Too Few Friends? A Web Site Lets You Buy Some (and They’re Hot)

    Popularity was never easily measured, until the advent of social-networking sites. Now, prospective employers and others can gain some insights into an applicant’s lifestyle and character by looking at a person’s social-networking page, including the roster of friends.

    So what if a job applicant’s networking page lacks friends?

    Enter FakeYourSpace.com, a business founded by Brant Walker, which offered users of MySpace.com and similar sites a way to enhance their page with photographs and comments from hired “friends” — mainly attractive models — for 99 cents a month each.

    FakeYourSpace was doing very well, attracting 50,000 hits a day, until a service that provided the photographs of the models, iStockPhoto.com, noticed that use and objected to it.

    Kelly Thompson, iStockPhoto’s vice president for marketing, said its licensing agreement did not allow Web sites to post photos that might lead the average person to “think that the model endorses” the product, Web site or person in question.


    IStockPhoto’s network of 30,000 photographers police the Internet for such contractual infractions. When they noticed how FakeYourSpace was using the photos, they reported it to iStockPhoto, which asked Mr. Walker to stop using the photographs.

    He complied, and FakeYourSpace, while still viewable online, will not be fully operational again until Thursday. Mr. Walker is searching for models through agency and online auditions to replace those that had been provided by iStockPhoto, which was recently purchased by Getty Images.

    Too Few Friends? A Web Site Lets You Buy Some (and They're Hot) 1

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