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Meet the AI influencers ALREADY making millions from mega deals with fashion giants – could you tell they don’t exist?

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Meet the AI influencers ALREADY making millions from mega deals with fashion giants - could you tell they don't exist?

THEIR jet-set lifestyles, stunning wardrobes and perfect figures leave mere mortals drooling with envy.

Influencers Lil Miquela, Imma and supermodel Shudu have raked in millions from deals with fashion giants such as Dior, Calvin Klein, Chanel and Prada.

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Last week, Nordic model Milla Sofia duped Twitter users into believing her bikini photos were authenticCredit: Twitter / AiModelMilla
It comes amid a growing number of dupe profiles on social media - with computer-generated characters so realistic they can fool humans

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It comes amid a growing number of dupe profiles on social media – with computer-generated characters so realistic they can fool humansCredit: Getty

Almost eight million fans on social media are fascinated by every detail of their lives, especially Lil Miquela’s relationship with fellow “star” Blawko.

But these shiny celebrities all have one thing in common — not one of them is real.

Welcome to the world of the virtual influencer, which is already estimated to be worth an eye-watering £3.5billion and is projected to grow by 26 per cent by 2025, experts claim.

Tech firms behind the computer-generated characters — made by graphic designers and digital artists using artificial intelligence — can rake in as much as £8,000 for a social media post by collaborating with big brands.

And the dupe profiles are so realistic, many followers are convinced they are humans.

Just last week, Nordic model Milla Sofia duped Twitter users into believing her glam bikini pics — supposedly posted from all over the world — were authentic.

Despite her account stating she is a “19-year-old robot girl”, fans were quick to call her gorgeous, sexy and beautiful, with just a handful of people pointing out she was made by AI.

Ted Murphy, founder of global influencer marketing firm IZEA, says the rise of virtual characters will transform the advertising landscape.

He told The Sun: “They are not confined by human limitations.

“They can be in multiple places at once, speak any language, perform incredible feats and even undergo a total redesign at will.

“This offers boundless creative potential for brand storytelling, marketing and audience engagement.”

Instagram expert Estelle Keeber, of consultancy Immortalmonkey.com, said AI streamers are becoming more and more popular because they offer brands a “high level of control” over their messaging.

She said: “AI doesn’t have personal biases or controversial opinions that could negatively impact brand image.

“They can maintain a consistent presence online, posting at predetermined times without fatigue, which ensures regular engagement with the target audience and potential customers.

“There is also a cost benefit. Instead of hiring expensive models and photographers, companies and brands can create stunning custom visuals with AI-generated characters which are budget friendly and still looking fabulous.”

But Estelle warned business chiefs to “strike a balance” between virtual and real influencers to avoid alienating customers.

In 2019, car maker Renault became one of the first global firms to create a virtual beauty for a TV advert, launching dark-haired Liv — an inoffensive everywoman in her 20s.

Samsung followed by hiring Lil Miquela — who is projected to earn £9million this year — for its #teamgalaxy campaign.

The 19-year-old “robot living in LA” was named one of Time Magazine’s top 25 most influential people on the internet in 2018 and went on to star in an advert for Calvin Klein with top model Bella Hadid.

‘Mesmerising idea’

With 3.6million followers on TikTok and 2.7million on Instagram, Lil Miquela — created by American AI company Brud — is considered the Queen of virtual reality.

But there are plenty of other stars, including Shudu, with 240,000 Insta followers and who can command up to £400 per post, and Japanese creation Imma, who landed a deal to promote furniture giant Ikea.

But she calls for strict regulations - since as it develops, we may not know what is real any more

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But she calls for strict regulations – since as it develops, we may not know what is real any moreCredit: Getty

Presenter Lara Lewington, who co-hosts the BBC’s weekly flagship technology show Click, said the virtual influencers appeal to Gen Z, who are looking for novel engagement.

Though she is calling for strict regulations, amid fears of a future which blurs the lines between reality and fiction.

Lara told us: “In a way I think ‘Why not use AI?’. It’s a mesmerising idea and influencers can be created in the exact way companies want to create them.

“Firms have always embraced technology in advertising and this is just the latest way of doing things.

“Artificial intelligence will become embedded more and more around us and we, as humans, will decide what we want to engage with.

“Some people will be interested in it, while others will feel these influencers are a step too far.

“One of the big issues is that, as it develops, we may not know what’s real any more and you have to ask if that will become more and more of a problem on social media.

“Measures are being talked about to ensure people can differentiate.

