Influencers making big money mock Amazon's offer of $25 per video to recruit them, looking to amp up its TikTok-like shopping feed, has called on influencers to make hundreds of videos apiece. But its offer of $25 a pop — about a tenth of the going rate — was widely mocked on social media.

Amazon sent an email to select influencers, asking them to submit videos showing two or more products. The e-commerce giant said it would pay up to $12,500 per creator in exchange for a maximum of 500 videos that meet the company’s criteria, according to screenshots of the message posted to social media. Amazon plans to cap the initiative at 35,000 videos, or the equivalent of $875,000 worth.

Amazon declined to comment.

Last December, Amazon launched Inspire, a TikTok-like feed of photos and videos customized to users’ interests and featuring products that can be purchased on Amazon’s web store. The goal is to help consumers browse and discover products serendipitously, as they do on social media platforms, rather simply searching for specific items. 

Amazon for years relied mostly on free customer reviews to entice shoppers. It’s been adding more advertising to the site, mostly in the form of paid placement in search results similar to Google. 

Amazon’s push into social commerce requires a steady stream of fresh videos and products that keep people engaged. Reaction to the company’s TikTokesque effort has drawn mixed reactions. Now Amazon seems determined to make Inspire, well, more inspiring.

The timing is notable: TikTok has just expanded its own e-commerce features into key markets, including the US and the UK. Users can now shop via posts and livestreams, and the ByteDance Ltd.-owned app is also building out its own fulfillment operation, Bloomberg has reported. The app expects to sell $20 billion in merchandise on its platform this year and has been aggressively hiring employees with retail expertise to help blend its social media success with shopping.

The challenge for Amazon is to create content that can compete with TikTok, which has been doing this kind of thing for years. Paying $25 per video may not suffice, although creators are eligible for commissions if their work leads to sales, according to a person familiar with the situation. 

While rates vary depending on a number of factors including an influencer’s following, creators typically charge $212 for the type of content Amazon is looking for, according to Brands Meet Creators, an industry consulting firm.

Beauty content creator and makeup artist Jazmine Flores told Bloomberg she typically charges $300 for each photo or video. Flores says she’s never been asked for 500 videos at once  — five tops. “I don’t think everyone has 500 Amazon items sitting in their homes,” she said in an email.

“Because I’m in the beauty/skincare niche, I have to be careful, do my research, and it takes a whole lot of time to produce, write, model, act, do my own hair and makeup all while being a homeschooling mother of two,” she said. “It shouldn’t be treated as a side gig.”

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