I don’t use patterns for my quilts and I get it some folks need to use them. Full disclosure I don’t think folks pay enough for patterns in the craft community. I understand that.
I belong to a Discord group, a discussion app where we are discussing this issue of patterns simply being too cheep. More specifically we are talking about paying pattern testers. I didn’t really get it until one member mentioned how Instagram called her out for not putting a paid partnership label on her post about pattern testing. She viewed the arrangement as voluntary. Not a paid position and that made us wonder if pattern testers know they are getting paid to advertise?
Here is what Instagram says about this:
We define branded content as a creator or publisher's content that features or is influenced by a business partner for an exchange of value, such as monetary payment or free gifts. Branded content may only be posted with the use of the branded content tool, and creators must use the branded content tool to tag the featured third party product, brand, or business partner with their prior permission.
Sure, testing a pattern seems like a fair trade. I test a 20$ pattern that I didn’t have to pay for. Reality is, pattern writers really hope sooner or later you will post about your experience of testing the pattern with photos and preferably a tag of them. They may even ask you to hold off until the "launch" building up the excitement of for the tester and the buyers.
Some pattern writers actually have found a way to have pattern testers pay them to test their patterns but that is a post for another day soon.
Some pattern testers are being scolded for not using the paid partnership tag. the responsibility should lie on the shoulders of the pattern writer. Instagram want us to be honest and transparent about influencer type of arrangements but do pattern testers see the relationship this way? Testing is ok where it becomes advertising is when you get on Instagram and talk about it. Instagram sees that as advertizing for them. They (and I have learned The FTC) want more transparency.
By tagging the pattern tester Instagram has made it so the pattern maker gets to see the analytics of that post or reel. They actually helped the patter maker see how much free advertising you are giving them.
This bring me to the question if Instagram and the pattern makers see this relationship as having value. Why don’t the pattern testers? How much time does it take to test the pattern and is the value of the patter 15 - 20 $ enough payment for all the free advertising you are giving the writers? I need to add here again I don't think pattern writers get paid enough either.
Full disclosure, I test rulers fora company, I would never ask for payment because my testing takes 30 Min or less and I get to use the ruler over and over. I am grateful and the value of the rulers exceeds the work I do. I need to use the paid partnership tab now but most patters are only used once I believe I need to use that label every time I post with one of the free rulers.
I am fully aware that many pattern testers are not aware they are in a paid partnership with the pattern writer. That is the point about this post hopefully to educate a few folks because the US government is actually coming down hard on people who don't use this disclosure, but also I think the general public does not know that writing a pattern is much harder than we think and involves a lot more work than just writing a pattern. Which by the way has to be understandable for many different learning types. That in itself is a task.
I don't blame anyone. It has just always been this way but really, instagram is making many folks ask questions like, should we pay pattern testers and do we pay enough for patterns? and ask questions of the pattern tester as to whether they themselves are compensated enough to be kicked off social media.
It has been noted that I have not brought up the folks who are sponsored by fabric companies who also use these products in their classes but don't disclose should they and is free stuff fair compensation for the risk that is being taken?
This post is in no way legal advice but simply commentary on what I personally have witnessed on Social media.