In its heyday, Massplanner was the best Instagram automation tool out there. Every social media marketer was using it and recommending it to their fans and friends. It probably saved marketers hundreds of hours of time by automating their daily activities.
It wasn’t until sometime in 2017 that Massplanner sent an email to their members saying they will be shutting down all their services, forever.
Internet marketing forums were quickly flooded with threads asking if it was legit. People lost a lot of business, some of the users even had their connected Instagram accounts banned. It was a mess. If you try to visit their website you’ll be presented with a page that says, “Sorry, our service is discontinued”.
So what happened? Where did they go wrong? Why target Massplanner when there are so many other Instagram bots out there that actively break Instagram’s terms and conditions?
In this post, we’ll do our best to answer those questions, and more, so you can avoid building a business on a bot that might go under. The exact reason Massplanner got shut down is unclear, but they claimed Instagram initiated the shutdown.
In my opinion, there were a number of reasons Instagram finally had enough with this bot and decided to take action. But before we get into the details, let’s take a quick look at our recommended Instagram bots.
Our Recommended Tools:
Just because Massplanner was shut down, doesn’t mean there aren’t any alternatives out there. As a matter of fact, today there are twice as many Instagram automation tools than there were when Massplanner was the king of bots. Here are the tools we recommend:
(If you want to check out the full list, click here)
What makes Upleap different from most Instagram tools is an actual human is in charge of your account. When you connect your Instagram account a real social media marketer takes control and works on your profile for you.
Granted, it is a little more expensive than regular bots, but it’s safer, too, and the chances of you getting banned are much lower. It’s one of our personal favorites. Free 3 day trial.
KENJI is a full-scale Instagram automation bot. Even though it is a bot, there are many fail-safes to create human-like activity on your account.
For example, there’s the machine learning AI which copies the way that you interact with your account and repeats it. There are many other filters too, and for the price, it’s a steal. Our number one recommend Instagram bot. Also includes a free 3-day trial.
A relatively new tool that is fast becoming THE choice for Instagram professionals, influencers, content creators and media agencies.
Nitreo is a much more modern app than Massplanner. It doesn’t require you to install anything on your computer and runs on secure servers. It is a fully-features Instagram growth suite. Just set it up once and it will do most of the heavy lifting for you. In our tests, Nitreo managed to gain over 20 followers per day without even touching the advanced settings.
Getting back on subject:
Instagram Wants What is Best for Users:
Before we talk about why Instagram shut down Massplanner, let’s take a moment to figure out what Instagram wants. Instagram automation tools and services need to learn how to play a long with the company if they’re going to survive.
First things first, Instagram, like most tech-giants, want real human interactions. Businesses should build a following based on interest, not on numbers. When it comes down to it, the idea is to get back to the basics and focus on organic growth, however slow that might be.
We also know that Instagram doesn’t appreciate other companies using abbreviations of the word “Instagram” in their business name. Clearly, Massplanner didn’t violate this term, but there are many other tools out there that do, so if you have a business built with them, I would be careful how you proceed.
Why Did Instagram Shut Down Massplanner?
Here’s what we think.
To clarify, we don’t know the exact reason, but there are a number of possible reasons. We just know the Massplanner owners said they received a cease and desist letter from Instagram.
In my opinion, it was a combination of many small violations of Instagram’s terms and conditions that lead to the downfall.
1. Main Tool for Black Hat Marketers
It was no secret that Massplanner was the choice bot for black hat marketers. For those of you who don’t know, black hat marketing revolves around unethical schemes, like using bots, spamming emails, and other link schemes.
Black Hat World, one of the most popular online forums for black hat marketing strategies, highly recommended Massplanner. There were threads popping up teaching members how to use Massplanner to essentially create a fleet of Instagram accounts.
Some marketers used Massplanner to create thousands of fake accounts for their own personal gain. This was possible because Massplanner includes an account creation feature that lets you make as many Instagram accounts as you want.
2. Bots Slow Down Instagram’s Servers
When you have a product like Massplanner connected to hundreds of thousands of Instagram accounts and automating thousands of actions every minute, it can take a toll on even the most advanced servers. I imagine removing the bots improved performance for real human users all around the world.
3. Bots Lower User Quality
If you regularly use Instagram, I don’t need to explain to you how frustrating it can be to deal with numerous fake accounts. Profiles that have strings of numbers in their names and no profile pictures spamming your account with the same comment, over and over.
It is frustrating and adds nothing of value to anyone. Massplanner was the source of a lot of these bots. There was a feature labeled “Create Accounts” which mass-created Instagram accounts.
