travel

An Instagram influencer sold a $700 masterclass. Now, her followers have called it a scam.

When popular Instagram influencer Aggie Lal created a ‘How to grow your Instagram’ course, her followers quickly jumped on the bandwagon.

With an opportunity to learn from the travel blogger who has built up a following of over 860,000 people, hundreds of budding influencers forked out US$500 (AU$700) to undertake the 12-week course.

But now, Aggie’s fans are calling her a “scammer”.

The Polish blogger, who is known as @travel_inhershoes on Instagram, launched the masterclass earlier this year to “share the behind the scenes of going from being a broke traveller to becoming a six figure earning travel blogger”.

According to Buzzfeed News, Aggie enrolled 380 people in the course, earning her a cool US$188,860 (AU$263,126).

But although the class was scheduled to take place for three months from September, the course abruptly stopped after six weeks.

One participant wrote about her experience in a lengthy post on Medium titled ‘I Was Scammed by a Celebrity Influencer’.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by AGGIE LAL ???? travel girl (@travel_inhershoes) on

The participant, who has chosen to remain anonymous, wrote that she first noticed red flags in the first week of the program when students were asked to advertise the masterclass on their own social media accounts.

“The challenge was to get someone else to sign up for the course,” she wrote.

“She would be providing affiliate links to every single student and wanted us to influence someone else to take the class,” she continued.

“The confusion spread rapidly. The Instagram course straight up seemed like a pyramid scheme. How could we ask our own followers to purchase a $500 Instagram Course that we had barely started ourselves?”

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There was more uproar among class participants when multiple videos were not published towards the end of the course, leaving students without material they were promised when they paid for the course.

“Due to some hurdles with my health and WiFi connectivity, 4 out of 66 videos didn’t get uploaded as scheduled,” Aggie said at the time.

One participant, Juliet Hatley, told Buzzfeed News that she believes the course was “extremely mismarketed”.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I woke up to terrible news that some of the students in my Mastertribe course felt disappointed with it. ::::: I was heartbroken because this course was my baby, which I’ve been working on since June. It took me and my team months to create almost 9 hours of video classes. I never held any information back, always being open about everything I know: including sharing my media kit, email examples, Lightroom, Photoshop and camera tutorials etc. ::::: I want to sincerely apologize from the bottom of my heart who anyone who feels like what I shared wasn’t enough. :::::: Due to some hurdles with my health and WiFi connectivity, 4 out of 66 videos didn’t get uploaded as scheduled last week. I did apologize over the weekend to the Mastertribe directly but no excuse can justify me not showing up for those who I care about thre most, my tribe. :::::: I already spoke to each Mastertriber directly and offered to anyone who felt disappointed in the whole situation a full refund (to be processed by this Sunday). :::::: I was honored that so many beautiful people joined the class and it makes me feel truly terrible that I’ve let my tribe down ???? :::: My intention has always been to inspire this community I dearly love and I would never want you to feel taken advantage of. ::::: I am closely talking with each member of the Master Tribe but wanted to let my wider community know what is going on. My goal is to support the next generation of Instagrammers by sharing learnings from my journey so far. ::::: Love always, Aggie ❤️

A post shared by AGGIE LAL ???? travel girl (@travel_inhershoes) on

“[The] videos were barely five minutes long, she was never involved with the students, and made a lot of comments that turned people off such as ‘when posing for pictures try not to look pregnant’ or ‘people who work at Starbucks aren’t living up to their potential’,” Juliet said.

“The content was basic information you would find from any simple Google search. Not $500 worth.”

Following the backlash, Aggie has promised her disgruntled students a full refund.

“My intention has always been to inspire this community I deeply love and I would never want you to feel taken advantage of,” she wrote.

But not all of the travel blogger’s followers were satisfied with her apology.

“This is an empty apology,” one person wrote.

“You’re not sorry you scammed people out of their money. You’re just sorry you’ve been caught.”

What do you think? Is Aggie Lal in the wrong? Let us know in the comments.

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