What just happened? When Amazon launched its Influencer Program in 2017, it was a massive promotional change compared to the long-standing review system the site had used. The service recently began paying users to promote various Amazon products in short videos. However, the sums the company offers now pale compared to previous payouts and industry standards.
Last December, Amazon launched a new addition to its Influencer Program called "Inspire." Inspire is essentially TikTok-like videos featuring Amazon products. The retailer wanted to jump on the hype train of user-generated content (UGC) product videos blowing up on TikTok. Users can now upload short videos promoting items they had ordered through Amazon, and the creators would make commissions if a viewer purchased products shown in their videos.
Alongside these commissions, Amazon occasionally adds incentives to encourage more users to upload content to Inspire. In January, a Reddit user claimed they received an email offering $250 per post for a maximum of 10 videos. Another stated they got a similar email from Amazon but for only two.
However, Amazon's generosity may have run out after just eight months. A Twitter user posted an incentive offer they had received from Amazon, claiming they could receive $12,500 in exchange for 500 videos. It works out to $25 per video – one-tenth of the initial incentives Amazon paid in the early days of Inspire. Worse yet, the posted offer lacks the "up to 500 videos" verbiage making it sound like a $12,500 contract, meaning the creator is on the hook for 500 videos, and not just an occasional $25 video here and there.
Based on internet outcry, creators are unhappy about Amazon's sudden and significant change regarding Inspire payments. One commenter pointed out that the amount of work needed to complete such a contract equates to a full-time job. Another just said, "LOL, no thanks".
However, Amazon must be using some unknown metric for its proposals since one user claims to have received an offer for $12,500 for 250 videos. At $50 per video, it's double the other user's offer but still well below industry standards.
A study by Brands Meet Creators showed that, on average, UGC creators request $212 from brands for a single 15 – 60 second video. Of course, the rates can vary heavily depending on a user's follower count, the type of product, or the number of videos a brand purchases.
Jazmine Flores, a makeup artist who produces UGC videos, told Bloomberg she charges approximately $300 for the content that Amazon demands. According to her, Amazon's request for "up to 500 videos" is also unheard of in UGC commissions.
Amazon reportedly plans to cut off the incentive once it pays out $875,000, which should be around 35,000 videos. Nonetheless, it appears that most users aren't happy about this change to Inspire's payment system. So it could take Amazon a while to burn through that budget unless they offer more. Many Inspire creators work full-time on their videos. This drastic cut to what Amazon is willing to pay could cause issues for some.