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| By Wellvyl Media Editorial

In an interview with Forbes, the disruptive mogul and entrepreneur Dame Dash said, “Because of the internet, you don’t have to be so cool, you just have to be famous.” In the days of influencer marketing, this could not be truer. The creator of Roc-A-Fella Records continues saying, “It doesn’t matter if you’re corny or not, as long as you have money and Instagram followers.” This introduces the digital world to influencer fraud.

Transparency is our only weapon in the fight against influencer fraud. Money and followers on any social media account is the new recipe for cool. The image of something is much more important than the actuality of something. To be quite frank, I agree with Dash’s sentiment, “The role of the real influencer is in jeopardy.”



With social media accounts increasing number of bots engagements, purchasing of followers, and the pay-to-play attitude, how can consumers guard themselves against influencer fraud?


WWD did a fantastic breakdown of celebrities and their influential marketing income for Instagram posts in relation to their followers. The self-made cosmetics guru, Kylie Jenner, has an estimated value of $1 million for each sponsored post.

“[Selena] Gomez has the largest following on the list at 139 million, and each post is worth $800,000. Ronaldo’s posts are worth $750,000. He has 137 million followers. Jenner’s half-sister Kim Kardashian West has 114 million followers and her single posts are valued at $720,000.”

Micro-influencers are also joining the likes of celebrities when it comes to marketing. One mention can ensure that these small-scale influencers receive up to $1,500 per mention. The Drum’s research from advertisers and marketers yield these results “In a survey of its members, the Association of National Advertisers found that 75% of marketers currently work with influencers and of that 43% plan to increase spending in the next year.”


influencer marketing

According to Eliza Valdez, manager of insights and strategy at influencer marketing agency Sway Group, says, “Bot comments are responsible for over 40 percent of total comments for more than 500 of 2,000 sponsored posts made each day.”

In Valdez’s opinion piece for AdWeek, she continues “The influencer marketing industry will not continue to thrive without truth and transparency.” If you do decide to implement influencer marketing in any of your social media campaigns, Valdez stresses that companies should know who their influencers are. 

It is not worth it. You do your followers, customers, and consumers a great disservice when it comes to influencer fraud. Just because someone has a ton of followers does not mean it is quality content and worth making it onto your timeline. In a digital world dominated and curated by algorithms, consumers are constantly fed what they might or should like based on who they follow and things that they search. It should be unethical for companies to promote their products using false advertising through fraudulent influencer marketing. If companies actively and willingly engage in influencer fraud, then there should be consequences and punishments set in place.

Unilever’s CMO, Keith Weed, has outright said that the company will not work with influencers who buy followers. It may be time for the companies and advertising firms using digital marketing to take the same stance. Only then can we live better and be better.