Microsoft paying YouTubers for positive Xbox One coverage

Video creators on YouTube are being paid for posting Xbox One videos that do not feature the console in a negative light, but they must not mention the promotion.

Credit: Neogaf.

Microsoft recently launched a promotion that offered Machinima video partners payment for publishing videos featuring the Xbox One.

Reported by Ars Technica, participants were required to post a video that included a minimum of 30 seconds of footage from an Xbox One game, mentioned the Xbox One name, and were tagged "XB1M13" to be eligible for payment.

According to a leaked copy of the full legal agreement, video creators were not permitted to say "anything negative or disparaging about Machinima, Xbox One, or any of its games". Participants were also prohibited from mentioning the promotional agreement to be eligible for payment.

Payment was allegedly limited to the first 1.25 million video views in the promotion, which reportedly concluded on January 16.

A Microsoft representative was not immediately available to comment.

Microsoft recently announced that the Xbox One has sold over 3 million units worldwide. The console launched on November 22 in North America, the UK, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and New Zealand.

Written By

Zorine “harli” Te is a long time competitive gamer and also an Associate Editor at GameSpot.

Discussion

2689 comments
Ruster25
Ruster25

people all indignant up in hurrr


Actually I cant figure out if this is yet one more soulless Microsoft marketing ploy or just a really lazy way to get people to do your advertising for you


at the very least they should have that "Advertisement" in little white letters at the corner of the video

huendnile
huendnile

And this is why you make your own choice . You can always tell who is greasing the wheels by looking at the product placement , and by looking at the way the stories flow . Any website you visit that is a game website and should be unbiased and 90% of there banner or every click page shows for example Xbox one on every page its because there doing it for Microsoft for money to help push that product . Again this is way people need to get off there butts and research for themselves  

DocsDeLorean
DocsDeLorean

From the agreement: "As compensation for the promotion that You are providing, You shall be paid the consideration of One U.S. Dollar ($3.00) CPM (“CPM Compensation”) for every valid View (as the terms View” is defined in your existing Affiliate Agreement with Machinima, including all the terms thereof, are incorporated herein by reference) of each Campaign Video that complies with the Promotional Requirements set forth above, subject to the “Campaign Cap” (as defined below). “CPM” means cost per thousand views of Campaign Video on Your YouTube Channel"

So how much are they getting paid for each view?

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

Flooding youtube with reviews that are made out to be purely positive? Pathetic. I imagine the company would also abuse the DMCA take down request feature youtube has to get negative ones pulled. Truth is, I think of bad consoles when I hear someone say "Xbox," and talking about Virtual Boy bad. Xbox had faulty power cords that can catch on fire. 360 fails because it cannot grasp the true form of Giygas's attack, also known as the red ring of death. Worse part is the online multiplayer subscription fee, which is the number one reason I don't like Xboxes and why I don't plan to get a PS4 any time soon.
 

Barighm
Barighm

This is technically illegal fyi.

Jawbone
Jawbone

I don't have a problem with people selling out because everyone has their price, but to do it for just $3? These people are street walkers of the cheapest kind.

Inlex
Inlex

The sad part about all of this, is that even though you, I and tens of thousands of other game followers will note this appalling practice, we are only a very,very small percentage of the target audience. 

The vast majority of potential XBone buyers are completely oblivious to news like this. I'm willing to wager that half of the dads who buy a console for their son/daughter don't even know which company makes the XBox or the Playstation.


If we, as a gaming community, want this to stop, we have to actively protest these things. Sadly, that's probably never going to happen, since half of the people protesting the practice here, secretly already bought an XBone...

PS: Sony is just as bad, only they're deciding to just sit back and watch MS make a fool of themselves. If they hadn't been doing that for the past year, Sony would have been doing very similar things. They just simply don't need to..


drwhoiscool
drwhoiscool

Its cheaper then TV Adds, they do the same thing.  Open Market Advertising.  Video game & hardware review companies do the same thing.  I'm from the internet, I know everything and am truthfull.  If you rate this message positive, you will have good luck tomorrow, also, comment with your credit card #below for the Credit Card Lottery.

