The first “influencer school” has opened its doors, and as you can imagine, it looks like a scam

The first “influencer school” has opened its doors, and as you can imagine, it looks like a scam

“If you thought you had seen everything”: under this comment on Twitter, a video, so cliché that it seems almost unreal. Skinny girls in swimsuits, bottles of champagne, luxury cars, swimming pools and heavenly places… The images follow one another, presenting the “first school of influencers” in France, if we are to believe the video, which formulates two objectives for its future students: 20,000 followers and €5,000 per month from influence. This promotional video posted on Twitter has been viewed more than 3 million times, and was spotted on Instagram and Tik Tok, among the advertisements proposed by the algorithm.

Many netizens understandably scoffed at the superficial nature of the advertising for the pseudo school of influence. Many others denounced a “drift society”, not understanding how influence could be a desirable career, blaming in passing a “brainless” youth obsessed with reality TV. Reflections with hints of class contempt and sometimes misogyny targeting young women. But this tweet and its magnitude were also an opportunity for Web investigators (and journalists) to find out about Ambaza, which therefore proclaims itself as training to become an influencer, and incidentally to gain fame and fortune.

Fake Cnam site, training at 1200 € and no social networks

First surprise: Ambaza does indeed exist, and has its own website, as well as a Youtube channel (which does not exceed 50 subscribers) and a LinkedIn profile. No Instagram page or Twitter account on the horizon: strange for a training course supposed to train marketing and influence on social networks. On the Ambaza site, a few blog articles written by a certain Martin Dubois, which explain how to generate engagement on the Instagram platform, and which strongly encourage people to register for the “influencer” training offered by the so- saying school. “We aim to train professional influencers. We help them grow and allow them to earn money from their audience when they’re ready,” the homepage reads. No mention of the teachers involved in this training, or of the organization chart of the “school”. More worrying: when you search for Ambaza on Google, you discover a site pretending to be the Cnam (National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts) of Haute-Normandie: however, nothing to do with the real Cnam site, in red and white colors , which comes under the Ministry of Higher Education.

An exceptional discount for the Ambaza site
An exceptional discount for the Ambaza site – Screenshot Ambaza.com

Thus, the training offered (with an initial value of 1,200 euros, but miraculously free if your profile interests the school) is intended to be intensive: barely three days to learn how to develop your audience, retain it and derive benefits from it. Ambaza even offers a monetization platform, to link brands and influencers. The eligibility criteria for the training are simple: be of legal age, have a French Social Security number and want to focus full-time on your career as an influencer. The rest seems incidental. On its YouTube channel, Ambaza shares video testimonials from the first graduates: the videos are similar, often poorly filmed, like an informal discussion. After a quick tour of the respective Instagrams of the neo-influencers presented, few are those who exceed a hundred subscribers.

A company domiciled in Malta, a youtuber expert in dropshipping and CBD

Beyond the lack of information on training, it is difficult to have more information on the company behind Ambaza. The domain name is registered in the Bahamas, as noted by several media. As for the site’s legal notices, we discover that it is published by the Consumedias company, headed by Nicolas Brzustowski, entrepreneur, digital marketing expert and crypto investor, according to his LinkedIn profile. This company is registered in Malta, known for its attractive taxation. In a long thread on Twitter, an Internet user by the name of @DefendIntelligence, an AI engineer, presented the results of his research on Ambaza. We learn in particular that the site contains hidden code leading to hidden Vimeo videos, including that of a “French youtuber expert in dropshipping living in Malta”, or that the company Consumedias would also operate a site specializing in CBD. Moreover, the famous Martin Dubois who writes on the Ambaza site would only be an alias for Nicolas Brzustowski.

In the general conditions of use of the site, the team behind Ambaza explains that “no guarantee as to the topicality, accuracy, completeness, ease of use or fitness for a certain purpose of the content” on its platforms. In short, there is no certainty that the training offered will work and allow future influencers to make a living from their Instagram account and from partnerships with brands. As many Internet users point out, testimonials on YouTube from former students, facing the camera, are part of the tricks usually used by scam sites to gain the trust of the youngest. For several years, many influencers on social networks have started to boast of scams based on pyramid schemes: in these schemes, investments are remunerated by the funds of new entrants.

“Twitter wants answers? Ambaza responds to Twitter! »

After several days of controversy, Ambaza split a blog post on his site, soberly titled: “Twitter wants answers? Ambaza responds to Twitter! “. In this article, the company intends to respond to several thorny issues raised by various press articles and by Internet users. Why be located in Malta, known to be a tax haven? “Ambaza is owned by a Maltese digital agency, an agency that pays 35% corporate tax. Some tax arrangements make it possible to optimize this rate, which is not the case here. Why Malta? The weather is good all year round and the whole team lives there”. No Insta or Twitter account? “Our start-up is only a few months old and our first priority is the quality of our training program and our teachers”. Ambaza, a scam? “Ambaza also facilitates access to 3-day training in the profession of influencer with a training organization recognized by the State, and allows its students to obtain funding so that they do not have to pay anything. everything. What is our interest? We find good profiles, we help them train, we help them grow and then in the future, we manage their advertising partnerships. We earn money when our students succeed,” it says. The company seems to have an answer for everything.

Le Figaro Étudiant was able to speak to Nicolas Brzustowski, a graduate of the IAE of Metz. He told the outlet that following the initial tweet, “there has been a lot of defamation. People have spoken fairly crudely, even though we have a good satisfaction rate. We learned a lot, we updated everything we needed on the site”. On the question of the identity of the teachers of the training, the founder assured the newspaper: “We collaborate with different companies, with teachers in digital marketing, influence marketing, quality. But we do not want to name them to avoid them being singled out during this controversy. Well-oiled answers that do not seem to extinguish the controversy, quite the contrary.

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