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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?

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.

Published Jan. 20th 2014
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