Newsletter #25

Published 2023-05-16

TikTok knows how to treat AR creators

Picture it, November 2020. Snap pledges one million dollars per day for Spotlight creators and encourage people to use lenses to create engaging videos. In the end they paid out several hundred millions of dollars to video creators. But the AR creators? Nope. People used my lenses to create videos that certainly qualified for a part of the daily money pool, but Spotlight didn't pay me a dime.

The Snap AR team did try to do some damage control and gave out some payments to at least some creators (I was a recipient of one of these payments), but it was a drop in the bucket compared to what they paid out to video creators.

As a whole, the AR community was left feeling like second class citizens. This prompted me to start talks with Snap about ways for us to monetize our work. We had periodic meetings with Snap, which for them to meet with us at all was fantastic, but things moved really slow and meetings kept getting pushed back. We didn't just tell Snap that we wanted money, we brainstormed ideas for AR creators to monetize their work and presented those to Snap along with their pros and cons. Of all the ideas we presented, the only one that seemingly resulted in anything was the in-lens purchases which are still rolling out. I can't say how that is going for creators yet, but I'm not holding my breath.

Now fast forward to today, and TikTok announced Effect Creator Rewards which looks exactly like what Snap should have done with Spotlight. There are some conditions for the rewards that you can read about on their page, but if you have an effect go viral, you'll get paid based on the number of videos created with your effect. I am super excited about this and hope it is a huge success.

Snap lost a lot of my trust with how they handled Spotlight payouts and and the AR community. I one million percent prefer creating in Lens Studio vs Effect House, but as of today I'm shifting all my personal AR work to Effect House. Will I become rich off my TikTok effects? Who knows, but at least TikTok is willing to value my work. If we could combine the capabilities of Lens Studio with TikTok's AR relations team, that would be a dream come true. Maybe Snap and Meta will step up their game now when it comes to valuing AR creators.

Where have I been?

This is my first newsletter in six months. I've had a few pretty big projects and I also moved during that time, but now things are settling back down a bit so I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things with the newsletter.

Lens Studio course

Now I know I spent the first part of this newsletter bashing Snap, but I do still love Lens Studio and I'm excited to announce that I'm working on a Lens Studio course! I'm still in the early stages of planning, but I'm hoping to have it ready to go by the end of the year. I'll be sure to keep you updated on the progress.

I was overwhelmed when I started creating AR lenses and I want to make it easier for others to get started. I'm going to cover just about everything with this course with the goal of taking someone from zero to hero. It will be a paid course, but I'm also going to keep making free tutorials for YouTube so the learning won't stop.