The Enthusiasm Project

To Shill Or Not To Shill?

May 06, 2024 Season 12 Episode 9
To Shill Or Not To Shill?
The Enthusiasm Project
More Info
The Enthusiasm Project
To Shill Or Not To Shill?
May 06, 2024 Season 12 Episode 9

Send a text message to the show!

Transparency between a content creator and their audience is a tough thing to build. What happens when a brand asks a creator to violate that trust? 

iPhonedo's video:
https://youtu.be/5GuO7AWJl5o?si=VlydvNlatkA3kjzf

🎙This week's  mics:
•Earthworks ETHOS (Tom)
https://bhpho.to/3CthFs4

•Shure SM58 (Heather)
https://geni.us/fNPEFQG

•Both mics were running through the Rodecaster Pro II on a custom SM7B preset.

•Send a voice, text, or video message to be included in a future episode!
tom@enthusiasmproject.com or use the audio submission button at himynameistom.com!

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
🎯Support the Show
https://patreon.com/tombuck
https://buymeacoffee.com/tombuck
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

📲 Connect!
•All My Podcasts: https://himynameistom.com/podcasts
•YouTube: www.youtube.com/tombuck
 
S12E9 | Series Episode 173

Affiliate links mean I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. This helps support the show at no additional cost to you.

Podcast Artwork by Kevin Ramirez
Original theme music written by Patrick Boberg and performed by Mike Alvarez

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send a text message to the show!

Transparency between a content creator and their audience is a tough thing to build. What happens when a brand asks a creator to violate that trust? 

iPhonedo's video:
https://youtu.be/5GuO7AWJl5o?si=VlydvNlatkA3kjzf

🎙This week's  mics:
•Earthworks ETHOS (Tom)
https://bhpho.to/3CthFs4

•Shure SM58 (Heather)
https://geni.us/fNPEFQG

•Both mics were running through the Rodecaster Pro II on a custom SM7B preset.

•Send a voice, text, or video message to be included in a future episode!
tom@enthusiasmproject.com or use the audio submission button at himynameistom.com!

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
🎯Support the Show
https://patreon.com/tombuck
https://buymeacoffee.com/tombuck
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

📲 Connect!
•All My Podcasts: https://himynameistom.com/podcasts
•YouTube: www.youtube.com/tombuck
 
S12E9 | Series Episode 173

Affiliate links mean I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. This helps support the show at no additional cost to you.

Podcast Artwork by Kevin Ramirez
Original theme music written by Patrick Boberg and performed by Mike Alvarez

Support the Show.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, hello and welcome. My name is Tom. This is the Enthusiasm Project, season 12, episode 9. And today we've got a fine topic all about some really fun stuff that's been happening and to help me navigate this, I have my lovely wife Heather back again.

Speaker 2:

Hello.

Speaker 1:

Wow, that's such a good hello, alrighty. So today there's been a little bit well, actually not today, but recently there has been a little bit of I don't know I guess you could call it drama a little bit of tea, happening in the starting primarily in the camera YouTube space, but then spilling over into bigger conversations all about brands and sponsorships and shilling and all of that kind of stuff, shilling. So that's we are, and there's been a lot. And if you're listening to this, you probably know some of the stuff I'm'm referring to which we will kind of dive into, because it sort of fits perfectly into stuff we've talked about a lot on this podcast in the past. But I didn't want to dive in right when all this stuff was happening. I wanted to kind of wait and, like, see some responses, form some thoughts, let the dust settle and then jump in. But before before we do that, before we do that, I just have to explain what we're using.

Speaker 1:

Today we are back on the Rodecaster Pro 2 because in my new office setup we can just put the table in the middle. We can face each other across the table. I've got the Rodecaster Pro 2 on the table, two microphones. It's super easy, peasy and I really love it, and I am using the Earthworks Ethos on the generic condenser setting and Heather is once again on the Shure SM58 on my custom SM7B preset, because I really, really really liked how that sounded last week and I just want to use it again this week. Cool, so that's what we're using. Okay, so where to begin?

Speaker 2:

so I only know just tidbits of what you've kind of shared. I have. You know I haven't been following, so maybe for the people who don't know what's happening you can give a little bit of a tldr situation yeah, this all started with the biggest troublemaker on youtube, one of the most controversial creators on the platform, farouk from iPhone dough.

Speaker 1:

I laugh because he's absolutely not that at all. He's been around forever. I mean literally like the one of his most popular videos, which he mentioned in his video about Insta, was his GoPro Karma review, which was GoPro's drone from like 10 years ago and GoPro tried to make a drone. It just wasn't good and he kind of said that he's like I would like this to be good, but it just doesn't work and he's great. He and he's, you know, definitely like an independent creator does everything himself and he is known for being like just a pretty nice low key. He is known for being like just a pretty nice low-key, super fun, super kind of laid-back guy, and so when somebody like that says something, you kind of listen, because they don't normally say those sorts of things. So what happened? Uh, right after nab which is very funny because we got to meet him briefly at nab right across in the insta360 booth, just by coincidence, he was very nice.

Speaker 2:

He was very nice, yeah.

Speaker 1:

After that he had posted a thing on Instagram that was it started in an Instagram story and it was him. It was like a thing posting screenshots from an email that was not to him but was to somebody else. And then it was a link to a thing on threads. So Instagram's like Twitter alternative, which neither you and I are signed up for. So normally I can't read things on threads. I don't know what kind of link he posted, but I could actually read the thread on threads and it was.

Speaker 1:

Somebody had posted a couple different email screenshots from insta360 wanting to work with them and saying specifically, saying uh, we preferred, if you did not disclose that, this, that these videos are sponsored, because that feels more organic and authentic and natural and and the person was like this is insane, and they had two different instances of being asked that and then shared it on threads, and so there was a whole bunch of replies there.

