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TubeBuddy YT Sponsorship Scams

KS Moto Cafe

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So ever since I got monetized, I have been getting a steady flow of "Sponsorship" emails that made me think: This is it! I finally made it!

I honestly thought I untapped the fountain of success and that my dreams were coming true... But after carefully reviewing the emails in detail and few google searches later, I realized that ALL of these opportunities were scams. Luckily I was conditioned enough to never open a link or download any files from an email address that I don't recognize. Upon some research, some people were not so lucky and ended up getting their YouTube account hacked/stolen.

Hints on spotting a scam:
1. Email addresses with .cz at the end
2. Grammar or spelling mistakes throughout the email
3. Different "mail:to'" email address when you hover your mouse over the sender's email address
4. Any action that requires you to download something for you to see the "schedule" or "options"
5. Any action that requires you to click a link that leads to a download of a zip file or something else
6. Offers too good to be true
7. When you google search their email address or website, you get nothing but reddit posts asking if it is a scam

It is unfortunate for us hungry content creators because we are keen to jump on opportunities as it presents it self and that there are malicious people in this world that wants to take advantage of that.

This isn't to say that ALL sponsor emails are scams but most of em are and you should be careful out there.

If you had any experience in this, feel free to share below!

Cheers

KS
 
Last edited:

Uk sea fishing

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So ever since I got monetized, I have been getting a steady flow of "Sponsorship" emails that made me think: This is it! I finally made it!

I honestly thought I untapped the fountain of success and that my dreams were coming true... But after carefully reviewing the emails in detail and few google searches later, I realized that ALL of these opportunities were scams. Luckily I was conditioned enough to never open a link or download any files from an email address that I don't recognize. Upon some research, some people were not so lucky and ended up getting their YouTube account hacked/stolen.

Hints on spotting a scam:
1. Email addresses with .cz at the end
2. Grammar or spelling mistakes throughout the email
3. Different "mail:to'" email address when you hover your mouse over the sender's email address
4. Any action that requires you to download something for you to see the "schedule" or "options"
5. Any action that requires you to click a link that leads to a download of a zip file or something else
6. Offers too good to be true
7. When you google search their email address or website, you get nothing but reddit posts asking if it is a scam

It is an unfortunate for us hungry content creators because we are keen to jump on opportunities as it presents it self and that there are malicious people in this world that wants to take advantage of that.

This isn't to say that ALL sponsor emails are scams but most of em are and you should be careful out there.

If you had any experience in this, feel free to share below!

Cheers

KS
Ive been getting these too and im not monetized yet, makes you wonder how they come to get your email address
 

Stanley | Team TB

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Well said! This is an important topic and something that needs to be discussed. It happens a lot and there are some really heinous examples out there. As a creator in the fishing/outdoors space we have the 'Pro-Staff' scam. Cheap retail hacks who try to sell you on a 'sponsorship' rooted in your needing to buy a bunch of products for a mediocre discount to feature in your videos.
 
OP
OP
KS Moto Cafe

KS Moto Cafe

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Well said! This is an important topic and something that needs to be discussed. It happens a lot and there are some really heinous examples out there. As a creator in the fishing/outdoors space we have the 'Pro-Staff' scam. Cheap retail hacks who try to sell you on a 'sponsorship' rooted in your needing to buy a bunch of products for a mediocre discount to feature in your videos.
One email offer that I have been scratching my head about but I decided not to move on because it seemed too risky was someone claiming to be a supplier on Amazon and wanted me to review their items. The email was written in broken english but their email domain checks out as Chinese bike parts store on ebay/amazon. What throws me off was they CC a legit email address that from a business that shows up on google but their website seemed a little suspect. Have you gotten these Amazon offers for fishing?
 

Uk sea fishing

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Ive not had an amazon offer but i have had emails claiming to be large well known tackle dealers, they make the email look legit until you look at the senders address and thats what gives it away, i dont think it will ever stop, if theres a scam opportunity they are gonna take it but the more people that know about these the less they try
 

Stanley | Team TB

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I have done a number of the Amazon review offers... never had a bad one myself but I am careful as to which ones I'll accept. Pulled about $5,000 worth of product in my first year doing this... there is some money to be made from reselling some of that product on Ebay.
 

