How To Get Verified On Instagram
I want to be verified on Instagram. I crave that blue check next to my name. Why? Basically because none of my friends are verified, so the verification will prove I’m better than them; which I always suspected.
I spent my weekend obsessively researching how to get verified. Every article was basically the same.
They suggested that growing your following will get you that blue check in no time. They recomended things like: Using popular hashtags, interacting with other users, promoting your Instagram on other channels, and by posting at the “magic times” of 2 AM and 5 PM.
Yeah, like posting a pic of my daughter at 5PM and tagging it #InstaGood is going to set off a wave of followers like Instagram has never seen.
What a bunch of nonsense.
Follower count has nothing to do with getting verified. Check out Comedy Slam’s profile. They have 9.6 million followers and no blue check.
Now, look at Dante Jones’ profile. He doesn't have any posts, and only has 5,000 followers; yet he’s verified. How did he do it?
It doesn’t make any sense. It's not supposed to.
According to Instagram, “Only some public figures, celebrities and brands have verified badges. It's not currently possible to request or purchase a verified badge.”
That’s actually not true; you can definitely request to be verified. And you can pay to be verified, on the black market.
I reached out every verified person that I knew, and found that there are really only three ways to be verified: Be famous and have a ton of followers, work with a digital agency and have them submit a request for you, or pay a third party or someone at Instagram to get you verified.
If you could just become famous, you’d already be verified and wouldn’t be reading this article, so let’s move on.
Most of the verified people that I spoke with worked with a digital agency, or publicist, to get their blue check. The agencies and publicists have access to a digital portal that the rest of us don’t.
Instagram calls it “Media Partner Support.” According to Instagram, “Media partners can submit requests on behalf of public figures. Media partners will hear back within two days of submitting their request.”
I asked YouTuber Rachel Levin how it worked. “I got verified a couple of years ago. I initially asked my manager if she could submit me to get verified. Nothing really happened for around a year after that, but then I started working with a publicist and after that I got verified. It was all very exciting!”
I figured this was my best chance to get verified, so I asked around until I found an agency willing to risk their reputation on me. I actually found one that would!
They asked for a copy of my drivers license and my Instagram and Facebook handle. Seems pretty simple. But it doesn’t guarantee anything.
I spoke to YouTuber Marissa Rachel, who told me that she had to apply several times before she got verified. She got several emails like this:
Now is it realisitic that you’ll get verified if you can just get someone to apply for you? Probably not. Marissa and Rachel are public figures, with millions of followers, so it makes sense for them to be verified.
So what about the rest of us? How can we get verified?
Really, the only way to do it is to know someone at Instagram or pay a third party to do it for you.
I reached out on Twitter to see if anyone had a contact at Instagram that could get me verified. One message seemed pretty legitimate. “I have a guy at Instagram who can get me and one other person verified. He charges $500. The first $250 now, via PayPal, and another $250 after you’re verified.”
He told me it’s his friend’s side hustle, and although Instagram has cracked down on employees getting their friends verified; he still charges a couple of people a month to get verified.
There seems to be a lot of money changing hands for the exulsive blue check. But it's a lot easier than creating content, growing your following, and becoming famous. Who's got the time for all that? We want our blue check now.
Maybe $500 isn't such a bad deal after all.
This article originally appeared in Forbes on April 16, 2018