In my last update, I predicted that 2018 was going to be the best year on record for online performers. As we hit the middle of the busy season, I’m happy to report that prediction to be accurate. We’re seeing more opportunities, bigger deals, longer-term sponsorships and endorsements than ever before.
In other words, it’s a great time to be an online performer. And 2019 is likely to be even better.
While there is much to be happy about, the influx of interest and money has also driven a surge of exploitative companies, unregistered agents, false managers as well as other bad actors eager to capitalize on the revenue opportunities and lack of transparency in this new industry. Their ideal environment is one where you are bound by confidentiality agreements and incapable of discussing pricing or treatment with your audiences, your peers or the companies that want to employ your services. In this kind of isolated environment, performing in a vacuum, it’s impossible to know if you are being treated fairly. And that makes it easy for them to divert your earnings without you – or the companies they’re working for – ever realizing.
As you can imagine… we are not fans of this. We’ve been shielding our clients from these situations for years, but we haven’t been doing enough to protect broadcasters as a whole. I want to change that.
Today, we’re rolling out the first OPG service designed for the entire industry: debt collection. One of the most common methods of exploitation is simple:
Why Companies Don’t Pay
These companies know you have a difficult, time-consuming career. They know you have a million things going on – and your next show is less than 24 hours away. They know you might not have access to a lawyer – and that legal fees may be higher than the total amount of money you get back. If they make the process onerous, ask for additional paperwork or just move slowly enough, there’s a good chance you will lose track of the conversation or become discouraged and move on.
It’s unfortunately easy and effective.
Sometimes, debts go unpaid for perfectly innocent reasons. Maybe you didn’t send in all the paperwork. After the second or third attempt to contact you, the company just gave up. Maybe they mailed you a physical check and you moved or lost it or just never cashed it. Maybe, right when you sent in the paperwork, someone left the company and things got lost. Maybe an email went to spam or someone transposed two digits in your banking information. There are so many ways these things can fail naturally as well.
Whatever the reason… it’s your money. You earned it. You deserve it. You should get it.
Why OPG Can Help?
OPG does business with hundreds of game publishers, studios, hardware companies, brands, marketing agencies and event companies throughout the world. If you’ve done a deal with a company that works with broadcasters, the odds are good that we have too. If that deal went awry for some reason… we may be able to help you set things right and get paid.
We’ve been helping our clients with debt collection for years. Now we want to expand that service to the broader community, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you haven’t been paid!
How does this work?
If you’ve done a deal and not been paid for it, or are due a payment that is excessively late and you need help collecting, click here. We’ll ask you a few questions to determine if your situation qualifies for our service. We’ll ask you to:
- Provide a link to the sponsored content you are owed money for.
- Certify that you have a copy of the fully executed contract for the deal.
- Ensure the bill is overdue and you are not within agreed upon payment terms (look for the term NET30, NET 60, etc. – that means they have that many days to pay). Note that in the game industry bills are often a LITTLE late (3-10 days), so it may be worth it to try on your own for a little while first.
- Certify the deliverables in your contract were completed in good form. Note: one reason for non-payment is a dispute over the delivery/quality of work. If you completed the work and feel it’s of good quality, it’s possible we can help you recover the money you’re owed.
- Ensure you have records/emails/DMs/etc. documenting the discussions surrounding the deal.
Once you provide this info, our team will evaluate the information to determine if we think we can help you recover your debt. If we believe we can, a representative will reach out to you to begin the process. At that point, we’ll need to sign an NDA to discuss confidential or sensitive topics. Once that’s done, we’ll ask you to provide as much documentation of the issue as possible. Depending on the complexity, we may need to schedule a phone call to discuss, but many straightforward transactions can be handled primarily via email.
After we’ve evaluated the documentation, we’ll need to sign some documents that authorize us to collect the debt on your behalf and then we’ll get to work!
What does this cost?
Typical debt collection services charge 30% of the TOTAL you are owed, regardless of the amount that they recover. As an example, if you were owed $1,000, the debt collection service is empowered to negotiate a lower payment rate and takes the first $300 of any money collected. This means that it’s unlikely you’d get back very much of your money.
In our system – which may need to change as we develop it – we want to do better. Obviously, we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to recover your money, so it feels wrong to charge upfront for the service. IF we succeed, we’ve succeeded together, so we’ll both get paid. Our initial revenue share plan is 15% (minimum $150) of the amount YOU receive, not the total you are owed.
That’s it. At OPG we’re passionate about doing good in the industry and protecting online performers from exploitative and predatory businesses. It’s our hope that this service will help to increase transparency in the industry and ensure that more money ends up where it should: in the hands of broadcasters.
I have an outstanding debt. What do I do?
Click here to send us the information we need to evaluate your situation.
As always, let us know what you think! Follow us at @op_group on Twitter and give us feedback!