Last Friday, the big news in the blogger/influencer world was the shutting down of Mode Media. Companies put up their out of business signs all the time, but this one was different because Mode Media will not be paying out the bloggers whom they owed payment. #ModeMedia and #ModeOwesBloggers became trending hashtags on Twitter as a giant company in the influencer marketing space slowly drowned under the weight of its obligations and growth expectations. Somehow during the shutdown, content creators were left out of the equation with how to handle the shuttering of Mode Media.
What’s Ahead For Content Creators?
Before we get into the future, we think it’s worth backing up and taking a look at the bigger picture of the space we all work in: freelancing.
Cooperatize, content creators, you, me, all started from this concept of freelance.
Do you know where the word “freelance” came from? It’s from the medieval days, when mercenary soldiers not tied to a certain family or kingdom offered their “lances” to the highest bidder for their combat services. That’s pretty cool for all you Game of Thrones fans out there…we are medieval mercenaries! While being a mercenary does come with great benefits (working from home, flexible vacation days, working on projects that interest you, etc.), there are a lot of risks as well. In the medieval days, the biggest risk was, well, death. For us, the stakes are not as high but we think the entire industry of “work” is changing to accommodate mercenaries like you and me.
As more freelance opportunities become available to those with skills to offer, platforms, networks, and communities like ours sprouted to maintain a sort of checks and balances between freelancers and the companies who work with them. When issues come up, we act is the arbitrator to protect both the companies and you, the bloggers; so both sides benefit from the collaboration. Just like how you trust eBay to handle a dispute when you buy something from someone over eBay, we are there to protect you, and most importantly, make sure you are paid what you were promised.
The Humble Beginnings
Many of you probably don’t know how we started, or even who is behind this quirky cursive Cooperatize logo. Almost 3 years ago, both Roger and myself (Al) were playing around with different startup ideas, and the idea for Cooperatize was borne from this notion that the way people learn about new brands and products will be in the hands of you, the content creators, bloggers, and influencers. We’re seeing a HUGE shift in how big brands do their marketing, and we like to call it the “democratization” of digital advertising.
Both of us had run small businesses and were thinking of innovative ways to promote our small businesses, but always ran into the issue of not having a big enough budget to advertise on TV or do a big homepage takeover of ESPN.com. However, by working with the thought leaders in our respective fields, we realized that aggregating thousands of small voices will result in one big voice just like if you put a commercial on during The Voice (or some other big show).
We call ourselves content creators too.
The only difference is that our “content” is code. Our content is digital technology. We come from the worlds of technology and advertising, and we built Cooperatize with our two hands (well four hands if you count both me and Roger) through trial and error, some angry e-mails from bloggers and influencers early on, and just sheer luck. We never know if a feature we build or a product decision we make will take off with the community or if it will fall on deaf ears. Nevertheless, we continually experiment with new features, business models, and campaigns just like you experiment with different types of content on your blog and social media platforms.
We value transparency in our community, that’s why we asked you a bazillion questions when you first registered on our platform. Through transparency comes trust, and that’s sorely lacking these days among different influencer networks and agencies with the closing of Mode.
We are a scrappy startup, and know what it’s like to push that boulder up the hill. Heck, we’ve been doing it for the last 3+ years and the boulder starts gathering more rocks, dirt, and trees along the way while the hill just gets steeper. Roger and I left our full-time jobs just like you may have changed a career to work on your blog and content full-time. Even if your blog is a part-time side project, we know how much work and energy it takes to keep your site up and running and when something goes wrong, you’re the one up at 2AM fixing the bugs.
In light of the recent events, our commitment to you and the industry will not falter. Here’s what we promise to:
- Always give you the creative freedom to express yourself and your views about a brand or company that aligns with your values
- Help you reach new audiences so your stories, social media channels, and content gain more readers and followers
- Get paid on time based on the goals we agree on before the collaboration begins
That’s it. Roger, myself, and our entire team have always been the underdog and there’s an amazing freedom that comes with being the freelancer that no one expects can change the game.
Let’s push that dang boulder up the hill together.
Feel free to e-mail us or hit us up on Twitter if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and my Twitter is @bigal123. Roger’s at email@example.com and Twitter is @rogerwu99.