It has been brought to my attention by multiple girls from the facebook group “instagram influencers” that MANY influencers are being taken advantage of by deceiving drop shipping brands & brands using cheaply made products.
Not only can these brands damage your reputation as an influencer but in many cases scam you.
I am going to be exposing common drop shipping methods, sharing real life horror stories from influencers, and discussing how to identify these deceiving brands.
If you aren’t familiar with the term drop shipping it is a method in which the official brand does not keep goods in stock or make them but instead transfers orders & shipment details to a manufacturer usually located in China. However, these “brands” appear online as real people producing real quality items.
Now let’s talk about how this turns into a scam. The brand places a product on their website for sale at $40.00, the REAL product you receive from China is actually only $1.23. That means they make a $38 profit from the buyer. (Obviously this is how the business world works but the brands I am pointing out offer RIDICULOUSLY cheap items for super high prices)
It gets even worse. These brands will reach out to influencers claiming that they would like them to promote their product but all they have to do is pay for shipping. The “shipping” is $6.00 meaning they are making a $4 profit off of you as the influencer.
So at this point you have not only been scammed but are promoting a terrible brand. If you have a strong personal brand & your followers trust your judgement they will go buy this product and receive a cheap dollar store quality item. Obviously this would upset them AND damage your reputation as an influencer.
Here is a horror story from instagram influencer @_suzziii
“This was in 2017 right before the holidays. I don’t recall how I came across their promotion, it might have been a sponsored ad on Instagram, but pretty much they were offering for a limited time free “luxury” watches and all you had to pay was shipping. The company came off as a startup and were alleging that they were supposedly based in San Francisco. Thinking that they were a legitimate startup company with watches similar to the Daniel Wellington brand, I went ahead and got two watches and paid for the shipping. Several weeks passed and I never received anything. I contacted their customer support and kept receiving messages saying that due to “high volume” that shipping was delayed. I never received a tracking number and I went out of my way to contact them via several social media platforms and they never answered me! Other people had the same issue in which they fell for the promo and never received anything. They are still pretty active on Instagram and upload several photos from influencers promoting their watch and they have about 20K followers. They also erase/hide most negative comments. All in all, this brand is making consumers believe they are a legitimate brand with legitimate products but they are just drop shipping and using influencers as a way of credibility in order to manipulate consumers.”
Get ready to take some notes because it’s time to learn how to identify & avoid these deceiving brands !
If you are approached by a brand that wants you to pay ANYTHING that is a red flag
If you are recruited to be an “ambassador” and receive “special” prices that is a red flag
If all the photos on a brand’s website consist of influencers & different people that is a red flag
Does the brands website look similar to this setup or mention shopify? If so, you might need to do some research.
Research can be conducted by saving a product image listed on the website & using reverse image search to find that exact product if it is listed anywhere else. In most drop shipping cases you will find the original product to be very cheap & sold from a manufacturer website by the name of AliExpress.
Some brands use the cheaply made items from China but ship it themselves. Usually they are even harder to identify because they print their own label on the Chinese merchant products.
DANIEL WELLINGTON is one of the most popular “luxury” brands that is often seen working with big influencers.
ALIBABA PRICE. Hmmm that looks awfully familiar…
The same watch but without the custom logo?
Just to confirm these suspicions:
That’s a fancy way to put it Daniel Wellington…
AND since this brand has so many people fooled into thinking they offer quality, here is another article from topic.com explicitly stating “Daniel Wellington made a $200 Million Business Out of Cheap Watches” & his success can be attributed to the power of marketing. I am not the first person to point this out.
Entrepreneurs offering e-books at a super “low” price for a limited time that claim to teach you how to become successful
Online Webinars that have AMAZING reviews but won’t release any valuable information until you sign up for their $800 class
Tutorials/E-books/Online Classes that claim to have a “high” price because they only want people to sign up who are going to value their services
Click Bait Offers such as “How I went from 0 to 10,000”, “Learn How to Charge 10x More for your Services”, “How to become instagram famous in 2019”, etc.
Influencers, knowing what you know now would you pay $200 for a DW watch? Would you promote Folsom & Co?
Tell me, do you feel this is just “business” or do you feel scammed?
I am already taking the heat from Drop Shipping owners who claim this is “just business”. However, that is debatable in my opinion.
January 3, 2019
Anyone heard of Maison Cajualet? I’m such a sucker, signed up as ambassador and placed an order after seeing the ambassador recruitment posts on instagram over and over and over while I was bored during lockdown so ended up falling for it. 4 Months later and no products received. MJ claims its on its way and refuses to refund me. Also started seeing the same products pop up on other sites for much cheaper so if I ever receive the order I’m expecting $1 store quality… Not cool. Facebook/instagram should also do some form of vetting to at least ensure their ads are for legit businesses. I know they can’t be the ethics police (they are not exactly the most ethical business themselves) but at least check that their platforms are not just cheap play place for fraudsters!
Unfortunately these business are still considered "legal" although I along with many others disagree with the ethical issues behind it! Well at least now you know & can avoid future situations!
Mom here with a teen who is really trying to get sponsored for skateboarding, so of course he is wanting to do anything coming his way, including being an ambassador. I really appreciate you writing this (and me tripping on it). A company by the name of Roze Los Angeles (clothing) just reached out to him to become an ambassador, of course he pays for clothes at a discount, gets others to buy as well (and then gets a bigger discount and they will help "sponsor" him eventually (LOL) all while he is wearing and promoting their merch on his Insta that he paid for, which sounds fishy to me. I cannot find a lot about the company (or any reviews of their clothing) and they do have shopify on their site. Any other possible advise (or where to go hunting) you may want to share for an old school Mom, trying to assist with new school tech in a world that definitely did not exist in my teens (late 80s)? Thank you kindly!
From looking over their socials I’d say this is probably some teenagers trying to start up a business which I mean isn’t the worst thing to be a part of, it’s definitely in his niche. However, I would advise your son to only accept sponsorships with brands he feels aligned with and truly enjoys. If he just accepts anything then it may become apparent to his followers he is not being genuine in his posts which can have a downward spiral effect.
How many followers does he have? If it’s more than 5,000 I would not be doing brand ambassadorships but actually charging for sponsored posts plus free product.
I was approached by a brand name Yvecci and another name Missy n Pretty I’m still skeptical as they said everything was free and that I was ro only pay for shipping. Is it normal to pay for shipment yourself?
I forgot to respond this but NO, they want to make money from your shipping payment. They will charge you way more than the product actually cost to ship to make a profit.