The Black Market of Instagram Verifications
How less notable brands and figures can get the blue tick.
If you’ve ever googled how to get verified, you know that all guides warn you that whoever tries to sell you a verification is scamming you.
I can assure you that’s not the case.
Sure, there are scammers out there, but you can absolutely buy yourself a blue tick on Instagram. I know of several people who’ve done so.
To be clear, I’m not in the business of providing this type of service and I don’t intend to link publicly to the marketplaces where this is happening either.
I’m just annoyed with “credible” sources denying that this is happening and want to set the record straight.
What You’re Actually Paying For
Technically, you aren’t buying an Instagram verification. You aren’t paying anyone at Instagram to enable your blue checkmark.
What you’re paying for is the service of fast-tracking a comprehensive verification request through to someone guaranteed to process it.
You’re paying someone — or someone who knows someone — with access to the Facebook Media Partner Panel, which usually means a PR or Digital Marketing agency.
The price for this is in the $5000 range, so it’s not cheap.
This, of course, leads to the question of why this is necessary when anyone can request verification through the app.
The Problem with Requesting Verification through the App
Firstly, there’s no guarantee that all requests through the app ever get reviewed. Imagine how many of those Instagram gets. Their support for us normal people is known to suck, and verifications are definitely no priority for them.
A verification request through the Facebook Media Partner Panel guarantees a review.
Secondly — and more importantly — when requesting through the app, you’re unable to include attachments other than your ID, or any additional info (e.g. article links) in your request.
This is a problem because to be verified, you need a minimum of ten articles about you or your business (depending on who you’re trying to verify) in notable media outlets.
And it’s not enough that you’re merely mentioned in the article. You being number seven in an article titled “The 10 Hottest New Reggae Artists in LA Right Now” doesn’t count.
No, the whole article needs to be about you. Ideally, you’re mentioned in the title.
When you request verification through the app, you can’t include these articles as links or attachments. This means that even if someone actually reviews your request, they’re forced to dig for all relevant info about you themselves — and unfortunately if you’re not a celebrity, the chances for that are quite slim.
A request through the Facebook Media Partner Panel, on the other hand, can include everything that’s needed for the person in charge of verifications to make a decision.
As long as you’re adhering to Instagram’s simple requirements for verifications, and have your ten articles, you will get verified.
By the way, if you don’t have ten articles about you, those can also be bought.
Scams are Easy to Avoid — the Real Risk is Instagram
Ok, so how can you be sure that someone who’s offering this type of service won’t just take your money and run?
The common practice nowadays is to offer a money-back guarantee through an escrow service. If you don’t get verified, you get your money back. Some even seem to offer an option for you to pay after you get verified.
The legit sellers will be the first ones to tell you if you don’t meet the requirements for verification. In fact, most of them offer to review your case for free to determine if you qualify to be verified. If not, they’re not wasting their time with you.
The scammers usually charge much less (hundreds, not thousands) and obviously don’t offer escrow or the possibility to pay after successful verification.
Although it might be easy to avoid scammers, you should know that Instagram specifically states that they might take your badge away or disable your account, if you “attempt to verify your account through a third party”.
Take that as you will. I’ve never heard of this happening, but you can’t exactly report it to anyone if it does happen.
Is Paying for Instagram Verification Worth it?
With a hefty price tag to it, it’s a valid question. Honestly, I don’t know. I’m not verified and haven’t deemed it worth it for me to pursue.
I think it can be. It’s a seal of approval, and it can turn you or your business into a somebody from a nobody.
It’s funny how perception works.
It won’t turn crap into gold, but it can give you just the amount of credibility that you get the chance to prove yourself.
You need to decide for yourself if the price and risks involved are worth it for you.