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Are Influencers Worth Your Money? We Went Undercover to Find Out.

As traditional advertising methods fade, a new generation of young social media mavens -- 'influencers' -- are offering businesses their endorsements in exchange for money or free stuff. But is it worth it?

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This story appears in the March 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

I think we can all agree that it is ethically suspect to lie about the size, location, or even existence of your house. Or steal other people's photos. Or solicit freebies without offering anything in return. And yet, I have to admit that I've done all these things. I have done things that would make even the most social-media-addicted teenager blush. I have bought followers and requested likes. I have hashtagged communities to which I do not belong. (What's up, #cleaneating!?) I have copied snapshots from other people's Instagram accounts and then painstakingly cropped out the attribution tag before posting them to my own feed. I have shared pictures from my vacation to Italy.

Viktor Koen

I have never been to Italy.

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