Arnie Gullov-Singh Talks!

Indians making waves around the world makes me a happy gal. And when it comes to Desis doing wonders in the Social Media arena, then I'm all about it. Meet Arnie Gullov-Singh (@arnie). CEO to Adly, which allows celebrities and brands to connect with people over Twitter. His clientele includes the very much in the news, Charlie Sheen. Arnie's company has made waves all over Twitter already and as he continues to rise in the Social Media world, he finds himself building a model for celebs in order to create the ideal brand for themselves. Check what he has to say in this quick tete-a-tete.

I think first and foremost, people will want to know who you are and what you do?
I’m the CEO of, which is a platform for brands to start a conversation with their target audience on Twitter. is a network of 1,000 celebrities and a platform that analyzes who is following them, sparks a conversation with their fans and measures the impact of the conversation for the brand.
So for example, if a brand wants to start a conversation with moms on Twitter, our platform identifies celebrities who reach moms on Twitter, our creative team creates and delivers authentic messaging for the brand and our platform measures the click through, retweets and overall conversational lift generated by the campaign.
It’s been very successful: We’ve produced 24,000 endorsements with 1,000 celebrities for 150 brands including Toyota, Best Buy, Microsoft, American Airlines, Old Navy, NBC and Sony.

What does stand for and how did you come up with the name?
We wanted something short and simple. As companies like Amazon, Ebay, Google and Zynga have shown us, the value you deliver for your customers is more important than the name you give yourself.

Tell us about how you started and what it does for celebrities in the Social Media world?
My partner Sean Rad actually started in late 2009. He saw that consumer attention was shifting to Twitter and that celebrities were the driving force behind that shift because they were creating compelling content and amassing millions of followers. Whenever consumer attention shifts to a new medium in a big way, like it has with Twitter, advertisers will inevitably follow and so the goal was to build a platform to capitalize on that opportunity.

I joined in spring 2010 to help Sean scale the business. I had spent the previous 5 years building platforms to monetize social media at Yahoo and MySpace and had learned through experience that brands were struggling to get their arms around social media because the pace of change was making it very confusing and because the success metrics were unclear.

In figuring out the approach we realized that celebrities and brands had been working together successfully for decades doing celebrity endorsements in traditional media. In fact, it’s a $50B/year global industry. So we built our platform to bring celebrity endorsements online to social media and invested heavily in data mining and analytics to bring the much needed measurement to the business. has been a huge hit with celebrities because until we came along they had no easy way to monetize their social media presence. In fact we’ve made it so simple that some in our industry have called us the AdSense For Celebrities.

Who are some celebs that work with you and how do help them gain standing and ground in the Social Media world?
The 1,000 celebrities in our network are listed here:
Since the majority of them are already famous in real life, we focus on helping them bring their fans to Twitter. Over time we’ve developed a list of tactics and techniques and have recently started providing celebrities with tools and analytics to help them grow the size and engagement of their audiences.

We’ve also started publishing data on the most influential celebrities in social media, including the Consumer Influence Index and the Top 10 Most Influential Athletes On Twitter

How do celebrities enforce or affect the Social Media world in your opinion and how does it impact their brands?
There’s no doubt celebrities are the driving force in social media. The data shows it. The top 1,000 users on Twitter are all celebrities. Celebrities create the content that attracts audiences social networks like Twitter and Facebook, just like they create the content that attracts audiences to television networks like ABC and CBS. And when the celebrities leave a social network, their fans follow, just like they did on MySpace.

Of course, the “in” man right now is Charlie Sheen. How did you work with him?
A couple of months ago, Charlie’s management team reached out to us to help him get setup on Twitter. We got him @charliesheen, got him verified with Twitter and shared some of our techniques and tactics to help him grow his audience.

He amassed a million followers in 24 hours, setting a Guinness World Record for the fastest growing Twitter account in history. A few days later he did an endorsement for, driving over 1 million visitors to their site and putting them on the map with their target audience.

You went on to call him an “advertisers dream”. Please explain that idea because he really has been put in between a hard place and a wall.
In less than 24 hours went from a start-up with a good product to a brand that everyone was talking about. Success on that scale is rare to achieve outside of a multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad.

Now you work with Hollywood celebs, what about stars from India.
It’s been interesting to watch the adoption of Twitter in India and how the growth of the platform is being driven by celebrities just like it has been in the US.

How do you view the way and manner in which Bollywood stars are endorsed?
There's no doubt celebrity endorsements are big business in India, as they are in many countries around the world. Just look at the $20M+ Virender Sehwag is getting through his deal with Sunil Gavaskar’s new management company.

If you had to take your “model” to India, do you think it would work? Why or why not?
It’s an interesting question. On one hand you have an established celebrity endorsement industry and a burgeoning interest in Twitter. On the other hand you have an online advertising business that is maybe 5% of the size of the US. I think the question is: can celebrity endorsements in social media grow the overall online advertising market in India? It’s certainly possible.

What have you noticed about the main difference between celebs in India and Hollywood?
I think celebrities are generally the same around the world. They live their lives in ways that the rest of us wish we lived our own. They’re funnier than us, more controversial than us and more talented than us. That’s what makes them universally appealing.

How are their pulls different in the Social Media world?
Celebrities around the world are using social media to connect with their fans in a way that is unfiltered by the traditional media. I think that’s what makes the content so compelling.

How do you help celebs get richer?
We give them a platform to monetize their social media presence by endorsing brands that are relevant to their fans.

Where do you hope to take in the next few years?
I think we’ve shown that our platform for connecting brands and celebrities in social media is creating value for both parties. So we’re working on a number of initiatives to extend our platform to enable these connections to happen on a broader basis. Stay tuned!

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