Your Suspicion is Correct: Instagram Based Ambassador Programs are Scams

Parts of this article were covered on our sister site Toy Wizard’s YouTube channel:

Welcome to PopLurker! You’re probably here because you were sent a solicitation about How to Be a product Ambassador via Instagram! You did a quick Google Search to see what this crap is all about and you somehow landed here. Hello!

And if you’re just someone kind enough to continuously read PopLurker or my writing in general, thank you, and I appreciate that you’re back!

Let me guess– you took a picture of yourself drinking coffee, drinking wine, working out, wearing sunglasses, reading a book, or just hanging out being your amazing self and for some reason, a mysterious Instagram account messaged you with the following*:

*Dramatic Reenactment:

Hi Dear– wow, we love your pictures! We are seeking Ambassadors to model our *insert product here* and your pictures are so sweet! Message our main account to be an Ambassador for our brand and get free merchandise!

You might be thinking to yourself, “OMG THAT’S SO AWESOME! Could I really be a model? That sounds great, I’ve always been curious to try it!!!”

And even if those aren’t your exact words, admit it– your interest has been piqued. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here reading this article.

So, with a “Fuck it, I’ve got nothing to lose” attitude, you send the main account a message and ask what their deal is. Alas, Sunny, Isabella, or maybe even Elaina is on the other end of your account and she thinks your followers (all 500-2000 of them) sure would love to buy merchandise from you. And wouldn’t you know, if you select from one of these free items (insert leggings, sunglasses, or shitty jewelry here) you only have to pay for shipping!

Then, once your item arrives*, you take a picture of yourself wearing it, put the code in the description, and VIOLA! Your followers (aka, your parents, some co-workers, some buddies, and that creep who follows all semi-nerdy looking chicks with glasses or your body type) can use the code for 10% off! WOW, WOW, WOW!

*Arrives is a loose term within the context of this article.

As for you, what will you get? Well, definitely not paid, I’ll tell you that much. But depending on the type of Ambassador Program, you can get like 0.02% commission on the one sale you make, or you can get 40% off on merchandise*.

*Merchandise is a loose term for Chinese knock-off trash within the context of this article.

Now, I’ve seen higher end Ambassador Programs that target Instagram users with big platforms– like the women who model vintage dresses or lingerie. Yes, if you are a model whose entire portfolio of content it is to wear said dresses or underpants and you get an Ambassador code, sure. You might get something out of this or earn a bit of money. Hopefully in exchange for hocking to your followers, those companies give its high-producing models or Ambassadors free product in exchange for an endorsement since they are likely not paying.

This segues out of “Ambassador” and into “Product Reviewer”, which is what I personally am.

But the average person without some sort of professional platform, website, review blog, YouTube Channel, high-producing professional Instagram account, etc. will not be contacted by one of these companies that might send sample products or offer clothing that people will actually want to buy. The average person will receive messages from small time scam groups who offer a selection of hideous, shit products, take your shipping money and run, or send the product and it’s absolutely not the one that was in the pictures on their Instagram page.

I will never pay for a product when a company wants my opinion of it and neither should you. Not even for shipping. We all want to believe that our opinions are special and that we are beautiful and unique. We want to believe that message that was sent happened because the pictures we share of the things that matter in our lives have managed to touch someone else on an emotional level. We want to believe that we are loved and we matter. And you DO, I promise you! But without that platform and reputation of work and clout, no one will casually buy that necklace off your page. Hell, you only paid that shipping and bought it because it was the least ugly thing on that shit Instagram page! But your curiosity and wonder propelled you, and it’s okay to ask these questions. But in the end, it’s a scam and not worth it.

If you want to review products and make commissions from sales, set up an ecosystem that allows you to do so. It won’t happen overnight and there is a lot of hustle involved, but you can do it. I tell every new product reviewer– first do the thing, and then people will notice. If you review enough products that you love and have something interesting to say about them, you might be contacted. You could be noticed– but not overnight. Just remember; if it seems to good to be true, it is. Unless you do it for yourself, by yourself. That in and of itself is Motivational Magic.

Keep on hustling, Lurker. It will happen for you, too.

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