Born_Lucky
Born_Lucky

Think about this.


The people in charge at Microsoft, are so stupid, they didn't think anyone would find out about this. 

They think the consumers are so stupid that this would fool them.


Those are the same people who approved the design and policies of the Xbox One.


I wouldn't touch that thing with a ten foot pole.

Lach0121
Lach0121

It is pretty sad that people don't realize marketing is more accurately described as an industry of deceit, than legitimately advertising a product!


Worshiping $$ inevitably brings corruption. This is just another symptom of that, among the un-countable many.

amar1234
amar1234

viral marketing its nothing new, youtube has changed from peoples blogs, and funny home videos in to a massive commercial channel. Im still amazed theres people out there dont know this( every body transformation video you ever seen on utube is actually just adverts to sell you something, they fake). All your favourite blogs on youtube are getting paid from someone to advertise something in addition to their payment for views.


I do however lol at Microsoft for having to stoop to such a low level marketing technique seeing how powerful their parent company is, and then getting caught out for it rofl , i mean very few companies  get caught out for this and it goes to show what people think of xbone that they got outed for this.

sofalover
sofalover

Xone, the dust gatherer under my telly.

blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

THIS JUST IN. BREAKING NEWS.

officials have learned that for the past century, countless major corporations have quietly moved large sums of money to actors, hiring them to provide positive coverage for the products and services these businesses offer. these activities are closely monitored and tightly controlled at all times. actors are even given pre-approved scripts to read from, so as to avoid any unintended negative representation of the company in these promotions. historians have helped confirm that these schemes extend back HUNDREDS of years, and have utilized almost EVERY major form of communication from art and literature in the 19th century to radio and television in present day.

whatever the reason, we know that the idiots on the Gamespot forums can be sure this is, without a doubt, the single greatest conspiracy ever carried out in the history of human civilization. stay tuned. 

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

Sad... really.... just sad. 


Xbox one fans.... its what everyone does.... really!!!... no big deal


Sony fan ..... see its all paid babble. 

cjtopspin
cjtopspin

Microsoft:  Take pistol.  Aim at foot.  Pull trigger.  Repeat if necessary.

dmblum1799
dmblum1799

Key note : "Participants were prohibited from mentioning the promotional agreement..."


That says all you need to know.

dmblum1799
dmblum1799

It's not advertising because the consumer is supposed to be unaware it's advertising. If I'm watching TV and an ad comes on, I'm fully cognizant - this guy's trying to sell me something.


This is bribing people to lie for profit. Sleazy? check. Dishonest? check.Microsoft? check.

rogue81
rogue81

It's just advertising. You see it every time a basketball player endorses a pair of shoes. The movie "The Matrix Reloaded" was a car commercial for GM. Microsoft uses the TV show "Arrow" to push the Surface tablet. Sony did it when they used Kevin Butler to promote the PS3. The only difference now is instead of paying a celebrity to endorse their product, Microsoft is paying our peers to do the endorsements. Does that mean you should buy into it because some guy on YouTube said you should? God, I hope not. Really the only thing that's actually changed is these You Tubers have shot giant holes in their credibility. Considering they're on You Tube, that's not really saying a whole lot. 

Paul9Rhymes
Paul9Rhymes

I knew it!, I fu*king knew It all along!.........So I say : DIE XBone! :)

dog
dog

TeeHee

BruceWayneJr
BruceWayneJr

@huendnile This post would be way more effective if you knew how to use there/their/they're. Just sayin'.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@Inlex I'm not getting a Ex-box One or a Paystation 4. The online multiplayer fee ruins both of them for me. Kind of a shame Sony was able to get away with it because their are already plenty of people who like PS+ for the games (Sony gets no incremental revenue from them) and the only alternative at the moment was announcing worse practices.

Barighm
Barighm

@blue_shift_91Dude, you didn't read the article very closely. They created paid endorsements and then told the people NOT to say it's a paid endorsement. That is illegal.

blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

@dmblum1799 

because whenever i watch a commercial, the first thing i hear is, "Hello! I've been paid by company X to tell you..."