“One idea is to watermark AI content, but it relies on creators to do it properly.”

There are also worries over how much power these fabricated figures could wield.

Bermuda is an American influencer who trash talks rivals and once pushed the Trump agenda before switching political allegiances when he left the White House.

She caused a furore in 2018 by posting: “It’s OK to be white. I said it and I’m not afraid to say it: I am proud to be a white woman.”

Journalist Lara says it is posts such as Bermuda’s that concern her.

She added: “Artificial intelligence is such an emotive subject because humanity can feel threatened, and if it can create a virtual person, you don’t want it creating a dictator with a whole agenda that can live on for ever.”

Statistics reveal that some 60 per cent of people follow at least one virtual influencer.

And among those who don’t, 51 per cent of social media users admitted they simply have no interest in them.

Figures from the Influencer Marketing factory also show that, of those who follow robot accounts, 28 per cent engage on TikTok and YouTube and around 20 per cent on TikTok.

PR expert Mark Borkowski believes AI can never compete with real brand ambassadors, even when they become embroiled in drama and scandal.

He said: “Although AI will tick all the boxes, an old-fashioned story always wins.

“People are drawn to things that are new and shiny and will dive in.

“But they can get bored quickly and move on.

“Just because someone follows something, it doesn’t mean they are actively engaging with it.

“Are you going to tell me that fake AI replaces the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo or Kylie Jenner? Of course not.”

Below we highlight some of the top AI influencers . . .

Lil Miquela

Computer wizardry to create and mix music lets this 'influencer' have songs on Spotify

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Computer wizardry to create and mix music lets this ‘influencer’ have songs on SpotifyCredit: Instagram / lilmiquela

Worth: An estimated £10million and can charge up to £8,000 a post.

Profile: Claims to be a 19-year-old robot living in LA but was created by American AI company Brud.

Loves Cardi B, supports #blacklivesmatter and transgender rights.

Computer wizardry to create and mix music lets the Brazilian-American have songs on Spotify.

Has partnered with brands such as Pacsun and Prada.

Followers: 2.7million on Instagram, 3.6million on TikTok.

Controversy: Model Bella Hadid was accused of “queer baiting” after “kissing” Lil Miquela in a Calvin Klein advert. The firm later apologised.

Bermuda

Bermuda was valued at £440,000 a year until she mysteriously stopped posting in 2020 amid a row over her inventors

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Bermuda was valued at £440,000 a year until she mysteriously stopped posting in 2020 amid a row over her inventorsCredit: Instagram / bermudaisbae

Worth: Valued at £440,000 a year until she mysteriously stopped posting in 2020 amid a row over her inventors.

Profile: Trump supporter who trashed other influencers. Posted memes condemning Hillary Clinton.

Her virtual boyfriend is Blawko.

Followers: 244,000 on Instagram.

Controversy: Bermuda was thought to be the brainchild of mysterious US firm Cain Intelligence.

But when she allegedly hacked Lil Miquela’s profile in 2018, it sparked rumours she was also created by Brud.

Mikirah Muse

Mikirah is a curvy 'model' who calls herself a singer, DJ and producer

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Mikirah is a curvy ‘model’ who calls herself a singer, DJ and producerCredit: Instagram / mikirahmuse

Worth: £100 an Instagram post.

Profile: The curvy “model” first appeared on Instagram in February 2021, calling herself a singer, DJ and producer – but little else is known.

Appears to be based in America.

Followers: 3,500 on Instagram

Controversy: None . . . yet.

Milla Sofia

Milla set up her Instagram just profile last month, and already has 52,000 followers

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Milla set up her Instagram just profile last month, and already has 52,000 followersCredit: Supplied

Worth: Having set up her Instagram profile just last month, there are not many financial details on Milla.

But with 52,000 followers, she could charge up to £350 a post on the platform.

Profile: Pictured in a selection of itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny bikinis.

Followers: 52.7k on Instagram, 90,000 on TikTok and 12.5k on Twitter (now X)

Controversy: Mila looks so realistic that X users were fooled into thinking she was real.

It appears many were too busy admiring her pictures to read her bio, where she describes herself as a “24-year-old robot girl living in Helsinki”.

Imma

Imma is Japan's first virtual model and took part in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games closing ceremony

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Imma is Japan’s first virtual model and took part in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games closing ceremonyCredit: Instagram / imma

Worth: £505,000 a year and £1,000 a post.

Profile: Japan’s first virtual model, invented by tech firm Aww Inc, who is known for her bubblegum pink bob.

