The Risk of Buying Fake Followers in Bulk

Many Instagram marketing services offer followers in bulk. These are usually fake accounts (ghost accounts) that are created only to follow other Instagrammers. They produce no content, usually provide no engagement, and will never convert into fans or customers. (This differs from automation services like Gold Nitro, where we simulate human Instagram activity to provide organic growth.)

Despite the drawbacks of buying bulk followers, people still do it. Their followers increase by 1000 or 10000 overnight.

A bigger problem is that these followers are shed rapidly over time. Instagram aggressively deletes fake accounts, as we saw with the September Purge. The providers of the fake accounts eventually hit the 7k following cap and stop following you. What’s worse, if you’re on a subscription service for fake accounts, canceling can cause them to remove those followers as quickly as they appeared.

Here’s an example from one account that bought bulk followers twice but was not using Gold Nitro. You can see the spikes when they purchased hundreds of followers, then the giant cliff when they were lost overnight.

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Below is another example, where the account bought 10,000 fake accounts over the course of a few days, only to see half of them gone a couple weeks later.

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For the majority of Gold Nitro users who are not buying fake followers, they can gradually but consistently increase their followers over time.


Target people who like your posts

There’s a hidden trick in Gold Nitro’s Pro plan: you can target activity to people who have liked your posts by adding your own account in account targeting. Further interacting with people who like your content can increase the chance they follow you.

To use this, just add your own Instagram username in the Account section of Targeting.


Keep follow backs

You can now continue following people who follow you back. Gold Nitro will not auto-unfollow users who follow you back when you check the “Keep Follow Backs” option on your dashboard.

This can help you retain followers: people we auto follow are less likely to unfollow you if you continue following them. Though, remember to keep your overall “Following” number low.

You can turn on “Keep Follow Backs” in the Gold Nitro dashboard under Unfollows.

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PayPal added! And new billing provider.

We’ve added PayPal as a payment option! If you’re seeing credit or debit card declines, PayPal is an excellent alternative. You can add it by clicking the PayPal button on the Billing page.

We’ve also switched billing providers so you’ll start seeing new invoice and receipts — no longer from Stripe. We now have more subscription email notifications, a place for company name and VAT number, and separate invoice and receipts that show all of your company details. These are common customer requests and we’re excited our new billing provider has these!



Action Blocked and Rate Limits

Action Blocked

You may have seen one of these alarming messages when using the Instagram app:

“Based on previous use of this feature, your account has been temporarily blocked from taking this action…”

“This action was blocked. Please try again later. We restrict certain content and actions to protect our community.”

These messages indicate you’ve hit the limits for likes, follows, unfollows, or comments from your Instagram account.

Rate Limits

Instagram’s rate limits determine whether and how often you can like, follow, or unfollow. If for example we tried to do 2000 likes per day from your Instagram account, you’d get flagged shortly after we push past the normal limits around 800-1200 likes per day. If we kept doing it, the flags would last longer — days to a week — before clearing. If we still kept pushing it, your account could be shut down.

The allowed action limits are lowered depending on recent usage or recently exceeding the limits.

Using multiple automation services at the same time is a quick way to exceed the limits and risk losing your account.

Staying Safe

Instagram tells us when to slow down and we already know approximately what the limits are. We stay under those limits and respect whenever it tells us to back off, just like a human would when using the Instagram app.

Instagram purge — sudden followers drop

Instagram began a mass purge of ghost accounts around September 27th, 2018. Like the “Instagram Rapture” of 2014, their aim was to deactivate fake accounts but some real accounts were caught in the mix.

Once the accounts are purged, they’re no longer on Instagram, and that affects your follower and following numbers. If you’ve ever bought fake followers before, you may have noticed a sudden drop of hundreds or even thousands of your followers. Your following count may also have dropped.

Services for purchasing followers often promise real accounts. When you see your followers grow by hundreds or thousands overnight, that’s a telltale sign you’ve only gained ghost accounts. They usually have few or no posts, very little activity, and they don’t provide you with real engagement because there are no humans behind them.

With Gold Nitro we strive to provide organic follower growth by doing auto likes and auto follows with other real people.


Account targeting to improve your growth.

Account targeting enables Gold Nitro to bring you fans from other people’s accounts. It’s the most used feature of Gold Nitro’s Pro plan for good reason: it’s extremely effective. This post goes into why you’d want to use to boost your follower growth.

You first need to find accounts that have a similar audience to your own. Think competitors of your business, enthusiasts in the same area, fellow athletes, etc. Find a handful of these accounts that have at least a few thousand followers, ideally tens of thousands or more.

In the Gold Nitro dashboard targeting section, under Users, add those accounts.

Each week, have a look at the Targeting Report to see which accounts are bringing you the most followers. If you’re also using hashtag targeting, you’ll get a good sense of how much more effective account targeting is, usually 3x to 10x.

As always, contact us if you have any questions or feedback!