Speaker 1:

Farouk saw that and you know this is at least what I saw on on what I saw through my lens, so you know I could be wrong in some cases, but from what I know, he saw that he had been working with Insta 360, personally not liking the way they were starting to do things. And then he started. He posted a thing that was saying that he's going to stop working with them for these reasons, and then he also followed that up with a YouTube video explaining basically explaining this whole situation. So I'll link to that video in the show notes if you want to know this like from the source, instead of you know hearsay third party. You want to know this like from the source instead of you know, hearsay third party, whatever, you can go watch that. But that's basically it was. Insta has apparently been asking people to not disclose that videos are sponsored, which is bad, like if that's what's happening?

Speaker 2:

that's bad and because it's wrong.

Speaker 1:

It's wrong, it's like it's ethically wrong. It's also straight up illegal in a lot of places, because you have to, as a creator, as an influencer, whatever you want to call it you have to disclose.

Speaker 2:

I want to make it clear that it's not an opinion.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, this is a thing that you could. I forget what the fine is. It's a massive fine. It's like a five figure $50,000 fine or something If you're found guilty of not disclosing things like this.

Speaker 2:

Don't know how often that's enforced, right, but the ftc? Uh wait, is it the fcc?

Speaker 1:

oh, my god, I've been watching so many videos about this. Well, let me be yeah, yes, ftc okay, thank you, wow.

Speaker 1:

Thanks, mr mathers, 20 years later well, speaking of shady, they were doing a couple things that were not slim shady but big shady and yeah so. So that's that's essentially what started this conversation, which then delved into. Once he said something other creators popped up, not just talking about insta but talking about other companies, and then other creators popped up making videos that were just not even about companies, just about the whole system in general of like sponsorships and products, and and then people popped up with counterpoints. There's been a whole thing that kind of like started from this one, this one incident here, and that's I wanted to kind of look at that from like every angle. So, sticking with the insta thing to just kind of wrap that up and give some context, uh, have they responded?

Speaker 1:

Not that I'm aware of, okay, but somebody in the thread on threads which is a very fun thing to say in the comments there said they had had this same issue last august and they had been asked not to disclose stuff and they said, like we can't do that, that's against the law, I need to disclose things. And they they said, like we can't do that, that's against the law, I need to disclose things. And they sort of called them out on it and they came back saying oh, it's a translation error, because it's a China-based company. English is not the first language that most people are dealing with.

Speaker 2:

Oh, it's translation error, which is total bull. I'll tell you that right now, because I don't know where the headquarters is, but I used to work out of a WeWork, a co-working space, in China yeah, no, in Long Beach, california, and they had a headquarters there. And that's when you know this is 2016. So they were that might have been the only satellite office at the time. They've grown a lot, they've grown a lot, yeah, but no, there's definitely on our coast.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, have grown a lot. They've grown a lot, yeah, but no, there's definitely on our coast. Yeah, no, I mean that. It's a thing that I've heard uh used many times like translation errors. But it's funny because, like there's no other translation errors ever, like everything else is very clear, very well written, very professional, easy to understand english, and suddenly it's like, oh, no, no, no, that was, that was just a translation error. Um, what they had said to this person was we meant to make any video that you want. Don't make a commercial for it, don't make like a sponsored video, but make your video that feels natural or whatever, which would great. I'd love it if a company I love it when companies tell people to do that. The fact that then they continue to use the same language repeatedly with other creators makes me think that wasn't a translation error.

Speaker 2:

Um, also, the fact that just wasn't a well, that and like, if a random creator reached out to you and asked for a sponsorship, you would immediately attach that with money, so obviously you know the meaning of it I mean, if you're the person who's in charge of like doing sponsorship for a big company obviously.

Speaker 1:

Obviously that's the case, and so in Farouk's video he talked about how his relationship with them had changed over the years. It wasn't always like this. I've worked with them twice in the past, um, and both times have been great. They sent me the 1x2 360 camera back in September of 2021 and that was, you know, the whole ethics statement thing. They're just like.

Speaker 1:

I think they had seen a video I did on a Samsung 360 camera years ago and it was so complicated. It was really cool. It was so complicated to use that. Then they wanted to send me that. It wasn't even when it was released. It was like months and months after it was out. It wasn't a new thing or anything, and I loved it because it was so like they took this really complicated thing and made it so easy. There was no obligation on my part. I ended up making a video, like I don't know, seven months later because I had used it a lot and really liked it. And then maybe I think this was late 2022 they sent me the link webcam, the one that follows you around a lot, which I also liked and I was interested in. I'm not a webcam guy, but I was curious about some of the higher end webcams with more interesting features, because not everyone needs like setting up a streaming thing or a video call thing. You don't need a mirrorless camera, it's not right for everybody.

Speaker 1:

And it was funny because I was on the B&H website like looking at the Link webcam. At this time I got an email that said, hey, do you want to try our Link webcam? Okay, it's the same thing. It was like all the whole ethics statement. So that was late 2022, maybe early 2023, and both of my experiences are the same. They sent the thing and there was basically no follow-up. So that's kind of how it should be based on what we had agreed on.

Speaker 1:

But that's the only times I've ever interacted with them, done anything with them no money changed hands, anything like that. Um, and apparently that's kind of how they used to be and it's. It's only more recently that they've gotten a little more aggressive. From what I've heard other creators say now in all these different videos and things, and frouk sort of guessed that the reason for that was because when they were just the 360 camera company they were dominating, but then they tried to branch out into like more generalized action cameras and cameras and now you're competing with dji and gopro, and of those three big names, they're definitely like the third place one.

Speaker 1:

And so now they're I don't know what it is they're panicking. They're trying to like really get stuff going. They invested a lot of stuff in these other things. I don't know what it is. Something shifted, maybe it's the management change or who knows what. Ow, oh, I really hit my knee on the table right there. But things changed ouch and uh, and that's kind of where we're at now is people who've worked with them for a long time have noticed a notice, the change even before this, and just how they're they're being dealt with, and so that's kind of the insta 360 side of things which is such a shame because it's I don't, I don't, I don't know people.