MattCommand1

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One email offer that I have been scratching my head about but I decided not to move on because it seemed too risky was someone claiming to be a supplier on Amazon and wanted me to review their items. The email was written in broken english but their email domain checks out as Chinese bike parts store on ebay/amazon. What throws me off was they CC a legit email address that from a business that shows up on google but their website seemed a little suspect. Have you gotten these Amazon offers for fishing?
Let's assume they are legit. Even if they are legit, I think it sets a bad precedent as a Youtuber to create an entire video for the "price" of a free product. I have reviewed products and software before on video but it was done completely on MY TERMS at my discretion with no obligation whatsoever.

But once you cross over into sponsorship, as a business guy, unless the product is extremely valuable in itself, no way I am going to do a video in exchange for a product with very few exceptions. Of course, I like freebies like anyone else but as a business model, generally I want cash payment. No cash (or something I find very valuable), no sponsored video. I know what sponsored means for me.

Of course, sometimes you may want to develop a relationship, create goodwill, and the like so you can do a goodwill video. But even if you do that, you do it once, and you draw the line there.

The thing is, I feel our YT time, skills, talent, and audience are extremely valuable. I give a LOT of free time whether it is here on TB forums, the info in my videos, or helping friends and customers. But when people start asking for my private time (which YT is very much so), the stakes go up. I get really resistant and protective.

Doing any deal or negotiating deals take time. I have done a lot of negotiating over the years and I won't have anyone haggle me. Anyone that tries to haggle me too much finds out in a hurry, I will shut down on them really quick. And I have become so selective, I don't even want to have a dialog unless I know it is somewhat serious. That generally means something like a very valuable product or cash payment.

The bottom line, as a creator, it is hard work and it requires talent, skills, and ability. If someone asks for sponsorship, get a cash payment of some kind in addition to the product. Or demand another expensive product they have, not just the product being reviewed.
 
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KS Moto Cafe

KS Moto Cafe

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I have done a number of the Amazon review offers... never had a bad one myself but I am careful as to which ones I'll accept. Pulled about $5,000 worth of product in my first year doing this... there is some money to be made from reselling some of that product on Ebay.
Ok so these amazon offers can be real? Any pointers to weed out the scammers for this?
 

MattCommand1

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Well said! This is an important topic and something that needs to be discussed. It happens a lot and there are some really heinous examples out there. As a creator in the fishing/outdoors space we have the 'Pro-Staff' scam. Cheap retail hacks who try to sell you on a 'sponsorship' rooted in your needing to buy a bunch of products for a mediocre discount to feature in your videos.
That sounds like a horrible arrangement. I suspect a lot of beginning YT creators don't have a lot of business savvy end up working for dirt cheap. I can see a lot of YT creators being victimized along the way, especially the smaller ones. They could get desperate for recognition and freebies and do bad deals. I supposed everyone starts somewhere.

But unless a sponsorship deal feels really worthwhile, I don't even want to start a dialog. I am constantly bombarded on LinkedIn and by email with solicitations in my line of work. Once I get onto YPP, I can see even more people soliciting me.

I got a lot of practice sniffing out scammers, fraudsters, or people I don't know.
 

Stanley | Team TB

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Ok so these amazon offers can be real? Any pointers to weed out the scammers for this?
It all depends on the quality of the actual product and the conversation I have in the email when they hit me up. They need to be up front about what we are doing, their product etc. If the email seems scammy in any way I ignore it.
 
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KS Moto Cafe

KS Moto Cafe

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Let's assume they are legit. Even if they are legit, I think it sets a bad precedent as a Youtuber to create an entire video for the "price" of a free product. I have reviewed products and software before on video but it was done completely on MY TERMS at my discretion with no obligation whatsoever.

But once you cross over into sponsorship, as a business guy, unless the product is extremely valuable in itself, no way I am going to do a video in exchange for a product with very few exceptions. Of course, I like freebies like anyone else but as a business model, generally I want cash payment. No cash (or something I find very valuable), no sponsored video. I know what sponsored means for me.
We are diverging slightly from the main subject watch out for scammers to do you really want sponsored items but I will continue with this sidebar thread because it is interesting.

