About this YouTube Hustle…

Recently, the amazing Liz (a member of our Habibi family) started sending emails to various YouTube Vloggers to see if they wanted to try some of our products and maybe talk about them. She got a healthy number of responses and reported that she was building a list of folks to ship things to. She also got back a number of responses that read a little something like:

“Thank you for your interest in XX. For any review we charge a (sometimes flat) fee to share that product with our viewers…”

Sometimes those emails includedย  the ‘fee’ (anywhere from $100 to $2,500), and spirit moisturizersometimes it left the option open to negotiate. Since Lizzie makes no decision about such things without me, she just sent it to me with a WTF attached to it and decided to dust off her involvement in it.

I don’t blame her.

First, I want to say this a generational thing…? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I’m not a millennial, so the idea of internet stardom and importance is still a bit foreign to me. I tend to see it the way I see the stock market: easily inflated and fantastic on paper but in reality rather precarious in its day to day nature. I respect internet fame, and I respect the hustle (to a degree), but I’m going to have to hit pause on this one.

I do not dispute the amount of influence some YouTubers have over their subscribers and third-degree interested parties. Some of them have parlayed that fame into lucrative partnerships, businesses, and real life engagements that have positioned them to do great things with their futures. bodybalmKudos! Seriously. If I doubted it, I would have never given Lizzie the green light to start sending those emails. So I absolutely get it.

Here’s my departure: I cannot in good conscience PAY YOU to say that you like my product. I can’t. I honestly don’t care if you like it or not, because the truth is that everything isn’t for everyone. I’ve been sent free stuff from companies, and if I don’t like it, I don’t talk about it. I would expect that same courtesy from anyone who received Habibi products free of charge. It’s fine if you don’t like a thing or if you CHOOSE to keep that thing to yourself (I have real life customers who refuse to share their Habibi products with anyone they know because they say they don’t want anyone else smelling like them).

But pay you to say nice things?

No dice.

It just reeks of dishonesty and it has such an awful ripple effect for all of the people who trust (first and foremost), listen to, and subscribe to you. I get that people have to eat, but I’m not down with this particular hustle. Certainly not hundreds of dollars worth… like, for real? I’m sorry, no. I realize this is part of a wider issue, like paying for tweets and what not by uber famous people. But guess what? They can’t have my money either. Not for that. Not for that.

This was on my heart you guys. Honestly it caught me by surprise. I want people who use Habibi products to actually enjoy using them because they are GOOD. Not because some internet-famous person said so, and certainly not because said person was PAID to say so. If you love your products, great! If you don’t, let me know and I’ll work with you to find a solution. But know that no matter what, no one will ever be paid to tell you that the products are good. I use them, and know they are. And if you choose to use them, you’ll know they are too.

Namaste.

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4 comments

  1. Mel says:

    ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ that’s why I don’t watch too many of those YouTube videos or follow too many blogs. This is the reason why I’ve been a follower of your blog since it was Shada Karim. I found you when I googled products I knew worked for me and saw that you used them also. I appreciate your honesty and love your recommendations and that you share. Please don’t stop!!! I’m addicted to my Habibi body oil in sugar cane. It’s been my skin savior especially in the winter. I get tons of compliments on how I smell lemony fresh. If they don’t want to try it’s seriously their loss. Money isn’t everything. People will remain loyal to you if you’re honest with them and that’s what you have here I believe. Kudos to you!
    Namaste

  2. Thank you so much Mel! Honestly when I first got the emails I had to sit back because that’s not something I’d ever consider. I wouldn’t want anyone to pay ME for a review. What if the product is awful? What am I going to do, give the money back? The whole thing just smells funky to me. I can’t be part of it. I’m SO GLAD you love your Habibi Hair & Body Oil! I use it in my hair and I’ll even slap it on in the shower while my skin is still wet and just pat dry in the summer, because then I use a lot less — but I’m still moisturized like I used a whole bunch. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I got all the tips and tricks! LOL

  3. The scary thing is that there are so many blog forums advising that you should never do a review “for free”. Flabbergasting! I now take most things i read with a pinch of salt and YT in particularly is pretty much advertisement.

  4. Lynda those might be the same forums who tell bloggers to make comments on other blogs and request follows in the same comment. SMH
    I can’t abide by paying someone to say nice things about Habibi. Seriously. It’s so not cool on so many levels. I’m really okay if you’re not a fan. I don’t love everything from every one (ask me how I feel about Tom Ford’s mascara or Charlotte Tilbury’s Bar of Gold)… and I would much rather say that than fake it for the sake of a few dollars.

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