A new report has surfaced which is alleging that Microsoft has paid several Youtube personalities to show Xbox One games in a positive light.
This report, which was posted via Ars Technica, claims that the new promotion is targeting Machinima partners and is supposedly offering them $3 for every 1,000 views.
In order to qualify for this, partners must post a video which has at least 30 seconds of Xbox One gameplay footage, and also include the tag XB1M13 on the video.
This was tweeted by Machinima’s UK community manager, but was very hastily removed. Now, this is hardly the first time that big companies and Youtubers have worked together, however, it is generally accepted that full disclosure must be given. Also, if it were me being offered this, I wouldn’t accept anything that did not allow be to be honest.
This deal is, rather understandably, receiving criticism for that very reason. According to a leaked copy of the agreement, partners “may not say anything negative or disparaging about Machinima, Xbox One, or any of its games”, and they are also not allowed to mention the promotion within the video.
Now, not only is this very dishonest advertising that the Youtubers in question are physically not allowed to speak their opinion if it is in any way negative, this is also very bad for the consumer. How can they trust their favourite Youtubers knowing that they have accepted this? Can they really trust that their opinion is honest and unbiased?
With the good Youtubers, that answer will always be yes, because most of them would not post content that could potentially mislead their viewer base. This deal may also be legally iffy, if Ars Technica is right, as they are speculating that promotion may violate the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines on the use of endorsements in advertising, which very clearly require full disclosure when there is “a connection between the endorser and the seller of the advertised product that might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement”.