YouTube is a wonderful hub of entertainers and digital personalities all shouting their opinions and thoughts into the infinite abyss, hoping that enough people subscribe to them in order to make a career out of it. All of this is great though until large YouTubers start getting paid for saying positive things about products, games, movies, etc and the trouble of sponsored disclosure comes into play. And it’s here that a popular video game publisher, PewDiePie and a whole host of other YouTubers have recently come under fire – big time.
In a recent settlement, it’s become clear that back in 2014 multiple YouTubers were paid thousands to play, discuss and upload opinions based on a new video game, Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor. However whilst many YouTubers are very good at disclosing their sponsored content, it was found that certain creators, including PewDiePie, were encouraged by publishers to hide their promotional deal under the “Show More” tab on their videos, which is considered by the FTC as “inadequate disclosure”.
The director of the Federal Trade Commission (basically the people in charge of all this ad trouble), released a statement in which they declared that companies “need to be straight with consumers in their online ad campaigns”, but until then, they’ve been banned from creating similar deals in the future. Within the settlement, it became clear that the company had earned over 5.5 million video views for their sponsored content, with the PewDiePie video above earning nearly 4 million of it.
In addition to hiding the disclosure part of their deal, the publisher paid YouTubers to complete a series of tasks in order to close the deal; post at least one tweet or Facebook post about the game/video, produce videos thats did not express the game or publishers in a negative light, produce videos that did not show any glitches or bugs from the game, and finally the video must include a “strong call-to-action to click the link in the description box for the viewer to go to the [game’s] website to learn more about the [game]”.
If you want a good example of how this should be done and why it shouldn’t be any trouble for creators, check out TheRPGMinx and her Shadow of Mordor video below.
If you want to find out if any other YouTubers have been up to naughtiness over the past seven days, make sure you check out our weekly SLAY or NAY video to stay in the know! We roundup all the most important YouTuber news and gossip from the last week and present it to you in a handy 51-second video that can be sent straight to the palm of your hand if you subscribe to our YouTube channel right now! We’re so good to you.