because we can address the target group much better, because anyone who cannot use the product will not take part in the competition. A fan purchase would only be an additional instrument, but from an economic point of view m.m. After not useful.

  9. October 12, 2012, 12:09 pm

    Much more interesting than the survey result is the fact that Facebook restricts pages with bought likes and threatens to block the page. I can therefore only advise anyone to do this, at least if unusual user behavior (e.g. users from all over the world with a local product) can be determined.

    It now becomes absurd if you simply buy likes from all over the world for another site (e.g. a local offer / product) and thus restrict or even block the other's site. When it comes to purchased clicks, Facebook reacts surprisingly quickly with restrictions and blocking threats (source own experience).

  10. February 28, 2013, 9:23 pm

    I also have to say something about this topic again:
    The fan purchase can under no circumstances be illegal (apart from violating FB guidelines.)!
    I explain some reasons:
    1. A "like" is not an expression of an opinion. It is therefore not a question of bought opinions. It's just a technical switch.
    2. Image swindle: Every commercial cheats us something. They try to sell us a more euphemistic image by designing a commercial, flyer, poster, etc. Likewise, a high number of likes does this. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
    3. You could also invest the money you spend on likes in advertising. Then you would have the same (or similar) effect. There is therefore no competitive advantage.
    4. The likes increase your reach. Every message reaches the fans. You have basically bought the license that others can view the advertisements in their feeds. So it doesn't necessarily have to be a high number of likes, which is the goal of fan purchases, just the advertising range.
    5. Purchased likes can be an expression of the prosperity of a company. A large company can buy more likes than a small one.

    Point 5 was admittedly a bit exaggerated ...
    But I think it's so easy to understand what I mean
    Please do not be confused by the term "like" or "I like". These terms are smoke and mirrors on the internet!


  11. Basically there will always be black sheep and back doors - a system as complex as Facebook can never be completely “sealed off”, and the need is enormous.

    In the meantime, however, the link swapping seems to be far more in trend than shopping. The American exchange platform Addmefast.com claims to have already exchanged a few 100 million (!) Likes - and judging by the number of German-speaking users, a large part of the social media traffic is purely “fake”.

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