Social & Influencers

F*** You Pay Me lets influencers secretly share how much brands pay. But does it have enough data to really work?

The platform aims to even the playing field between sponsors and creators.
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F*** You Pay Me

· 6 min read

Lindsey Lee Lugrin is shameless about being an influencer. Case in point: In December 2020, she founded a company that she has described as “Glassdoor for influencers,” naming it F*** You Pay Me (FYPM). The platform lets influencers anonymously spill the deets about their brand deals, like how much they were paid and what was asked of them.

“At the end of the day, this is about helping people evaluate the opportunity cost of partnering with different brands. Our business is just helping people make better decisions about brand partnerships,” Lugrin told Marketing Brew.

Right now, FYPM is a “pretty basic review site,” according to Lugrin. Creators sign up for free, then Lugrin and her cofounder, Isha Mehra, manually verify their accounts. The only rule for influencers who join FYPM is that they must make a contribution to the community by reviewing a brand they’ve worked with. Currently, Lugrin told us, there are 3,368 reviews up on the site. 

Like anything that happens in Influencer Land, FYPM is exclusive. “We don’t let any of the brands [into] the community, so there’s no incentive [for reviewers] to skew positive or negative. You know that it can’t get back to who you’re working for,” Lugrin explained, adding that all reviews are anonymous. Additionally, it’s pretty exclusive for influencers, too: Lugrin said she has approved 2,700 creator accounts thus far, denying roughly 5,000. People are denied if they’re not an influencer or someone who manages influencers, they haven’t left a review, or their identity cannot be verified.

Reviews cover more than compensation details, or the ever-elusive question of whether a brand pays certain creators in products and others in cash. They can also answer questions about other aspects of brand partnerships, such as “Are they going to pay me on time?” Or, “Are all the promises they make about posting and exposure going to be worth it?” Lugrin shared. While reviews are pretty much open-ended, FYPM does ask its creators for a few specifics, such as their follower count at the time of the brand deal in question and number of deliverables.

Overall, FYPM promises to give creators a clearer picture of how brands strike influencer marketing deals, in turn giving them more leverage for future collabs—or at least a little transparency. But will it actually spur brands to change their practices?

Industry experts agree the sector does need to shine more light on how brands treat and compensate creators. But FYPM’s sole reliance on reviews means users might not get the full picture of brands’ influencer-marketing practices.

Seeking solutions

One thing’s for sure—the problems Lugrin built FYPM to solve are very real.

“There are a lot of brands that—I don’t want to call them shady, but that’s the nicest way to put it—just don’t end up paying influencers, or never pay them at all. A pretty popular angle now for brands is saying, ‘Hey, if you take this free product, there might be a potential paid deal in the future.’ There’s usually never a paid deal in the future. It’s the dirty laundry of the influencer industry,” Matt Zuvella, VP of talent management agency FamePick, told us.

Zuvella informally advised Lugrin on building FYPM in its early stages, before she met her cofounder. He thinks this platform could help corner brands into being more transparent—especially because creators relate to Lugrin as an influencer herself, who’s struck deals with brands like Marc Jacobs in the past, per The Verge.

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“If anyone can do it, they can do it. I feel like just the way [Isha and Lindsey] are connected to the industry. If anyone can make it happen, it’s them,” Zuvella said.

Finding problems

As one might expect, marketers have mixed feelings about the platform, mostly because FYPM is exclusively reliant on reviews and doesn't offer a place for the brands to speak for themselves and their policies.

The FYPM Twitter account recently retweeted one of Zuvella’s tweets, which outlined the top brands that rarely compensate their creators in cash, according to FYPM’s reviews (Zuvella has access to the platform). He listed NYC–based women’s underwear brand Adore Me, saying that FYPM’s eight reviews on the company indicate that it provides “zero percent cash compensation” to its creators.

But Adore Me’s influencer marketing team lead Andra Melinte told us Zuvella’s tweet didn’t paint an accurate picture of the brand’s influencer marketing strategy or compensation protocols—and that the lack of full data sets on FYPM could inhibit the platform’s success.

According to Melinte, Adore Me works with more than 6,000 creators per year—roughly half are compensated monetarily, whereas the other half receives free products. She said FYPM’s relatively small user base isn’t enough for an accurate portrayal of Adore Me’s relationships with influencers. For the creators it compensates in cash, she said $500 to $600 per post is the average payment.

“We try to pay them as soon as possible,” Melinte told us, adding that the creators are paid through PayPal. She said it usually takes about one week to 14 days to receive payment, but that delays happen during busy times like Black Friday.

Would you meet me in the middle?

Kelsey Patsch, who is the affiliate and influencer manager for Andie, a woman’s swimwear company with one review on FYPM, told us she thinks influencers deserve a platform like FYPM because it makes the power dynamic more egalitarian.

“Brands have all the power in the situation,” Patsch told us, explaining that she has access to tools like Grin that calculate an influencer’s engagement rate and even suggest how much a particular creator should be paid, but that influencers don’t have the same for brands.

At the same time, she said she’d like it if the platform were open to brands, too. “I wish there was a platform where I could review influencers,” she told us. “I’ve certainly too invested in influencers where after paying them a fee, I found out a lot of their followers were bots.”

But Lugrin said she feels strongly about the platform being only for influencers, since there are many platforms out there that cater to brands already. “I think we need to remain independent—and pick a side—for long-term success,” she told us, explaining that aligning with influencers and creators over brands will help FYPM stand out in a crowded market.

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