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Is it Legal to Sell Instagram Accounts? – BuySellShoutouts
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For sale: Instagram account, lightly used – Vox
“Beautiful or not? ” captions a typical post on @fashions__ootd. The Instagram account posts photos of different outfits against a white background and asks its followers to comment with their opinions. A typical post features a carousel of photos of jeans and sweaters with a slew of growth-promoting hashtags. It’s common to see these sorts of niche interest profiles throughout Instagram, accounts that rely on generic pictures to build a following. A closer look at @fashions__ootd, though, will show something a little less common — in its bio, it advertises that it’s for sale.
The same is true for @ikpowervintage, which, until a few weeks ago, was advertising its for-sale status in its Instagram stories. @ikpowervintage posts photos of stylish young women, usually at the beach or in European cities, all edited with the same grainy filter. It’s racked up 33, 000 followers, and a highlighted story on the page lists @ikpowervintage’s prices for shoutouts to other profiles — $5 for a post, $3 for a story.
Although Instagram’s terms and conditions strictly forbid users to “buy, sell, or transfer any aspect of your account (including your username), ” accounts like these are sold on Facebook pages, in Instagram direct messages, and even on dedicated online marketplaces across the world. A single account can sell for thousands of dollars, depending on the size of its follower base. And an entire economy — of buyers, sellers, middlemen, professional flippers, and marketplaces — has sprung up around Instagram accounts.
Followers are what make Instagram, which reached 1 billion users in June 2018, so popular with buyers and resellers; a large audience can be translated into revenue by posting sponsored content, selling shoutouts on Instagram Stories, or selling products directly. For those willing to spend the cash upfront, buying an account that already has thousands of followers can ostensibly save a burgeoning memer or startup business the onerous process of building an audience.
While a similar moneymaking opportunity exists on YouTube, building a large Instagram following doesn’t require making original creative content. A YouTuber has to shoot and edit videos for their channel, which typically lends itself to a very recognizable and personal brand. An Instagram account runner, on the other hand, can repost pictures of tropical beach locations and gain a following in the tens of thousands without ever uploading a picture they themselves took.
These types of Instagram profiles, ones that post photos related to a theme rather than the individual user, are commonly referred to as “niche” or “theme” accounts by those involved in building, buying and selling Instagram pages. The opposite of niche accounts is personal accounts, where the content is mostly original photos and captions pertaining to the user’s daily life. These personal Instagrams may be where the most lucrative brand sponsorships happen, but niche accounts are where most of the buying and selling is taking place. A user can buy a niche account specializing in vegan food and continue to post content, including ads for their new vegan protein powder, without disrupting their theme.
Ilham Noor Habibie, a 20-year-old college student in Indonesia, lists his Instagram pages for sale on the Facebook page “Buy, Sell or Exchange [Group, Pages, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and more]”. He started selling Instagram accounts at the beginning of 2018, and through Facebook Messenger, he told me that he sells Instagram accounts that are “mostly about public figures, ” always with more than 5, 000 followers.
The latest Instagram profile he posted on “Buy, Sell or Exchange” has 25, 000 followers, and he listed it for $30. He uploaded a screenshot of the account with his post that showed a nearly blank account, with just one selfie of a young woman. “This is just additional work to meet my college needs, ” he said, and estimated that last year he made about $700 selling 10 Instagram accounts.
Habibie is just one of the 4, 503 members of “Buy Sell or Exchange” trying to buy or sell social media accounts. The page is full of screenshots of various accounts, with posters detailing the number of followers they have and the price they’re asking for the account. While the Facebook page sells multiple forms of social media (per its name), Instagram accounts are by far the most common offering.
The amount of money Habibie has made selling accounts is on the low end of the market. A 23-year-old entrepreneur and installation technician from Ohio, who asked to be referred to by the name he releases music under, Ace Looney, estimated that he has sold 50 Instagram accounts in the past two years. While he reported selling some for as low as $30, the most lucrative account sold for $800. He had started out trying to build a large following on Instagram in order to promote his music, when others began offering to pay him to post shoutouts to their music accounts on his Instagram Stories, a common practice for musicians. As he learned more about the money to be made on Instagram, a mentor taught him how to sell accounts, and his business took off from there.
What Ace Looney’s mentor taught him wasn’t just how to find buyers through Instagram DMs and on Facebook pages, but how to buy low and sell high, flipping an Instagram account like one might a piece of real estate. Thor Aarsand, a 19-year-old social media influencer from Norway, is well-versed in the art of flipping Instagram accounts. In 2017, he sold his first account, one he had built from the ground up, for $400.
After his first successful sale, Aarsand began looking for quicker ways to turn a profit. “I found people that were selling accounts for cheap, I bought them from them, and then I went to Facebook. ” He advertised the accounts on Facebook groups about Instagram, finding buyers who would make his investment worthwhile.