I see your points but I think it really depends on what niche you are in and how you decide to present the product that is sent to you. Whether your viewers decide to still trust your opinion or not based on the fact that you have received the item for free, is up to them but to me, as long as the vendor acknowledges that my product review will include the good and the bad points. If the vendor does not want to entertain the idea that I will expose some of their product's flaws, then I will reject their offer because that is just a dishonest company in my opinion. With that said, I will only choose to present products that has to do with my theme. For example, I run a motorcycle channel and if a motorcycle parts vendor wants me to review their product, I will give them a shot but if a kitchen knife company wants me to review their top of the line knife, it will be a hard no because that would make no sense.

Just because your channel receives and reviews these free products, does that mean you are a sell-out? I don't believe so.
 

Stanley | Team TB

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That sounds like a horrible arrangement. I suspect a lot of beginning YT creators don't have a lot of business savvy end up working for dirt cheap. I can see a lot of YT creators being victimized along the way, especially the smaller ones. They could get desperate for recognition and freebies and do bad deals. I supposed everyone starts somewhere.

But unless a sponsorship deal feels really worthwhile, I don't even want to start a dialog. I am constantly bombarded on LinkedIn and by email with solicitations in my line of work. Once I get onto YPP, I can see even more people soliciting me.

I got a lot of practice sniffing out scammers, fraudsters, or people I don't know.
It's pretty bad... I was hit up by a few companies who required me to spend well over $100 and had requirements for how to represent them in the video! That was the most ridiculous one I ever saw.
 

MattCommand1

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We are diverging slightly from the main subject watch out for scammers to do you really want sponsored items but I will continue with this sidebar thread because it is interesting.

I see your points but I think it really depends on what niche you are in and how you decide to present the product that is sent to you. Whether your viewers decide to still trust your opinion or not based on the fact that you have received the item for free, is up to them but to me, as long as the vendor acknowledges that my product review will include the good and the bad points. If the vendor does not want to entertain the idea that I will expose some of their product's flaws, then I will reject their offer because that is just a dishonest company in my opinion. With that said, I will only choose to present products that has to do with my theme. For example, I run a motorcycle channel and if a motorcycle parts vendor wants me to review their product, I will give them a shot but if a kitchen knife company wants me to review their top of the line knife, it will be a hard no because that would make no sense.

Just because your channel receives and reviews these free products, does that mean you are a sell-out? I don't believe so.
You are correct. Somehow I did stray off the range! LOL! Sorry about that.

Also, I did not mean to imply that anyone is a sell-out if they do reviews for free products. I was mostly referring to someone trying to give you a $30 product to review in exchange for a YT video review. A basic video can easily take 6-8 hours to make and then you get a $30 product as payment. You see how the math might not be good?

It is my bad for totally screwing up this thread. I apologize to the community for that. It is every creator's right to cut any deal they want but I just wanted to help stand up for the creator to be careful to not give up your time, channel, name, and audience without getting full value in return. Of course, "full value" is highly subjective.

My sentiments are not meant to insult anyone, I just hate to see people being taken advantaged of. So, sometimes I get lit up talking about certain topics.

And KS, you strike me as quite savvy because you are asking good questions. I value your contributions and do hope you will be a regular and continue mix it up with us.
 

The Jungle Explorer

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Great topic! Thanks for posting.

I would like to offer some first-hand experience here. I am responding to the OP and have not read subsequent posts, so if this has been covered, I apologize. I am short on time.

The first thing I would like to say is that I have been doing YouTube since 2007 and I have several active channels, and not once in all this time have I ever received an email offering sponsorship for any of my channels. So, I am very curious to know exactly what you mean when you say that you are being offered "Sponsorships"? My guess is that what you are talking about is not sponsorship, but you are being offered free products in exchange for a review. If this is what you are talking about, this is not sponsorship. Sponsorship is when a company offers to financially back your channel or a single video in exchange for you promoting them or their product. There are many YouTubers that have sponsors, and they generally will have a short cutaway in their video to talk about their sponsor. Getting a free product in exchange for you doing a video review of it, is not a real sponsorship of you channel, as no money is involved. So, if this is what you are talking about (not saying that it is), it is not sponsorship offers.

If the above is accurate and describes what you are talking about, I have years of first-hand experience in this and I can say from personal experience that 99% of these offers are not scams, and are legitimate. I have done literally hundreds of product reviews in response to these emails and not once have I ever been scammed. I am producing several videos of products I received for free right now, and there are more in the mail on their way to me. I am not saying that you do not have to be careful and there are not some scams out there, but these emails are generally from legitimate companies seeking legitimate reviews of their products. Most are Chinese companies and are using a translator program, so the fact that the English grammar is not great, is not a sign that it is a scam.

