Do you love cute dog photos on Instagram? Well, much like everything in our world, there's a good chance that those precocious pups are trying to sell you something. And it's largely thanks to The Dog Agency, the first talent agency catering exclusively to Instagram-famous canines. The Wall Street Journal has a new interview with Elias Weiss Friedman, the creator of The Dogist Instagram account, and Loni Edwards, the founder of The Dog Agency. And I swear on a stack of Bibles and a dozen copies of Future Shock that the screenshot above wasn't photoshopped. Welcome to the world of dogfluencers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, dogs with over 150,000 followers on Instagram or Vine can "fetch" (ugh) about $US3000 ($3952) for a single post.
"We have clients who are making $US200 ($263) per post, and we have clients who are making $US20,000 ($26,345) per post," Edwards tells the Wall Street Journal.
And it's not just dog food that they're shilling. Instagram-famous dogs are hawking everything from cars to shoes. Edwards' dog Chloe was recently featured in a video ad for Loft hotels which was posted to her Instagram account.
Some have raised concerns that the dogvertisements aren't properly labelled as bought-and-paid-for ads. Like this one from Knox the Dog, which was paid for by Hallmark Channel to promote their Kitten Bowl. The tiny #ad hashtag is hardly noticeable amongst the torrent of other words.
"In my opinion, I don't think people are dumb. I think they know it's an ad," an independent dog agent told the WSJ. It's unclear if the US FTC has investigated social media posts featuring spokesdogs yet, but federal agencies have cracked down on their human counterparts like Kim Kardashian.
Edwards, the head of The Dog Agency, explains that they're selective about what brands they pair with particular dogs. You can't just have some bulldog promoting hand soap or some shit, when everybody knows that the corgi is the best dog for the job.
"I think it's very important to make sure that the partners you take on are authentic, and that's a lot of the work that we do at the Dog Agency is making sure that the partnerships that are set up make sense," Edwards said.
So the next time you're mindlessly scrolling through dog photos online, remember that those dogs you're awwwwing over probably made more money than you did today.
Top: Chloe the Instagram-famous dogfluencer who helps her owner make stacks of cash (Wall Street Journal)