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@rogue81Kevin Butler was an actor. Using peers is word of mouth. Normally, word of mouth is more reliable since the people mentioning it aren't getting kickbacks from companies. This is where things went wrong.

Lordcrabfood
Lordcrabfood

@rogue81 I was about to say this.  Celebrities get cash 4 comment all the time.  Honestly, everyone make up your own minds on products and stop caring what others think.

andmcq
andmcq

@Paul9Rhymes And you don't think Sony/Nintendo have had similar deals in the past?

blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

@Barighm @blue_shift_91  

no. for your convenience...

"This partnership between Machinima and Microsoft was a typical marketing partnership to promote Xbox One in December. The Xbox team does not review any specific content or provide feedback on content. Any confidentiality provisions, terms or other guidelines are standard documents provided by Machinima. For clarity, confidentiality relates to the agreements themselves, not the existence of the promotion."

you do realize that if there is any blame to be had, the vast majority of it is supposed to go to Machinima, right? you also realize that every video is posted as part of a "XB1M13" campaign name? and that FTC guidelines are exactly that? GUIDELINES. they are loosely based on the law, and are not law themselves. so i don't know where you're getting this illegal sentiment. you're one person, not a court.

what's jaw-dropping is that gamers are trying to play lawyer without trying to understand the language and logic of the situation. so this thread just becomes a crowd of drooling fanboys looking for ammunition.

dmblum1799
dmblum1799

@blue_shift_91 @dmblum1799 


So, when you see a commercial on tv, internet, etc., you don't realize the company paid for it? You think the TV station just supports the product for free??? Are you retarded?

Paul9Rhymes
Paul9Rhymes

@andmcq Well maybe they did, but at least they had & have a damn good products to sell.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@blue_shift_91@Jinzo_111887  

1.) I wouldn't count them as true reviews either.

2.) There's a bit of a difference between word of mouth advertising and those Kevin Butler commercials Sony had. KB was a role played by an actor, while the people participating in this are real people (word of mouth) to advertise a Sub-par machine.

3.) True, but this feels like it interferes with how word of mouth advertising works. I guess it could be one way to tell who deserve respect and who are sellouts, though.

4.) MS (or their Anti-Copyright Infringement partner as they claim) has filed plenty of false takedowns. Some of them were pretty embarrassing. Here's one for you: http://torrentfreak.com/microsoft-wants-google-to-censor-microsoft-com-130728/

5.) I know that, but it's still what I think of Xbox consoles. I absolutely despise the Xbox consoles for the online multiplayer fee.

6.) Did MS outsource it to them? That actually didn't work out with their DMCA filing attempts. http://torrentfreak.com/microsoft-ditches-anti-piracy-partner-after-embarrassing-dmca-takedowns-130927/

blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

@Jinzo_111887 @blue_shift_91 

1. they're not reviews.

2. every form of marketing is a bribe by your logic. reality check.

4. no company makes an advertisement to smear its own fckin products. that's just common sense.

3. using an example of some dev's activity to feed into your future assessment of microsoft is just plain insane.

4. microsoft's marketing method is completely irrelevant to your perception of the quality of their products. that's just broken logic based off the click bait everyone loves reading on the internet.

5. microsoft is not in charge of issuing this agreement. machinima is.


PHOENIXZERO
PHOENIXZERO

@blue_shift_91@Barighm

Goddammit the comments were bugging out and I accidentally clicked the wrong place on my damn post. Feel free to repost it.>_<

Yeah, that's what I get listening to third parties and not actually reading more than just that section, if I went to GP as frequently as I use to I would've saw that. But whatever, I don't really care all that much because this crap happens all the time. The legality is irrelevant, it's still a shady payola like practice to not disclose/make it clear you're being compensated regardless of who's responsible and MS isn't alone in it, I'm sure Sony has done its fair share over the years as well as publishers.

blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

@PHOENIXZERO @blue_shift_91 @Barighm  

from the very FIRST line of your source.

