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Microsoft Pays YouTubers For Xbox One Promotion: Big Deal?

Microsoft paying for YouTubers to promote the Xbox One isn't underhanded...is it?

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For the record, I'll just say, "nah."

Gamers are making a big deal over this but they're forgetting two important points: 1. In the world of marketing and advertising, anything you can do to get an edge is admissible. 2. Microsoft is hardly the only company to adopt this form of promotion.

In a new Ars Technica report, we learn that Microsoft launched a promotion that offered Machinima video partners payment for Xbox One footage. Specifically, video creators were paid to promote Microsoft's console and put it in a positive light. For instance, they not only had to include a minimum of 30 seconds of Xbox One footage, they also had to mention the console's name, and the video had to be tagged with "XB1M13" to be eligible for payment.

In reading a leaked copy of the legal agreement, another interesting point arises: Participants weren't allowed to mention that they were being paid to say nice things about the Xbox One. They also weren't allowed to say "anything negative or disparaging about Machinima, Xbox One, or any of its games."

This is the sort of thing that often gives Microsoft an advantage, especially in this country.

A big deal over nothing? Maybe.

Let's not go too crazy over this. Every time we hear about it, the tactic sounds a tad shady and underhanded, but that's often how successful marketing sounds. Microsoft = masters of self-promotion and spreading hype; this is just what they do. I don't think there's anything to get in a tizzy about. Who knows? Perhaps Sony and Nintendo are doing something very similar even as we speak.

Originally Published Jan. 20th 2014

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A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.



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Comments
  • 1
    Illutian 9 months ago
    Um...not a big deal? Dafuq?

    FTC specifically states you MUST declare (aka disclose) if you are getting paid to endorse a product. Microsoft made YouTubers sign a contract, using Machinima as a proxy that BREAKS THE LAW.
  • 1
    Illutian Kade 9 months ago
    [disregard; duplicate account]
    Last edited 9 months ago
  • 1
    Josh_6971 9 months ago
    Only a moron would buy anything from microsoft anyway. Let them suck dicks
  • 10
    Samuel Smith 9 months ago
    Featured Contributor
    I think as a consumer I deserve to know when somebody has got some sort of incentive to feature something. I see it all the time on blogs that disclose they will receive a commission or maybe they got a free copy of the game for a review etc.
  • 1
    happydude86 9 months ago
    Are you sure you haven't been bought out by Microsoft? Because these are some ridiculously (and unearnedly) positive "opinions" that you're throwing out here. ANYTHING you can do to get an edge is admissible in the world of marketing? Nonsense. There are rules and regulations about what you can and cannot do when it comes to promotion; Regulations that MS is breaking. Microsoft are "masters of self-promotion"? Are you kidding me? I could make the argument that if there's anything Microsoft has become notorious for in the gaming world recently (besides being evil), it would be shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to getting their message across. They aren't "masters of self-promotion", they're morons who can't open their mouths without making themselves look bad. The whole DRM debacle at E3 arose because of their complete inability to communicate their ideas effectively and control their message.
  • 11
    MXAGhost 9 months ago
    Contributor
    Readers and viewers need to know when sponsorship is in play to make informed decisions about what media they consume and which products they purchase. If viewers are up in arms about this they need to ask for transparency.
  • 60
    Jay Ricciardi 9 months ago
    Staff Editor
    I think the biggest thing is just the unethical lack of transparency in the practice. Microsoft already has so many strikes in the 'consumer trust' category but this is equally on the YouTubers for accepting the shady deal - sure, you gotta make rent, but that's an unethical way to do so.

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