[English Version] Instaloops – The new Instagram-Doping?

Instaloops - Das neue Instagram-Doping? Ein Blick hinter die Kulissen

They are everywhere, spreading like a wildfire on Instagram – Loop Giveaways. Is it a great chance for ones loyal followers to win amazing prizes or just a racket gaining followers? I chose to self- attempt and its been days of denouncing, „hating“ and blasphemy…

What Is An Instaloop Giveaway?

As the name already suggests it is a loop, a ring. Instagramer’s joint together to prepare a giveaway. The first account links account #2, which you’ll have to follow. The 2nd account links a 3rd account – you repeat these steps until you’ve returned to the account you’ve started from. Finally you have to comment, ensuring that you gave everyone a follow. Sometimes you are asked to proceed by liking further pictures or tagging your friends in the comments. That’s it :-)!

When I first saw one of these Instaloop Giveaways on Instagram, I thought what a cool thing to do and the prize surely was amazing. So I started to participate, but honestly, after the fifth account I was already sick of it. Too many accounts which I was supposed to follow for the tiny chance to win an iPhone – chances like winning the lottery!

Since then, some time passed and I now suddenly saw them everywhere! I felt like every second post on the Gram was a Loop-Giveaway. And believe me, the prizes were getting more expensive and certainly more absurd – Tablets, Phones, Designer Bags and even Cash options! And everybody claims to give away with some of their favorite Instagramer’s and friends. Of course!

After a while this whole development bugged me – Big Time! Anyway, I tried to ignore people who did it, but if someone repeatedly popped up in my feed, week after week I unfollowed (not condemning anyone, trying this out once). However, the feeling arose that this whole thing was all about follower fishing and of course also wondered if the prize really exists…

At some point during the last weeks, some of my favorite bloggers were doing it too, snatching some new followers instead of promoting good content – I was mad, annoyed and suddenly had the urgent feeling to speak up. But how on earth would I succeed to shed light into the topic? Of course, I had to break the surface!

Instaloops - Das neue Instagram-Doping? Ein Blick hinter die Kulissen

My Self-Attempt

If you would ask anyone participating/hosting a loop, the answer is always the same: „I want to give back to my followers“. That the loop makes your follower number rise so rapidly, is just a nice side effect, right?! Is it really about saying „Thank You“? If the initial attempt has merely a selfless purpose, how come you joint with Grammers that you don’t know instead of the ones you have been working with and known for years?

I had the idea to look behind the scenes. But how do you get in touch with the other participants? How does the whole thing work? How many new followers will I „earn“ and what do my „old“ followers say about this type of giveaway?

Behind The Scenes Of An Instaloop

Well, the biggest hurdle was to get into such a loop. By remarkable coincidence, I discovered an Instagram account that offered exactly these loop giveaways that I’ve been seeing lately.

Wonderful! I wrote this account a message and asked how I could participate – the first shocker was just around the corner – participation only if I pay 70$!!! (while participants over 100k may be free of charge). I argued with myself whether this attempt was really worth those 70$, but my inner investigator told me – Do it!

I paid via Pay Pal, I was added to a Loop WhatsApp group, more and more people were added, rules were discussed…the picture was sent to us just before the giveaway was about to start, because some of the prizes were missing up to this point (so the prize does exist?) The list of whom to link was passed to us, as well as an video showing the prizes. At first this video showed a „wrong“ lipstick, so we got another video which we had to post in our Instagram Story. Strange.

How Many Followers Do You Gain At An Instaloop And Will They Stay?

The day had come, the pictures were posted, the next person was linked and a perfectly nice loop created. I wouldn’t have to sit around for long, when the first people hit my „Follow Button“ – the majority commented in Spanish, which surprised me, but it was told that one of the larger participants mostly had Spanish-speaking followers. All right. In the first night more than a thousand new followers came in – my Instagram gain was on fire – wherefore I unfortunately overlooked comments from my other followers. In total, I gained about 3,700 new followers (5,000 to 10,000 were promised by the way).

Afterwards each of us was allowed to suggest 3 potential winners within the WhatsApp group. A list was made and drawn by Everything seemed fairly honest – up to here. Why? Read on…

The winner was linked under our pictures and also announced in the Instatory. A few followers then disappeared. More and more. Then suddenly a big swarm came back to me, and then I lost hundreds again. It went up and down. Do my new followers interact on my profile? No. My likes and comments have not increased since then. You could say they are „dead“ followers – a number, nothing else. Of course, they all followed ‘cause the could win an iPhone, not because they like my content.

Instaloops - Das neue Instagram-Doping? Ein Blick hinter die Kulissen

Reactions Of MY Followers

Honestly, I would never have anticipated such an aggressive reaction, which affected me so deeply. A real shitstrom was triggered with this one image. Madness! Of course, most of them didn’t know my initial intention with this loop and thought I was just another blogger wanting to gain tons of followers quickly. Some of my closest blogger friends I have given a heads up in advance. Some of them I got in touch with, after they unfollowed and explained why I have been doing this. Many of them thought the idea was great and shared their attitude towards this issue – for the most part I can say loops leave a negative feeling among people. Many said they have nothing bad to say about loopy giveaways in general, but suggest it should be done authentic, such a getting together with a small group of already interacting accounts. Others denounced me in such a way, implying that I am a liar, just being one of those „Follower-Horny-Bitches“.

