But Darby is far from the only online influencer to have provoked a negative reaction, as the unruly multi-million dollar, fast-evolving industry tries to find its feet. And this is just as much the case in the Middle East, as it is in the West.
Dubai-based PR and marketing agencies have told Arab News some of the highs and lows reported by those hiring — and firing — the market movers of today and tomorrow.
Bloggers Behaving Badly
A Middle Eastern travel influencer asked to be paid 30,000 dirhams ($8,000) for a free one night stay at a hotel.
A fashionista influencer failed to return an expensive designer coat after being loaned it for a write-up.
An influencer accepted a 50 percent down payment on a long-term marketing partnership, but only managed ONE solitary Instagram post.
An influencer wasted $20,000 of a client’s money when she didn’t like the storyboard of a commercial she was involved in, according to a Dubai-based marketer, who says the influencer then stopped responding to calls, even though she was being paid $80,000.
A Middle Eastern influencer who signed up to partner with a fast-moving consumer goods brand, only to send his manager to a campaign briefing while he slept in his car.
The rewards of the industry are immense, with beauty blogger Huda Kattan reportedly earning $18,000 per post, according to HopperHP.com.
Top Dubai social media influencers
1. Huda Kattan
Platform: Instagram... Followers: 24M
If you’re interested in: Beauty
2. Abdullaziz Baz
Platform: Instagram... Followers: 4.6M
If you’re interested in: Humor
3. Mo Vlogs
Platform: YouTube... Followers: 4M
If you’re interested in: Luxury LifeStyle
4. Taim Alfalasi
Platform: Instagram... Followers: 2.4M
If you’re interested in: Travel and Food
5. Khalid Al-Ameri
Platform: Instagram… Followers: 175K
If you’re interested in: Social Commentary
6. Mohanad Alwadiya
Platform: Twitter... Followers: 142K
If you’re interested in: Real Estate
7. Bader Najeeb
Platform: Instagram... Followers: 89K
If you’re interested in: Cooking
8. Rashed Al-Nuaimi
Platform: Instagram... Followers: 40K
If you’re interested in: Music