Black hat marketers continue to be a source of fascination for me.
In general, I find it hilarious that so many people miss out on the obvious in an effort to “hack the system.”
Take today for instance.
I was looking for advice on how to get around constant phone verification on a social media platform. I stumbled upon this black hat social media guide for Instagram.
There’s a guy there who has thirty Instagram accounts and does all kinds of shenanigans because his accounts keep getting deleted. He gets them up to 100,000 followers and then inevitably they get banned.
I guess he came up in my search results because the guy is at this point amazing at finding ways to create new accounts. I guess you’d have to be when your rent payments are dependent on burning and churning Instagram accounts.
That’s the crazy thing… this guy sells shout-outs for $50 or whatever, and spends all his time waiting to get banned to repeat the process.
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If he dialled it back a bit and stopped trying to be an elite hacker, then he’d probably make a ton more money than he is doing.
Making Money From Black Hat Dolts In 2018
The crazy thing about black hat guys is that a lot of the stuff they do works. They just use it in stupid ways for stupid reasons.
Take the end of last year, when an infamous piece of Instagram software called MassPlanner got shut down.
MassPlanner was a piece of software that automated Instagram stuff; following people, unfollowing them, liking and commenting on pictures and posting stuff to a schedule.
Now… you might think it got banned because it broke the terms and conditions.
You’d be right in a way, but wrong in another.
You can automate all of those things from your browser window. With a little knowledge of Python programming language, you can do anything MassPlanner or it’s now hundreds of clones can do.
Currently, people are charging tens if not hundreds a month to do this.
But what got MassPlanner banned?
A bunch of people who had no idea what they were doing following tutorials that told them that if they’d spam on Instagram a bunch, they’d make a ton of money.
When a new account gets opened and within twenty four hours it’s followed four thousand people and liked ten thousand photos, it’s obviously going to trip the suspicious behaviour line.
When thousands of people are doing the same thing, inevitably companies like Amazon and Facebook will get upset.
Yet people do these things because they can’t be bothered to learn and want to make a quick penny or two.
How To Use Forbidden Knowledge Against Scallywags
If our guy – instead of churning and burning Instagram accounts – decided to use his time, effort and skills to create a couple of really good Instagram accounts, then he’d be in much better financial shape.
Luckily, his loss is your gain.
Think about what makes a successful, long-term and legitimate business. In terms of Instagram it’s something like outreach, follower count, engagement and a call-to-action that makes you money and leaves your customers and followers happy.
You can do that learning from a black-hat nerd and even using their techniques and tools without trying to spam your way to a million dollars overnight.
Similarly with Kindle books; I learned a lot from guys during the Kindle Unlimited gold rush. They were creating ten-page ebooks that automatically skipped forward, filling them with rubbish and hoping to con enough people into accidentally downloading them such that they’d make a ton of money.
Then they were looking for advice on how to get their obviously banned account back.
But inside the insipid rubbish that they tried to get away with, they were good at other stuff.
- Making covers that enticed people
- Writing blurbs that sold books
- Keyword research and implementation
- Picking underserved categories and quickly finding opportunities
Those techniques are dangerous in the hands of a dumb spammer, but they’re pretty useful for someone who is willing to sit and write an info-product and sell it as an ebook on Amazon.
Why Do This?
“But Jamie… why do this at all?”
Information is amoral. Techniques are neutral and tools don’t care whether you wield them for good or evil.
In terms of business, everything you do can be used to gain a one-up on the competition.
In terms of Kindle books, most authors don’t know anything about selecting keywords or picking the right tags to get into certain categories. This gives you an advantage.
In terms of social media… most 18 year-old wannabe Kardashian kids know nothing about running automation software. That gives you an advantage.
So long as you follow the golden rule.
The Golden Rule
I can guarantee you that if you started an Instagram account today, posted useful pictures with useful captions and used an automation software to follow between fifty and a hundred people a day, taking a couple of days off at the weekend… nobody would bat an eyelid.
You’d also have between 5,000 and 8,000 followers within a month.
That’s considerable if it’s used as part of a wider business goal, and doesn’t break any rules (sort of) or affect anyone.
It’s also far preferable to playing the spam and get banned game.