Quite a few people are feeling cheated after paying $500 to a social media influencer named Aggie Lal for a 12-week “Master Class” in social media. According to Buzzfeed, the class promised to deliver guidance on how to build your audience, business, photography, and video editing skills, and interviews with other content creators.
According to people who took the class, Lal tried to enlist her newly enrolled students as salesmen for her class before their own course even finished, she stopped posting instructional videos, and she didn’t fulfill a lot of her promises about the course. Her students began to express frustration, and then began to request refunds.
Lal has nearly one million followers, and her account is a collection of glamorous travel photo shots in places like Morocco, Thailand, Greece, and Germany. She called those who paid for the class her “MasterTribe” and made the price of the course so high to “discourage people who are not serious about blogging as their future to participate.”
The course would run from mid-September through December. Lal told Buzzfeed that she enrolled 380 people, making a profit of nearly $190,000. Her “MasterTribe” of bloggers didn’t feel like they got a return on their investment. One unnamed participant was so dismayed by the quality of the course that she wrote a post to Medium about it. The writer, who calls herself Wannabe Influencer, wrote that the first week of the class was great. Then things quickly went south — Aggie issued a “challenge” to students … to sell her master class to some of the students’ followers.
“The Instagram Course straight up seemed like a pyramid scheme,” Wannabe wrote. “How could we ask our own followers to purchase a $500 Instagram Course that we had barely started ourselves?”
In addition to that request, the class, which was advertised as one that would be small and include a lot of interactions with Lal, featured few messages from the Instagram star. Over time, the instructional videos became less and less frequent — Lal said she was having a hard time posting because of bad Wi-Fi. But she was still posting to her Instagram account.
“A video featuring Q&A’s from some of the biggest influencers around,” wrote Wannabe. “Sure, we saw the influencers in Aggie’s stories, but those videos were never uploaded. Why? Because she doesn’t have Wi-Fi! Then how did she upload a new YouTube video?! And post daily on Instagram?”
Ultimately, after a bit of a struggle, Lal did issue refunds to those who requested them — they will be processed by Sunday. In a post on Instagram, Lal wrote that she was “heartbroken” about the news that some of her “MasterTribers” were disappointed with her class.
“This course was my baby, which I’ve been working on since June,” she wrote. “I want to sincerely apologize from the bottom of my heart who anyone who feels like what I shared wasn’t enough. “Due to some hurdles with my health and WiFi connectivity, 4 out of 66 videos didn’t get uploaded as scheduled last week. I did apologize over the weekend to the Mastertribe directly but no excuse can justify me not showing up for those who I care about the most, my tribe.”
The program, which is hosted through through the site Teachable, is still open for enrollment.