The people in charge of these fake accounts just wanted to make a quick buck by selling likes or comments. But the quality of real interactions dropped significantly. Cleaning the bots improved over content quality, which was a good move on Instagram’s part.
Let’s also not forget that most of these bots are programmed to post the same content over and over. Basically, copy and paste content from one profile and post it again, with the same image, captions, hashtags, and what not. Essentially, a constant flow of spam.
4. Bots May Have Been Used to Spread Harmful Content
One theory as to Massplanner’s fall was that people or entities were using Instagram bots to spread propaganda and other undesirable content.
Of course, this edges into conspiracy territory, but when you have the ability to create hundreds of accounts in seconds, there’s no telling what people will do with them.
5. Too Much Spam
Overall, too many marketers used the tools to essentially create spam for their business, in the form of comments, direct messages, stole photos, fake profiles, and more. These profiles added no value to the platform at all. It’s no surprise the tool was shut down. Too many bulk actions!
6. High Risk of Being Sued
When you have a company like Instagram which now belongs to Facebook with millions of dollars to spend on lawsuits, there’s a good chance you won’t want to take them to court.
Tools like Massplanner have the risk of being sued by Facebook due to terms and conditions violations. In most cases, these smaller companies will fold when threatened because who wants to take on these tech giants?
The news about Massplanner was a surprise and shock to many marketers because at the time it was the best automation tool on the market.
Although back in the day it was the most advanced tool, nowadays, most Instagram tools offer similar features. Essentially, Massplanner pioneered the features that can be found in most bots today.
Let’s run through some of them.
1. Automatically Follow and Follow-back
One of the most common features to find in Instagram bots these days. With Massplanner there was a number of ways to follow accounts. Such as:
- By Keyword
- By Hashtag
- By User Followers
- Followers of Your Fans
- Import Fans from Another Account
- Other Rules and Filters
The fourth item on the list is interesting because what it did was pick one of your followers at random, and then follow everyone that follows them.
It’s an interesting feature I don’t see often in Instagram bots. I also don’t see the import fans option much these days. As you can see, Massplanner offered plenty of ways to follow profiles.
Naturally, an unfollow feature was included to balance out your follow to follower ratios. If these ratios are too one-sided, Instagram will usually block your activity privileges until the ratios balance out.
One interesting thing about this feature is you could set a time period to unfollow accounts, for example, between 9 am to 5 pm, to make Instagram think that’s your job.
Regarding the following activity, the tool also offered a service called follow back which is self-explanatory, but you could customize the settings. For example, place a waiting period in minutes for how long to wait before you follow the person back.
2. Comment & Contact
To set this up you would have to add target accounts for the bot to find and leave comments on. These target profiles were usually called “Sources” and there were several options; by keyword, hashtags, specific users, your own fans, and more.
Massplanner also had an auto and mass direct message service. Members can load up a series of messages to send users or export a list of users to a mass message at one time. You could also add a photo to your messages.
3. Enable Nightmode
With this enabled, the tool would only perform actions within a certain time frame. Naturally, this creates a more human activity footprint.
4. Upload Posts
Massplanner was one of the first Instagram bots to include an auto-upload and content schedule feature. Although it didn’t have an image-editor, you could still drag and drop photos from your computer to the upload section.
Another add on feature to this is you could upload images directly from online sources, without having to download any files. What you would do is simply enter the URL where the image is hosted, and the bot will do the rest. I haven’t seen this feature in other modern Instagram tools.
What Can We Learn From This?
Back in the day, Massplanner was the go-to tool for social media management. Now that it’s closed the doors, where do we go from here? What do we learn from this situation? Are there any alternatives?
Although Massplanner has a plethora of useful features, I felt like it went a little too overboard. A lot of marketers lost their income source when Massplanner went down. It gave people a bit too much control, and of course, things spiraled out of control.
One thing we can learn from this is to not build your entire business on one management tool, especially one that is clearly used to create spam.
Relax, There Are Alternatives:
Even though Massplanner was one of the best social media bots, it’s not the end of the world that they shut down. There are plenty of other, arguably better, alternatives.
Read our list of recommended Instagram tools here.
Generally, what we look for in an Instagram tool is one that abides by Instagram’s terms and conditions. Even though Instagram doesn’t condone the use of bots or third-party tools, it’s not illegal to use them, and many marketers do. One could argue that’s practically impossible to keep up with human activity alone.
Long story short, Massplanner was a great too, but it was used to fill Instagram with too much spam and fake accounts. Naturally, it wasn’t long before Instagram caught on.
If you need an Instagram management tool, you can’t go wrong with one of our recommended tools. Thanks for taking the time to read this review, and I hope now you know why Massplanner was shut down.
Leave a comment if you have any questions.