He initially found accounts to sell by searching for popular hashtags on Instagram, like the names of Bollywood actresses, and then asked the users behind fan accounts if they had any other niche accounts they were willing to put up for sale.
Aarsand doesn’t flip accounts anymore because he finds the process too time-consuming, but said that while he was flipping, he would typically purchase an account with anywhere from around 50, 000 to 100, 000 followers for $500 to $1, 000, and then flip it for upward of $2, 000. Aarsand would try to flip accounts immediately, but if he couldn’t sell an account right off the bat, he would continue to grow it to try to increase its value. “People actually don’t know what they should price their accounts at, ” he said. “You can find crazy-good deals. ”
Freddy Nager, an adjunct professor of communications at USC, has seen comparable selling prices. “Instagram accounts can sell for anything — for, like, a few hundred bucks to a few thousand dollars, ” he said. Nager said the price is mainly determined by the number of followers an account has, and what percentage of those followers engage with the account’s photos by liking or commenting on them.
When I spoke with Chris Gonzalez, the chief marketing officer at NeoReach, an influencer marketing firm in Orlando, he pointed out that a lot of accounts being bought and sold, especially meme accounts, end up getting passed back and forth rather than making money off large sponsorships. Gonzalez and NeoReach are not in the business of buying and selling Instagram accounts, but as part of his job working with influencers, Gonzalez has been exposed to this underground market.
“There’s just not enough frequency in branded deals and native advertising deals” to go around, he said. This means that often people will buy an account with the hope that they will potentially be able to sell it again. “A lot of the cash in the [buy and sell] economy is recycled cash in the economy, ” he said. “It’s all kind of staying in this marketplace. ”
When I reached out to Instagram about this article, the company responded by reiterating its terms, which clearly ban buying and selling accounts. “We have a variety of ways to determine when an account may have been compromised, sold, or traded including automated detection signals, user reports, and other methods, ” representatives for the app said. Instagram doesn’t keep statistics on how many accounts have been suspended because they were bought or sold, and when I asked if they had ever taken any legal action against a buyer or seller, they said they couldn’t comment on legal cases.
That said, the buyers and sellers I spoke with were not worried about Instagram suspending their accounts. “The thing is Instagram can’t really know if an account has been sold or if it’s being managed, ” said Aarsand, who says he has multiple accounts currently being managed by someone else.
Still, because of Instagram’s terms, buyers and sellers have to operate in semi-secret, which — unsurprisingly — breeds scammers. On Facebook pages and Reddit threads, buyers and sellers often call out people who have scammed them, by either not paying what they owe a seller or not turning over the login information for an account to a buyer. There are also instances of hackers selling stolen accounts, which they hacked to take advantage of a unique name or high follower count.
The most common way buyers and sellers combat scams is to use PayPal’s “Goods and Services” function, which allows buyers to dispute a sale after it goes through. Getting scammed is still part of the risk for buyers and sellers, though — both Aarsand and Looney say they have been scammed multiple times.
As with any underground market, people have built systems to try to protect themselves. Middlemen, who often act as a low-tech escrow service on messaging apps like Telegram, will charge a percentage of the sale to moderate it. These middlemen, trusted supervisors who usually buy and sell Instagram accounts themselves, will be transferred money from the buyer and the necessary account information (like the username, password, associated email, and email password) from the seller. When they have both, they will give the money to the seller and the account information to the buyer, which gives the transaction an added level of security.
Gulam Mohiuddin Chandiwala has been one of these middlemen since September 2016. Over Telegram, he told me that “people needed [a middleman], so I became one. ” He charges 5 to 12 percent of the sale price for his services, and said that most people came to him after seeing his name vouched for on forums and in YouTube videos.
As a result of this underground economy, there are also online marketplaces specifically for buying and selling accounts. On these websites, Instagram accounts are listed with their username partially obscured, so that users can’t skip the sites’ fees and go directly to a seller. The niche of the account — travel, memes, fashion, etc. — is listed, as well as the follower count and average number of likes on a post.
is one of these online marketplaces. Its homepage promises that the accounts it sells all have “genuine and organic” followings, and that the transactions happen instantly. The founder of Toofame, who asked to go by his nickname Shad, said he and two others founded Toofame after years of buying and selling accounts themselves. “After some time [of buying and selling accounts], we thought, okay, we have a lot of buyers, a lot of sellers that we are working with, so we decided to create our own marketplace, ” he said. According to Shad, Toofame sells “hundreds” of accounts a year, mostly to businesses trying to advertise their products to a targeted audience.
