A photographer who paid $50,000 to an agency that promised to drastically grow her business by among other things, providing 100,000 Instagram followers, has sued after allegedly seeing no uptick in business.
Aliyah Dastour, who operates Alimond Photography, is suing Monopolize, a marketing agency, to retrieve the money she gave them for its “Done for You” package which was supposedly to grow her photo business “exponentially.”
Monopolize promised Dastour it would deliver 100,000 Instagram followers, a feature on Forbes or USA Today, and a full-day workshop to “help promote and market the business.”
According to court documents, trouble began just a couple of months after the contract was signed (on May 24, 2022) when Dastour raised concerns that the 100,000 Instagram followers she had received were fake accounts or “bots.” The photographer points out that this does not lead to any increase in business.
Dastour claims that she was told by Monopolize the 100,000 Instagram followers would be “real individuals” and that these followers would help generate leads.
In the court documents, Dastour also alleges that Monopolize failed to get her a feature in Forbes or USA Today. However, there is an article about Dastour in USA Today from November last year with Monopolize credited and with the added note: “Disclaimer: Monopolize was compensated by Aliyah Dastour for this article.”
After seeing no growth in her photo business, Dastour says she demanded a refund but was allegedly told that she would eventually see results but that it would take time.
In March this year, Dastour claims that Monopolize stopped responding to any of her communications and the photographer alleges that the agency never intended to “satisfy their obligations” under the contract.
Dastour wants her $50,000 back plus $25,000 “due to the loss of potential business opportunities.”
The Phoblographer says that the story “teaches a great lesson to photographers.”
“This pressure to be seen leads, inevitably, to people wanting to cheat to gain followers, engagement or views — or in some cases, like this one, to unscrupulous scammers selling that very idea to photographers who may be struggling to find their niche,” writes Lara Cattetero.
It seems as if Dastour took the opposite approach from photographer Andrew Waddington who flatly rejects Instagram.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.