Have you ever wondered how the heck some photographers ended up with tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram? The truth is people did and continue to do some questionable things all in the name of a larger number displayed on their Instagram account.
In this video from Brendan van Son, he breaks down a number of different methods that people use to boost their numbers, ranging from mildly questionable tactics to full-blown spam bots and purchasing followers in droves. It's not a well-kept secret that loads of people try everything imaginable to game the system, beat the algorithm, and get Insta-famous, and it's easy to understand why. Instagram tries to train us that our self-worth is measured by how many followers we have, or at least that's the perception we end up with as a by-product of labeling folks as followers.
One of the more interesting methods that van Son mentions are the feature pages. While I'm not looking to start any kind of political discussion, Instagram feature pages are tantamount to trickle down economics. The basic concept of these pages is that they use your content to build their page and you get the privilege of paying them to do it with the hope that some percent of people who see your work through them will bother to look into your work and your page.
What makes these feature accounts such frauds is that they pose as some kind of fun community asking people to “use our hashtag for a chance to be featured”. What they don't tell you is that the hashtag doesn't matter and that people are paying for the posting. Take a look at these screenshots, these are just a tiny sample of the feature page scam. My two cents? Avoid their hashtags and accounts like the plague, because they are building their bank account on your back.
So what do you folks think of all the tactics people use on Instagram which ones do you find most annoying or most ethically questionable? Do you think that there is gray area here or do you see this as cut and dried issue? The old follow then unfollow has to rank pretty highly as far as annoyance goes.