In the past, the very idea of an influencer was pretty crazy. An attractive person who gets free stuff because people want to copy them? It's almost like something from a dystopian novel. Yet, for a long time, it seemed as though this was to be the new normal - much to many small business owners' chagrin.

But, nowadays, the influencer bubble is starting to burst. People are taking a much more skeptical look at who they follow on social media, and brands are catching on that a large follower count doesn't necessarily translate to bigger sales. And one ice cream van has finally decided that enough is enough.

Instagram is a massive part of many of our everyday lives.

It's sometimes a little worrying to think about how much time we spend on the app - and how much value we place on getting those all-important likes.

For many, Instagram is a way of life.

It seems almost as though, if something isn't posted on Instagram, it didn't really happen.

But Instagram has had one impact in particular.

People can now build their careers around the social media app. By looking aspirational enough, you can use your online clout to enjoy tons of benefits - including a hefty paycheck!

Which has many people feeling a little peeved.

It does seem kind of irritating that some peoples' "job" appears to be looking hot, using products from cool brands, and posting photographic evidence that they used those products online.

Many have had a reaction to the influencer phenomenon.

Influencers are ripe for online mockery, and it seems like it's almost cool to hate on them online. But hey - we're probably just jealous!

For a long time, influencers were an exciting new way to market products.

Many big businesses caught on quickly and leaped into sponsorship deals with anyone with a high follower count.

But it seems as though the influencer bubble is bursting.

As more and more people aim to become an influencer (rather than an ... influencee), the scales have tipped and sponsored Instagram posts bring in less revenue than they used to. This means that influencers have a lessened effect on a company's bottom line.

And one man in particular has noticed this trend.

This is Joe Nicchi, who co-founded an ice cream company in Los Angeles in 2011, with his wife, Taylor.

It's a retro-style ice cream van operation.

The company is called CVT, which stands for Chocolate Vanilla Twist. It specializes in just those two flavors - or a combo of the two - but you can customize with different toppings if you see fit.

You may be thinking one thing.

Ice cream seems to have tremendous influencer potential, right? After all, it's one of the most photogenic of food items out there!

Well, CVT's ice cream is no exception.

Their social media is filled with pictures of happy customers, tucking into what looks to be a delicious (and undeniably aesthetically appealing) snack.

But Nicchi has been thinking...

He's recently decided to not only stop giving free ice cream to influencers in exchange for "exposure" - but to actually charge the cheapskates double!

It's clear that he's long had issues with influencers.

Nicchi has posted memes criticizing their freebie-grabbing ways. "LA is full of so-called ‘influencers’ with large followings that are actually fake because they most likely paid for likes and follows. Anyone can have a following if they want to pay for it. Google ‘social media bots.’" Nicchie told Newsweek.

He even shared a close up of his sign.

"The 2019 version of ‘Do you know who I am?’ is ‘I’m an influencer,’ but without the talent," he quipped.

It doesn't seem as though they're lacking big-name fans.

The Instagram page has some impressive celebrity cameos, including acting legend, Bill Murray. "We cater for some pretty big A-list talent in Hollywood, and I have no interest in giving them free product. I have a family and plenty of bills to pay! My kids’ school doesn’t take celebrity photos as a form of tuition payment," Nicchi explained.

Although he does seem to have some generosity left.

Nicchi posted this image of Chris Pratt on his birthday, offering him an invitation to come down to the truck for a scoop.

It does seem as though he has a point...

When people criticized his "influencer ban," Nicchi pointed out how fake the world of online following clout is, with this screenshot showing how easy it would be to purchase Insta followers.

Most people have reacted very positively to this story.

It seems as though the whole world knew that the influencer marketing trend was unsustainable - and watching it fall apart before our very eyes is super satisfying (if a little mean).

This story will likely (and ironically) give CVT even more exposure.

Though it seems like a good company, often posting pictures of satisfied ice-cream eater with the hashtag #WeLoveMostOfOurCustomers.

Either way, it seems as though influencer marketing is falling apart.

And some of the reasons for that are pretty clear - for one thing, it's almost as if they can't quite keep their mouths shut!