Speaker 2:

Money makes people weird, but like if you just kept going and worked with creators, like, why do you? Why do you have to be shady?

Speaker 1:

it's the same. I don't. How do you the products are?

Speaker 2:

good. Why would you risk? It takes one creator to just be transparent about what's happening and you are done like I cannot believe yeah, I don't know how, because now like, okay, the real frustrating part is the products are good.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, why don't you?

Speaker 2:

why do you have to be shady?

Speaker 1:

that's why. Why do you have to?

Speaker 2:

and and now it's this weird thing too like I'm so confused, like I want to be, I want to go talk to the vp of marketing. What was your? Because obviously this is like not just one person, right, this is multiple people dealing with multiple creators. So was this a water cooler conversation? Was this a meeting? Was this a? Do they have to like?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, did someone go rogue and try to like juice up some deals to impress their boss? Or is this a company policy? I don't know.

Speaker 2:

I mean it shouldn't have happened, period. It doesn't even Right, it's just such a shame.

Speaker 1:

It's frustrating because the things are good.

Speaker 2:

I don't know how you come back from that in terms of like organic marketing and it is, it's like one of the true creator, focused companies, which is why it's so disappointing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and now it kind of makes you look at the creators who are doing sponsored or I guess maybe even not anything any insta 360 content a little bit like so did you say yes to that?

Speaker 2:

to? The shady deal, I mean and that's what like.

Speaker 1:

One of the people who commented on Farouk's video was iJustine, who does a lot of Insta360 videos. But I looked at her one for the most recent release, the X4, and she says the video is sponsored, says it in the video. There's a thing on screen that says it's sponsored. She checked the paid promotion box that it's sponsored and the first line of description is that it's sponsored. So it's sponsored and the first line of the description is that it's sponsored. So it's very clear that it's a sponsored video. Thank you, we check some other other creators, uh, peter mckinnon being a good example. Nothing in the description, no product thing checked. Did not say it on screen, but does have a full screen pop-up that says sponsored by insta360 at 1 minute 50 seconds into the video, didn't?

Speaker 2:

check the box.

Speaker 1:

Didn't check the box.

Speaker 2:

Okay, see, that's not that. I feel like that. I feel like that's wrong. I feel like, as YouTube creators, we know like, when it comes to how you do your titles, how you do your thumbnails, dealer's choice, but no, when it comes to we as a whole, as a company, as a community, this box is here for a reason. This is how this box is used. It's not just for you, it's also for the viewers that are watching your content and for you. To that, I'm not cool with that it's.

Speaker 1:

I mean, I have opinions on the box because it there's. It's. There's no clarification, like if you get a six-figure sponsorship deal or someone sends you a $20 product. You check the same box and it gives the same disclaimer. And I think the way some people kind of justify going around it is checking the box is not an FTC requirement, it's a YouTube guideline. The FTC says you need to disclose it in all these different ways saying it on screen, putting it in descriptions and it does say we encourage you to use platform I forget the exact wording, but they encourage you to use platform. I forget the exact wording, but they encourage you to use platform, specific things, but know that that might not be enough. So if you just check the box and do nothing else, that might not be enough. Um, but if we're all trying to play in good faith which, yeah, you know like it's good for everybody, if everybody's kind of playing, we all know the spirit of the box.

Speaker 1:

Well, it's also there is a thing. So from a viewer standpoint, it definitely makes you kind of question things and even with other companies in the past I say no to most companies that reach out but there have been companies who say you know crazy stuff, Like here we have this like piece of crap product and we want to pay you essentially nothing and in return you give us like 10 videos and four reels and whatever you know, like kind of the most horrific brand deal ever. You need to post a thing on the embargo. This is before, like I don't even talk to these companies, this is just in the cold email that shows up. You know nope, delete, nope, delete, whatever. But then you look whatever, that embargo date is june 1st or something we'll say. And then june 1st rolls around and you see all these videos pop out and you know I know everyone has their individual deals, but it's like wow, I kind of know what you agreed to you know what you were approached with?

Speaker 1:

yeah, yeah, I know what I was approached with and I know you're doing a thing for the people I was approached with and now that's always kind of been a thing in the YouTube world. But you don't know what anyone's individual deals are, so you can't assume. But now that's even. It's a little more open for even viewers to understand like, hey, this company operates this way. I don't work with them anymore. But then the next week when a creator posts a video, working with them.

Speaker 2:

You know a viewer thinking critically might make some connections or have some thoughts. Here's the reason why I think it's like super shady, because the most valuable resource for a creator, the most precious valuable resource that leads to success or growth or anything, is the trust of their audience.

Speaker 2:

And so for you to even hint at compromising that f you bro like I mean and and that's the thing where it's like no company I get that everyone is gonna handle it differently, everyone's got their individual things, but it's such a fickle thing as soon as trust is compromised, that could be, you know, months of trying to come back from that, from as a creator yeah, I don't and that's so hard, you know in this case.

Speaker 1:

We've talked about large channels who said I don't know what. I don't know what you know, say, the smallest creators they're approaching are, in this case. But if you're significantly smaller, not doing this full time, probably a lot less pull and influence than someone like iPhonedo does or iJustine. You can tell how long they've been on the platform just based on their names. Um, you can tell how long they've been on the platform just based on their names, uh. But if you're not that person and then this company approaches you with a deal, that feels kind of weird, how do you even navigate?

Speaker 2:

How do you know what's weird? Is this just?

Speaker 1:

how it's done? Are you going to be allured by the, the flashy name that you've seen big creators also work with? Are you going to feel safe working with them because you've seen bigger people working with them? Like You've seen bigger people working with them. There's so many, it's such a hard thing to navigate. So that's that.

Speaker 2:

Do you have any gauge on how viewers feel Like?

