Chinese micro-bloggers pay cash for followers
Sunday 14 August 2011
The Chinese craze for micro-blogging has reached such dizzying heights that companies are now offering to help people boost their following and stand out from the crowd - for a price.
"Why use our services?" one company called Yangcheng Media asks on its website. "Who would you follow? Somebody with 2,000 followers or 20,000 followers? The answer is easy: most people have a herd mentality."
The firm offers up 100 followers for just one yuan ($0.15), in a bid to make users of China's popular Twitter-like weibo services stand out from the pack.
Micro-blogging is hugely popular in China, where other more traditional media such as newspapers are heavily censored. As with Twitter, people with huge amounts of followers achieve a much sought-after type of cyber-standing.
The number of weibo users more than tripled from January to June this year alone, reaching nearly 195 million - roughly equal to Brazil's population - according to the semi-official China Internet Information Center.
And this number may continue to rise. By the end of June, there were a total of 485 million Chinese online users, more than half of whom are not yet sending weibo bursts of about 150 Chinese characters each.
One company called Gaodeding - which translates as "Yes We Can!" - goes a step further, offering weibo addicts a package of 20 active followers for one yuan, according to a man surnamed Liu who works at the firm.
Active followers are people who update their accounts daily, rather than so-called "corpses" who seldom post or spread information from netizens they follow.
Life & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
The 10 Best Scotch Whiskies
Scottish salmon sales leap as Asia develops a taste
Grim second life of the 'breastaurant': The oft-loathed sector is booming in the States thanks to Hooters, Twin Peaks and Tilted Kilt
Health: When masturbation can be fatal: The practice of auto-erotic asphyxia is often concealed by a coroner's verdict. Monique Roffey looks at a lethal taboo
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
- 1 The political parties aren't all the same – which means 2015 will be a 'big-choice' election
- 2 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Award-winning pharma softw...
£30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Java Developer is requ...