The Value of a “Like”

How much does a “Like” cost? On Taobao, it costs exactly RMB0.1.
WARNING: Purchase of “Likes” and fans or followers does not contribute to the engagement of a community. We do not recommend this course of action.  

Marketers cultivate an engaged community on social networking sites (SNS) through content and community management. Numbers of “Likes,” “Shares,” “comments” and fans/followers are seen as endorsement and validation for brands and individuals.

Where there is value, there is opportunity. Apple Daily, a Hong Kong newspaper, recently uncovered a story on suppliers selling “Likes,” “Fans/Followers” and “positive feedback” on the biggest E-commerce site in China, Taobao. But there are always two sides to every story. In Singapore, a start up company capitalized on “Likes” for more charitable causes.

Illegitimate Likes becoming a trendy business

Weibo is notorious for having a large number of “zombie accounts” that are fake and automated. The idea of zombies is starting to spill over onto more international SNS like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitter.

On Taobao, when you punch in keywords like “Facebook Like,” the site would generate suggested results including “Instagram Like” and “YouTube Like.” Suppliers based in Mainland China break through the Great Firewall of China to monetize on the “business opportunity.”

Sellers claimed to have over 100 customers and earn approximately RMB4,000 a month. They also suggested business is good in digitally consumed city like Hong Kong. Buying 10 “likes” for RMB1 and being able to buy this any time you want, it’s a very appealing and quick way to gain fans. It’s not only Hong Kong based brands buying these illegitimate “likes” to increase their brand value, suppliers have customers from many continents, including, Europe and the States.

Cash for “likes” vs. charitable causes display contrasting sides to social media monetization.

Every Like counts towards creating a better world

There are more positive opportunities for brands to rack up the amount of likes on SNS. A start up company in Singapore, Cllike, wants to use the enormous amounts of “likes” on Facebook for a more charitable cause.

Cllike has enlisted a selected group of companies that have agreed to donate $1 to a charity for each like they receive on their Facebook page. The charities range from Singapore World Wildlife Foundation to the Singapore Cancer Society. Users need to make a Cllike account and log in through their Facebook account to start ‘liking’. Only 10 Singaporean based companies have agreed to be a part of this start up’s ambition but Cllike hopes to go international. Cllike’s plan to utilize Facebook users active clicking for more charitable purposes show that liking content on Facebook can turn into something more positive to benefit everyone.

It all sounds nice and optimistic, but we’re not sure if other companies will be willing to sign up to Cllike and whether Cllike will be able to keep it up in the long term. What do you think?

- by Annie Wong and Michele Fan