. I was a SocialSteeze customer for several months and my experience is documented below.
One of the greatest threats that businesses face on the internet today are fraudulent services that take advantage of their trust. These predatory scammers will put out all of the stops in order to convince you that they are legitimate.
There are many different risks that you can expose yourself to in these instances especially with services that require access to your social media accounts. Some will take your money and never bother to deliver on their promises. Meanwhile other more malicious types might try to hijack your account or even steal your personal information.
It has recently come to my attention that SocialSteeze has been scamming its customers, as well as trying to sabotage their competition with fake reviews. I decided to investigate this for myself. What I found not only verified these claims, but also uncovered even deeper schemes at play.
If you're not familiar with it, SocialSteeze is a service that purports to help its clients achieve "organic Instagram growth". In other words, it uses bots to control Instagram users' accounts in order to automate their activity. This involves sending comments, liking posts, and following other users on their behalf.
There's not much special about the company on the surface. It's one of the countless overpriced Instagress clones that popped up in the wake of its progenitor being shut down. However once you dig below the surface, some interesting and disconcerting details begin to emerge.
SocialSteeze is not quite what it seems.
It turns out that SocialSteeze is merely a mask for an old face. In truth, it is actually SocialEnvy rebranded and given a new coat of paint. SocialEnvy was an automation service that thrived for awhile until Instagram caught on earlier this year and changed their API in a way that sent the company into a dead end.
SocialEnvy was not the most reputable of companies during its time while active. In fact, many of its customers reported it as a scam early on. Searching around, you can find a litany of complaints about SocialEnvy taking their money and giving nothing in return. They've also continued to bill people long after cancellation, forcing some to dispute the unauthorized charges.
So when SocialSteeze rose from the ashes of SocialEnvy, did it gain a moral conscience or a newfound sense of ethical responsibility?
The answer is no. Not at all. If anything the company has grown even worse and more dishonest in its new form.
It's also expanded its operations in order to cover a larger landscape. Now it's a complex network of interconnected scam services that boost each other up. As of this article they also owns the following services: RiseSocial, Social10x, Hitfame, Likesocial, Instato, Planmypost, MegaDesign, and Twesocial.
The proof for all of this is as simple as checking the receipts. They haven't even bothered with changing their seller info on PayPal. All of them lead back to SocialEnvy. For instance, here's SocialSteeze (see attached screenshot 1).
And RiseSocial (see attached screenshot 2):
And finally Instato (see attached screenshot 3):
It's almost insulting how little they've tried to cover their trail. What's even worse though is how they've gamed the system to gain an unfair advantage over other businesses.
Fake review sites
SocialSteeze isn't the sort of company that likes to play fair and get by on its own merits. Instead they opt to play dirty whenever possible.
Their most effective strategy by far has been operating multitude of review sites in order to manipulate and control their image. They also use them to trash their competitors and tarnish any search results for their services.
These are the sites that SocialSteeze owns at the moment: IGReviews, Jonathan Spire, The Small Business Blog, and Selected Best.
Often they will advertise their own services on these sites, such as in a top 10 list of the best Instagram bots (see attached screenshot 4):
Or by suggesting them as an alternative in a review of another service (see attached screenshot 5):
In every case, they will push their services to the top and give them perfect ratings. It's blatant self-promotion, and it's done without any disclosure about their ties (see attached screenshot 6):
SocialSteeze in particular gets preferential treatment and the highest marks. The comment sections for these reviews are always glowing with praise for it, without a single negative remark in sight. They somehow expect people to believe that nobody has had any sort of problem in the slightest.
Don't fall for it
Under no circumstances would I advise trusting SocialSteeze, or any of the associated services mentioned throughout this article with your Instagram account or any sensitive information. They've repeatedly proven themselves to be unscrupulous and deceitful.
Scams like SocialSteeze deserve to be exposed. Help spread the word about it before anybody else gets hurt by their corrupt behavior.