Marketing

Clara, the latest ‘Glassdoor for influencers’ app, wants to even the playing field between brands and creators

Its founder, Christen Nino De Guzman, said more than 13,000 influencers have signed up since its January 2022 debut.
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Christen Nino De Guzman

· 5 min read

Christen Nino De Guzman was acutely aware of the creator economy’s pay-disparity issues well before she started working at TikTok during the pandemic. But as she watched more and more influencers rise to prominence amid the app’s boom, she saw the problem getting worse and worse.

Over the course of Nino De Guzman’s time at TikTok, she realized many of the creators she worked with had no idea they could negotiate payment terms. Brands were in the dark too. “On both sides of the spectrum, neither one had really mastered brand deals,” Nino De Guzman, who’s an influencer herself, told Marketing Brew.

Nino De Guzman saw an opportunity to change that. Last year, she started working on Clara, a company that she compares to Glassdoor, but for influencers and brands. In January, she quit her job at TikTok to roll out the company and work on it full time.

Creators can go on Clara and review brands they’ve worked with, sharing how they were compensated, and how they felt they were treated. It’s similar to F*** You Pay Me (FYPM), another platform that lets influencers divulge details about brand deals. But unlike FYPM, brands can go on Clara and look at reviews, too.

Zoom in

Since its January 2022 debut, more than 13,000 creators have signed up for Clara, according to Nino De Guzman. Clara user Jonny Morales, a lifestyle and comedy influencer with more than 3 million TikTok followers, told us that reading reviews of one company on the platform impacted his bottom line.

Morales told us he worked on a Black Friday influencer campaign with Walmart in 2020. The retailer paid him somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000 dollars. When Walmart reached out again for another campaign, this time, Morales had access to Clara.

“I remember going on the Clara app, just to see if anyone else had worked with them before,” he said. Other influencers on Clara said they’d been paid triple or even quadruple what Walmart had paid Morales. Equipped with that information, and knowing he’d gained a lot of social media followers and upped engagement since the last time he worked with Walmart, he felt more comfortable asking the company for more money.

Seeing what other people wrote on Clara “helps me feel more comfortable asking for more, even if it’s a brand that I’ve already worked with before,” Morales told us.

Nancy Bullard, a science education influencer who also has millions of followers on TikTok, told us Clara helped her realize her worth as a content creator. “I did a partnership with a major tech company. They agreed to pay me $5,000 for one TikTok video, reposted to Instagram,” she said. “After signing the agreement, I learned that they had a deal with another science creator with a similar following to mine, paying them $30,000,” Bullard told us over email.

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If Clara had existed prior to that campaign, Bullard believes she could have gotten more money, explaining that Clara helps fill those types of knowledge gaps.

Nino De Guzman didn’t share what Clara’s path towards monetization will be, but right now, it’s currently free to sign up for the ad-free platform. Clara has only gone through one investment round; Prajit Nanu, co-founder of fintech company Nium, invested under $100,000 dollars, Nino De Guzman said.

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There are plenty of companies, such as Grin and CreatorIQ, created to serve brands’ influencer marketing needs. There aren't nearly as many in the space that serve creators first, brand second.

Lia Haberman, instructor and consultant for social media and influencer marketing at UCLA Extension and CMO of Fit Body App, told us FYPM is probably Clara’s biggest competitor today, aside from an Instagram account called Influencer Pay Gap that “seems to have gone dark.” She also mentioned a company called Norm.ai that has yet to roll out.

Haberman told us that if Clara ultimately decides on an advertising business model, the company will have to walk a fine line. After all, brands would be advertising on a platform where influencers have the freedom to speak negatively about them.

“It’s going to take some really delicate navigating…to stay true to what she’s trying to do and the service she’s trying to provide to creators, while not burning bridges with brands,” Haberman explained.

Nino De Guzman told us she wants brands to be successful in their work with creators, just like she wants creators to be successful in their work with brands. As of now, she doesn’t know how many brands have signed up. The goal, she said, is to create more fruitful relationships on both sides, providing both brands and creators with information to help one another.

She explained that typically, when someone applies for a job, there’s a minimum wage, so any job applicant at least knows what the absolute bare minimum they could get paid is. “In this new creator world, there’s no baseline,” Nino De Guzman said.

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