With over 1.7 million posts tagged #sponsored circulating on Instagram, it’s no secret that many influencers are using the app to rake in big bucks — but questions have been raised about the authenticity of these posts.
What’s even worse, according to Forbes, is that many influencers buy fake likes and comments to make their posts look more popular.
However, new app PINC now wants to oust these sorts of posts once and for all, and is promising to pay “average Joes” for posting photos of clothes and accessories they genuinely like and use.
The site operates in a similar way to Instagram’s shopping feature. A user uploads a picture, then tags the products in it by searching from a catalogue of 22 million items. They can recommend something similar if the exact product isn’t available.
Others can then buy the tagged items right off the photo, if they like them.
On PINC, users earn points for posting (5 points), tagging (1 point), liking (1 point) and commenting (2 points). These points can then be exchanged for Ethereum-pegged coins – but since PINC’s coins haven’t yet listed on the crypto exchange, cash-outs are currently fixed at 100 points for $0.72.
Since the sales that photos generate are trackable, brands like Forever 21, Ferragamo, and Charles and Keith have been flocking to the site, because they can now measure how effective influencers really are, instead of relying on Instagram numbers.
The brands are also hoping to discover genuine fans, based on how many times a user tags their product.
To prevent people from buying likes and follows, PINC uses blockchain to track every account’s activity, and regularly deletes fake accounts. Spam accounts also can’t cash out, since they need to submit user information before they can get the coins.
PINC founder Sabrina Wang told Business Insider that the app has amassed around 9,000 users since it launched in March, and each active user has earned about $7 worth of points.
She said: “We’re don’t seek to let everyone earn the same as an influencer, but at least someone with 100 followers can still make money off recommending products they love.”
Wang added that the site plans to make more products taggable, like motorcycles and kitchenware, if there is enough demand. There are also plans to launch the site in Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and the Philippines.