The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has cracked down on social media influencers, requiring users to disclose sponsored content and brand partnerships with a simple hashtag that includes #ad or #paid. They may also utilize Instagram’s built-in branded partner ID tools. Business has been booming regardless of the new requirements. However, beauty influencers are speaking out about the cutthroat nature of these advertisements.

Recently, Marlena Stell, owner of makeup company Geek Cosmetics, posted a now-viral video uncovering the ugly truth. In a video entitled “My truth regarding the beauty community,” Stell admits that her company has suffered over the past year finding influencers to represent and review her products.

“We don’t have $60,000 to pay someone to do one video — and that’s the rates that we’ve been given,” said Stell.

She even went on to mention that she’d heard that the owners of “multi-billion dollar companies” have similar concerns about influencers overcharging for ads and not providing much traffic in return.

Emmy Award-winning makeup artist Kevin James Bennett joined the bandwagon and further exposed the not so beautiful industry in an Instagram post.

He saluted Marlena for her courage and captioned the photo further revealing the truth about the dark secrets of the beauty community. “I’ve attempted to shed light on the mobster-like behavior of top-level beauty influencers and their management… and I’ve been accused of jealousy, called a liar and hater.”

Kevin, also a cosmetics developer served straight facts claiming that there were influencers offering to trash a competing product in comparison to Bennett’s products in exchange for $75,000 to $85,000:

“A brand I consulted with asked me to inquire about working with a top-level beauty influencer. The influencer’s management offered me these options:

1) $25K – product mention in a multi-branded product review.

2) $50K-$60K – dedicated product review (price determined by length of video).

3) $75K-$85K – dedicated negative review of a competitor’s product (price determined by length of video).

4) A minimum 10% affiliate link or code to use on IG and YT.

Yes, option #3 is legit – payment to damage the competition’s business. I told you it was mob-like behavior.”

Bennett also alleged that it’s all-too-common for beauty brands and influencers to skirt disclosure requirements and urged the FTC to start issuing fines:

“The demands and threats of “influencers” and their management have GOT TO STOP. The lack of disclosure by top-level influencers is FRAUD and it’s time for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to step in, start charging fines and shut this bullsh*t down.“

“To the followers/subs who STILL refuse to believe their idols are thugs – pull your head out of your favorite beauty influencers *ss and SEE what’s actually going on in this industry,” he added.

What do you think? Are influencers are doing too much?





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