Google Acquires FameBit to Help YouTube Creators Line Up Paid Promotions

Todd Spangler
Variety

Google announced that it has acquired FameBit, a YouTube and social-media marketing startup that connects digital influencers with advertisers and brands for paid sponsorships and promotional deals.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to Google, FameBit will continue remain a standalone operation for now, based in Santa Monica, Calif.

FameBit, founded in 2013, had raised $1.5 million from investors including Science Inc., Third Wave Digital’s Allen DeBevoise, 500 Startups, DeNA and Highline, according to Crunchbase.

The company says it has worked with brands including Marvel Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony, L’Oreal, Canon, Activision Blizzard, Adidas, Rovio and Conair. To date, FameBit has brokered deals between advertisers and creators that have resulted in more than 25,000 branded videos, which have generated over 2 billion minutes of viewing time.

YouTube felt compelled to stress that the FameBit acquisition doesn’t mean it will grant preference to FameBit to over other competing digital-marketing agencies or services.

“Creators will always have the choice in how they work with brands, and there are many great companies who provide this service today. This acquisition doesn’t change that,” Ariel Bardin, YouTube VP of product management, wrote in a blog announcing the deal. “Our hope is that FameBit’s democratized marketplace will allow creators of all sizes to directly connect with brands, as well as provide a great technology solution for companies like MCNs (multichannel networks) and agencies to find matches for their creators and brand partners.”

FameBit founders David Kierzkowski and Agnes Kozera, in a blog about the deal, said that given the combination of Google’s relationship with brands and YouTube’s partnership with creators worldwide, “we hope to connect even more brands to creators, engage more audiences, and make brand marketing more creative and authentic than ever.”

To join the FameBit marketplace, creators must have at least 5,000 followers on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.

FameBit’s primary investor was startup incubator Science Inc. In a blog post about the Google deal, Science CEO Michael Jones said FameBit was the first social-influencer marketing platform he had seen that had created true self-service capabilities, “reminding me of the early days of AdSense.”

“It’s safe to say that influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere — online influencers on social platforms impact millennials and Generation Z even more than traditional celebrities do,” Jones wrote.

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