She has worked with top brands including Porsche Japan, Ikea, Dior, Puma, Nike, Valentino and Amazon.

Followers: 11,100 on Twitter (now X) and 399,000 on Instagram.

Controversy: Took part in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, where she “participated” in the closing ceremony, marking a first for the virtual world.

BLAWKO

Blawko is a streetwise 'bad boy' who once 'dated' Bermuda - leading to more questions as to who's behind the Trump-supporting influencer

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Blawko is a streetwise ‘bad boy’ who once ‘dated’ Bermuda – leading to more questions as to who’s behind the Trump-supporting influencerCredit: Instagram/blawko22

Worth: An estimated £159,000 a year and £600 per Instagram post.

Profile: A streetwise bad boy who lives in LA and dates Lil Miquela.

They were created by the same tech firm, Brud.

Never seen without a mask covering his lower face, even before the pandemic.

He was once represented by top PR firm Huxley and has worked with fashion brands including Balenciaga and Supreme.

Followers: More than 224,000 on YouTube and 130,000 on Facebook.

Controversy: Once “dated” Lil Miquela’s rival Bermuda, which led to even more questions about who was behind the Trump-supporting influencer.

Shudu

Shudu's creator Cameron-James Wilson was accused of denying real black women the chance to model

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Shudu’s creator Cameron-James Wilson was accused of denying real black women the chance to modelCredit: Instagram / shudu.gram

Worth: Earns around £96,000 a year and can charge up to £400 a post.

Profile: The creation of British fashion photographer Cameron-James Wilson, she claims to be the world’s first AI supermodel.

Recently seen in Louis Vuitton cothing for a shoot in Harper’s Bazaar magazine.

Followers: 240,000 on Instagram.

Controversy: Cameron-James was accused of denying real black women the chance to model.

He later said: “There’s a big kind of movement with dark skin models. So she represents them and is inspired by them.”

Kyra

India's first meta-influencer Kyra attends music festivals worldwide and has endorsed Indian brands

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India’s first meta-influencer Kyra attends music festivals worldwide and has endorsed Indian brandsCredit: Instagram / kyraonig

Worth: Not yet known

Profile: India’s first meta-influencer launched her career as a “dream chaser, model and traveller” last year.

She attends music festivals worldwide and has endorsed Indian brands including Morris Garages and Navro phones.

At least three dead in plane crash as emergency services scrambled to scene
Gilgo suspect's ‘biggest mistake revealed & shows he's a narcissist'

Followers: 215,000 on Instagram and 1,800 on YouTube.

Controversy: Instagram critics claim that she looks “cartoonish”, with one saying: “The human vibe we get is lost.”



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12 Proven Methods to Make Money Blogging in 2024

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Make money blogging

 

Make money bloggingThis is a contributed article.

The world of blogging continues to thrive in 2024, offering a compelling avenue for creative minds to share their knowledge, build an audience, and even turn their passion into profit. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting, there are numerous effective strategies to monetize your blog and achieve financial success. Here, we delve into 12 proven methods to make money blogging in 2024:

1. Embrace Niche Expertise:

Standing out in the vast blogosphere requires focus. Carving a niche allows you to cater to a specific audience with targeted content. This not only builds a loyal following but also positions you as an authority in your chosen field. Whether it’s gardening techniques, travel hacking tips, or the intricacies of cryptocurrency, delve deep into a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Targeted audiences are more receptive to monetization efforts, making them ideal for success.

2. Content is King (and Queen):

High-quality content remains the cornerstone of any successful blog. In 2024, readers crave informative, engaging, and well-written content that solves their problems, answers their questions, or entertains them. Invest time in crafting valuable blog posts, articles, or videos that resonate with your target audience.

  • Focus on evergreen content: Create content that remains relevant for a long time, attracting consistent traffic and boosting your earning potential.
  • Incorporate multimedia: Spice up your content with captivating images, infographics, or even videos to enhance reader engagement and improve SEO.
  • Maintain consistency: Develop a regular publishing schedule to build anticipation and keep your audience coming back for more.

3. The Power of SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your blog ranks high in search engine results for relevant keywords. This increases organic traffic, the lifeblood of any monetization strategy.