Speaker 1:

non-creators. I mean just from the comments on the videos that I've been putting out, which, like most people, are at least the comments I've seen most people are agreeing with the creators on these different videos. Because Farouk did his video, a couple other people have like hinted, either online or in videos, about Insta360. And then other people did just like general what it's like working with brand and brand deals, suck kind of videos, and the comments of those are largely supportive and largely people like really appreciating transparency between the creator and the viewer. And then there's still people who pop up Like I left a.

Speaker 1:

I left a comment on Farouk's video that said, wow, this made me do a 180 on Insta 360, which I was very proud of, um. And then, like four days later, someone said, like who gives an F? Like if I want to buy this S, I'm just going to buy it. If I want the 360 camera to buy this, like, okay, good for you. I don't, the cameras are still good, but you know, in terms of like running a business as a, yeah, like obviously we care, you know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well, you know, I get it and it's. It's frustrating, and it's the same thing, though. Um, it's the same. I don't know it's frustrating, and it's the same thing, though it's the same, I don't know, it's just frustrating because the products are good.

Speaker 2:

Yes, why did you have to say this?

Speaker 1:

You had. It's like taking. You could have just kept going. It's like if someone were to buy a brand that is known globally so much so that using it is in the dictionary and then change the entire brand to just a random letter from the alphabet instead. It's an insane deal. Nobody would ever do such a thing.

Speaker 2:

So there have been lots of video responses to that.

Speaker 1:

Okay, um, mostly people like taking, taking their own spin and like adding to it, not necessarily responding to his, but now doing their own version. That's what's created sort of this dialogue beyond just insta 360, and I think that's cool, but I also so okay. It kind of has led to this thing, though, where people are saying like, yeah, brands suck and brand deals suck, and this, that and the other thing, and now it's like, okay, don't paint it that. I'm saying this, don't paint it, that everyone who does a brand deal sucks.

Speaker 2:

Brand deals are not inherently evil.

Speaker 1:

Or shady or anything. They can work out great. It's all about how you navigate that thing can work out great. It's all about how you navigate that thing. And that also then led into this conversation, where it feels like a lot of people watching these videos only feel like negative reviews are honest yeah, no, you're only gonna say positive things.

Speaker 1:

Because you're sponsored, which you know we've talked about here. Like, personally, I mean I don't do. I don't do a lot of sponsored content. Sometimes brands send stuff but by the time I've made a video about it it means I like the thing.

Speaker 2:

I just don't want to spend my time making a video on something that's the same thing about, like why I don't write negative yelp reviews yeah, I just like I don't want to draw unless you've done something egregiously bad, then yeah, that's one thing, but it's just not worth my time. I don't want to draw attention to it.

Speaker 1:

And also, you know, like as a Yelp review, I know how bad one review can like damage you know, and I don't want to be the person who does that, if there's something that I feel like it's almost like it needs to be a public service announcement, to make it like this is bad and shady Exactly.

Speaker 1:

That's different, but that's pretty rare. Most of the time it's personal opinion. So if there's something in my sphere that comes out where it feels like this should be on Tom's channel and I don't say anything about it, I don't make any videos about it. It shows you my level of interest or my opinion on the thing, I don't know which one.

Speaker 2:

Plus. It's so much more fun talking about things that you're excited legit excited about.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'd way rather do that than because then I'm going to deal with you know if it's a sponsorship, like obviously there's a way to make it work for everybody, you know. Well, so that ties me into then sort of this other thing. There's been all. There's been this whole influx and I think it's kind of died down now, which is why I wanted to wait, you know, a week or two, to do this podcast. It doesn't seem like those videos are popping up as much anymore.

Speaker 1:

But then Heather, from the fellow filmmaker YouTube channel who we also got to meet and hang out with at NAB. She did a live stream last week on her channel. It was called there's a problem with my channel and she. She talked about this a lot and she pushed back with a different perspective. That I thought was very interesting, because nobody else I hadn't heard her perspective being shared. It was sort of everyone kind of jumping on the brand deals, suck train and you shouldn't be able to do. You know, you shouldn't. Basically, like no one should ever make money off their youtube channel, which is it's.

Speaker 2:

It's just not a it's no, yeah, I don't know Hard no to that, yeah, okay.

Speaker 1:

And that's me saying that. That's that's how I felt to me, that that is an immature viewpoint, because that's how I felt when I had no experience on the platform and I was like, yeah, this is not a source of income, this is not anything. I had no experience, no maturity on the platform and that's what I felt like, and I feel like it's a gut reaction of like. Sure, in an ideal world, everybody can just do whatever their heart desires at all times, with no. Okay, that's not the world we live in and there are ways to balance it.

Speaker 1:

But one of the things that heather said in her stream was, um, that she has gotten to a point where, because she does need her business to be a business, she doesn't. She never accepts free products, she only accepts sponsorships. So if a company wants to send something, they also need to pay her. And I thought that was very interesting because that's that's a different approach from what I have. But she explained it very clearly. She talked about running her thing as a business. She's also, you know, she's been at it for many years.

Speaker 1:

So I feel like she's built up credibility and the thing with her is she does, she sends the thing they pay. She uses it, test it out, reviews it, makes her video about it and sometimes it's negative, or you know, like she, she is fair and balanced and that's the thing. That's the thing that popped up in a lot of the response videos, which I didn't like because I felt like people were speaking for me. Where a big criticism was, if people say the thing I've had to say many times, they sent this for free, but I'm under no obligation to say anything or make a video or whatever, which is true Whenever a company has sent anything to me for free, ever. I'm never under obligation to make a video about it.

Speaker 2:

You make that clear with that, the company.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I say no before I even talk about sending or not sending anything. I usually say no to most things. If, for some reason, I have decided that, yes, I would like this thing to be sent, I send them the ethics statement page and more than just here's a link. Do you agree with it? Because I don't even know if they're going to read that. I specifically say I never make videos in exchange for products and you know I can't guarantee anything. Here's a link. This expands it. I give more details if it's relevant to them specifically.