So let me give everyone some advice on how to handle these emails and how to do these types of reviews.

1. Never pay for the product in advance. Request the product to be mailed to you directly. If they will not do this. Do not deal with them.

2. In some cases they will offer you a 100% OFF discount coupon for amazon.com to buy the product. If you feel like doing this, go ahead, but never pay anything out of pocket.

3. Never promise a positive review in exchange for the product. Just tell them that you will produce an "Honest" review of the product. If they demand a 5-star review or positive review, do not deal with them.

4. Never promise to leave a review on Amazon.com for the product. This is against Amazon.com ToS and will get you and the seller banned from Amazon if you get caught, and you WILL get caught. Only agree to do an "Honest YouTube review". You are YouTuber, not an amazon.com reviewer.

5. If you do a product review video in exchange for e free product, you MUST!!!!! state this clearly and verbally in your video. This is required by the FTC. Simply clicking the "Paid Promotion" box is not enough, although you should click this as well.

6. If you provide affiliate links in the description of the video to products you MUST have a clear message BEFORE the links stating that the link is an affiliate link and that you may earn a commission if they use your links to buy products. The FTC has approved this shortcode, #AD, for use in places where space is limited and can not accommodate a full-length FTC Affiliate disclaimer message.


There is nothing wrong with doing honest product reviews in exchange for the product. Many small companies need exposure and a good honest YouTube review of their product can help them. If you get a product that is garbage, do an honest review of it. You are working for your viewers, not the company that gave you the free product. They are NOT paying you to produce a promotional ad for their product. They are giving you a product that in no way comes close to compensating you for the work and time you will put into reviewing it. You do not owe them anything just because they gave you a free product. They are the ones that owe you. What you are giving them is of massively greater value than whatever the cost is of the product they provided you with for the review.

If they want a promotional ad for their product, charge them professional rates to produce it. My rate to produce a promotion ad is $100 an hour plus expense with a $500 deposit to start. This is not a video I am producing for my YouTube channel. This is a video that they will own and they can do what they want with. I generally require them to provide me a script to produce the promo and using that script, I give them an estimate for the hours and expenses (Travel, actors, models, etc) to produce the promo. All edits and amendments to the original script are additional charges and hourly fees. Once the video is produced, they get a low-quality Watermarked sample to review. If they like the video, I request they pay me in full before a give them the full quality no watermaker video. If after they get the video, they want edits, I charge $100 an hour for the edits.

The reason I told you that last bit about producing a promo ad, is to help solidify in your mind that, receiving a free product in exchange for an honest review is not the same thing as making a promotional video. As a professional YouTuber, you are working for your viewers, not a company that gives you free products. No professional videographer on earth would produce a thousand-dollar video for a $30 free product. Okay? Once you qualify for the YouTube PP program, you ARE a professional videographer! Do not think so low of yourself as to give your talent and skill away for a cheap free product. The reason for producing the review is not for the free product, it is to inform your viewers about it. It is good fodder for your channel and your viewers will appreciate it if you are honest and do a fair review.

I hope this helps.
 
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Stanley | Team TB

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I'm on board for that... if you want to copy/paste/revise that into it's own post I'll stick it.
 
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KS Moto Cafe

KS Moto Cafe

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Just as an update. One of the emails turned out to be real - a product sponsorship from Asia. I had to do a lot of digging of information to ensure the company was legit. Few clues that helped me realize that it was a real sponsor.
1. The company is in line with my niche
2. The email was legit and not a shadow email that shows differently when you hover your mouse over it
3. The author didn't request any actions to open a file or a link that was suspicious
4. There was a series of emails between us and they answered my questions to my satisfaction

The item hasn't arrived yet but I am looking forward to it!
 

Amanda Summers

Known Member
143
9
Great topic! Thanks for posting.

I would like to offer some first-hand experience here. I am responding to the OP and have not read subsequent posts, so if this has been covered, I apologize. I am short on time.

