The Rise of the Fake Blogger – buying fake followers, using bots, engagement pods?!

So today’s post is something a little different. It’s something that keeps cropping up, and I talk about a lot with other bloggers and thought it was only right I do a post on this topic. I am speaking as openly and honestly about the rise of the blogging industry and what people are doing to be seen as successful and more importantly, to make money. It is the rise of the fake followers and the fake bloggers!

I’m not going to lie, blogging is an amazing job and was recently voted by under 18s as the most desirable job. So you can see why more and more people are actively trying to pursue it as a career. & in turn more and more people are opting for skipping the hard work and taking a little ‘cheat’ with fake followers.

Is it possible to con your way through the industry and make money from it? The sad answer is yes, and rather easily.

FAKE BLOGGERS 

Is that such a thing? How is possible for someone to be a fake blogger you are probably thinking. & well technically, I guess anyone who blogs online about something can be categorised as a ‘blogger’, but we cannot deny the amount of people who are really making use of the ‘fake it till you make it’ phrase.

Bloggers all over the world are opting for fake engagement and fake followers rather than organically growing. It is surprisingly easy to buy fake followers, likes, comments, and even instagram story or snapchat views. Yes, I know, crazy.

I googled buy followers, and was shocked at how many sites popped up which were so easy to navigate and at such low prices! You can literally buy something like 2000 followers for £1 and something crazy like 50,000 followers for £50!

Now as a blogger myself, if you have 50,000 followers I know that you can quite literally make a living from your instagram account alone. When I was at around 35,000 followers I left my office job and starting blogging full time.

 Now this is a whole separate post on the money making side of blogging that I would love to do another day. But to put it frankly, being a decent blogger with good content in this current day with 50k followers, well let’s just say you can pay the rent each month..

So in a way, can you blame some people for paying £50 for fake followers when in return their income could be a decent amount?? It’s an interesting debate. Because it is so easy for people to do, but so damaging to the rest of us working hard for a genuine career.

Now I would never name names, it’s just not my style and some of these bloggers I am actually friends with, but I know they have bought followers. From going to messaging me asking for a shout out on my own page and having under 10k followers, to suddenly having over 200,000 followers in a couple of months? With no massive campaign, no re-posts from one of the kardashians or justin bieber or something crazy like that. Well, I’m sorry but that kind of growth just doesn’t exist!

If you click on their likes and look through them, so many of them are weird accounts you can tell are fake. For example they follow a few thousand people and have no followers themselves and/or they have no profile picture. And getting something like 2000 likes in 5 minutes is also a little dodge if you ask me! These are all the signs of a ‘fake blogger’.

I also have a few blogger friends who have openly joked with me about buying some of their followers! I’m like… erm ok…

It’s hard to not feel bitter when it has been something I have been so against. I have even had friends say to me “why don’t you just do it? Why don’t you just buy 5000 followers to just take you up to that next landmark” But I just can’t. I don’t agree with it and I would just feel so wrong about it!

The thing that is crazy is these bloggers don’t just have all these followers and then low engagement. People are clever about it and it’s super hard to spot if you don’t really know what you’re looking for. E.g. poor brands who pay these bloggers money might have no idea until it’s too late and they spend a lot on the campaign for a very small return.

These bloggers can easy as pie buy their likes to match their fake followers. From the click of a button on an app, to monthly subscription services. There are plenty of ways of doing it.

One of the things I find most amusing is the ‘engagement pods’ that bloggers use to support each other and make it look like they have amazing engagement. These are basically groups of bloggers in instagram DM groups, whatsapp or telegram groups. Every time they upload a new picture they will share it in the group and everyone will like it and comment on it. Tell tale signs of bloggers who are doing this will be bloggers who have a crazy amount of comments in relation to their following, and if you click on the comments you will see it’s all other blogger accounts commenting and very few are actual non blogger accounts (small follower accounts) who have commented as a genuine follower!

I don’t mind being in a small one such as with say under 10 other bloggers who you know, to support each other I think is nice. But I have been invited to telegram groups with literally like 300 people from all over the world commenting on each other’s photos.

So there we have it, that’s how easy it is to fake a following. Of course, hard work goes into producing the content. But I just don’t think it’s right to be charging brands a large amount of money for promotion to an audience who are mostly not active accounts.

