The business of buying and selling fake Twitter followers is booming, according to a study by Barracuda Labs: Among the top 100 Google search results for the term "buy Twitter followers" are roughly 58 websites and 20 eBay sellers that offer various bundles of fake followers for sale. The average cost of 1,000 fake Twitter followers is just $18.

For the study, which began in May 2012, Barracuda Labs set up three Twitter accounts and purchased between 20,000 and 70,000 followers for each account from eBay and another website found via Google search. Barracuda then analyzed those followers' profiles and tweets.

Below, additional findings from Barracuda's study.

Dealers (users who create fake accounts and sell followers) can earn up to $800 per day for seven weeks of selling Twitter followers if they control roughly 20,000 fake accounts, Barracuda estimates. Dealers also have the option of selling re-tweets as an additional source of revenue, at roughly $5 for 2,000 re-tweets.

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