Death by Credit Card: How Buying Fans and Likes Will Ruin Your Business

When I first heard about WelikeEtsy.com, an online service which is raking it in from selling "ad space" to Etsy sellers, my e-marketer alarm bells went off like never before. This is how NOT to promote yourself and your shop in the most classic sense. I knew it was time to write this important call to arms against this and other Facebook and Instagram like sellers who are taking advantage of small business owners- and leaving destruction in their wake.

For $5, these people are preying on well-intentioned Etsy sellers to involve themselves in a Facebook "likes" pyramid scheme.


If it's already too late and you've already done it, take heart. I mean, they made it just *too* easy didn't they? Lots and lots of writing and one big, easy buy now button with the promise that it's $5 "for life".  Before you read on, I need you to know that this post isn't against you, it's against them and their practices. Don't let my post get you down... Read #5 for some good next steps and further reading.

Friends, for your own good please avoid this or any other seller of fake social proof - for the good of your own business.

Here are 5 reasons why buying Facebook likes from WelikeEtsy.com or any other online seller is bound to RUIN your business.

1. A Zombie Like's Favorite Meal: Your Credibility and Business Ethics

Because they were purchased, these likes mean nothing at all for you and your Etsy business, because they don't represent people that truly value anything you have to sell. Your Facebook page gives you a unique opportunity to engage with people who feel strongly about you as an artist and the beautiful pieces that you sell. 

But by buying likes, you are essentially saying that this fan engagement means nothing to you.

The "slippery slope" theory is bad logic, I learned that in philosophy class. But I will say this: buying likes is very tempting, and once you've done it, you might find yourself addicted. This is what they call "selling out".

How would someone who really cares feel being surrounded by zombies who never "like" any of your posts, never write a comment? Pretty uncomfortable. And they'll catch on quick and may even turn away, realizing that you would have just as soon bought their like as earned it.


2.  You'll Paralyze Your Facebook Page and Placement in Search

The Likes will clog your Facebook page analytics, paralyzing your ability to tell how you're *really* doing.

With so many likes doing nothing on your page, you won't be able to tell how well your posts are performing, what's working and what isn't with your audience. Your data will be irreparably skewed.

If your intentions in buying these likes are really to improve your page's performance, consider that doing so will destroy the performance metrics that will actually make a difference for your long AND short-term business strategy.

Swapping links on link ladders and "boosting" your prominence online with these questionable practices creates a facade that the folks at Google work hard everyday to break through. Google wants their search results to reflect pages that earn real social proof.

Need more convincing? Look how many times Google has changed their algorithm to fight things like Welikeetsy.com and other sellers of zombie likes and links. Check out: Google algorithm changes effecting placement on search results by Moz.com 

3. You'll Ruin Facebook for All of Us

Eventually, these likes sellers could destroy the benefits of business pages on Facebook for all of us.

Think about it. Now that you know likes are so easy and cheap to buy, (one site allows people to purchase 500 likes for $16, or spend $40 on 3,000 likes) doesn't that make you question the integrity of a lot of different pages? 

So, doesn't that make you question...

That one Etsy seller from your group who makes cheap looking jewelry and has tons of likes but no sales? Or how about the annoying one who acts like a know-it all just because they have 4,000 likes, but doesn't have any true business education or good items at all?

By inflating their Facebook likes, these people make themselves look bigger than they are- and take away the honesty of social media. This honesty or "social proof" is what makes social media valuable for small businesses. 

Websites like WeLikeEtsy.com shouldn't just be chastised- they should be shut down for their tactics. Which brings me to #4...

4. It's Probably Illegal

This has the stench of a pyramid scheme- but at the very least it's Bad business. That's right- bad with a capital "B".

A pyramid scheme is a business model that has many people at the bottom paying money expecting results, but the ones who join early on are the ones that benefit most, and the people who created it are the ones getting any real income- because of the way they've fooled the ones at the bottom.

Things like this are actually quite common in the internet marketing world, the internet is still like the "wild wild west" of business marketing. There is even a name for marketing tactics like these, tactics that are done done to fool people or skew information, called "black hat marketing".

5. It's Hard to Repair the Damage... 

(But you should try.)

If you're already involved with this company, and you've read the above, I really hope that you see that it was a mistake that can only serve to hurt you and everyone else using Facebook for small businesses. 

Follow these 3 steps to begin to repair the damage and be empowered by an excellent business decision that will set the tone for the rest of your career as an independent professional.

Step 1:
Take a moment to e-mail them and ask for your ad to be removed and your money to be refunded. Here's their e-mail address: support@WeLikeEtsy.com If you try and they give you some cookie cutter response, send it my way. I'm curious.

Step 2: 
Share how you feel about this business with your Facebook fans, old and new. Come clean, and let them know that you fell victim to this scheme. Your newest fans will hopefully see and they may follow suit by cutting ties with them. Your old fans will be grateful that you care that they are real.

Step 3:
Increase your awareness of this and other companies who are decaying the value of social media through their black hat marketing tactics, and stay away!!!! And call it when you see it! 

Key Takeaways:
There really is no replacement for "white-hat" marketing that will get you real, earned likes. Sure, it involves more time- you can't just buy it. So keep on learning and growing and reading good articles that will help you learn how to market yourself effectively. 

For a great blog post that offers some more info on this topic and great alternatives to buying facebook likes, check this out: Should You Buy Facebook Likes? by Jon Loomer.

That's all for now, thank you for reading my little manifesto ;) 

If you like what you read and want more Etsy watch-doggery and marketing ideas coming to your inbox, subscribing by email is easy, right under my picture at the top of the page.

Never stop Learning, Growing, and Reaching.

~Laura

Content by Laura Gabriele