Ninja gave out his number to the internet, but it’s a silly marketing scheme

On Aug. 11, Fortnite streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins gave away his number to fans via Twitter. In a video attached to the tweet, Blevins asked his fans to text him and fill out some information so they could stay in contact. Blevins said he would personally respond to a handful of fans and further promised to group up with some to play Fortnite later in the week.

Blevins is running his outreach program through a company called Community. A brief look at Community’s Terms of Use reveal that becoming best friends with Ninja isn’t exactly what fans are signing up for.

The text back from Ninja
Polygon

We tested it out, and sent Ninja a quick text. The response is a crafted message (pictured above) asking fans to sign up so they can keep in contact with their favorite streamer.

Community’s sign up page
Polygon

Clicking the link takes you to Ninja’s hub on Community (pictured above). The site asks for your name, gender identity, birthday, city, and has a optional section for your email. If you look a little lower on this page, you’ll find the Terms of Use, which reveal a bit more about what fans are really getting themselves into.

When fans sign up and confirm their new texting pal, they agree to receive automated alerts from Ninja’s public relations team, including marketing materials. Looking a little deeper into the Terms of Use, Community can essentially impersonate the celebrity to the fan.

One section reads: “additionally, you understand that a message sent by a Client may appear to come from a celebrity or other famous individual or influencer but may actually be sent to on his/her behalf by the public relations or other social media representatives.”

The Terms of Use go on to say that the messages aren’t private, but that the interactions are purely intended as promotion or advertising. The phone number is also provided by Community, so you can’t call up Ninja and ask what he’s doing for Thanksgiving.

Community’s Privacy Policy and data collection
Polygon

Community’s services are also meant to collect data from its users. A quick skim through the Privacy Policy (seen above) reveals that not only is Community collecting the information you give it, it also collects information about your IP address, your browser selection, your device of choice, and your device’s location.

Summed up, those texts won’t always be from Ninja; his team may use it to sell you stuff, and Community can make use of your data.

If you’re a Ninja super-fan, it’s possible this new Community feature could lead to you playing a match with him in Fortnite — Blevin tweeted that he’s been replying to fans with personal videos. But it’s worth knowing what you’re subjecting yourself to before you sign up.

Ashton Kutcher launched a similar service through Community earlier this year.

Comments

wow this is scummy as all shit

also: reminds of the "corey hotline" thing from the simpsons

Yup, bunch of kids are going to get enamored with him even more, thinking he is their actual friend. Then a few months later when they realise they will be absolutely crushed.

The Corey hotline was based on a real thing. As a tween, my sister-in-law ran up hundreds on a phone bill for some boy-band in the early 90s

There’s even a Simpsons episode about that Corey thing.

Nothing is sacred …. Guys, I just want you to know, if I ever give out my phone number. It’s not me. I’d never do anything this shitty.

I love you all.

peace love peace love.

GIVE US YOUR PHONE NUMBER SO WE CAN PLAY FORTNITE WITH YOU, YOU COWARD!!

What does Community actually do though? The website is just a vague signup page that every startup has now, and their TOS as highlighted demonstrates nothing besides a whole lot of collection… so what IS their "Community"?

Banks (the artist with amazing songs such as Contaminated) is the only celebrity I know of that actually did give out her number to talk to fans. But I think recently she mentioned in another interview she might have put a stop to that due to all the weird calls she started getting as she rose in popularity. For all other intents and purposes celebrities seem to be doing just fine on Instagram/Twitter/etc when it comes to direct communication so Community’s offering is… sketchy at best.

It’s a fancy signup and portal for direct marketing. It’s nothing new, just a new face on the old "Text SIGNUP to 7643 to sign-up for our emails!".

So the guy that accuses Twitch of shady crap is doing shady crap now himself and it’s ok?

Can we please be done with the "Influencer" craze and get back to when streamers and such were just people.

Companies always want ways to appeal to their target audience. Influencers are just the new celebrity endorsers.

I dare say with streaming influencers they have more influence on people due to how prolific their content is.

all these guys are in the friends business.

Twitch and its related spawn were great when they were just public access TV for video games. I could watch that garbage for days.

Now everything is corporate, or wannabe corporate, and I don’t even bother watching anymore.

P.S. Obligatory "Get off my damn Internet lawn."

No I would agree, I used to love tuning in for essentially a gift of gaming talk radio, but so freaking many of them are sponsored by This that and the other it feels like a massive marketing scam.

A microcosm into how cults form. Just say’n.

If you watch Ninja, or any pathetic influencer for that matter, you’re dumb as hell and everything that is wrong with this world. The end.

Marshmello did this too, but it doesn’t seem like a bad thing. They just text you when there’s a new song or sale or whatever.

This is next level spamming!

Twitch does something perfectly within their rights on their platform and he screams unfair treatment but then he goes and pulls this scumbag tactic! The sad thing is I dont really think he cares about any of his fans, they are nothing more than stepping stones to his fortune.

gender identity

Guess which gender likely won’t be picked to play with him

Sup NOOB it’s Tyler. Get good, khed.

Oh for goodness sake…

Yeah, I wish I could take my current knowledge back 10 years ago and realize I could be a multi-millionaire by just being a douche…but he’s making his money…can’t really blame him or be mad at him.

God, I can’t wait until all this Ninja bullshit settles down and I don’t see his name in three separate front page articles.

This makes me long for the 6k sub Ninja days. He was more real and the only thing he was selling out for was Twitch prime. It’s a shame to see him be this sh—-y to kids.

He and his wife have gotten so delusional, I remember a quote from her along the lines of "we want him in all aspects of sports, tv, film" I mean really? He is the definition of a one hit wonder, maybe a longer term one, but a one hit wonder nonetheless.

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