I know someone with probably 80% fake followers making as much as sometimes £800 for a post alone. Crazy right?

& with this specific person I remember instagram had a big clear out of fake accounts and they dropped about from about 250k to 20k, and then within a few days was back to the original amount.

 

Thankfully, instagram seems to be cracking down on this as recently I have heard of such a thing called the ‘shadow ban’. Which, for some annoying reason I seem to have been affected  by as well as lots of other good bloggers I know where our engagement is down! Apparently, this can be caused by even using the same hashtags too many times, or having your instagram logged into 3rd party apps. So some apps that do something as simple as even keeping track of your following etc can be detrimental to your engagement and cause you to have a shadow ban. Whole other post coming on this soon as this is another topic I really need to talk about it!!

But as I was saying, instagram is cracking down and shutting down all the fake follower apps.

There was also a big thing recently that a lot of people used to use which were basically ‘instagram bots’. These bots were logged in on your account and they would actively follow and unfollow people for you, like people’s photos with a certain hashtag i.e. #fashion, they could even comment on people’s photos on your behalf all automatically through a  ‘bot’ (computer system).

A lot of bloggers were using these, which I personally do understand to an extent as I think it’s just a way of getting your account seen and those people still had to click on your profile and decide whether they wanted to follow you. It has been a big uproar in the blogger industry of some big bloggers being found out to have been using these bots to manage their instagram accounts. It was funny because once I knew about it I noticed accounts doing it. If you clicked on the ‘activity’ option on instagram to see what people were liking, they would be liking hundreds of photos constantly and some would be really weird photos where the bot had obviously messed up! I even saw someone comment ‘awesome photo’ on someone’s RIP picture to their nan. That’s an example of the damage a bot can do and why they are against instagram’s policy.

 

Of course, once brands have worked with these bloggers and not seen a great result, it is unlikely they will want to continue working with such blogger. But, there are plenty of brands around so it is possible for these ‘fakers’ to keep getting paid work with new brands.

What do you think of these fake bloggers buying fake followers? Other than it being detrimental to the industry’s credibility as a whole, it is incredibly disheartening to all the genuine bloggers out there and also potentially damaging if more and more brands pay ‘fake bloggers’ it could eventually put off all brands.

The solution? In my opinion the best way to check someone’s engagement is firstly do they have between 1-2% likes in relation to their following? Who is commenting on their photos? Do they have lots of other bloggers? Then some part of their engagement isn’t genuine. Check their followers. Ask for their stats if they have a business account.

& hopefully instagram can continue to remove inactive accounts and fake followers but also remove their shadow ban from accounts who shouldn’t be suffering!!

 

Toula Rose xo

Follow me on instagram! @toularose

 

Summer outfits with WearAll

wearall white coord

So if you guys hadn’t heard of them, then I’m glad you will have now – WEARALL will for sure be one of your new fav online fashion store!

They are super affordable and have the nicest stuff. Honestly when I scroll through their new in section it is so hard to not literally add pretty much every single thing to the basket!

To save my bank balance, for this post I opted for just the two outfits, both simple, fresh and cute summery outfits.

I absolutely love the white two-piece co-ord in the photo above. I am a sucker for  co-ords, especially a cute white and gold denim one like this. I actually don’t tend to wear white too much so this a nice change for me, and what I especially loved about this was how figure enhancing it was.

Shop it here

wearall cropped trousers

I also fell in love with this cute black and white checked bardot crop top!

I have been living in denim skirts this summer, so love finding cute new tops to pair with them such as this one! It has super cute bows on the side, and the edges are ruffled which gives it a really cute delicate detail.

 

Shop it here

 

& check out the rest of the new in here!!

Sunnylife – The Perfect Summer Accessory

This post is sponsored by John Lewis!

Sunnylife is one of those amazing brands I came across and just had to share with you guys. It is literally a blogger’s dream, with all the cutest props and accessories ever! From cactus desk lights, to huge pool inflatables for that perfect instagram picture! Sunnylife have you covered this summer.

They are now stocked at John Lewis, so either head to their site or in store to check out the full range!

