Many airsoft retailers have relied on reviewers and sponsored teams to grow their brand and increase sales. With the increase of new channels turning to crowdfunding and Patreon to fund their youtube channels, airsoft retailers are finding it increasingly difficult to satisfy youtube reviewers with merely “free guns.” With the rise of Patreon and fan funding, youtube reviewers are finding more opportunities to break away from traditional “sponsorships” and create their own reviews without associating with any single brand or retailer.
Retailers Lack of Influence
While many retailers have been building their own corporate youtube channels, such as Evike with a whopping 300K youtube subscribers, it’s becoming apparently obvious that retailer direct reviews are seriously lacking in any kind of influence over potential buyers.
It seems to us that the typical buyer can’t relate with retailer made content, it all just seems a bit fake and forced. Customers really trust influences and youtube reviewers who have a legitimate fan base, they don’t want to hear retailers advertising to them. That’s effectively what many retailer youtube channels appear to be doing.
How the Industry Has Worked In The Past
In the past, many youtubers aspired to obtain a “sponsorship” that they could boast about on their channel. It felts good to have a major retailer backing their content, in some ways it probably legitimized their channel. However, many youtubers seemed to not notice how retailers were merely using youtube reviewers to increase sales.
At the cost of a single free product, retailers could potentially sell hundreds of that product through a single youtube review. For a while, many youtubers sucked up to these retailers and continued to give them free promotion constantly, for fear of losing their sponsorship which gave their channel meaning.
How WhatAreYouBuyen Changed the Game
WhatAreYouBuyen grew their channel through hilarious, comedic, and cinematic content. The sponsorships, company relationships, and other brand deals had very little to do with their rise. They grew a fan base through “honest” reviews. Basically, regardless of whether the review was sponsored by a company or not, WhatAreYouBuyen would always tell their honest and sincere opinions on the gun, whether it was good or bad. Honesty was priority over sponsorships.
This was a huge contrast from the advertisey, sales content that many retailers and even other sponsored youtube channels were pushing out. Even competing youtube reviewers content could be seen as “fake” in comparison to the honest, sometimes harsh, reviews that WhatAreYouBuyen was pushing out.
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Fan Funding Channels = Sponsorship No more!
With the rise of Patreon, many youtube channels are turning to their fans to fund their content. This could be a huge game changer for the airsoft retailers industry which ad relied on giving away “free products” to sponsored teams.
The problem with sponsorships, is that often youtubers have very little control over what they get to review and sometimes they don’t even get to keep the gun they review if it’s expensive. These retailers sometimes are ripping off their own sponsored teams in exchange for the “opportunity” to film the review. It really sucks to be in this position. However without access to new guns, reviewers have little choice but to accept such deals.
Now with Patreon, youtubers can have fans fund their channels, they now have an opportunity to create content on their own funds, buy whatever gun they want to review, say whatever they subjectively think about the gun without fear of losing any sponsor. This will create a huge disruption in the airsoft industry if more an dmore channels turn to Patreon for fan funding.
Now for the first time ever, yotuube channels can have their own means to obtain whatever products they want.