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Do bloggers need agents to get paid?

There’s an interesting piece in the NY Times this week that discusses whether bloggers need agents to avoid exploitation and actually get paid for their work.

It raises many questions, of course: did a blogger really ought to have an agent? Won’t they lose their independence? Does it work for everyone? We’re taking a look at a few of them here.

Though the NY Times seems to think the idea of a blogger being paid by a brand for their work is novel –

“Until recently, fashion bloggers were paid with free merchandise, if they were paid at all. But that started to change as their influence grew. Now fashion bloggers are “right up there with editors in helping to mold what the consumer is going to buy,” reads the article, quoting the director of Next Model Management

– it is, of course, like any other business.

It makes sense that those bloggers big enough to be approached by brands should not only be paid for their services, but perhaps have a little guidance from a friendly source to help them negotiate those deals and, more importantly, free up their time to focus on the creative stuff.

But when a blogger’s worked hard to build up a relationship with the brand, is it a blow in the face to be told “speak to my agent”?

“Many fashion companies still treat bloggers as little more than style-obsessed young women looking for swag. They are used to working with bloggers directly, not through their agents. “From a brand perspective, it is quite troubling to now get pushback from a blogger who says they want to be paid,” said [Kendra] Bracken-Ferguson [owner of agency Digital Brand Architects].”

In theory, those big enough to warrant an agent probably need one, but that’s not to say there aren’t dangers. “A blogger’s influence is derived from independence,” says the NY Times, and indeed, when it becomes clear that a blogger is bigging up a product from a partnering brand for sake of easy money, their audience may well lose interest.

So yes, bloggers getting paid for their work is a good thing, and for the big boys, employing an agency to help skim over negotiations and avoid exploitation works – but we dare say it won’t work for everyone.

[NY Times]

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