The rise of native ads and undisclosed endorsements across our feeds and websites are encouraging us to use ad-blockers and find new, ad-free social networks. Perhaps it is time for a world where passion is rewarded and influencer recommendations are real.
Salt Lake City based Experticity has launched its social network that champions 'real life' influencers.
The company wants to encourage a "more trusted, authentic approach" to identifying and rewarding individuals whose real-world credentials make them "highly influential face-to-face, and online".
The unpaid community aims to encourage more credible and authentic influencer marketing--especially in response to recent concerns that the industry is breaking FTC rules.
The Experticity app, available for Android and iOS, is designed for individuals who can prove they have credentials that demonstrate expertise. The company says that there are over one million active influencers and online storytellers on the site.
There are individuals who help consumers find what to buy, or are "inspiring online storytellers". Brands can tap into this group of real-life influencers who drive what consumers purchase every day.
Category influencers can get connected with brands, receive insider content and access to new products. The app also provides experts a way to find other individuals, share experiences and suggest products.
Through Experticity, brands are not allowed to pay community members for product endorsements. The company says that this preserves the trusted connection between the members, and their final recommendation to the consumer.
Brands are able to connect to influencers by providing through insider product content. They can also work with experts to co-create content for their latest campaigns, and give experts first-hand experience with their products.
The company has signed up over 750 consumer brands, including: The North Face, Dyson, and Quicksilver to work with its influencers. Third party data from Keller Fay verified the impact these experts have on steering consumer buying decisions.
It found that on average, Experticity influencers have 22 times more conversations that involve product recommendations than any typical person. 82 percent of consumers actually purchased as a result.
Tom Stockham, CEO of Experticity said: "We've all had that great experience where someone who's passionate and knowledgeable inspired us to find that perfect product.
These individuals have earned your trust because of where they work, what they know and what they own. Consumers and brands seek them out because ultimately, people trust people".
If the industry stops taking shortcuts to earn consumers' trust, pseudo-influencers with disengaged twitter followers and undisclosed blogger endorsements will drive us further and further away from brands.
Perhaps is is time for us to connect with influencers whose passion, experience and knowledge make them the trusted source for recommendations about what to buy.