It became quite apparent recently that Microsoft was teaming up with Machinima to help advertise the Xbox One in a less-than-okay way by recruiting different Let's Players and video bloggers to praise their newest console for money while also barring them from mentioning this partnership in any way, shape, or form. Obviously you should be seeing some red flags already, but let's hold off on that for a second.
Is what Microsoft and Machinima did really all that bad?
Xbox One, stop doing that
When you get right down to it, barring people from revealing that they're a marketing shill is just a huge no no. The moment you stop people from letting their fan base know that they're being paid to play Xbox One games is the moment where they aren't being paid to advertise their products, they're being paid to deceive their fanbase. And now that it is out in the open, Microsoft has some explainin' to do.
Oh wait, nope. They don't have any explaining to do at all, because Microsoft and Machinima came out saying that people were just misinterpreting their contracts and that it was completely okay to talk about the fact that they were being paid to advertise their games. Now here's why I'm calling shenanigans on that. Because deals like these go down all the time with popular Youtubers.
If that's true, then why aren't we hearing any big blow-ups about these other companies? Well, if you've made it big enough on Youtube to have been handed a few contracts by different companies to advertise their product then at this point you would probably be familiar with FTC guidelines and the fact that you have to mention if you're gaining anything from your involvement with the company who made the product you're reviewing.
Machinima and Microsoft are saying that just everyone who received the contracts for this new program misread the fine print or didn't understand it? Hogwash! I could see a few smaller named people getting confused by it since Machinima handed the contract out all willy nilly, but these are big name Youtubers talking about the contracts they were offered, at the expense of any future contracts they might now be missing out on. They wouldn't go out of their way to hurt their own income just to attack one of the company's that actually pays them unless their really was a problem.
But let's get onto the other part of this article. Was what Microsoft and Machinima did wrong?
It was either this or an image of Spongebob yelling about salesmen
As I said previously, contracts like the one Microsoft put out happen all the time on a place as big as Youtube. It's a huge potential market of incredibly cheap advertising, and I see absolutely no problem with companies wanting to exploit it as long as they play by the rules. Those rules, of course, being that they don't hide the fact that they're advertising their products to you, but we've already covered that.
So the contract was a huge mistake due to that one small yet very important part, but offering a contract in the first place wasn't a wrong thing to do. People like making money, and they also like making money for something they actually enjoy doing. It is a win-win situation for everybody most of the time. But with the Xbox One contract, there has been a bit of backlash. Namely due to a strange little tag people were forced to include in their videos.
The tag itself was more or less jibberish that wouldn't have meant anything to the person who noticed it. Searching for it on Youtube would have brought up 7000+ videos all using it before word came out that the tag was associated with people who took the deal. Once people knew what the tag meant, videos suddenly started vanishing. The reason was that quite a few big name Youtubers took the deal and were now being called out on shilling for a company for money.
Think About The Youtubers!
I'll delete the whole internet if I have to
To save face, they were deleting the videos in hopes that people would just forget that they were unashamedly exploiting their own viewers for money in secret as opposed to just letting them know they were being paid for their kind words. Odds are that after a while, people aren't going to care in the slightest. But there will always be that black mark on their record that they just might be trying to sell you something instead of actually reviewing it.
So in the end the only people who actually got hurt here were the people trying to make a few extra bucks. I'm glad I wasn't one of them, but I can't say I wouldn't have taken the deal too if it were presented to me. Assuming I'd have the time to make a video seeing as my hands are pretty full with this delicious $5 footlong I got from Subway. And with the money I saved, I can go to Gamestop and get their Power Up Rewards card! The thing pays for itself! As always, thanks for reading.