An interesting story has surface via Ars Technica which suggests that Microsoft seemingly teamed up with Machinima to offer Youtube content creators extra money for advertising the Xbox One in their videos.
A Tweet on the official Machinima Twitter account appeared stating that anyone promoting the Xbox One would earn an extra $3 CPM, which amounts to $3 for every one thousand views. The Tweet has since been deleted, but not before an image of it was grabbed.
This in itself is no bad thing, nor is it exactly unusual. IN essence this campaign is a simple marketing campaign, one in which Machinima partners could earn some extra money and Microsoft could promote their new console. All the Youtuber had to do was create a video which showed at least 30-seconds of gameplay footage and mention the console by name. Simple.
According the deal video creators, “may not say anything negative or disparaging about Machinima, Xbox One, or any of its Games.” But even this could arguably be viewed as nothing particuilarly bad, because whilst they must not say anything they don’t have to say anything positive either – they can merely show the footage, state that it was taken from an Xbox One and get on with the rest of the video.
The true problem lies within the small print which states that the video creator must keep all details of the promotion a secret, and inform no one that they are being paid to advertise the console. Had the video creator been fully allowed to disclose the nature of their deal, or at least state that the following gameplay footage was a paid advertisement, then I would have had no problem with this method of advertising, and certainly wouldn’t begrudge a creator taking the chance to earn some extra money.
But keeping it quiet? No, that’s not right.
Ars Technica also believe this method of advertising might go against the FTC’s guidelines which demand full disclosure when there’s, “a connection between the endorser and the seller of the advertised product that might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement.”
But do remember this is not something unusual. It’s easy to hate solely on Microsoft, but this sort of advertising is very, very common on Youtube, and in other areas of the net. My general problem lies not in the advertising in itself, but that the contracts require silence.