YouTubers are abuzz today over a paid promotion permitting no negative coverage of Xbox One, Xbox One games, or host Machinima.
According to the leaks, YouTubers would be offered $3 CPM bonus for 30 second videos of Xbox One footage containing a verbal mention of the console.
Describing the promotion as “stealth marketing”, Ars Technica analysed the promotion’s leaked terms and condition and found the following clause:
“You may not say anything negative or disparaging about Machinima, Xbox One or any of its Games in your Campaign Video.”
This has raised hackles, as although users would have had to tag their video indicating it was part of the promotion, it could be argued that any such videos were essentially unflagged “advertorial” and therefore deceptive to viewers expecting honest assessments from their favourite YouTube personalities.
The promotion doesn’t seem to have gone live, and in the wake of today’s scandal may not do so, but was heavily leaked and apparently confirmed by a since-deleted tweet, which multiple sites have screenshots of.
The discussion comes hot on the heels of a major copyright kerfuffle that only highlighted how important YouTube creators are becoming to the wider games media landscape, which has in turn reignited conversations about the ethics and policies of games media, what counts as journalism, the meaning of life and whether we really should have studied marine biology after all.