Those wanting to bot multiple Instagram accounts were in for some sad news yesterday. Or good for users wanting a bit more authenticity in their social media. Wait, social media is authentic?
Instagress, a popular Instagram botting service, abruptly shuttered its virtual doors. Heading to the site now, you’re greeted with this:
Sad news to all of you who fell in love with Instagress: By request of Instagram we were forced to close our web-service.
That’s the most diplomatic way of saying the service received a cease and desist order from the company for infringing on its trademark of ‘Insta.’
Instagram Fake Account Purge?
Don’t get too excited for an Instagram free of bots. There are already clones of the service and one that suspiciously looks like Instagress dressed up in a new, non-infringing name, complete with higher prices. Instagram can play whack-a-mole all it wants against marketers looking for an edge.
The company swings the hammer, and the marketers adapt and come up with new solutions. Instagress had the issue of beating the hell out Instagram’s API and the fact it kept having story after story written about it. It’s shocking it took the company’s lawyers this long to slap the easy button and hit them with a trademark violation.
For those using the service, the company is promising refunds, so make sure to email them for the days you haven’t used.
Most marketers think Massplanner is next, but if shutting Instagram took this long, fighting a standalone software package which is self-hosted and non-infringing on trademarks will be interesting.
Shadow Bans on Instagram?
If there wasn’t enough drama around bots, there’s always the conspiracy theory of shadow bans happening to Instagram accounts on popular hashtags. In fact, there’s already a site that will check your feed. It’s debatable how well it works thanks to it checking if you place hashtags in your comments. The site’s developer claims it checks “instapp:hashtags” and “video:tag” meta tags via the Instagram API. If they are missing when viewed through the API, their rationale is the account or media uploaded has been shadow banned.
The flipside of the argument is Instagram is tweaking the algorithm, and the hashtag search is buggy as hell at the moment.
In the end, Instagress is gone, and people are scrambling to find alternatives. You can go the route of natural, organic growth. Or, you can learn how to use the automation tools more effectively. Your choice.