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Do Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Stand in the Way of Vlogger Authenticity?

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Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

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No matter how many times the subject of bloggers, vloggers, money, and editorial authenticity is brought up, it never gets old. In this particular investigation, WWD goes after vloggers and their lucrative contracts as brand spokespeople. "Beauty vloggers of all ages are putting forth their honest opinion on specific beauty products, but an increasing number of them have gone to work for brands and are drawing a paycheck," writes reporter Jayme Cyk. "This raises a question: How unbiased is the advice?"

Michelle Phan (whose business is estimated to be worth $84 million) and Bethany Mota vehemently deny recommending products that they don't love, even if thousands of dollars were on the line. According to the report, beauty brands are catching on to vlogger influence—a Variety poll says that these YouTube celebrities are more influential among American teens than mainstream celebrities—and they're willing to pony up in order to get their products in front of these screens. Karen Robinovitz, an executive from an agency that represents 80 "content creators" across a number of categories, estimated that it could cost brands about $2,500 for an Instagram post and up to $250,000 for an ad campaign or role as a brand ambassador.

But not all brands are willing to pay thousands of dollars for an Instagram. "I thought [vloggers] operated like any other member of the media with respect to editorial, but the very first vlogger I reached out to wanted an obscene amount of money ($5,000) so I kindly declined, and I got a nasty e-mail from their manager," an anonymous brand representative told WWD. "After the whole thing, the vlogger did what some people think is the most insulting thing you can do to anybody nowadays—she un-followed us on Twitter."
· Cracking the Code of Beauty Vloggers' Authenticity [WWD]
· Gossip, Money, Bloggers: A Hard Look at rewardStyle [Racked]
· This Blogger Will Make $5 Million in 2014, Just By Selling Shoes [Racked]
· Random Fashion Blogger from Utah Makes $1 Million a Year [Racked]