Speaker 1:

And if they come back and say okay, I double check and say okay, if you're I've used the term if you're comfortable sending this to a black hole, here's, here's our PO box at that point and that's and that's it. And then usually the only follow-up I'll do is I will confirm with them once I receive it, like, hey, I received a thing today, thank you, because that just feels polite. And they did send a thing. I don't know if they know did you get it or did you not get it, and that's it. And then, if I decide to do a video on it at some point sometimes I don't, sometimes it pops up in future videos or whatever.

Speaker 1:

But the thing that was being said in these videos was a lot of people were saying I know you can say that you don't care about that, but that's BS, like that's never true, because if you say something bad, then the company doesn't want to send you anything and you always want to protect. The company sends you stuff. I'm like hey, don't speak for me or a bunch of other people please, because I'm telling you. The situation was a company sends something and there's no obligation beyond that. I can tell you from my point of view. I don't care if they send anything else ever.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, like I have a whole I mean, but that's just someone who just doesn't know Like I get it, you know.

Speaker 1:

I'm hearing this in the videos from other creators. Oh, creators, oh, I'm hearing this in the videos from other creators, oh creators, which then to me is like well, this sort of tells me where you come from, when you say this.

Speaker 2:

Creators.

Speaker 1:

I really hear it from people in the comments who maybe may or may not be other creators, and lots of people will say that kind of thing, but I have heard it from other creators you want to keep the brand. You know you have to play the game and you want to keep the brand deal going, it's like, but you this is more reason why there needs to be a thing where creators who are up and running, doing this thing can talk amongst each other.

Speaker 1:

Right, and you know it's, I don't know and that's and, and that's the thing where it's like I don't want to be lumped in. Just the the same way, everybody who does a brand deal with Insta360 isn't necessarily doing anything shady. Look at Justine. She followed every guideline and more the required ones and the recommended ones. So no, I have zero feelings about her video being sponsored when I watch it, because she's made it super clear what the situation is, and then I'll watch the video.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

That's like I don't like it. Like, oh, if somebody says that this was sent for free but they're not under any obligation, they're still never going to be honest about whatever the thing is. Or and the number of stuff that I've, well, I have a whole thing, but the number of stuff that I've never talked about or sent back or donated to charity or whatever, like it's a lot and that just happens sometimes and there's all kinds of different reasons. So I liked Heather's stream because I felt like she pushed back a little bit to sort of this like as a from the creator perspective. She pushed back Because the thing that other creators realize or don't realize is they say something and it just it can also just pile people on. People love to hate youtubers and love to hate content creators for one reason or another. And in her stream, oh, I was very active because I was like outlining this podcast as her stream started and I was like, oh my gosh, I have so many thoughts about this and and she talked about the thing I just said the free products thing and I said what I just said here in the chat and her stream I said you know, like I say that a lot, I've had to say that in videos a lot and the thing I can say for myself is I 100% don't care if the company ever does send anything again Like it does not matter. And someone in the chat said yeah, but us normies don't get free products.

Speaker 1:

And so the argument is like even if you receive a product, you're receiving payment which you know like it's not. It's not. You're receiving a thing of value which is what it says on YouTube. If you received anything of value in exchange for this video, you need to click this box. Okay, if I received a microphone, it could be a 300 microphone. That's a thing of value. I received. Check this box. Okay, I get that. Is it the same as payment? I don't know. I can't pay our mortgage with this microphone, like the bank doesn't accept it as payment. But I did receive a thing of value.

Speaker 1:

The microphone cannot buy food the microphone cannot buy food so even if you got all these free products and that's the form of payment and you made a bunch of videos, we still cannot pay anything with all that stuff well, and then, and then it goes into yeah, but you're able to make the videos and the videos generate revenue, and you could put an affiliate link in the, in the description for the video.

Speaker 1:

So then you got paid because the thing let you if they give you a thing for free to let you earn money, which, like there, that's not that that's untrue. But then you're also forgetting the part of where I made a video and the thing that I could never say in the chat of heather's live stream. Uh, but I will say here when the guy said us normies don't get free products, my thing that I would have said to him was did you also spend many years building a channel like and? And the example I have is like if you start an entry-level job position at a company on day one and then you look at someone who's been there for 15 years and you're like, oh, us normies don't get the corner office with the bigger salary, it's like, well, no, not yet you could yeah, go ahead, you could, no one's stopping you.

Speaker 1:

They have just done things that you have not yet done, to get to a point where that's what happens. Like, did you spend seven years making 500 videos, and who knows how many tens of thousands of your own dollars or whatever, to get, like, this free action camera or this microphone? Like, yeah, yeah, normies don't get free products. I hate that. You would say us normies. That's the whole thing, though, and then that goes into another thing, though, of like, okay, why accept anything for free? Because this is something I've thought many times. It's like this pops up. I have it's such a complex relationship. It can cause all these problems, miscommunications. Why not never accept anything for free If there's something to be on the channel, just something I paid for, which is how the channel was when it started, obviously because I was a normie quote unquote who wouldn't get anything for free. So why not just do that, and then you never have to have any of these conversations?

Speaker 2:

Because then you say like I bought this.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you just say, hey, you know, because. Then you say, like I bought this. Yeah, you just say, hey, you know, there's plenty of stuff that's on my channel all the time that I bought that I never have to then talk about Because I never have to click the box. Regardless of anything, no one has to think anything, Even though I promise you when you buy something with your own money, like when I talk about my Sony cameras, all three of which I paid- full price for and lenses and everything.

Speaker 2:

People were like oh, you say, this isn't sponsored.

Speaker 1:

But it's totally BS. This isn't sponsored. They send you shills, everything my video about the M1 Mac mini. When those came out, people are very convinced that Apple sent me that computer and that I didn't just go to Best Buy and buy it. So there's a lose-lose there where, even if you buy something, people don't believe that you did unless you like. Even if you put the receipt up on screen, I don't think anyone would believe you.

