A few hundred users on Instagram will be very disappointed today. They wouldn’t be receiving any Amazon gift card worth Rs. 3000 as a personal DM. The morning exactly two weeks back, as I browsed through my Instagram feed, I was amazed to see a couple of my friends sharing an amazing offer by Amazon India to grow its Instagram followers.
An account named ‘OFFICIAL.AMAZON.IN’ put up a visual post offering a Rs. 3000 gift card for the first 50,000 followers. All one had to do was follow the account, repost and tag it. The followers would receive a personal DM on 3rd December, 2014.
I too fell into the trap but didn’t follow them as I didn’t know how to repost on Instagram. Meanwhile, something called ‘common sense’ struck me hard and I began to calculate the amount Amazon is giving away in return for 50,000 followers. At Rs. 3000 each, that would sum up to a whopping Rs. 150,000,000!
The ecommerce major had recently announced a $2 billion funding for India, but this couldn’t possibly be a great way to spend all that money, just to acquire 50K followers on Instagram. Jeff Bezos is a thrifty businessman.
I hopped on to the official Amazon India Facebook page but didn’t find anything promoting the Instagram offer and my suspicions only grew. A couple of days later, a post on the Amazon Facebook page revealed the imposter as a fake account and informed that the matter has been reported to Instagram. After a few of the brand’s Facebook fans who had followed, reposted, tagged the fake Instagram handle and were now waiting for their Rs 3K gift card, brought this to the company’s notice.
The ‘OFFICIAL.AMAZON.IN’ Instagram account does not exist anymore, but there are many such fake handles and they follow a similar modus operandi when not properly investigated or reported to Instagram.
From our sources we have learnt this to be a rising trend to grow Instagram followers. Recently, a fashion brand lured unsuspecting Instagram users to follow them with the promise of exciting gift vouchers for the first 10,000 followers. As the date of sending gift vouchers came by, the fake handle increased its demand – now it asked for 20,000 followers. This continued till one fine day – the handle changed its name and the followers didn’t know what happened.
No brand has ever benefited by paying for Instagram followers, not at least by deception. Yet there are many such imitators damaging the reputation of authentic brands. It’s about time that Instagram brings in brand verification – like Facebook and Twitter have already done – to weed out the fake accounts.
Do stay alert of fake Instagram frauds and keep us informed if you catch one!