Rahul Pandey

Influencers and their conflict of interest

July 05, 2022 | 2 Minute Read

This is a continuation from the previous post where I explain why I stay away from finance content creators. Following post addresses a broader idea.

As Influencers come off as experts in their domain, they shouldn’t advertise products from their domain. I see that as a conflict of interest.

Influencers are content creators. They generally create content that is around a domain, be it finance, or cooking, electronics, etc. and are thus seen as experts in their niche.

So I can see why companies from their niche would want them to advertise their products. And that is where the conflict arises.

If they get money for recommending a product, it could hinder their judgement or it may even not allow them to point out the negative points in them. That increases the chances of being dishonest either with the viewers or with the company.

  • Best is to advertise a product that is not from their domain.
  • Some content creators like Bhuvan Bam and Filter Copy can get away with this as they are entertainers and not educators or info-tainers.
  • Exception would be when influencers recommend products that they genuinely use. But they should have recommended previously without being paid for it.
  • Mention if a product recommendation is not a paid recommendation.
  • We live in a world, where everyone has to make money so if they do paid content they should explicitly mention it in the video instead of a “includes paid promotion”

Ali Abdaal

  • I have found Ali Abdaal doing it right. He doesn’t recommend products that are in his niche, unless he has been using them and really loves them. e.g. He did paid content for Notion and he still uses it for his team, so that is okay.
  • keeps mentioning that this is not a sponsored recommendation and <company name> if you are watching this video, reach out to sponsor…
  • He mentions, “<company name> who are very kindly sponsoring this video”. That does wonders for transparency.

or that he is very good at the game and has fooled me.

For celebrities:

  • SRK advertises Lux. That’s okay as he is not an expert on soap. People don’t go to him for soap advice. Although that would be fun.
  • He can use an iPhone and still sell a 10k Moto. That is what celebrities are for.

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