Fakesters for hire

In what appears to be the first-ever paid product placement in a social networking site, Wired News reports that Friendster is promoting profiles of characters from the new movie Anchorman. This might come across as just an innovative new marketing ploy, if it weren’t for Friendster’s history of dealing with “fakesters” (fictitious profiles set up for a variety of purposes, including movie characters, members’ pets, and topical interests) by deleting them without prejudice.

Blogger Andy Baio, who broke the story last week, explains that most of the fakesters were created to innovate around a shortcoming in the service:

“Friendster never supported communities or groups, so users filled that gap with fakester profiles. If you were friends with ‘UC Berkeley’ or ‘Polka’ or ‘Jesus Christ,’ you were part of a de facto community. When Friendster killed all the fake accounts, they broke all those ties.”

Friendster doesn’t see the irony. I guess you don’t have to be a real person as long as you have real money.