"The Guides in this part represent administrative interpretations of laws enforced by the Federal Trade Commission for the guidance of the public in conducting its affairs in conformity with legal requirements. Specifically, the Guides address the application of Section 5 of the FTC Act (15 U.S.C. 45) to the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. The Guides provide the basis for voluntary compliance with the law by advertisers and endorsers."

i've lost track of the number of times i've had to clarify to numerous wannabe internet lawyers what they completely misinterpret as "illegal." the FTC guidelines are GUIDELINES. what is strictly based on law is the FTC Act, which establishes the actual body of the Federal Trade Commission and its limits of operation.

Machinima and Microsoft have already issued a statement for this.

"This partnership between Machinima and Microsoft was a typical marketing partnership to promote Xbox One in December. The Xbox team does not review any specific content or provide feedback on content. Any confidentiality provisions, terms or other guidelines are standard documents provided by Machinima. For clarity, confidentiality relates to the agreements themselves, not the existence of the promotion."
if all this is activity is somehow deemed worthy enough of attention, here's what will happen: the FTC will launch an investigation on their activities. if something is found to be in violation, a warning will be issued, and Microsoft and Machinima will be allowed to tweak the agreements and disclaimers. if, and ONLY if, by some freak accident, Microsoft and Machinima fail to heed these warnings, THEN they will be found in violation of law, and Machinima, not Microsoft, will bear the brunt of the blame.

and hey, just for fun, here's this. http://www.gamepolitics.com/2014/01/23/ftc-microsoft-and-ea-are-not-breaking-any-laws-youtube-paid-endorsement-schemes#.UuSg3nmtu2w



blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

@Barighm 

addressed your comment. you completely misunderstand the role that FTC guidelines (keyword is guidelines, not law) play in this situation.

it is clear you are also totally unaware of the FTC's own stance in this.

Barighm
Barighm

@blue_shift_91@dmblum1799Actually, that is marketing fraud. Telling people to market your product and then specifically paying them to say they're NOT affiliated with the company in question in any way is very much paying people to lie, ie. fraud. Advertisers are required to state an endorsement is paid for (that's why you see brand names and logos in commercials).

**Well, it only took me 5 secs. to find the law that states advertisers MUST state who they are working for. You can do it too!!

blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

@dmblum1799 @blue_shift_91 

lol, fanboyness? you kids crack me up. every generation, a new bunch of you idiots shit your pants over some new method of marketing, accusing everyone and everything of moral ambiguity and evil intentions and blah blah blah. go take a lesson from history.

sorry to burst your bubble, but you people have been spouting the same old bullshit forever, and it's gotten beyond ridiculous. now you're telling me that payment to encourage 30 second internet videos of someone playing their xbox one game is tantamount to some form of marketing fraud. i recommend you actually try and understand the definition of whatever the hell it is you think Microsoft is guilty of. you know...rather than pull shit out of your ass about how we know a commercial is a commercial, but youtube is supposed to be a holy source of trustworthy consumer content.

and no, fake "5 star reviews" are not a valid comparison to this. take a few seconds, and actually think about what you wrote. if you SERIOUSLY can't see the false analogy, then there's no point in me carrying out a conversation with a brick wall.

dmblum1799
dmblum1799

@blue_shift_91 @dmblum1799 


Your fanboyness is addling your brain. If you don't know that the actors in the commercials for say, a shampoo, by the company, you're completely a moron. However, if I go to the player reviews here i assume the players aren't making money (and they aren't).If an author paid a bunch of people to give 5 star reviews on amazon.com, i'd consider him discredited.


And the question is answered: you're retarded and should stop posting.


Amazing the stuff you see on the internet.

blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

@dmblum1799 @blue_shift_91 

and you think companies intend to focus all your attention on the fact that the actors in these commercials have been paid to perform in them? so every advertisement ever created is presented with the intention of reminding all consumers know that they are being persuaded by a company with a profit motive? are you retarded?