The first thing I would like to say is that I have been doing YouTube since 2007 and I have several active channels, and not once in all this time have I ever received an email offering sponsorship for any of my channels. So, I am very curious to know exactly what you mean when you say that you are being offered "Sponsorships"? My guess is that what you are talking about is not sponsorship, but you are being offered free products in exchange for a review. If this is what you are talking about, this is not sponsorship. Sponsorship is when a company offers to financially back your channel or a single video in exchange for you promoting them or their product. There are many YouTubers that have sponsors, and they generally will have a short cutaway in their video to talk about their sponsor. Getting a free product in exchange for you doing a video review of it, is not a real sponsorship of you channel, as no money is involved. So, if this is what you are talking about (not saying that it is), it is not sponsorship offers.

If the above is accurate and describes what you are talking about, I have years of first-hand experience in this and I can say from personal experience that 99% of these offers are not scams, and are legitimate. I have done literally hundreds of product reviews in response to these emails and not once have I ever been scammed. I am producing several videos of products I received for free right now, and there are more in the mail on their way to me. I am not saying that you do not have to be careful and there are not some scams out there, but these emails are generally from legitimate companies seeking legitimate reviews of their products. Most are Chinese companies and are using a translator program, so the fact that the English grammar is not great, is not a sign that it is a scam.

So let me give everyone some advice on how to handle these emails and how to do these types of reviews.

1. Never pay for the product in advance. Request the product to be mailed to you directly. If they will not do this. Do not deal with them.

2. In some cases they will offer you a 100% OFF discount coupon for amazon.com to buy the product. If you feel like doing this, go ahead, but never pay anything out of pocket.

3. Never promise a positive review in exchange for the product. Just tell them that you will produce an "Honest" review of the product. If they demand a 5-star review or positive review, do not deal with them.

4. Never promise to leave a review on Amazon.com for the product. This is against Amazon.com ToS and will get you and the seller banned from Amazon if you get caught, and you WILL get caught. Only agree to do an "Honest YouTube review". You are YouTuber, not an amazon.com reviewer.

5. If you do a product review video in exchange for e free product, you MUST!!!!! state this clearly and verbally in your video. This is required by the FTC. Simply clicking the "Paid Promotion" box is not enough, although you should click this as well.

6. If you provide affiliate links in the description of the video to products you MUST have a clear message BEFORE the links stating that the link is an affiliate link and that you may earn a commission if they use your links to buy products. The FTC has approved this shortcode, #AD, for use in places where space is limited and can not accommodate a full-length FTC Affiliate disclaimer message.


There is nothing wrong with doing honest product reviews in exchange for the product. Many small companies need exposure and a good honest YouTube review of their product can help them. If you get a product that is garbage, do an honest review of it. You are working for your viewers, not the company that gave you the free product. They are NOT paying you to produce a promotional ad for their product. They are giving you a product that in no way comes close to compensating you for the work and time you will put into reviewing it. You do not owe them anything just because they gave you a free product. They are the ones that owe you. What you are giving them is of massively greater value than whatever the cost is of the product they provided you with for the review.

If they want a promotional ad for their product, charge them professional rates to produce it. My rate to produce a promotion ad is $100 an hour plus expense with a $500 deposit to start. This is not a video I am producing for my YouTube channel. This is a video that they will own and they can do what they want with. I generally require them to provide me a script to produce the promo and using that script, I give them an estimate for the hours and expenses (Travel, actors, models, etc) to produce the promo. All edits and amendments to the original script are additional charges and hourly fees. Once the video is produced, they get a low-quality Watermarked sample to review. If they like the video, I request they pay me in full before a give them the full quality no watermaker video. If after they get the video, they want edits, I charge $100 an hour for the edits.

The reason I told you that last bit about producing a promo ad, is to help solidify in your mind that, receiving a free product in exchange for an honest review is not the same thing as making a promotional video. As a professional YouTuber, you are working for your viewers, not a company that gives you free products. No professional videographer on earth would produce a thousand-dollar video for a $30 free product. Okay? Once you qualify for the YouTube PP program, you ARE a professional videographer! Do not think so low of yourself as to give your talent and skill away for a cheap free product. The reason for producing the review is not for the free product, it is to inform your viewers about it. It is good fodder for your channel and your viewers will appreciate it if you are honest and do a fair review.

I hope this helps.
What if your video is outside of the US? We did a few hotel stays in exchange for a video. Is it a problem if they are in Nepal? The value was always under $100. I can take each video down and update it, but I'd rather not if it's no big deal for unmonetized channels in Asia, although I am from the US.