Saru Saadeh, the founder of the digital advertising agency Iron Roots, says he always advises clients against buying accounts as a way to promote their business. “Not only because it’s against the terms of service, ” he said, “but also because you don’t really know exactly what you’re getting. ” Account followings are often inflated by fake followers and engagement pods, and even then, you don’t know if people who enjoy looking at a curated stream of photos necessarily translate to customers. “You can hope that it’s the right target audience, but nothing is certain, so typically the best way [is] to organically build an audience and just do it the hard way, ” he said.
As long as there is money to be made on Instagram, there will likely be people trying to get a piece of it, which includes buying and selling accounts. But when it comes to paying thousands of dollars for an account and breaking your contract with Instagram, USC’s Nager says to be mindful of the potential consequences. Users “don’t own a piece of Instagram. They’re renting that little space, ” he said. “And they can get kicked off anytime. If Instagram feels that this profile is violating its terms of service, they can shut it down. And in [that] case, what have you purchased? ”
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How Much Should I Sell My Instagram Account For? – Followchain
Looking to sell your Instagram account but don’t know how much you should sell it for?
This guide will be a complete overview of how much should you sell your Instagram account for.
At the end of the guide, you should be able to price your Instagram account at the most reasonable rate.
Let’s get right into it.
Important metricsHow Much Should I Sell My Instagram Account For? Price breakdownAverage pricing of Instagram accounts (based on followers and engagement rate)Summary of Instagram account prices from followersConclusion
Before selling your Instagram account, here are some important metrics people look out for.
Every Instagram account has different values due to these metrics.
1. Number of followers
One of the first things you’re going to look at is your number of followers.
Usually you’d only want to consider selling your Instagram account if you have 1, 000 followers and above.
Instagram accounts below 1, 000 followers usually have little to no value unless your engagement rates are exceptional (above 30%).
Secondly, the niche of your Instagram account will affect its price.
If your Instagram is a meme account, you’re going to have to price it lower.
Instagram pages that are in the business, entrepreneur or money niche will be priced a lot higher.
This is because they are much easier to monetize.
The username of your account needs to be taken account only if it is a OG or semi-OG one.
An OG username is one that has real words from the English language without any numbers or special characters (e. g. hello, lol, fish).
These usernames can be worth thousands of dollars.
Unless your username is an OG one, it’s not going to add any value to the price of your Instagram account.
The demographic you’re going to want to look at is the age and location.
The age depends on the buyer, but generally young adults (18-30) tend to be the most valuable.
Let’s move on to the location.
If your followers are mostly from tier 1 countries (e. USA, Canada, Australia), your account is going to be more valuable.
However, if your followers are mostly from tier 3 countries (e. India, Cambodia, Nigeria), then your account is going to be less valuable.
The engagement of your account is going to be one of the most important metrics to look out for.
If you have thousands of followers but only a few likes, your account is not going to be worth a lot.
On the other hand, if your engagement rate is high (10%-30%), your account is going to skyrocket in value.
Engagement consists of 4 metrics.
The number of likes, comments, video views and story views.
As for likes, you should be looking at around 10% engagement rate.
Usually for a smaller account (below 10, 000 followers), you’ll want to be looking at about 1, 000 likes.
For a bigger account (over 10, 000 followers), the engagement rate is going to be much lesser than a smaller one (6-8% engagement rate).
This is normal.
For comments, if your posts are getting a ton of comments, then it shows that your followers are engaged.
So you’ll be able to sell your account for a higher price.
Story and video views
Story views are also an important factor to estimate the value of your account.
Great story views are around 10% to 20% of your total followers.
This means that if you have 10, 000 followers, 1, 000+/- of them should be watching your stories.
Lastly, it’s the growth rate or the current growth of your account.
Your account’s followers and engagement can be huge.
However, if your account isn’t growing much over the past few weeks/months, its value will be diminished.
But if your account is growing hundreds of followers per day (along with engagement), the value of it is going to shoot up.
How Much Should I Sell My Instagram Account For?
Now it’s time for the million-dollar question, “How much should I sell my Instagram account for? ”.
The short answer is — it depends. Based on the different metrics I’ve mentioned above (followers, niche, username, demographic, and engagement), every account is going to have a different price.
To make your life easier, I’ve compiled a table of real-life Instagram accounts for sale.
You can use these metrics and prices to benchmark against your own account.
That way you’ll have a rough idea on how much you should sell your Instagram account for.
llowersLikes per postNichePriceDescription1. 6, 484223Luxury & Motivation$150Main audience: USA. 2. 9, 8121, 357Pets & Animals$278100 to 400 organic followers per day. Followers from US, is 67% women. 3. 12, 8781, 714Travel & Nature$300US account based around travel with a mixed following. 4. 28, 4204, 596Cars & Bikes$400Growing 200 followers a day but in its prime (daily posting) it grew 500 followers a day. $20 per week by running ads/affiliate marketing etc. 5. 38, 1192, 779Humor & Memes$500Very decent meme page. 6. 54, 5161, 150Fashion & Style$670High-quality fan page account with real followers. 7. 80, 4474, 897Fitness & Sports$799 Account created over 2 years ago. 8. 173, 2321, 336Fashion & Style$999The account is a year old. Very active account gaining around 1k followers every day. Averaging 2k+ likes on the recent 30 posts.
