What Does The Ability To Buy 400k Facebook Fans In A Day Mean For The Facebook Platform?

Many a year ago, this PRNewser remembers getting pitched by a slew of companies offering software that would allow one to boost their MySpace friends list almost infinitely.

MySpace would often close down these illegal software providers relatively soon after they sprung up, but like a leaky ship, as soon as one plugs a hole, another opens up.

Now, a somewhat different thing is happening on Facebook, albeit with the same goal: boosting the number of fans to a certain Faceook page.

This week, Microsoft’s Bing search engine grew its Facebook fan page from 100,000 users to more than 500,000 users, all via a simple ad on the popular Facebook game FarmVille. Interactive agency Deep Focus managed the program.

This led us to thinking about the implications of strategies like this, in terms of using the Facebook platform for authentic communications and marketing.

AgencySpy editor Matt Van Hoven posed the question to Reggie Bradford, CEO of social marketing company Vitrue, on our morning podcast today.

“I worry that those types of initiatives are dangerous, because it’s really not the true authentic…a consumer wants to hear from a brand,” said Bradford.

“That said…I’d sort of equate that to sampling, where you give out 10 million cans of Coke Zero to get people to try the product. I guess in Bing’s case they’re really trying to incent trial of Bing.”

Microsoft knows that the key now is to keep their new “fans” engaged, as a spokesperson told Adweek. That is certainly the challenge, as another digital PR executive acknowledged to PRNewser.

“It’s an inexpensive way to get traffic, and while it may not convert as well, it was a smart move that also created a great media story,” said Adam Isserlis, Director of Digital Media at Rubenstein Communications.