SANTA MONICA—Google, which owns video network YouTube, announced on Tuesday, October 11 that it had purchased the Santa Monica startup FameBit, making it the tech giant’s first influencer network.
A platform that connects small businesses to video creators, FameBit is meant to be beneficial for both parties involved. The creators are able to make money producing video commercials or doing promotions for sponsoring businesses, whereupon businesses don’t have to spend as much money creating and filming advertisements. FameBit takes a 10 percent cut from bids approved by video makers and charges a separate 10 percent fee to advertisers.
“With Google’s relationship with brands large and small, and YouTube’s partnership with creators around the globe, we hope to connect even more brands to creators, engage more audiences, and make brand marketing more creative and authentic than ever,” said FameBit founders David Kierzkowski and Agnes Kozera in their blog announcement.
Founded in 2013, FameBit, which competes with firms like Reelio and Izea, has created more than 25,000 branded videos across Facebook and Tumblr, in addition to Instagram, Twitter, Vine, and Youtube. Its brands include Adidas, Canon, L’Oreal, Sony, Marvel and Disney.
According to Google Vice President of Product Management Ariel Bardin, if the tie between Google and FameBit leads to more advertisers using FameBit’s services, it could mean a significant increase in revenue for many more video makers, who often rely on sponsorship for the bulk of their income.
“We believe that Google’s relationship with brands and YouTube’s partnerships with creators, combined with FameBit’s technology and expertise, will help increase the number of branded content opportunities available, bringing even more revenue into the online video community,” Bardin wrote in a blog post announcing the deal.
It is important to note that Google’s acquisition of the startup does not mean that YouTube creators will be limited to working with FameBit: YouTube’s partner program already allows select creators to earn revenue from ads, subscriptions and merchandise. FameBit simply connects YouTube creators to other revenue-making opportunities.
“Creators will always have the choice in how they work with brands, and there are many great companies who provide this service today. This acquisition doesn’t change that,” Google’s blog post reads. “Our hope is that FameBit’s democratized marketplace will allow creators of all sizes to directly connect with brands.”
Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, FameBit will remain as a standalone company based at Science offices in Santa Monica and not undergo any immediate restructuring.