Speaker 2:

But well, that's not true, because you're now, you're talking about I mean that's a specific person yeah, that's a minority, that's not everybody yeah, I think most people, especially on your channel, you know, I think a large reason of why you're uh, I don't know, I'll call them the true fans, yeah coming back is because they they know your ethic statement, they know your approach and I think that's why they appreciate your perspective on it which is true in my case.

Speaker 1:

That also means those people don't really care if it was something I bought or something that was sent for free, and so this is something. This this is one of those things, like you were saying, where we need like a thing for established creators to have these conversations, because when you're just starting out, no one's going to send you anything. It's not an option you have to. If you want to feature something on a channel, you have to buy it. But then you get to this point here and I was very like well, I just don't want to be sent stuff because I don't want to deal with any of these things.

Speaker 1:

And then a thing that happened as my channel grew is people started sending messages hey, could you do a video about blank? And I would say like oh yeah, I don't have that, sorry. Like well, if you get it, people would even tell me I bet if you reach out to the company, they would send you one, and it's like and what I realized was it's kind of special that somebody likes my videos enough and the way I approach things enough that they want to hear my, my specific opinion about this thing. I'm sure if they're doing research. They're watching every video they can find, every channel they can find. But it's really cool that they want me to be included in that group, right, like that's kind of a special thing.

Speaker 2:

And so then I was thinking, okay, Because it goes back to that sense of trust, right, like they appreciate your perspective and if there's something that they're looking to compare or buy, well, wouldn't it be great if you heard it from the person that you trust?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and so what it kind of made me realize was well, instead of trying to please these people who are never going to be happy and always think I'm a shady shill, no matter what I do, what about trying to serve the people who like, support and value what I do? Right?

Speaker 1:

And so that means getting something for free, like sometimes because also we're not super rich and can't buy everything for free. There is kind of a thing of like. If something's like one to 200 bucks typically and I'm interested in it, then I don't think about it and I just order it because you know that's that's pretty easy to justify. But when we're talking about more expensive things, most of the time if it's not something I need, you know, like if I need a new camera, I'm happy to invest in the new camera because I also don't have to make the disclaimer like constantly they're like oh well, I did send it in every video.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but there's other times where it's like like a really good example would be something like the holliland mars wireless video transmitter thing. There are hd HDMI transmitters. You put one, or there's a transmitter you put on your camera, a receiver, you put your computer recorder, whatever, and you can transmit video wirelessly. It's super cool. It's like 700 bucks or something. I was very curious about it. I was not curious enough to spend $700 about it, but especially when I was like teaching and doing live streaming stuff with the pandemic, I was like do these wireless video things actually work? And then Hollyland reached out and asked like hey, do you want to try this out? They were cool with the ethics statement. So I said yes, because it was something I was curious about, but not curious enough to invest that much of my own money in.

Speaker 1:

Now I know about it, I have an opinion about it, which is also kind of part of it is like you know, I feel like not only am I curious about something like the Mackie DLZ or the Boss Gigcaster or whatever, but based on what I do, it's beneficial for me to actually understand those things and have opinions about them also.

Speaker 1:

So it's like there's kind of that part of it too, where just being informed in your area, like I don't need to buy five audio mixers as an individual. If I were, if I were a normie who didn't need to do this or or wasn't in the position to be able to do this, I would just buy one and stick with it till it broke, yeah. But there's, I feel like the idea of like being me being well-informed or me being able to I would guess I would call it serve the people who support what I do is work. They don't care. There's enough trust there that they don't think that I'm saying something that I wouldn't say anyway just because something was sent for free yeah, and that's something that you built up over years yeah, that guy who is a normie is like okay, yeah, cool, but you could totally do this.

Speaker 2:

But it's not just like you just start making videos and that's it well, it is one of those.

Speaker 1:

You call them like self-owns, because I would bet in that guy's life there's areas where I'm a normie and he's you know the I don't know what, what he's into or what he does in his free time. There's probably something where he gets maybe a little special treatment, a little more authority, whatever you want to call it that. I wouldn't because I haven't spent had the time that he has spent building that up. And that is true for everybody and everything. This is just one area of life where things are a little different, and so I was trying to think, though, okay, if it, if it, if it's not practical, it's not practical financially to buy everything.

Speaker 1:

If you're like a product-focused channel and there's this weird hesitation with getting stuff for free, what about not keeping stuff? What about stuff like sending things back to the companies or using loaner programs, because those are kind of cool middle grounds, right, like a company could send me something and I check it out, make a video. When I'm done that, I just send it back to them. Or something I've done in the past too is B&H has a loaner program and I can just reach out. I forget what they said, my price limit was. But they're like yeah, you know, just tell us you want to try something. They send it to me, I have 30 days to use it and then I just send it back and they're. They're a middle ground or middle middleman sounds bad, but they're not the manufacturer.

Speaker 2:

Right.

Speaker 1:

And they, they, they know I'm not buying the thing, but they just send it and that's it. So those are kind of cool, like sort of solutions, but even those aren't perfect, and that's the thing that I feel like if you're not a creator, you might not know, because it is very helpful. 30 days really flies by, and if you're talking about something, you know, if you're talking about something like a camera, that can take a really long time. I didn't really get the grip of my Sony cameras for like six months, 30 days, and maybe if I just focus on that one thing all day, every day, but if I'm that interested in something, I would probably have just bought it and not needed the loaner program so it's like the 30 day window is sometimes just not enough.

Speaker 1:

B&h is very good because they don't care about what you say. I have had other companies similar, like retailers offer to send things, but what they will say is if you don't like the thing, send it back and check out something else. Like they. Because even though they're not the company, they still don't want you to say, like this thing sucks, because then no one's gonna buy it. And so I have never loaned anything from anyone who has said that bnh doesn't care. They're just like yeah, let us know what you want, they, they. They understand.

