Do NOT Join The TikTok Creator Marketplace

Have you been thinking about joining the TikTok Creator Marketplace?


You can apply to the TikTok Creator Marketplace when you reach 100,000 followers. Once accepted into the program, your profile is visible to a vast number of brands. The brands send “invitations” to creators they wish to work with. These invitations include the following info:

(1) a blurb about the brand,

(2) the campaign they want you to be part of, and

(3) the proposed payment for your work.

You can accept or decline. Ironically, if you decline the brand’s invitation, you may end up paying a price that is higher than the brand’s offer.

When I hit 100,000 followers on TikTok, I was pumped! It was my first social platform outside of Twitch to reach 100,000 followers. That achievement gave me the option to apply for the TikTok Creator Marketplace. I jumped right on it and applied, thinking it could be a fruitful opportunity leading to greater exposure of my GubbaTV brand. I was accepted into the program!

My first Marketplace offer rolled in a few days later – a marketing company asking me to create videos. They would own the rights to those videos, and would use them to advertise their product. First, I’m a bit leery when any company wants the rights to my images or videos, but that’s a topic for another blog as it’s a layered discussion. Second, the compensation they offered was not worth my time, and third: it was not a reasonable compensation amount to OWN my image for their own purposes (for eternity). I didn’t respond, other than to hit “Decline Invitation” and that was that.

Or so I thought…

After I declined the first pp-poopoo offer, I noticed my video view counts took a dip down. I thought maybe it was related to the time of day I was posting, or maybe I hadn’t replied to enough comments to drive up engagement. I didn’t think too much about the decline.

The next offer pertained to a mobile shooter game. The company wanted me to promote their game to my community and get people to download the game to collect (buy) their in-game currency. I did a quality check on the game and company, and it did not pass my criteria. First of all, the invitation they sent was filled with awkward grammar, spelling, and formatting. That was the first red flag. Second, the product was a definite pp-poopoo, and I never feel comfortable providing crap products to my audience. Why would I push my community to download a game and purchase in-game currency? Third, they put “To Be Negotiated” in the “Proposed payment” box. Generally, “To Be Negotiated” means you will tie up excessive time in email correspondence (or worse – a Zoom call), and in the end, after all the hours tinkering around, they say they will pay you with a half-eaten chicken nugget from a frozen TV dinner. No thanks! As you can imagine, I declined this hidden nugget.

I encountered something worse than frozen nuggets after I declined: my TikTok video views plunged again! This time, I didn’t blame it on posting times or low comment engagement. Apparently, TikTok Marketplace declines were leading to a drop in video views. After all, these brands rely on TikTok. If creators deny their brands, regardless of the pp-poopoo terms or product, TikTok might not find that favorable and may ding your “social score”—aka video views! This hypothesis stuck in my mind, and I was curious to see what would happen if I declined another invitation.

So you can imagine that I was exceedingly elated when another invitation rolled into my TikTok Marketplace inbox! I couldn’t wait to open it up and see what kind of great sponsorship nuggets awaited me. In the meantime between this invitation and the last, I was trying to LEAVE the Marketplace, but I couldn’t find a way out! It was like I took a wrong turn in a rigged game where the sign said “Oasis Ahead” and instead I found endless miles of a dark and dreary desert, with no water.

This TikTok marketplace invitation was different—it was a charity. I thought “oh crap” if I end up denying this one, my social score—I mean video views—will definitely plummet to zero. I read through the brief, and it was definitely a great cause, as most charities are. But I generally don’t do charities, as I found doing so can drive a hard line between being genuine and virtue signaling. Some people use their platforms for charity, and that’s great! If you watch my streams, I sometimes share the charity I do for others, but I never outline to the world every single good thing I do. It’s personal. So yes, I declined this invitation, clenched my teeth, and plugged my nose as I prepared for the apparent video view plunge!

…it did happen.

My TikTok page hasn’t quite recovered from all of these declines, or maybe it was due to the time of day I posted…or the engagement factor.. who knows? All I know is the best solution I found was to set my rate extremely high on my TikTok Markplace profile, so I don’t have to decline as many invitations and apparently pay the “price.”

After this unique and trying experience, my personal recommendation to anyone thinking about joining the TikTok Creator Marketplace dynasty is simple: don’t do it.