Instagram Shuts Down Instagress

21 April 2017

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, a large chunk of activity on Instagram was the result of automated bots which follow, like, comment and unfollow without having to manually interact with the app. You may have noticed in the past a comment which doesn’t make sense or how your likes might spike depending on which hashtags you use. This was because millions of accounts used bot services to grow their followings and promote themselves. This post will give you the context of Instagress’ closure and alternatives to Instagress if you’re wanting to find something similar.

Instagress has been shut down

While the website had been offline for a couple of days, in the early hours of 21 April, arguably the most popular of these bot services, Instagress announced that “by request of Instagram we were forced to close our web-service…”

Unless you’ve used these programs before or work in the social media industry, you could be forgiven for not knowing what Instagress is…was. To everyone else, Instagress was probably one of the more advanced Instagram automation programs available in the market. They had a user friendly web broswer based interface which made it technically approachable for a lot of account holders and smaller social media agencies.

The cause of Instagress’ Downfall

Unfortunately, the platform’s popularity was also the leading factor in its own demise. A few years back before Facebook purchased Instagram, the platform was very easy to spam (spam does not mean junk email). Post acquisition, Instagram has rolled out a stream of regular anti-spam measures which have targeted unnatural account activity. Many account holders may have noticed drops in their account’s engagement earlier this February. That was the result of further improvements to the Instagram algorithm. You may have also noticed changes to the speed of each post’s reach, especially static images as well as changes to a more realistic video view metric. All of these anti-spam efforts are rolled out to help improve the quality of content on the platform, reduce Instagrams’s server costs and ultimately improve the user experience.

If you’ve ever used these bot programs before, you really need to know what you’re doing otherwise your account can easily get blacklisted or banned altogether. If you’re going to use them, I’d suggest that you focus on replicating natural activity using filters and time delays etc. We do this through a lot of our advanced SEO work to avoid Google penalties, but I’d have to say, Instagram is far easier to spam.

Why Instagress has been taken offline

Matthew Hammon, co-partner of James Hammon and Co explains the legal context of the situation which has precipitated this event, “Tortious Interference”.

This is a circumstance whereby a third party interfers with the contractual obligations of contracting parties. Specifically in the context of Instagress, they have knowingly and fragrantly sold a product and offered a service which was in obvious breach of the Instagram terms of service. In doing so, Instagress placed substantial demand on Instagram’s systems, requiring more computing power than otherwise would have been required if users themselves had maintained their Instagram accounts without automation software.

Instagress has not publically disclosed any specific threats made against them by Instagram although it can only be expected that action against automation tools will continue to be a part of Instagram’s spam fighting strategy into the future.

If you’re looking for a replacement to Instagress I’ve listed below some alternatives you might want to consider.

It’s important to note that while they all vary in terms of their features and usability, it’s critical that you know what you’re doing before going down this road. Probably best to use our advisory services or someone who specialises in social media marketing to avoid problems.

What Social Media Marketers Should Do Now

Apart from the obvious course of action which would be to trial alternative bot products for account growth, we suspect the more convential, organic ways to grow your account will rise in popularity.

Curating and posting great content that users naturally respond to should form the rock of any social media strategy. This will become more crucial after today.

Secondly, this will provide an added incentive for Instagram marketers to focus on Influencer Marketing outreach whereby you form strategic partnerships with other accounts and leverage their popularity for your own account’s gain. There of course are paid Influencer Marketing marketplaces/platforms like Hypetap etc, but approaching accounts directly will always remain the best value and most effective option if you have the nous to identify quality accounts.

Thirdly, these anti spam measures are specifically intended at providing more incentive for business account holders to use the native paid advertising service instead. This of course, generates more revenue for parent company, Facebook who didn’t pay billions of dollars to acquire Instagram, only for it’s users to monetize their own accounts without having to pay for the privilege.

Most popular alternatives to Instagress

1 – Follow Liker – strangely this platform has been very resilient so far in the face of all the other closures.

Other Automation platforms similar to Instagress

Note – I have not used the below, nor have I verified whether they just re-skin Instagress like Instamate and other spammy affiliate programs. Do your own research or test them properly with a test acccount before crying over spilt milk.

2 – Instaplus CLOSED

3 – Pontofollow
This is a brazilian platform so you’ll need to be fluent in Portugese or use Google translate to get around the site.

4 – Growth Machina

5 – Sound Juice SINCE REDIRECTED TO – then closed

6 – Archie – Recently CLOSED around 9-10 June

7 – Instazood

8 – Instalex

9 – Fan Harvest CLOSED

10 – No Worries bot CLOSED

11 – Follow Social CLOSED

12 – Instadub – Looks a bit dodgy

13 – Following Like

14 – Social Hawk CLOSED

15 – Mass Planner CLOSED

My Favourite Alternative to Instagress

PM me so I can screen you first.

Don’t forget to do this

We will be selecting 3 people who link to this article from their website (I’ll find out who you are don’t worry) or share the Facebook post. Each will receive 6 months free Digital Marketing Advisory courtesy of our partners at James and Hammon Advisory.

You can view one of my Instagram accounts here if you want to say hi and look at me tasting lots of Champagne @Champagnesociety

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While I spend most of my day working on large campaigns, if you are serious about digital growth marketing minus the fluff then I’m just an email or phone call away. More than happy to talk about your situation.

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