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30 Jul

I've been playing the game for the past six months, and it made me miserable, miserable guys,' she said.'I think it's time to stop the bulls**t and come clean and tell you exactly what's happening.Ms Melotti, who is known for her inspiring Quest for Beauty project and stunning photographs, also has a successful travel-focused personal Instagram account.And while this account was originally created simply to boost her profile and raise awareness for her project, she eventually found herself wrapped up in the competitive Instagram community.'I know I'm a huge hypocrite.'Some of them are not happy that I have revealed all of this but that's just because they are guilty of it themselves and are scared it will impact their success.'At the end of the day, people need to realise that many of these accounts, including my own most of the time, represent ideas and a lifestyle that doesn't exist.We prepare and construct our pages it's not real life for any of us...I emailed my portfolio to some of these featured accounts a few months back and I received an alarming amount of replies where they were asking me for money to get featured.'On one occasion, Ms Melotti was told that for one featured post, she would need to pay an eye-watering 5.'It's incredibly f****d up that these people, who build their businesses on free content they took from us, are now asking artists to pay to get featured! Just when you thought you had heard it all, another secret tactic being used is 'comment pods' - a group of 10 – 15 bloggers in a private messaging group.'Every time someone posts a new pic it also sends it privately to the group, so everyone comments and likes that picture.That way our engagement looks higher,' she said.'I'm currently in two different pods.

'We should be inspiring people to travel more not making them envious of our own lives,' she said.Instagram spots: These pictures of Ms Melotti's were all taken at 'Instagram spots' - popular areas that people take photos in because they get more likes (pictured L-R is Bali, Antelope Canyon and the Taj Mahal)'The advertising world is shifting and we (influencers) are now basically walking billboards for brands and companies because through us they can reach consumers (our followers) in a much more genuine and effective way,' Ms Melotti said.'I can afford to be on the road only because I'm constantly collaborating with hotels, tour companies and brands.And these collaborations couldn't be possible if I didn't spend time building a solid portfolio and an engaged following on IG.' Most of the companies who pay for posts, says Ms Melotti, are completely unaware that the numbers they're seeing on some pages are 'incredibly inflated' due to the 'tricks and shenanigans' pulled to play the system.Ms Melotti now plans to only use her pages to share her art, ideas, thoughts on life and travel with her followers who she says are now completely authentic.'I didn't start this to pump up my ego with empty numbers. 'Ms Melotti simply hopes to find an ethical solution to the 'monster' that has been created.'I'm quitting all the bulls**t, I'm done playing games, I want to do this the right way,' she said.'Now you have all the info I have, and you can make whatever you want with it.We live in an era where way too often the number of likes we get on a post is the corresponding numeric value we give to ourselves,' she said. They want it now and they want the benefits that come from it but they don't want to put in the work, the real work that takes time and sweat and tears to do,' Ms Melotti said 'So who's to blame? You can use this to play the game and join the mafia or maybe, just maybe, you can keep playing clean and know in your heart that the system is flawed and corrupted.'You can do your best to make Instagram all about stories and creativity and the art and the work again.'The popular Instagrammer told Daily Mail Australia that she now feels 'dirty' when she uses the word influencer because of everything she has seen in the industry.'The people using these tactics are big names and people that many people probably have heard of or follow,' she said.