Speaker 1:

Honest customer feedback and opinions are a good thing, but still there's not always enough time, especially if you're working on other things, to deal with it in the amount of time. Then there's also the thing of like future comparisons. Bronson and I were talking about this because we both have a lot of microphones, because we like microphones Bronson from Audio Hotline if you're listening hi bronson and we were talking about like how many mics we would have if we didn't have youtube channels and we wouldn't each have one like right, we would have many mics because we like it.

Speaker 1:

But we each definitely do have microphones that we wouldn't have if we didn't have a youtube channel, the reason being because we keep them for comparisons. And that's why I even got my SM7B, which I really do like and grew to love. But the reason I got it was just because I knew anytime I did a mic review, people will ask how does it compare to the SM7B? So it made sense for me to have that there. And there are things like that where it's like I don't necessarily need this for me, but there's so many times we're having this available to compare and and it makes you, uh, create a thing that is more helpful right to your audience.

Speaker 1:

Yeah and and stuff also gets updates. Like you know, like all the mixers get firmware updates. So if I, if I were to borrow a roadcaster for a month and here's my opinion on it but a year later it's gotten five firmware updates and has all these different features like but now I don't, now my my experience opinion everything's totally out of date versus being able to, like, stay up to date on the thing that you're interested in, um, which is, I say that coming from a place of fun, like it's fun to to stay up to date on this stuff. And if I know people are going to ask questions about it, I like to at least try to give them what I feel like is my most accurate information at the time. So loaner programs and stuff can be great, they're just not the solution.

Speaker 1:

And then sending stuff back is another one. It would be great, I'd be totally fine. Let me keep this as long as I need to and then just send it back when I'm done. Very few companies will let you send stuff back yeah, which I get.

Speaker 1:

It yeah, I get it. They don't want to deal with this. What are they gonna? It's like a return piece of merchandise.

Speaker 1:

They gotta like inventory it yeah, yeah a lot of companies not fresh out of the box, you know very few companies will, uh, send you a shipping label so they might say, like, if you want to send it back, you can, but that's awesome when they are based in another country across an ocean and now shipping is going to be like 400 or something. It's not practice. So in theory I get what you're saying. Yeah, let me use this as long as I want and just send it back to you. They don't want the thing back or it's very expensive to send back, which doesn't. Again, it just doesn't make sense when you're just a person trying to do, but I don't think people take those points into consideration.

Speaker 2:

Of course, because they don't know which is like you know yeah.

Speaker 1:

So those are kind of like my main thoughts on the whole situation. I wanted to point out the Insta thing. I wanted to talk about some of the other videos that have popped up. I really wanted to mention Heather's stream, that kind of pushed back a little bit, and then sort of my thoughts on like well, why even accept free stuff to begin with, because then you don't have to deal with it if you never do that yeah um.

Speaker 1:

So a couple last points. I guess a thing that I did want to did want to mention was, um, this conversation is specifically interesting to me as someone who has talked about this kind of thing and cares about it a lot, from both a viewer and a creator standpoint, and so we've talked about the ethics statement page on my website many times, no-transcript that have all agreed to the ethics statement page, and it was like it was a thing that I was hesitant to do because I was kind of like, well, you know, this is sort of calling things out and I was trying to think like, why would a brand not want to be listed here If they agreed to do something with me? Why would they not want to be on this page? And the only reason I could think of would be because they would not want to have the same deal with other creators.

Speaker 2:

You have now set an expectation.

Speaker 1:

Hey, this brand did this thing for Tom. Why do they want to do a different thing for me? And now you know, maybe they're willing to make that like, make that exception for me, but not make that exception for someone else. And my thought was well, if that's the case, screw that like, yeah, exactly, I'm gonna try to protect you.

Speaker 2:

That's what I uh, that's what I've really appreciated the way that you've handled your channel, because I feel like you do it, so you've done it so differently from the beginning and I think, like, especially when it comes to integrity and ethics, honestly, I would go so far to say that the way that you handle it is like completely unconventional.

Speaker 1:

It's very weird.

Speaker 2:

Insane. You know like people would be like. There's literally talks at VidCon on how to make your channel brand friendly. You did the number one unbrand friendly thing that you can do. Um, but what I, what I've, what I've seen happen since you do these things, your viewers know you do these things and then time passes by and it's fine is that, in the world of content creation, I believe that transparency only makes everything better, even if it's wild at first.

Speaker 1:

Like.

Speaker 2:

I it, you know, I mean I think it's, I think it. I don't know. I don't know how other people handle it, but from what I've seen you do, it's like you are. You are, by creating this document, you're leaving money on the table yes, a lot.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 2:

You know, and so I can see why not every creator would do that. But if other, if other creators were to adopt this, you know, I think it makes, I think it helps creators as a whole.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, you know I, I know people have taken and I didn't. I'm not the one who came up with the idea of having an ethics statement anyway, which I've talked about before, but I also added that to the page to make sure. I got the idea from mr mobile's youtube channel, which is like a huge tech channel, and he has a page on his website that goes into excruciating detail on like how he handles travel and hotel accommodations and the reason why I think it's different than with you is because you're not a massive channel.

Speaker 2:

You know like you're a I don't know small business creator named tbd, normal creator, average creator, middle class creator, whatever you want to call it. Uh, you know where you to me, I, I hope it's clear that you do not have this lavish, glamorous lifestyle where everything is just you know. You have all the disposable income in the world to buy every single thing that you are reviewing. No, and even with heather's approach of like this is is my business, this is my craft, and this is why I approach it the way that I do.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, with two different approaches.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And they're both fine. And the thing that I liked when I found the massive you know channels because he even says in his statement or his page I forget what he calls it, but he says that he doesn't even own his channel. It's owned by a company and he's the one who runs the channel. But I really liked that. I didn't even watch the stuff. I heard him on a podcast talking about it and I really liked the transparency and I thought there's no reason. I, as I think this was, I forget when I did the ethics statements three or four years ago, so it was, I don't know, under 20,000 subscribers for sure. It almost felt like overkill for the time.

