Russian sponsor roulette
I'm fairly sure this is a good idea
I’m about to undertake the riskiest brand partnership I’ve ever committed to since starting Mark Ellis Reviews.
You may know that I’m a staunch supporter and user of 1Password. I have been ever since a story I published on Medium went viral and caught the attention of 1Password’s co-founders.
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A rather lovely and profitable partnership followed, which saw me interview one of those founders, finally give 1Password a proper try, and eventually commit to it, wholesale. This partnership was boosted by several sponsored videos, some handsome affiliate income, and plenty of content inspiration.
However, things change, and I’m breaking no rules or NDAs when I tell you that 1Password last year cancelled (or, possibly, reallocated - I don’t know the specifics) most of its budget for influencer marketing. That left me and several other YouTube creators with a gaping hole in our sponsorship revenue forecasts.
Fast-forward to early 2023, and I receive a cold outreach email from a company called RoboForm. I’d never heard of them, and very nearly consigned the email to the trash folder, as I do with so many similar incoming messages. But after speaking to a couple of my YouTuber mates, it became clear that it was a partnership worth pursuing.
This was backed up by lots of favourable reviews of RoboForm and the apparent absence of any drama related to their brand (a rather unique quality in the world of password management).
After a refreshingly simple negotiation with RoboForm, we landed on a sponsored video package. I made it abundantly clear that I was a 1Password user and that I’d spent nearly two years peddling that platform. This dedicated video, therefore, would be a very tricky balance.
I’m working on that video right now. My plan of attack is actually pretty simple - I’m going to provide an honest appraisal of RoboForm and suss out whether or not a free password manager (with similarly generous paid options) is worthy of my audience’s time. Equally, I want to know if it’s good enough to tempt me away from 1Password.
I can’t underestimate how big a risk this is for my brand. It won’t come crashing down once I’ve published this video, but I am toying with the influence I’ve generated around password management. A lot of people have chosen 1Password on my say-so, therefore to find me singing the praises (oops - spoiler) of a competing product a few months later may not go down very well at all.
Despite this, I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m confident that this partnership with RoboForm - even if it turns out to only be a one-time affair - is good for both my business and its audience. It’s an example of me expanding my horizons, and idiot-checking my software preferences. It is, also, an important injection of revenue - something about which I make no bones.
The RoboForm video hits the channel next week. Wish me luck!