#2 - kyliejennerrr started following you
A notification from your phone pops up. You take a look at it and realize someone new had started following you on Instagram.
An attractive woman had started following you on Instagram. Most of you will do either one of two things: ignore it or follow back.
But not me. We started asking ourselves... why? Why is this person following me? And lo and behold, we have ourselves another Unethical Marketing Exposé.
Well, the first thing that comes to mind is this account is fake. To prove that, all we have to do is to look at some of the traits of the account.
By looking at its oldest post, it seems like the account has been created minutes ago.
Here's another telltale sign if the previous one is not obvious enough: 9 posts, 0 followers, and 4 followings. Let's refresh the page.
Bam! It changed from 4 followings to 49 in a matter of seconds.
This is a classic tactic for any unethical marketer who wants to take the shortcut in growing their social media accounts. Mass follow and unfollowing users on Instagram using bots, and a small part of those users will follow you back.
An Instagram bot is a program that is written to mimic the actions of a human, such as liking, commenting, following, and unfollowing. The only difference between that and an actual human is a bot is able to do it at much more efficiently and at a larger scale.
We're talking about liking and commenting thousands of photos, following thousands of users, all in under a single second. On top of that, it is doing that for 24 hours, 7 days a week, with no rest.
"No way that's true!" I heard you say. Hold on, hear me out. If following a thousand different users in under a second sound insane to you, that's because it is. And Instagram has a way to police that.
If any account is found doing that, they would be going against Instagram's Community Guidelines and will be banned pretty quickly.
But that does not stop unethical marketers from using bots to do their dirty work. These bots designed to be smart and careful enough to not exceed the maximum number of likes, comments, and follow limits set by Instagram, to continue flying under the radar. And unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you ask), a simple Google search and anyone can know what these limits are.
With all that being said, it's still not clear what is the motive behind this particular account. Are they trying to gain followers and then selling the account altogether (check out the previous Unethical Marketing Expose #1)? Or is it something else? There isn't any other information that can help us to decipher the situation. None of the posts has any caption, and the profile bio makes no sense.
We have to get to the bottom of this. So we've gone ahead and followed that account, to see what happens.
A couple of hours later, a notification from Instagram popped up. It is a message from the account we had followed earlier.
This should come as no surprise, but we have been sent (by the bot account) a sketchy URL that could contain god knows what. And yet, we took a risk by clicking into the link, determined to get to the bottom of this, so that you don't have to.
What we found is an entire network of blackhat marketing advertisers, which we'll be covering in the next issue of Unethical Marketing Exposé.