Speaker 1:

I was like if I could do this for myself, that would be cool. And so I put mine together like the first version of it, posted it, and I got a lot of messages from people saying I need to take it down because it's going to hurt me. It's going to hurt brands and brands, and the reason I wanted to now, many years later, add specific brands to it is because it has turned brands away there's so many times.

Speaker 1:

I mean, by the time I get to the point where I'm even sending that to somebody right like we've are like they've already cleared at least one hurdle in my mind, but there's a lot of times that I've sent that to them and never heard anything again yeah and that's that's what it is for.

Speaker 1:

Right, because when you look at the list of brands that's there, it's kind of amazing to have been able to cultivate a working relationship. They're quality. It's something I'm proud of and I would hope they would be proud too, but it's like it's a very select few and I feel like it speaks to. I feel like that speaks to the effectiveness of doing things this way, for me at least well.

Speaker 2:

So, based on the brands that you've listed right, see, this is this is how okay. As an online content creator, I can see how, like, obviously, transparency is good for your business, right? It's good for it's net good, right. I can see how, uh, companies are obviously a little more discreet about their transparency and they might not like it, but I do think it's a net good, especially for for your I. I guess my inkling is that this is where it's going to end up being, so maybe over here, it's kind of one of those things.

Speaker 2:

Like you know, two years from now, this is going to be the normal thing, because we've realized like it protects the space for everyone the viewer, the creator and the business partners. That make the whole thing go yes, that make the whole thing go is, and especially when you're alternative, alternative, the other option is basically to be like hey, can you not tell people that this is sponsored? Like are you kidding? Like why don't we just make this win for everybody?

Speaker 1:

Right and I think that's maybe why I've been so interested in this is it feels like a lot of creators and viewers as a whole are sort of like turning the corner to kind of where we and I know a lot of people who listen to this have been for a while.

Speaker 2:

Right, exactly.

Speaker 1:

And it kind of feels nice. Okay, I know it's crazy, but maybe it's not that crazy and maybe it does make sense and that's and it's hard. I know when you're like a small creator and a brand approaches you.

Speaker 2:

I mean, it was me, that was me. I got sent the $600 cool wheel, which, of course, I would never buy. Are you kidding?

Speaker 1:

Right, when your channel was super small, I just started getting out. It's like a boosted board competitor kind of.

Speaker 2:

Thing.

Speaker 1:

And it's, it's so hard, and the thing that I didn't know how to navigate, that.

Speaker 2:

I had no one to go to, I had no idea what the heck to do. But it's like you feel successful because it's like oh, look at this, like that's a lot, that's a high price product, you know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and going back to you know, in the case of a company like Insta saying don't disclose that something is sponsored, obviously, like you said, they're risking your channel's trust, your viewers trust, like they're not looking out in your best interest as a creator, exactly, and f that like it takes one.

Speaker 2:

In the world of content creation, where everyone will pick apart your apology, couch video frame by frame, like transparency and trust, is like the most. That's, that's the thing that keeps the whole thing going.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and for somebody to ask you to compromise, that is insane to me yes, and when you're a small creator, it can be tricky, because sometimes a brand will say um, whether it's a sponsored thing or they're sending you a product or whatever. They'll say like oh, we just love your channel and what you do. Um, you know, we just want your channel and what you do. You know, we just want, we just love what you do. Do this.

Speaker 1:

And then they send a thing and then, if you agree, like, well, I'll send you stuff for revision, all stuff. They'll suddenly start to change it a lot and you could potentially find yourself going. I thought you liked what I do. Why are you changing everything that I do? And the reason is they don't actually care about you. They care about your audience and you are just. They want their product. You know whatever in your storefront on this street, they want to be the window display and they just whatever they need to do to get in there. They don't care about you.

Speaker 1:

That means the decisions they're making are not in your best interest, and that even goes for there can be times where you feel like you have a good working relationship, but a company like if they have a product release, if they have an update, if they have something and they really want you to talk about this thing or maybe release a video by this date or whatever that might not be in your channel's best interest and they're not trying to actively harm your channel. They only know what's in their best interest. And their best interest is we spent, you know, three years working on this product. It's finally released. Please tell people about it. But you're like, well, I've got this whole plan of videos and I'm in this type of content right now. So maybe that they're not, even in the best case scenario, they're not always aware of or able to look out for your best interests, and you have to do that for yourself and that's a very hard thing to learn and navigate as you grow as a content creator.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I don't know who would wanna as a content creator.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I don't know who would want to be a content creator so hard.

Speaker 1:

I mean it is the best.

Speaker 2:

It is the best.

Speaker 1:

These are the things, though, little things that pop up that maybe, when you click create channel, you didn't think about. Right, exactly, and so that's why I wanted to talk about that today.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and thank you for helping me figure that out. It's a good conversation I about that today.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and thank you for helping me figure that out. It's a good conversation, I have fun, and if you had fun or you had thoughts you didn't have fun and you had thoughts you can always send an email to Tom at enthusiasmprojectcom or go to hi, my name is Tom dot com and click the little voice memo thing and then you'll have a message in time for next week week's episode, which is the season 12 finale. Cool, if people want to check out more of what heather does, where should they go?

Speaker 1:

heather just create on youtube all right, uh, thank you for listening. I appreciate it very much. I hope you have a safe, happy, healthy, fun rest of your week and we will see you next time you.

YouTube Drama and Sponsorships Conversation
Ethical Issues With Sponsored Content
Issues With Influencer Marketing Disclosures
Navigating Brand Deals and Sponsorships
Navigating the Ethics of Product Endorsements
Navigating Product Relationships as a Creator
Transparency and Ethics in Content Creation
Discussion on YouTube Channel Creation

Podcasts we love