Move on to the next section for a concise price breakdown on these accounts.
Now, let’s breakdown the prices of the various Instagram accounts from the table above.
Account no. 1
The first user on the table has around 6, 500 followers and 223 likes per post.
The main audience is USA which is a first tier country.
With these metrics in mind, this account is probably worth no more than $100 because the engagement rate is quite low.
Account no. 2
Number 2 on the table is in the pets and animals niche.
It averages 9, 800 followers and 1, 357 likes per post.
This is a very high engagement rate so this account is worth a lot more.
It’s easily worth around $250+.
The seller set the price at $280 which is very reasonable.
Account no. 3
Number 3 has around 12, 900 followers and 1, 714 likes per post.
This is account has decent engagement rate as well.
Valuing this account at around $300 is perfect.
Account no. 4
The next account on the table averages 28, 400 followers and 4, 600 likes per post.
Seller states that it is growing by 200 followers per day; 500 if you’re posting daily.
Growth and engagement rates are very high.
This account is easily worth around $400.
Account no. 5
Number 5 has around 38, 000 followers and 2, 800 likes per post.
This account has a higher number of followers than the previous one but lower engagement.
The account is a meme page which is harder to monetize.
Seller valued it at $500, but it should be valued at $400+.
Account no. 6
54, 516 followers and 1, 150 average likes per post.
This account has a lower engagement rate than the previous two accounts but a lot more followers.
Seller valued it at $670 but it should be lower.
Account no. 7
This account has around 80, 400 followers and 4, 900 likes per post.
About 6% engagement rate which is pretty high considering the account has a huge number of followers.
This account is priced at $799.
Account no. 8
The last account on the table has around 173, 232 followers and averages 1, 336 likes per post.
Very high number of followers but a very low engagement rate.
This account has a massive growth rate at 1, 000 followers daily which is the biggest metric.
Seller valued this account at $999.
Average pricing of Instagram accounts (based on followers and engagement rate)
This table is a quick reference of the various pricing of Instagram accounts based on their followers and engagement rate.
Use this table to quickly estimate the price of your Instagram account.
FollowersEngagement ratePrice5, 000 to 10, 00010% to 30%$100 to $15010, 000 to 15, 00010% to 20%$200 to $30015, 000 to 30, 0008% to 15%$300 to $400+30, 000 to 60, 0006% to 10%$400 to $600+60, 000 to 80, 0003% to 8%$600 to $1000++100, 000 and above3% to 6%$1000 to $5000+++
Note: These are just rough estimates of how much you should sell your Instagram account.
Summary of Instagram account prices from followers
Here’s a quick summary of average Instagram account prices from the number of followers.
If you have 5, 000 to 10, 000 followers, you should be looking at selling your Instagram account at $100 to $150.
Next, if you have 10, 000 to 15, 000 followers, it should be worth around $200 to $300.
15, 000 to 30, 0000 followers at $300 to $400+.
30, 000 to 60, 000 followers at $400 to $600+.
60, 000 to 80, 000 followers is valued at around $600 to $1000++.
Lastly, 100, 000 followers and above at $1000 to $5000+++ respectively.
In this article, I’ve mentioned the metrics you should look out for when pricing your Instagram account, 8 different Instagram account prices, and average Instagram account prices.
Hopefully you’ll have a better understanding on how much you should sell your Instagram account.
However, you should always benchmark your account to other accounts in the market to get a rough idea of its value.
This is because every account varies.
Frequently Asked Questions about is it legal to sell instagram accounts
Is it illegal to sell Instagram account?
Although Instagram’s terms and conditions strictly forbid users to “buy, sell, or transfer any aspect of your account (including your username),” accounts like these are sold on Facebook pages, in Instagram direct messages, and even on dedicated online marketplaces across the world.Feb 1, 2019
Is Account selling Illegal?
It’s not illegal in that you will be arrested for doing so. But it is most likely against the ToS and EULA for the game. That means if you sell it, the person who bought it from you can and likely will be banned if they are discovered.Mar 21, 2021
How much can you sell Instagram accounts for?
Average pricing of Instagram accounts (based on followers and engagement rate)FollowersEngagement ratePrice5,000 to 10,00010% to 30%$100 to $15010,000 to 15,00010% to 20%$200 to $30015,000 to 30,0008% to 15%$300 to $400+30,000 to 60,0006% to 10%$400 to $600+2 more rows•May 6, 2021