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The Quietest Creator Product 🤫
In The Lab shares their secrets to creating the viral “Silent Basketball”
Good morning. Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a holiday honoring the life and work of the civil rights activist. Wishing you a meaningful day.
In The Lab Sells 15K ‘Silent Basketballs’
Basketball creators In The Lab developed the Silent Basketball, a lighter and quieter way for hoopers to work on their handles indoors / Silent Basektball
Basketball creators In The Lab (ITL) just sold 15,000+ sound-free basketballs in only six months—all with a YouTube channel under 1 million subscribers.
“It’s been the craziest product we’ve ever made,” Navin Ramharak, ITL’s co-founder and COO, told us.
Context: Former college basketball player Devin Williams started ITL in 2013 as a way to offer free tutorials to young players.
Over the years, fans kept telling Williams that they wanted a basketball they could use to practice their dribble moves inside, especially during the cold winter months.
The solution: ITL developed the Silent Basketball as a lighter, quieter way for hoopers to work on their handles. Three things made it a hit, according to Ramharak…
ITL’s “cult audience.” After over a decade on YouTube, Williams has built a highly-engaged fanbase of basketball enthusiasts. That’s converted to robust email and text lists so that when ITL drops a new offering, “people know that we’re going to bring out cool basketball products,” Ramharak said.
NIL brand ambassadors. ITL hired 15 college athletes to promote the Silent Basketball and offered them $10 per ball they sold. Ramharak said ITL plans to repeat that winning strategy in the near future.
Big picture: With around 650k subs, ITL is focused less on the channel’s subscriber growth and more on continuing to make products for its core fans.
”We want to take over the market [and make] this the end-all, be-all of basketballs for kids,” Ramharak told us.
Creators Face TikTok Shop Fatigue
TikTok incentivizes using its shop feature despite creators’ growing frustrations / Illustration by Moy Zhong
Last week, a handful of TikTok creators took to the platform to air their frustrations with TikTok Shop.
FYI: Fatigue was palpable as soon as TikTok Shop launched last September—users were vocal about quality issues and the platform’s confusing interface. Still, TikTok has incentivized creators and sellers to use the feature by subsidizing product discounts and providing ad credits.
But now creators are saying the app is pushing the feature too hard—by inundating users’ FYPs. For example:
Cooking creator Meredith Hayden (aka Wishbone Kitchen) says she’s spending more time on Instagram Reels.
“TikTok Shop posts have been bad for a while, but have gotten so bad in the past two weeks that I fear we’ve gotten to a place where we can’t come back,” Hayden said in a TikTok video.
FWIW: Comedy creator Brandon Edelman is embracing TikTok Shop, citing a boost in followers and engagement since he made a promotional video.
Looking ahead: Some creators are providing a workaround to avoid TikTok Shop ads through privacy settings. But creator complaints re: shadowbanning and now TikTokShop are mounting, causing some to ask what it will take for TikTok to make a change.
Do you use TikTok Shop?
German TikToker Launches a Community App For Creators
The details: CNDO functions like Discord meets Kickstarter, where creators and their fans can set goals and participate in challenges within private social “rooms.”
Creators can gate certain parts of their communities through a monthly subscription, from which CNDO takes a 20% commission.
Zoom out: CNDO joins a competitive group of community-driven apps including Circle, Kajabi, Discord, and Reddit.
👀 Creator Moves
🔥 Press Worthy
Deestroying debuts a new series documenting his revitalized efforts to make it to the NFL.
Design creator Elliot Ulm launches a beginner design course.
Build a podcast business by transforming your Spotify listeners into Patreon subscribers—learn more about their new partnership.*
Film and travel creator Matti Haapoja starts a creator camp.
Golf creators Fore Play bring on Tiger Woods for some friendly competition.
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