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Do people buy subscribers?

Many content creators and influencers on social media aim to grow their following and subscriber counts. However, buying subscribers or followers raises questions about authenticity and ethics. In this article, we’ll explore whether people really pay for subscribers, the pros and cons, and alternatives to buying an audience.

Do People Really Buy Followers and Subscribers?

Yes, buying social media followers, likes, comments, and subscribers is a real practice. Many websites and services offer packages to instantly boost your numbers for a fee. For example, you can buy YouTube subscribers starting around $10 for 100 subscribers up to thousands of dollars for millions of subscribers.

Some key facts about buying social media followers and engagement:

  • As of 2022, over 15% of Instagram users were fake accounts or bots according to Institute of Contemporary Music Performance.
  • The market for buying social media engagement is estimated to be over $1 billion per year.
  • Prices typically range from $3 per 100 followers up to $1000 per 10,000 followers depending on the platform.

So in short – yes, buying followers and subscribers is a real industry. However, many social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube expressly prohibit these practices in their terms of service. There are black hat methods used to deliver the followers, likes and subscribers from an ethical perspective.

Reasons People Buy Followers and Subscribers

There are a few key motivations and perceived benefits that drive people to pay for followers, likes, and subscribers:

Vanity Metrics

Higher follower and subscriber counts can help creators portray themselves as more popular and influential than they really are. Big numbers look impressive at a glance regardless if the accounts are real.


On some platforms like YouTube, having more subscribers and views directly translates to more ad revenue. Creators may buy subscribers in hopes of kickstarting monetization faster.

Increased Discovery

Accounts with more existing subscribers and engagement can rank better in searches and be promoted by recommendation algorithms. Buying subscribers can help get that initial boost.

Social Proof

High follower and subscriber counts communicate social endorsement and authority. People may perceive accounts with bigger followings as more reputable.

Confidence and Morale

Gaining followers can feel rewarding and boost creators’ motivation to keep producing content. Purchasing subscribers delivers that morale quickly.

So in summary, the perceived benefits include vanity metrics, monetization, discoverability, social proof, and emotional/motivational factors. However, these benefits tend to be short-lived or come with significant drawbacks.

Risks of Buying Followers and Subscribers

Despite the potential upsides, there are also considerable risks to avoid with buying followers and engagement:

Bans and Terminated Accounts

Social platforms crack down on inauthentic activity and regularly purge bought or fake followers. You may end up losing all bought subscribers and being banned.

Distrust From Real Users

Savvy users can detect when follower counts seem inflated and call out disingenuous practices. This damages credibility.

No Real Business Value

Fake followers don’t engage with your content or convert to customers. The vanity metrics don’t help grow a real business.

Wasted Money

Bought subscribers rarely stick around long. The initial investment can disappear and require ongoing spending.

Less Organic Reach

When platforms detect fake engagement, your content may actually be shown to fewer real people. Your organic growth can suffer.

Lower Engagement Rates

If you have 1 million followers but get only a few hundred likes, it’s obviously inflated. This is a red flag for poor quality content.

In summary, the risks range from account bans to damaged credibility and stunted organic growth. The rewards tend to be superficial without driving real business value.

Signs Someone May Have Bought Followers or Subscribers

Here are some telltale signs that a creator or influencer may have bought followers, likes or subscribers:

  • High follower count but extremely low engagement like comments and likes on posts
  • Followers have generic names and no profile pictures
  • Sudden spikes in followers that aren’t explained by any events or promotions
  • Geographically inconsistent followers that don’t match your target audience
  • High percentage of followers are inactive accounts

These signals indicate the audience isn’t genuine. A good benchmark is checking if 10-20% of followers actively engage with content. If engagement is much lower, that suggests inflated numbers.

Spotting Bought YouTube Subscribers

On YouTube, these are signs a channel may have bought subscribers:

  • High sub count but very low average views per video
  • Stagnant sub growth over time despite producing regular content
  • Subscribers don’t watch new videos (low click-through rate)
  • High sub number growth but no increase in engagement

These inconsistencies reveal the subscribers are not real, engaged users. Services can deliver thousands of subscribers without the content actually reaching those accounts.

Alternatives to Buying Followers and Subscribers

Instead of buying fake followers, here are some legitimate strategies to grow your audience:

Improve Your Content

Creating higher quality, more engaging content tailored to your audience will naturally attract real followers.

Engage With Your Audience

Commenting on others’ posts, responding to comments, and participating in engagement pods helps build authentic connections.

Optimize Your Profile and Content

Ensure you have an optimized profile, relevant hashtags, enticing captions, and searchable titles to get discovered.

Run Contests and Giveaways

Contests are a tried and true tactic to gain real followers who want to participate to win prizes.

Collaborate With Relevant Creators

Team up with creators in your niche to tap into each other’s audiences and cross-promote content.

Advertise Strategically

Consider running ads to promote your posts and channel to targeted demographics aligned with your brand.

Diversify Your Promotion

Promote your content across multiple channels like email newsletters, website, and different social platforms.

While these tactics require more work than buying followers, they will drive real, sustainable growth and engagement. The end result is an audience that genuinely cares about your work.

The Risks of Buying Subscribers in Summary

Here is a recap of the key risks to consider before buying followers, likes, and subscribers:

Risk Description
Bans and Terminated Accounts Social platforms regularly ban accounts using bought engagement and fake followers
Distrust From Real Users Savvy users detect and call out inauthentic practices, damaging credibility
No Real Business Value Fake followers don’t engage or convert to customers. Vanity metrics are meaningless.
Wasted Money Bought followers rarely stick around and require ongoing purchases to maintain
Less Organic Reach Fake followers may actually reduce your content’s reach to real audiences
Lower Engagement Rates Suspiciously low engagement rates reveal inflated follower counts

These substantial risks should give any creator pause before considering buying followers or subscribers. There are always better, legitimate alternatives.


While buying social media followers, likes and subscribers does happen, it comes with considerable risks ranging from damaged credibility to platform bans. Occasional vanity spikes come at the cost of stunting real, organic growth.

Authenticity and trust are far more valuable than vanity metrics alone. The best approach is to stay patient, keep refining your content, and use legitimate promotional strategies. Your ideal audience will follow as you consistently provide value.

Quality over quantity is key – a small tribe of real, engaged followers is infinitely more valuable than an army of fake bot accounts. Ultimately, you want to build community and business value, not just superficial follower counts.