Instagram is a fantastic platform for getting engagement and developing your business online. Side by side, genuine companies, and fake accounts fight for your attention, and it’s only natural. If there’s a business opportunity, there are people to capitalize on it.
Fake Instagram accounts have grown into a business worth hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Understandably, Facebook often tweaks the algorithm so that it’s harder to exploit the platform. One of the recent ones is the Instagram IP ban. Using one device to log into several accounts might get all the activity from that address blocked.
While it’s been a measure to temper the artificial account operators, social media specialists and their clients could be in danger of getting banned too. Proxies are an excellent way to mask your IP address and handle as many accounts as you want. Smartproxy, for example, allows you to target any location by choosing among 40 million residential IPs worldwide.
Now, let’s see what the Instagram accounts industry is like and what role automation methods like bots and proxies have there.
Artificial Instagram Account Business Models
To understand the shady part of the Instagram industry, we have to look at the legit model first. Most businesses use their social media channels to promote products and services. The target audience engages and starts buying from the company, adding not only to the followers and engagements of the page but also to the company’s bottom line.
The fake Instagram account industry is based on the exploitation of numbers. Even well-known celebrities buy followers, likes, and comments to boost visibility. Here are a few unorthodox methods people use on Instagram to earn money.
Becoming a social media celebrity has been the craze of the last few years. Although it isn’t as easy to get famous as it used to be (due to market saturation and algorithm changes), it’s still possible.
Instagram influencers are people or companies who offer products and services from other sources. This is a legit business, as paid advertising between peers on the platform is allowed. Plus, gaining a commission from product sales is also valid. With this method, you’re in the clear.
Things get convoluted when the account is “faceless” (there’s no brand person behind the screen). This situation doesn’t necessarily mean that the profile is fraudulent or tries to trick you into buying harmful products. It’s just easier to be shady when there’s nobody famous to take the hit.
One person or company can have tens of such accounts for various niches. Using bots like Jarvee and proxy services makes it easier to post automatically on multiple accounts and find eyeballs worldwide while staying undetectable.
The most important KPI for this business model used to be the audience size. Now, it’s the engagement level and how much sales go through the account, meaning that fake likes won’t cut it anymore. This brings us to another business model people use to earn thousands of dollars on Instagram.
Bot Farms for Boosting Engagement
A few years back, buying likes would get you thousands of them from different countries of the world. These would come in at once and skew your insights a lot. At the same time, identifying bulk likes and followers was much easier, as the accounts might have been new and not have any prior activity (followers, photos, and engagement) on Instagram.
Nowadays, bots are much more sophisticated. They look like real people with photos and posts, followers, and engagement. To avoid the Instagram IP ban, bot farms buy proxies and use insane automation techniques to mimic human behavior. They limit the frequency and variety of comments, don’t click at wild speeds, and let the account age before pushing it “into active duty.”
Still, you can spot a bot if you look closely enough. Posts with out-of-context comments, repeating content, generic stock photos, and emoji-based answers are what gives them away.
- Create a new account (or buy one with potential)
- Grow its audience
- Sell on the “market.”
Despite being in the gray zone, the exchange operates like clockwork. In hacker forums and Reddit threads, you can buy pre-created IG accounts and emails for further use.
Staying in the game and avoiding the Instagram IP ban is still a significant risk for this business model. Still, as long as there are buyers, there’ll be sellers.
While many people call the fake account industry a symptom of late capitalism and present it negatively, it’s still rising due to its immense marketing potential and political influence. While there are many risks in all three business models described above, they will thrive as long as there’s enough space to maneuver.