News popped up over the weekend on several outlets about a new marketing initiative that Microsoft has undergone. The ninja-ad campaign encourages Youtube channels partnered with Machinima to promote the Xbox One. In order to do this, users simply need to incorporate at least 30 seconds of gameplay or footage of any Xbox One game, as well as mention that they are playing on the Xbox One. Then users need to tag their video with Xb1M13 and submit a live YouTube link through Poptent. In return, participants will receive an addition $3 CPM ($3 per every thousand views) for their contribution. The campaign seems harmless enough, albeit a bit unorthodox. However, a supposedly leaked document which states the terms and conditions. The document states that in order to qualify for payment, users “may not say anything negative or disparaging about Machinima, Xbox One, or any of its Games.” Furthermore, the document also states that participants must also keep all details about the promotion confidential. In short, these users will only be payed by Microsoft only if nothing negative is said about Machinima, the Xbox One, or it’s games. Payment is also dependent on whether or not users violate the confidentiality of the agreement. While the goal of advertising is to make your product look good, there’s a hazy line being drawn between viral marketing and endorsement. In this case, YouTubers are being used to endorse the Xbox One on behalf of Microsoft. The problem is that as per FTC guidelines, anyone participating in endorsement deals require that material connections between them and the advertisers to be disclosed, which if they want to be paid they are forbidden from doing. Other stipulations in the guidelines state that endorsements must reflect honest opinions of the endorser. Unfortunately because of the terms and conditions of marketing plan, users are not allowed to express negative opinions if they want to be payed, so there is no way of knowing their true feelings. The promotion itself is entirely optional, and users are under no penalty even if they do break the terms and conditions. However, this type of marketing can bring into question the objectivity of YouTube channels several users have come to watch. Source: Igameresponsibly Related Mark Krijgsman But this is nothing new , it happens with game journalists all over the globe there was even some controversy about it in 2011, so i am not shocked at all . it might not be a nice thing it is smart a thing , what i think will happen is people making video’s of games they like on a console they like , so you will basicly get alot of fanboy video’s and that is something that is already happening Mark Krijgsman I still think that the big players in that pool like the zero punctuation guy and angry joe will keep making honest video’s that are objective , they kinda have to be like that as they will loose viewers if they sudenly go all lovey dovey over microsoft and their games. But you make a good point there and it is blurring the lines and it sadly might lead to good indie games not being endorsed and bad tripple a games being endorsed.