What’s the lowest amount you’ve been paid for your work? How much you get paid is highly dependent on your professional and industry, but have you ever been paid in video and social media promotions? X-deals are common in any industry, but not everyone welcomes the idea, especially when the person offering the X-deal can afford to pay. After all, more money in your bank account is preferable to a mere shoutout on social media. Now, what happens if an influencer posts on Facebook that they want to have a whole second floor built in exchange for a video and social media promotions? Content creator Yexel Sebastian just tried it and, as expected, the internet didn’t digest the entire thing well.
Sebastian needs a second floor done
Recently, the 39-year-old took to Facebook to crowdsource for a contractor who can build a second floor to a small, pre-fab home in Bulacan. While the steps he’s taking are commendable (having actual contractors to build his home), what set netizens off is what followed next: “Baka pwede tayo collab and [x-deal],” he wrote. “Gawan po namin video and promote.” Sebastian finished his post off with an emoji of praying hands.
What the heck is an x-deal anyway?
According to Animetric World, an exchange deal or x-deal can be defined as “an agreement between 2 or more parties wherein services rendered will be compensated by tokens other than cash.” That could be food, tickets, gift certificates, or services. In Sebastian’s case, a whole second floor in exchange for a video and promotion on all his social media pages.
X-deals aren’t new in any industry. Sometimes entrepreneurs send their products to celebrities free of charge just so they can feature them for their thousands of followers. But many netizens think a video in exchange for a second floor is a bit too much. Even if it was just an addition to a pre-fab home.
Netizens are appalled
My blood is boiling pic.twitter.com/VSFEcS3Q0P
— Aaron (@aieos) August 9, 2021
Though the post has since been deleted, it’s still getting negative reactions from people. Sebastian has been told off in the comments section for taking advantage and belittling the work of contractors.
“Pandemic ngayon haha pero malakas mamburaot pwede naman siguro humingi ng discount instead of “free,” said one netizen.
The collab proposal for the project also made rounds on the internet where a certain Isa Chua, a representative of Sebastian, fleshed out the deal.
Sebastian clarifies his intentions
He further explained that, like everyone else, he and his team are just “making their way through life.” It’s just his way to look for a great deal where both parties are satisfied. Or, you know, the exact definition of x-deals.
Sebastian did reiterate that just because he offered the deal doesn’t mean he thinks little of the people involved. Besides, he isn’t asking for a million peso project. According to him, the cost of the x-deal would be P150k at most since it’s just a small house.
Fact: A promotion video can’t feed anyone
The reason why many scoffed at Sebastian’s post is simply that his offered “video and promotion” isn’t a sure source of money. Sure, it can bring more awareness to a brand or service but the attention doesn’t exactly convert to cash. Not immediately, at least. And we all know that everyone needs cash, especially in the middle of a pandemic. Promising laborers, contractors, and architects that they can smile at the camera to feature their work won’t feed their family.
Not the first time some influencer thought this was okay
Sebastian isn’t the first celebrity or personality that drew flak for offering to pay people with exposure. Remember actor Jameson Blake and the 2018 fiasco he was in? He tweeted that he was looking for a graphic artist to create a banner for his social media accounts. The best one would get a “shoutout” from him. That “simple” request ignited a fire on social media. Filipinos were dismayed that he, an actor who can obviously afford to pay a graphic artist, just had to go down this route. Many clowned his request and made low-budget banners just to let him know that art (or any kind of labor) has a price.
“Exposure doesn’t pay bills, we’re way past “exposure” stage,” actress Chai Fonacier (Patay Na Si Hesus) even said.
Then again, people have a choice to accept
The reason why people still do this — ask for free labor — is because offers like these have been accepted in the past. It’s not always the celebrities who are offering these kinds of deals too. Lurk around freelance groups on Facebook and you’ll find that employers actually haggle freelancers on their rates. The amount they get paid doesn’t even equate to the amazing quality of their work.
Some artists out there who want to make a name for themselves are okay with x-deals and the fact that people continue to sign on has got employers thinking this kind of setup is still acceptable. We won’t be surprised if some contractor company will say they’re willing to take Sebastian up on his offer. In fact, some people in his comments section defended his post by saying small contractors would actually love the idea.
But still, don’t undersell yourself
No matter which industry you’re in, you should never settle for less than what you believe you’re worth. We don’t have to settle for shoutouts — especially if they won’t really benefit you in the long run. If they can’t afford you, look for another client. You’re not only helping yourself, but you’re also helping employers treat Filipinos fairly.
Lesson learned for Sebastian
These artists, contractors, architects have all spent time studying their craft. It all boils down to respecting them for their time and their expertise. But maybe people like Sebastian are only ignorant and needed to be educated. Before we pick up our pitchforks and torches, we should try educating them first. If that’s the case, then we hope this is a lesson learned for him.
However, if he does find a contractor, he might want to put a pause on that home renovation. Renovating in the middle of Ghost Month might just attract bad luck. Then again, it looks like he already met his fair share of that.