  • Keyword research: Use keyword research tools to identify terms your target audience searches for. Strategically incorporate these keywords into your content naturally.
  • Technical SEO: Optimize your blog’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall technical aspects to improve search engine ranking.
  • Backlink building: Encourage other websites to link back to your content, boosting your blog’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

4. Monetization Magic: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products or services. When a reader clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

  • Choose relevant affiliates: Promote products or services that align with your niche and resonate with your audience.
  • Transparency is key: Disclose your affiliate relationships clearly to your readers and build trust.
  • Integrate strategically: Don’t just bombard readers with links. Weave affiliate promotions naturally into your content, highlighting the value proposition.

5. Display Advertising: A Classic Approach

Display advertising involves placing banner ads, text ads, or other visual elements on your blog. When a reader clicks on an ad, you earn revenue.

  • Choose reputable ad networks: Partner with established ad networks that offer competitive rates and relevant ads for your audience.
  • Strategic ad placement: Place ads thoughtfully, avoiding an overwhelming experience for readers.
  • Track your performance: Monitor ad clicks and conversions to measure the effectiveness of your ad placements and optimize for better results.

6. Offer Premium Content:

Providing exclusive, in-depth content behind a paywall can generate additional income. This could be premium blog posts, ebooks, online courses, or webinars.

  • Deliver exceptional value: Ensure your premium content offers significant value that justifies the price tag.
  • Multiple pricing options: Consider offering tiered subscription plans to cater to different audience needs and budgets.
  • Promote effectively: Highlight the benefits of your premium content and encourage readers to subscribe.

7. Coaching and Consulting:

Leverage your expertise by offering coaching or consulting services related to your niche. Readers who find your content valuable may be interested in personalized guidance.

  • Position yourself as an expert: Showcase your qualifications, experience, and client testimonials to build trust and establish your credibility.
  • Offer free consultations: Provide a limited free consultation to potential clients, allowing them to experience your expertise firsthand.
  • Develop clear packages: Outline different coaching or consulting packages with varying time commitments and pricing structures.

8. The Power of Community: Online Events and Webinars

Host online events or webinars related to your niche. These events offer valuable content while also providing an opportunity to promote other monetization avenues.

  • Interactive and engaging: Structure your online events to be interactive with polls, Q&A sessions, or live chats. Click here to learn more about image marketing with Q&A sessions and live chats.

9. Embrace the Power of Email Marketing:

Building an email list allows you to foster stronger relationships with your audience and promote your content and offerings directly.

  • Offer valuable incentives: Encourage readers to subscribe by offering exclusive content, discounts, or early access to new products.
  • Segmentation is key: Segment your email list based on reader interests to send targeted campaigns that resonate more effectively.
  • Regular communication: Maintain consistent communication with your subscribers through engaging newsletters or updates.

10. Sell Your Own Products:

Take your expertise to the next level by creating and selling your own products. This could be physical merchandise, digital downloads, or even printables related to your niche.

  • Identify audience needs: Develop products that address the specific needs and desires of your target audience.
  • High-quality offerings: Invest in creating high-quality products that offer exceptional value and user experience.
  • Utilize multiple platforms: Sell your products through your blog, online marketplaces, or even social media platforms.

11. Sponsorships and Brand Collaborations:

Partner with brands or businesses relevant to your niche for sponsored content or collaborations. This can be a lucrative way to leverage your audience and generate income.

  • Maintain editorial control: While working with sponsors, ensure you retain editorial control to maintain your blog’s authenticity and audience trust.
  • Disclosures are essential: Clearly disclose sponsored content to readers, upholding transparency and ethical practices.
  • Align with your niche: Partner with brands that complement your content and resonate with your audience.

12. Freelancing and Paid Writing Opportunities:

Your blog can serve as a springboard for freelance writing opportunities. Showcase your writing skills and expertise through your blog content, attracting potential clients.

  • Target relevant publications: Identify online publications, websites, or magazines related to your niche and pitch your writing services.
  • High-quality samples: Include high-quality blog posts from your site as writing samples when pitching to potential clients.
  • Develop strong writing skills: Continuously hone your writing skills and stay updated on current trends in your niche to deliver exceptional work.

Conclusion:

Building a successful blog that generates income requires dedication, strategic planning, and high-quality content. In today’s digital age, there are numerous opportunities to make money online through blogging. By utilizing a combination of methods such as affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products or services, you can leverage your blog’s potential and achieve financial success.

Remember, consistency in posting, engaging with your audience, and staying adaptable to trends are key to thriving in the ever-evolving blogosphere. Embrace new strategies, refine your approaches, and always keep your readers at the forefront of your content creation journey. With dedication and the right approach, your blog has the potential to become a valuable source of income and a platform for sharing your knowledge and passion with the world, making money online while doing what you love.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos



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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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