I get it, there is a bad view of what can be theorized as false-advertising to the customer, and I get that. However, the basis of this is essentially promotion and that is how promotion works.
On the heels of the Microsoft and Machinima allegations, it is being reported that EA has practiced in a similar aspect. A post on NeoGaf shared an outline of what EA listed as ways to promote their products and they would pay for the positive promotion.
Let us get one thing straight, they are paying for promoting, they are not necessarily paying the YouTube content creators for reviewing the product. Same as the Microsoft allegations. No where in these outlines does it say that these videos were to be reviews of the game.
Underneath the terms of this promotion EA fully recognizes that there are glitches in the games at hand and ask that the promoters do not focus on the glitches as the video subject. They don’t say that you cannot show the glitches, only to not make that the basis of the video. Later on, the contract even states that you may even talk about aspects that you would like to see improve. Is that bad practice? It’s it being dishonest? Sure they could have absolutely made a Bad-Guy EA video, do you think that they would be compensated?
“Here’s $10 for calling me a twat in front of all of your friends for a first impression.”– Said no one ever. Seriously!
It is important to note that this is a common practice in YouTube. These are bonus ways that content creators can get paid. While on the outside looking in it does seem like dishonest work, in reality it is nothing more than basic marketing. How often do you see any commercials about products on TV that highlight the bad about said product? You don’t. They will not generate sales doing that. Does that make them any more dishonest?
I purchased a DVD rack to place on my wall to set up a nice collection from Best Buy once. From the packaging it looked to be a great product. It was also an impulse buy. Once I got home to set it up I quickly figured out that it did not work as well as I had hoped. Buyers remorse? Sure I could have looked at reviews to see bad ones, though, chances are the product makers were not apt to pay them for bad exposure. There may have been positive reviews as well. Again, chances are that they were not paid either. From this side, if they were to pay one, who do you think they would pay?
So let’s go to the flip-side, who should you be mad at?
Also in this contract at hand you do see where an non-disclosure agreement of this promotion is at. Essentially, creators are being told not to talk about this promotion as a reason of making the video with it’s viewers. So the transparency is lost and now it becomes something that the content creators are doing to earn their income. That is their right, so does this make the content creators dishonest?
No. More often than not there is a contract that is given to the content creators by their Channel Network. EA, and Microsoft in their allegations, simply gave the things they wanted to be seen and heard, not to mute the knowledge of the viewers of what was going on. Knowing who to be mad at is half the battle.