 

Shop this adorable ice cream tumbler

For anyone that knows me, they will know I am OBSESSED with watermelon. Watermelon fruit, and then anything watermelon flavoured or scented. This soap is amazing!

I have chosen some of my favourite Sunnylife goodies below but honestly it was so hard to chose as everything is amazing!

The floats are by far one of my favourite as they make the perfect accessory for bikini shots on holiday! & they are a great size so are genuinely really comfortable for relaxing and sunbathing on. All these holiday accessories are making me desperate to book another flight to the sun ASAP!

 

Flamingo Float

Shop this adorable cactus lime soap 

 

How much fun does the cactus game look?!

 

Check out the full range here

New Look Summer Style + Festival Competition

New Look Summer Style + Festival Competition

new look manhattan top

Really excited to share today’s post with you guys > New Look Summer Style!

I am literally loving New Look at the moment, honestly when I was looking through their New In the other day there was so much stuff that I wanted!

Usually, New Look has always been my go-to shop for shoes. They have every style and colour of shoe you can imagine at the best prices. Their sandals at the moment are insane – check them out 

For today’s post I have styled a classic ‘summer style’ outfit and mixed white with red for a really beautiful, clean and bright look.

New Look are also hosting a super exciting competition for you guys, just scroll down to read more about it!

white summer style

Believe it or not other than a pair of white jeans, these are my first white trousers I have ever owned and I don’t know what I’ve been doing all this time! They are so comfortable and the fit is perfect, but what I love most about these is they go with pretty much anything! I can dress them up with a pair of heels and pretty top, or down with a pair of trainers and a tee!

Shop my top

Shop my trousers

red newlook sandals

Shop my shoes

I instantly fell in love with these shoes when I saw them. They are a lovely bright red suede (genuine leather) so are perfect for summer. I am not joking, they are so comfortable and easy to walk in it is ridiculous! The heel is quite high so I wasn’t expecting them to be that comfy but they truly are. I can tell these are going to my absolute go-to shoe this summer.

tropical sequin beach bag

Shop my bag

Again this bag is something else I just ‘had to have’ as soon as I saw it. What more could you want from a beach bag, then a classic straw bag with gorgeous sequin tropical leaves on?! This is by far my favourite beach bag I have ever seen! It’s super light and there is loads of room inside so perfect for me, a blogger on the go!

FESTIVAL COMPETITION!

If you guys want a chance to win tickets to an amazing festival then click here to enter now > here

The prize includes an all expenses paid trip for you and a friend to a festival in Croatia – How amazing?!

The full prize breakdown is as follows:

First prize- Money-can’t-buy trip to Fresh Island festival in Croatia (Europe’s number 1 hip-hop beach festival). Meet and greet with their favourite artist and watching them from the side of the stage. Also includes flights, accommodation, drinks and food.

 

 Runner up prizes– 13 x City of Beach holidays (Travel and accommodation)

 

Runner up prizes– 100 x £25 gift cards

The competition is open to the UK only and doesn’t require a purchase for entry.

Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Styler Review

Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Styler Review

revlon one step hair dryer review

Today’s post is one that I haven’t done in a while – a product review post!

Now I don’t know about you, but I am literally the worst at blowdrying my own hair. I just suck at it, and can never get it go nice and smooth or flicky/wavey at all. I wish I could literally just have a blowdry at the salon twice a week and be done with it.

However, when I came across this new Revlon pro styler tool, I thought it would be worth a shot to try it and see if it helps me.

What I like about this product in particular is, it’s a hairdryer/styler/brush all in one! That was one of the best parts about it for me, as it made the process so much easier. Whereas usually I would be trying to brush my hair, use a blowdry brush and hold the hair dryer all in one go – a disaster! So this is super easy as you can imagine with just the one tool needed.

The bristles are de-tangling so perfect for my hair which gets tangled a lot!

It’s also surprisingly really lightweight.

It honestly dried my hair so fast, and genuinely made my hair super smooth and I actually got into the hang of flicking inwards at the bottom to add a wave/flicky style to my hair.

Step 1: Take a section of hair and start brushing the dryer downwards

Step 2: Start brushing from the inner part of the hair downwards to the ends to create a flick
 

This is the final look that I created!

 

 

Shop the styler here