There are some brands and tastemakers out there in who have gone has far as to buy their verification on Instagram, Facebook and other popular social media platforms as way increase their influence on other social media users.
When you want to get verified on social, you usually have to go through some kind of application process or submit your account to Facebook or Twitter to get confirmed. But with Instagram, you can’t request a verification badge and it’s given to people Instagram believes is worthy, so that’s why they are in such high demand. But if you know the right people, there are ways you can by a verification badge online from a secret network of middleman connections.
According to a recent report by Mashable, there are people out there who have paid thousands of dollars in the black market for Instagram just to get that little blue verification check mark next to their name on their profile.
“These guys pay all their bills from one to two blue checks a month,” said a middleman source to Mashable reporter Kerry Flynn in a direct message.
One buyer, who goes by James told Mashable he used to sell unique, one-word Instagram names to people he believed would need them. According to him, he was doing that until one day he messaged someone on Instagram to sell a name to and it turned out that person worked at Instagram. He maintained a relationship with that person and began to sell verifications on Instagram with the help of his friend.
How much does it cost to get verification on Instagram?
If the social platform knows you’re a brand, influencer or public figure, they will give you a verification badge. However, in the black market, people without such clout are paying thousands of dollars to digital marketers or Instagram employees to get the blue check of approval.
“I’ve sold verifications anywhere from $1,500 to $7,000,” John claimed. According to James, the Instagram employee he has been working with charges $1200 for each account he can verify, while James charges more to customers. this illegal shady business could be lucrative for anyone with the right connections. According to Mashable, there have been people who have spent up to $15,000 to have the little blue "verified" check next to their name.
Celebrities and other public figures are verified because there is more of a chance someone would impersonate them. So Instagram makes sure those accounts are verified.
For brands looking to increase their following, having a verified account on Instagram could add needed value to your online identity and create more business opportunities. From a technical standpoint, having verification on Instagram can push your profile up in search results making it easier for people to find you and see your work.
Instagram is aware of the Instagram verification market and they advise users not to partake in such business.
According to James, he knows of several Instagram employees being fired for selling verifications to users. Last year, Instagram deactivated about 30 accounts that were related to cannabis. A former Instagram employee tried to charge people up to $7500 per account to have their accounts reactivated because he still had access to that function. According to James, Instagram found out and that person’s account was terminated.