What actually hit me the hardest was the public blasphemy via Twitter. It was addressed by name, without people tagging me, so I did not even have the chance to take a position. They were pillorying me and more and more girls were joining. This has showed me, once again, that the German blogger scene only co-occurs ones there is something to egg upon.

Where is the team spirit if someone creates something great? Writes an amazing post? Achieves a great project? Sharing PR contacts? Exactly – solidarity barely exist. Everyone is afraid that by sharing or helping others, it means giving up or relinquishing ones own piece of cake. But as soon as it comes to collective blasphemy, everyone is at the forefront. I surely missed that people had the guts to come up to me saying: „Hey I find these loops stupid, why are you doin’ it?“. Only two of my followers did! TWO! The rest followed, insulted, blasphemed, or mocked. I reached out to some of them and they surely felt caught up. And only a few of these in turn understood and felt sorry.

I perfectly understand that you don’t have to agree to those loops. Sure, you can unfollow the people. Sure, you can blaspheme. But making it public is not fair. Put yourself in a position – how would you feel if (Blogger)-colleagues publicly denounce you? Make fun of you? And furthermore incite others to get on board. Horrible, wouldn’t you?

Instaloop - Das neue Instagram-Doping?

My Conclusion To The Instaloop Giveaway Self-Attempt

These huge international giveaways still bother me. A small personal loop, with a maximum of 5 people you have to follow, doesn’t. Just by means of comparing – we were 32!!! participants. No one could ever convince me that this is not about upgrading your follower count. I feel that it’s a new way buying followers, camouflaged as a generous giveaway. Buying followers in a classic way, I now find even less conspicuous. However, the question of whether the giveaway prize really exist, occupies me up to this moment. After having randomized, the winner was contacted and I started to observe her account. There was no post, no story spreading joy of having won such an amazing prize. And of course no picture showing the send-out prize. The other day, the account was suddenly renamed and switched to private. Strange, isn’t it? This makes me suspect, that the host of this loop simply makes a mint of money… Now you do the math – 70$ entrance fee x 32 participants (+ at least 1 Loop per week). Whether my assumption is right, I don’t know…just something to think about 🙂

I’ve also seen loops done right: Where a small number of chummy bloggers gave away a pretty, well-thought but down-to-earth bundle and I saw a photo of the winner who couldn’t believe her luck. In that case I knew that the prize was real and sent out.

Well, I am not patronizing what one has to do. Everyone can do what he/she wants to do with their profile. I can only say, I for my part was very ashamed to participate in such a strange loop, to get so much hate out of it and I would never ever do it again. Those new followers are only a number on your count (for some only this seems to matter), but I’d rather have less followers who are actually interested in what I’m doing. I am aware that Instagram is tripping us with the algorithm, shadowban etc. and that the pressure is greater than ever – companies want to see large numbers! Sure, you want more followers – I can’t blame you. But is it right that „influencer“ + those who want to be pimp their profile? Is this the new way to go? I meanwhile feel, honesty simply won’t bring success. I am eager to see which Instagram scam we will see next.

Girls, do the loops, but do them authentic. Otherwise you are jeopardizing your own reputation. Don’t do it twice or thrice a week and don’t make use of these dubios „Do you want more

followers?“ pages. And if that’s really all what you want – maybe buying followers as in good old times, might be the best option for you 😉

And to all those who spit bad blood – I’ve learned a lot. A lot about our blogger scene and I can only hope that this changes quickly, because as of now, we are tripping each other.

Thanks so much to Eva for this wonderful translation!

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  • Reply
    18. Mai 2017 at 19:02

    I saw the picture when you posted it on Instagram and I thought no way! I see this same giveaway picture now for months! And after some time I realized it was a scam. No way some bloggers buy such expensive things! You are really brave to pay 70$! This is already a cyber crime, I feel really bad for the people that think they will win something. This is such a good post! 🙂

  • Reply
    18. Mai 2017 at 23:55

    I must have missed you posting the loop giveaway or I’ve just ignored it. It’s just too much. I once just tried following the links on one of these without taking any other action and got sick of it before I even got to the finish line. However, I do not feel like it’s worth such hostile response from any one. If someone wants to participate, go ahead, I can just ignore it. I think it’s also important to mention that fake giveaways are against the law. The one you took part of surely sounds like one. Either way… I’m sorry about the response you received. Internet is a nasty place sometimes.

  • Reply
    19. Mai 2017 at 15:27

    I’m so proud of you for putting in an effort to expose a scam like this, you gained lot of hate but you did the right thing! I hope your exposé will draw attention to this issue and open people’s eyes to the truth behind it.

  • Reply
    Lindsay | Paperclips & Pacis
    24. Mai 2017 at 2:26

    I think it really depends on the loops. They aren’t all scams. I participated with a few of them a couple years back and had decent results (meaning some of the followers „stuck“ and interacted and others unfollowed when they didn’t win. The people who were running the loops I participated in only charged $30-45 for nice prizes. I participated because I love to win things and I thought it would be fun to offer bigger prizes to my followers that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to offer them….as well as reach new people. We were shown screen shots of the prizes being ordered and provided tracking info for the shipment. I know the winners for the ones I participated in were legit and they did post pictures. I think the top two were ipad/camera combo and an imac. Both girls were so excited and it really made an impact on them. One of them said her and her husband were both in school and they didn’t have a computer but were going to the library. How cool to be part of that! But what you’ve experienced sounds like a scam for sure. You can’t trust everyone online. Hopefully people will realize it’s important to do research and that there are honest ones out there as well.

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