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The rise of engagement groups, pods and people trying to fight the engagement drops all means that word has started to get out that Instagram had another side to it, supposedly a dark side, where likes and followers are exchanged for cash.

There are even likes you can buy from vending machines, giving the purchaser a perceived amount of influence by inflating their likes and followers. People who have dealt in this business would be known or called the “Instagram Mafia”.

Nothing Personal, It’s Just Business — Otto Bergman

Engagement At All Costs

This enables the user to get paid sponsorships and free products in exchange for promotion on Instagram. To be fair, these practices you could call borderline mafia behavior. People have even said pods and engagement groups are part of the mafia.

I don’t see a problem with someone organizing a group of people to like and comment on a post at a certain time. Sounds a little like influencer marketing, can this be really seen as organized crime?

The thing to think about here is that once something has a value to someone, there will be market for it. People who buy likes and followers see value in it somehow, and people who sell them see a market for it.

This includes when growth hackers found out that posts receiving high engagement within 30 minutes of posting from high authority accounts had an increased chance of being featured on Instagram Explorer.

Is that a crime? Then I really don’t know what to say. Overall most of these examples do step on the toes of Instagram T&Cs, so that’s the law we abide by when we are using Instagram. The other techniques are just simple growth hacks, most notably the many IG photo locations to get more likes and engagement.

So I guess if you take part in or started a pod, or use a engagement groups of any kind to get more likes, then I guess you’re one of the family then.

So fuhgeddaboudit…


I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse

THE MARKETPLACE

Once you gain access to engagement groups, in a matter of minutes you will be inside the marketplace, as these two entities exist in the same place: Telegram. This is probably one the most important piece of information you will ever read about Instagram. — It tells you what to look out for and stay clear of.

Everyone likes information like this; there’s completely another side of social media and especially Instagram that no one ever tells you about unless you mention it in conversation. It’s quite strange, like it’s a secret society: once you’re in, you really see how things work.

Once you cross over to the other side and start using engagement groups, you can be connecting with people using the messaging apps these groups are built and run on.

You will find these marketplaces everywhere, in which you will encounter anyone and everyone boasting to be an Instagram expert, offering you all types of services for Instagram you could imagine. The Scams “You wanna buy 1k real followers for $3 or sign up to my secret growth panel?”

At this point, you may think your dreams have come true really quickly.
You’ll probably say to yourself: “A million followers in no time” only if it was that simple.

These offers are all bogus. It’s just people selling bots and social media panel memberships titled as boosting services, all fake followers, likes etc.
This example advert below tells you everything you need to know.
“Compensated for followers lost”

No one or any service can provide real followers at a click of a button. The followers they provide are high quality bots from servers around the world. They are profiles with a few pictures, and some even have story posts, a filled-out bio, etc.

The Marketplace is where you can buy shoutouts and accounts too. However, when it comes to buying shoutouts and Instagram accounts, it is a very sketchy business. There’s plenty of money to be made, and plenty of money to be scammed.

Telegram is rife with scams, and you may get messages offering to buy your account and ask you to sign into an Analytics dashboard to check your account before purchasing, and they will send this link below. As soon as you sign into that, your account is gone for good.

NEVER EVER CLICK THIS LINK
http://ig-analytics.net/home/9/

The biggest take away from buying and selling Instagram accounts, and where you could end up losing your money and account all in one go, is buying an account without the OG (original email) that was used to set up the account at the time.

OG (original email)

Obviously, buying accounts is prohibited and violates the terms and conditions of Instagram. Also, you wouldn’t be covered by your payment merchant. Always use Goods and Services and never Friends and Family for transactions. When you hear “only accepting Friends and Family” it is 90% likely you’re being lined up for a scam.

A rule of thumb is if you are doing deals with accounts, always screenshot your chats and transactions. However PayPal doesn’t cover you for buying or selling social media profiles, so you’re kind on your own when it comes to this. But there are a few things you can do to make your purchases safer on your pocket.

If you sense the deal you’re about to make is little bit suspect, the first thing to do to protect yourself is to change your PayPal password and login from a proxy or VPS/VPN prior to doing the exchange.

So if you are scammed, just report to PayPal that your account been hacked. This doesn’t always work, but it does give you a 50/50 chance of retaining your money. The Marketplace is still good if you maneuver well and stay safe; the best practice is find Marketplace owners and gets some vouches for buyers and sellers.

Vouches are like feedback ratings on eBay — they let people know if the dealer is trustworthy or not.

This is the only way to really last in the Marketplace, or else you’re just throwing money away. Saying that, even vouches are faked, so tread carefully and do a lot of networking.

I’ve seen people get scammed for $1000’s at a time. One thing to remember if it seems too good to be true, it usually more than is, and the best thing to do is just forget it and keep moving, the marketplace is the wild west.

As the phrase goes, coined by Otto Bergman “Nothing personal, it’s just business.”

Stay Gramming, 🤳🏾

Best,

Len

Author

Len is a marketing Consultant providing service in digital marketing and social media

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