The cautionary tale of IQ Advantage, a talent management firm that focused on micro influencers

Hi! Welcome to the Insider Advertising daily for December 1. I'm Lauren Johnson, a senior advertising reporter at Business Insider. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. Send me feedback or tips at [email protected]

Today's news: A talent firm failed to deliver on promises to influencers, then shuts down; Facebook buys customer service startup Kustomer; and the top DTC brands to know.

IQ Advantage; Samantha Lee/Business Insider

13 influencers say a talent-management firm required they pay $299 'deposits' up front and failed to deliver on promises. Then it shut down.

  • Sydney Bradley reports that talent-management firm IQ Advantage took money from influencers by promising to grow their Instagram followings.
  • IQ Advantage required influencers to pay a $299 deposit when they signed contracts. According to industry experts, this type of deposit should be a red flag for influencers.
  • When Business Insider started talking to influencers who had signed with the agency, IQ Advantage shut down.

Read the full story here.

Mark Zuckerberg at the 56th Munich Security Conference in February 2020.Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

Facebook is buying the customer service startup Kustomer, furthering its push into e-commerce

  • Facebook announced that it plans to buy the customer service chatbot startup Kustomer for an undisclosed financial sum to grow its e-commerce ambitions.
  • The transaction reportedly values Kustomer, which allows businesses to pull customer conversations from various channels into a single screen, at around $1 billion.
  • Kustomer aggregates customer conversations from various channels into a single screen and automates some features for businesses.

Read the full story here.

Magic Spoon

16 breakout DTC brands that dominate in their respective categories, according to growth in digital traffic

  • Shoshy Ciment reports on new findings from PipeCandy showing the DTC industry has managed to make it through the pandemic mostly unharmed.
  • Its report breaks down web traffic and metrics for top DTC brands like Magic Spoon and Winc.
  • Each brand currently has at least 50,000 monthly visitors, with the exception of those brands in the nutraceuticals and kids sections. 

Read the full story here.

More stories we're reading:

  • New data shows how Netflix's 'The Queen's Gambit' has grown into a word-of-mouth hit since its release (Business Insider)
  • Quaker Oats' top exec explains how Cheetos Mac 'n Cheese and new breakfast options helped generate the brand's best sales year in a decade (Business Insider)
  • Buying Slack for over $17 billion would be a steal for Salesforce, especially if it really wants to be the next Microsoft (Business Insider)
  • 2020 US media sector layoffs on track to reach record high (Variety)
  • FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will step down on Jan 20 (CNBC)

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