My late night routine began like any other — brushed my teeth, scrolled through twitter, spent some time on Youtube. But then I went on Instagram and thats where things got interesting.
I scrolled past the usual selfies and cool posts from my favourite artists, to where i'd eventually find this ad:
Being both a Raptors fan and a second year college student, these savings caught my attention right away — I of course then proceeded to enter the online store thats linked directly from the ad.
Upon arrival to the store, nothing raised any suspicions once again. Everything was presented professionally and looked like the real NBA store i've visited before.
I then proceed to purchase a retro purple T-Mac jersey at 60% of the original listed price. Woohoo life's good, right? Well if you read the title, I think you know where this is going.
I visited the website on my computer to see this beautiful message.
Should have the abnormally low prices raise some suspicions? Sure. But in the circumstances that they were presented and received, its almost impossible to suspect fraudulent behaviour.
If I saw the same ad soliciting the exact same deal, on say, The Pirate Bay, of course I wouldn't go anywhere near this website. But because this ad was shown on a "legally legitimate" website, used by millions of people every second, the possibility of the store selling fraudulent merchandise didn't even come close to crossing my mind. Plus the professional web design and replication of the real store, further hampered my chances of seeing the truth.
Losing $30 dollars isn't going to be the end of the world, what bothers me is the fact that Instagram doesn't further check the legitimacy of these websites before accepting money to advertise their stores. These shops can potentially make a lot more money if they can successfully advertise on sites like Instagram — peoples guards are held much lower on "safer" more well known and established sites.
I fully understand and accept Instagram's integration of advertisements. It's a good business model to generate some revenue from companies looking to spread the word of their provided services (Plus I much rather see the rare ad than pay a monthly rate for the social network.) But PLEASE, before accepting money and promoting sites on millions of unsuspecting screens, do a thorougher legitimacy check on these companies, first.