The idea of brands looking for the right influencer to represent their brand and influencers looking for brands to work with can be a little intimidating, if not complicated. How can you know if the brand is legit, or how can you know the influencer best fits to represent the brand? This is how 24-year-old Michael J. Barbieri came up with the idea for Waldoo, a revolutionary platform where vetted brands and influencers are eager to connect and collaborate.
Born in New Jersey, Michael took up a degree in business and digital media. He always loved marketing and dreamed of creating his company and making an impact. Although that dream felt too far, it wasn’t until after college that this dream became attainable.
Back when he was a college senior, Michael started a gaming page with his friends and posted clips, streamed, and hosted tournaments locally. The page grew substantially to over 3,000 followers, and their DMs were flooded. Michael and his team wanted to reply and interact with everyone in their inbox, but it was just too hard to keep up with all the messages, especially with a lot of things on their plate. Later on, he found out about companies reaching out to them asking for promotions or ambassadorships, but they usually got to them weeks later. They were also having a hard time recognizing what brands are legit.
“That’s where the idea for Waldoo came about,” shares Waldoo CEO and founder, Michael. “A network of vetted brands and vetted influencers, to weed out those who pay for followers, so both sides can feel comfortable doing business together knowing the other is legit.”
Getting exposure to the right brands or finding the perfect fit influencers is like finding a diamond in the rough, especially with over-saturated hashtags on all these different platforms. For Michael, they wanted to become the marketplace for both brands and influencers who want to collaborate.
Any brand or influencer who signs up at Waldoo is vetted. Michael and his dedicated team commits to checking every influencer and the platform they submit. They also do their research on the brands such as reading the reviews and the content they put out to ensure the quality of brands and influencers coming into the platform.
Michael wanted to uphold accountability. So the platforms allow both sides to have direct communication together and have a proposal within minutes in the chat. “Their money is held in escrow and paid out upon completion to ensure both sides honor their agreements,” Michael shares. “Each side has feedback and response rate on their profile to hold everyone accountable and eliminate ‘strength in numbers’ swipers who then don’t reply when they have hundreds of matches.”
Besides the legitimacy and accountability, Michael wanted to help creatives and small influencers to get themselves out there on their own terms. These influencers often hire agencies that take exorbitant commissions and even restrict them from so many opportunities. In fact, the web-based platform has a preset minimum value so that no brands can low ball their value. “You know your worth, and we won’t let anyone tell you it’s wrong. You set your rates and find the brand that values what you bring to the table,” Michael says.
Michael never really imagined himself to be where he is now, but he did, and while he once dreamed of having a company, now that he has his own, he is going beyond that and hopes his platform, Waldoo, will take off across the country. “Find the problem, find the solution, put your head down, and just work hard to create something,” he shares. “You also need to surround yourself with awesome and supportive people.” For him, doing so is going to help you go from a startup to an industry changer just as he did.
Sign up to be part of the exclusive Beta test or learn more about Waldoo on their website.