12.06 2018 06:02h
12.06 2018 06:02h

Influencers Share Their Thoughts On The New NMC Licensing Laws

Their opinions might surprise you
by @Laura Andrea Kell

It’s official!

The new National Media Council licensing laws are now 100% in effect.

In case you've been living under a rock, influencers can choose from three different options when becoming a legally licensed influencer here in the UAE.

And those bloggers, vloggers and Insta-sensations who only receive free products and/or services, in exchange for coverage? They don’t need to stress as they don't need a license to operate.

Great news, right?

We reached out to a few influencers to hear their thoughts on the new laws, and how they think it will affect influencer marketing in the region.

Check it out below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

"The new laws will force anyone who isn’t serious about their blog to back out. Only the hardworking, passionate ones will remain."

– Naomi D’Souza (@naomi_dsouza)

Generally speaking, most influencers are in favor of some form of regulation when it comes to influencer marketing.

Kat Lebrasse (@katlebrasse), a Dubai-based fashion and lifestyle blogger, has made it clear she is all for the new licensing laws.

“I think the fact that the industry is being regulated is great. I don't disagree with the principle at all,” she said.

Food blogger Naomi D’Souza agrees.

She hopes the new regulations will force individuals to take the blogging and influencer marketing industry seriously.

“Since blogging doesn’t actually require a degree, a lot of people have started to become 'bloggers',” D’Souza said. “Almost everyone is a blogger nowadays.”

D'Souza sites some “aspiring influencers” who want to get into blogging and influencing just for the products and/or experiences, and how it negatively impacts the industry. She makes it clear that she doesn't mean all newbie influencers, just the ones who lack passion and are only doing it for the free perks.

“Majority of these new bloggers or micro-influencers got into blogging just for free stuff or free food. They don’t pay a lot of attention to their content and it’s below average most of the time,” she said.

UPDATE: "Quality over quantity always wins. If you're a micro-influencer and have a passion for blogging - and you educate your audience in the right way with the right intention, you are meant to blog," D'Souza said. "The majority I'm referring to are bloggers who have directly messaged me, saying they're just in it for the free stuff. We're talking about 60% of the crowd. No one should be offended by this statement, if they belong to the 40% who are genuine and passionate about blogging."

Bloggers and influencers who receive free products and/or services, in exchange for coverage on their social channels won't need a license under the new NMC regulations.

But the fact that the Council is now regulating those who do accept paid compensation with the licensing laws, also means they'll have their eye on the content published by all influencers within the country. Anything that fails to meet NMC standards - paid or unpaid - could land an influencer in hot water.

Overall, influencers hope the new regulations will increase the quality of content we see on social media here in the UAE.

“Trying to regulate a growing industry that has an international reach, and has seen little censorship, will prove to be a challenge."

– Kelsey Johnson (@lipstickandluggage)

While the new laws have only been in place for a few weeks now, it will be interesting to see how it will affect influencer marketing in the years to come.

Dubai-based flight attendant and travel blogger, Kelsey Johnson, is very curious to see how it will all play out.

"Given that the UAE is one of few countries to implement such laws, it’s going to be interesting to see how they will shape the industry moving forward," she said. "Social media is an integral part of how we as individuals communicate and by implementing these policies, the government is limiting what we are able to do online.”

Johnson makes it clear she doesn’t take paid compensation in exchange for shout outs on her travel blog and Instagram account and, therefore, won’t be applying for the license.

“I have managed to build a ‘following’ over the last few years based on my content alone. It is because of this, that I will not be applying for a license or signing to an agency,” she said. “The posts I share are not commercial in nature. They are images from my everyday life.”

"Being an influencer is running a business. You are selling your social media platform space to brands, who are willing to pay you for it."

– Nina Ubhi (@ninaubhi)

Nina Ubhi is a professional makeup artist and beauty vlogger. She moved to Dubai from the UK in 2015, and has a background in running her own business as a makeup artist.

Ubhi is 100% in favor of the NMC’s new licensing laws, as she feels being an influencer is akin to running one’s own company.

"If a brand chooses to use a specific influencer over other [traditional media] channels, that is their prerogative,” she said. “But in the same way there are rules and regulations for what you can advertise on TV, radio and billboards, there will be laws around how you can advertise on social media."

And just as traditional media outlets need a license in order to operate, so do influencers within the UAE that are accepting paid compensation in exchange for posts.

“I would never report any social influencer for not having the license . . . It’s not something that goes with my personal ethos.”

– MJ xoxo (@MJ_ek)

Many influencers agree that while they plan on following the laws themselves, they wouldn't report another influencer for breaking them.

Travel vlogger MJ xoxo feels it’s not her duty to expose others who may be breaking the law.

“I would never report any social influencer for not having the license and workingwith brands. First of all, it’s not my place. Secondly, it’s not something that goes with my personal ethos.”

Both Lebrasse and D’Souza also said they won’t be calling out individuals who may be trying to get around the new regulations.

“I personally wouldn't report a fellow influencer. I believe we should all support each other and strive to be more united,” Lebrasse said.

“While it certainly wouldn't be fair if people were getting away with continuing to use their platforms for commercial purposes without a license, when so many others have paid, I would leave that to the person's individual conscience.”

D'Souza said she would most likely inform any offending influencers that they were breaking the law, instead of reporting them directly to the NMC.

"I’d probably speak directly to them, and make sure they’re aware of the rules and the consequences if they don’t follow them," she said.

"It’s easy to wait viciously and bring another person down, but I think what we need more of is mutual support. If you find someone who isn’t properly licensed . . . it’s important to educate them first, especially because the license is new and a lot of people are still quite confused about it."

What are your thoughts on the new licensing laws? Let us know in the comments below.

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