Chinese micro-bloggers pay cash for followers

Aug 09, 2011
Micro-blogging is hugely popular in China where other more traditional media such as newspapers are heavily censored
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.

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 , 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 are people who update their accounts daily, rather than so-called "corpses" who seldom post or spread information from netizens they follow.

Explore further: Showing 'The Interview' is part of Google's long-term YouTube plan

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Twitter bug zaps followers (Update)

May 10, 2010

Twitter was bitten by a bug on Monday that caused users of the fast-growing micro-blogging service to temporarily lose the list of followers of their accounts.

With Twitter blocked, Chinese micro-blogging thrives

Oct 08, 2010

When a huge mudslide swamped a Chinese town in August, killing at least 1,500 people, word first reached the world thanks to a digital camera-wielding, 19-year-old micro-blogger who idolises Lady Gaga.

Radiohead ventures into Chinese social media

Jul 03, 2011

(AP) -- Radiohead has taken a tentative step into censored Chinese cyberspace, even though the British rock band has been critical of China's human rights record.

Who are the top Tweeters? UCF grads created tracking site

May 26, 2009

When actor Ashton Kutcher and CNN were racing last month to see who could amass 1 million followers first on Twitter, many people tracked the race at Twitterholic.com, a site started as a joke by two Florida Web developers. ...

Recommended for you

N. Korea suffers another Internet shutdown

13 hours ago

North Korea suffered an Internet shutdown for at least two hours on Saturday, Chinese state-media and cyber experts said, after Pyongyang blamed Washington for an online blackout earlier this week.

Streaming release of 'Interview' test for industry

Dec 25, 2014

Sony's "The Interview" has been a hacking target, a punchline and a political lightning rod. Now, with its release online at the same time it debuts in theaters, it has a new role: a test for a new kind of ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.