Can’t say I’m surprised by this news… More on that later.
The Federal Trade Commission has settled charges with the YouTube channel Machinima, which was accused of posting fake paid for reviews endorsing the XBox One without revealing they had been paid.
Machinima must stop similar “deceptive” video review practices immediately and must reveal when they are getting paid for posting videos.
Two of Machinima’s “influencers” were paid as much as $45,000 between the two for endorsing XBox One in their videos; however, none of these “influencers” revealed they had been paid. It’s also said additional “influencers” were getting paid as much as a dollar per 1,000 views on YouTube. Machinima currently has over 12.6 million subscribers.
“When people see a product touted online, they have a right to know whether they’re looking at an authentic opinion or a paid marketing pitch,” Jessica Rich, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a released statement. “That’s true whether the endorsement appears in a video or any other media.”
The fault looks to be on the side of a marketing agency that works with Microsoft, as Microsoft received no blame for the incidents.
Regarding my thoughts on not being surprised by this news, I’ve experienced this first hand in more than one way. I can recall an incident with an animated movie studio who offered to send advance review copies: We posted a slightly negative review about their latest animated movie, and then never received any review copies. I also know of comic publisher/s paying people to write comic reviews and interviews, and also have long suspected certain sites write positive reviews in exchange for exclusives. Well, here at Cosmic Book News, I can guarantee you are getting an honest opinion — even if it costs us “freebies,” “exclusives,” press material and party invites – as we aren’t spinning anything in favor of anyone (and that’s why we take a hard stance on a variety of topics).