When Collaborations Go Bad: Predatory Practices to Watch Out For


We know that Obviously is one of many influencer platforms you use to connect with brands and spread the word about what you do best.  We’re comfortable that there’s plenty of great work to go around, and we want what’s best for our influencers. But we also want to make sure you are comfortable with every collaboration you land.  At Obviously, we represent you as well as our brands, and we have your best interests in mind. Because we couldn’t do our work without you, we are constantly reevaluating our policies to make sure we’re providing the best services possible for influencers. However, in the years spent working in the industry, we’ve heard it all: the good, the bad, and the downright predatory practices that other agencies and brands engage in.  

Here are some red flags to look out for in your next collaboration.

Insufficient or no rewards

This goes without saying, but you should get something for the work you do.  Most of the time, this means some form of payment, but it could also be a great product or an invitation to an event that you’ve been dying to experience.  Whatever it is, the reward should be compatible with the quality of your work and your level of influence. Beware of brands that tell you that working with them will give you “exposure.”  You know your worth, so they should too.

Photo rights are included- for free

Sometimes brands want to ask for access to your photo rights (permission to use your content on their website and in print publications) at the start of a campaign.  This is fine, and Obviously will always let you know up front if this is a requirement and what rate the brand is offering. However, some platforms will ask you to surrender photo rights for all content without offering an additional fee. Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking you to check a box that you agree.  Keep an eye out for these types of requirements, as photo rights are something you should be paid for.

Frequently late or sporadic payments

Obviously has a clear policy for paid campaigns.  For any payment under $1000, you will receive your payments within 15 business days from the end of the project. It’s simple: you did the work and you should be paid on time.  Check with the agency or brand you are working with for their payment policy prior to agreeing to a campaign.


It’s not unusual for a brand to ask you not to work with a direct competitor for a certain amount of time, like 30 or 60 days.  However, there should be an additional reward for asking you to pass on future opportunities. Also, brands need to understand that exclusivity has limits. If you’re a beauty blogger and a brand says you can’t post about any other lip gloss forever, that’s not realistic.  They’re not paying you forever, and you still have a job to do once your collaboration with them is complete. .

A lack of creative control

This can be subjective, but the entire point of influencer marketing is for you to make authentic recommendations to your followers.  If a brand is asking you to create content that isn’t true to who you are, or requesting changes that clash with the nature of your feed, you might want to back away from that collaboration.  Generally, the more control a brand wants, the more they should be rewarding you. Make sure that the creative brief is clear up front so there are no surprises during the process.

A collaboration is about you and the brand working together, so it should be a great experience for everyone involved.  Obviously is here to stand up on your behalf and make sure your work is valued and appreciated. Remember, you are creative, intelligent, and adding immeasurable value.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Have questions or advice for other influencers? Leave them in the comments!

Emily BarozComment