F*** You Pay Me: The influencer pay transparency platform reveals creators’ most loved brands – and what they want

Posted by Dina Zubi in Analysis

6 months ago

In 2015, Lindsey Lee Lugrin won a competition to become one of the faces of Marc by Marc Jacobs. She featured on billboards, bus sides and in magazine ads all over the world. Her payment? $1,000 (£830).

“To this day, that’s my highest paid gig. And if you look at my modelling resume, it looks pretty impressive. I look like I’m doing pretty well, but I could never make any money,” she says. So she got a degree in finance, started working at an investment fund and began posting humorous content about the corporate world and career advice given to women under the moniker Ms Young Professional. Then the pandemic hit, and after a breakup and a lost job, the influencer pay transparency platform F*** You Pay Me (FYPM) was born in August 2020.

“Back then, a lot of people just didn’t know they could ask for money, because they were so excited to get the opportunity,” Lugrin says. Since FYPM launched, she has seen influencer rates double – “now people not only expect to be paid, they expect pay transparency”.

FYPM is a place for influencers and managers to share their experience of brand partnerships, including pay, collaboration details and requirements. Influencers can rate each other’s offers and access communication templates for negotiating a deal or approaching a brand.

The platform currently has around 8000 members globally, with the largest user base in the US, followed by Canada and the UK. All members have to be approved to make sure businesses can’t manipulate their ranking, but Lugrin reveals FYPM is also working on a tool for brands. Here, they will be able to communicate with influencers, compare their compensation to other brands and receive insights into their own rating.

FYPM is also on a mission to make the influencer industry more diverse. Influencers are asked to submit race, age, gender and sexual orientation anonymously when they review brands, producing an overview of brands’ collaborators. “I wanted to create a place that would mimic these private conversations that happened in closed groups about influencer compensation and pay”, Lugrin says.

In January 2023, FYPM posted the best and worst rated brands on its Instagram. While Adobe, Amazon and Samsung were revealed as some of influencers’ favourite brand partners, Fashion Nova, Daniel Wellington and NA-KD were rated among the worst.

So what do influencers want from a brand collaboration? “It is a lot of the same things that make a traditional workplace good to work for,” Lugrin says. She highlights paying on time, clear communication and pre-agreed deliverables. “The brands that do well are the ones that really invest in relationships and partnerships with their creators, and offer real opportunities to grow with the brand”, she says.

When it comes to brands with low ratings, their score is not necessarily down to small fees. “Sometimes brands will pay really well but they will have crazy expectations, limit creatively what the creator can do and try to micromanage the content they produce”, Lugrin says. The communication between the brand and influencer is almost as important as fair payment.

The FYPM founder advices brands to find systems that work before they try to scale their influencer programmes. A common pitfall for brands that are new to influencer marketing is using creators’ content without consent or compensation. Other companies have taken advantage of inexperienced micro influencers through sham “ambassador programmes”.

“Influencers are your future digital sales force, your future digital marketing team”, Lugrin says. Influencers can grow a business – “if you know how to do it right”, she specifies.

By Dina Zubi, news and features writer for CORQ.