Sketchy Xbox One YouTube Promo Plan Now Requires Full Disclosure

Yesterday, video network Machinima took a whole lot of heat for a cash-for-coverage plan that allowed their members to make extra money in exchange for making videos about the Xbox One. YouTubers picked to participate in the promotion could make an extra $US3 per 1000 views on every video covering Microsoft's newest console. A few parts of this promotion rankled people, particularly the section of the leaked contract implying that participants couldn't talk about what they were doing.

But in a statement to Kotaku, a Machinima representative clarified that they don't want their partners to hide the sponsorship deal; in fact, they say, they're now asking their YouTube network to disclose it.

We execute large network wide activations routinely and, where part of a promotional campaign, typically require channel partners to include certain language in their video content relating to the promotion. That didn't happen here and we're evaluating why. All participants are being asked today to include our standard language going-forward. We apologise for the error and any confusion.

Other promotions, like a plan involving coverage of E3 2013, included very specific language about disclosure, according to documents we've obtained:

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Disclosure aside, the exchange of cash for positive coverage is not a typical editorial practice, and it's certainly not something that many editorial teams — including Kotaku's — would participate in.

UPDATE: Microsoft has also sent over comment:

Microsoft was not aware of individual contracts Machinima had with their content providers as part of this promotion and we didn't provide feedback on any of the videos. We have asked Machinima to not post any additional Xbox One content as part of this media buy and we have asked them to add disclaimers to the videos that were part of this program indicating they were part of paid advertising.


    But the issue with this is that you cannot tell if its an honest opinion or just a good opinion of Xbone because they are getting paid.

    Its dishonest to the Consumers, its dirty and shows us that Microsoft must not have alot of high hopes for Xbone if they need to pay people.

    But where is the apology. When Sony did this with the PSP, they stopped paid advertisement and apologized cause they knew its wrong and dishonest.
    MS on the other hand dont stop and wont apologize for their dishonesty, and downplay MS's involvement.

    Instead they get the Blogs to pit up a disclaimer saying they are being paid to give good advertisement for Xbone. Are MS that dumb?
    MS think their fan base are dumb minded nimb wits and the fan base take it up the ass.

    Since PS1, I have never had to deal with dishonesty and bad treatment from
    sony. They are honest, keep promises and know the Gaming Industry in and out, which is why sony will win this gen.
    I know its too early, but MS just cant do anything right.

      I don't like this turning into a weird pissing contest but I can believe it when Microsoft says that they were ignorant of the Machinima contract.... On the other hand, this is a company that blows millions on PR and advertising. The fact they didn't do their due diligence and pore over the T&C before green-lighting the promotion is amateurish in the extreme. I don't know what sort of Mickey Mouse operation Microsoft's marketing department is, but it's an act of repeated self-sabotage that Ken 'crazy like a fox' Kutaragi would be proud of.

    And as expected, the first comment is from a Sonydrone trying to spin everything to make the Wobblestation 4 look better.
    All I can say is, Sonydrones, enjoy your Wobblestation. Enjoy Killzone.

      You have to admit M$ marketing kind of messed up their targets on xbone release, now they are at it playing catch up to push out the brand.
      It's blatant advertising push campaign, and they got caught out. Everyone knows it does occur, but not all the time, just this time they were caught, blatantly saying yes to the fact they pay people off to endorse M$. This makes youtubers who accept these contracts sell outs, as their followers are under a fair perception of gaming sources to at least be unbiased.
      If the people who accepted then contracts were blatantly M$ fans then fair enough, but how many youtubers only represent 1 side.

    Don't be a dick, child. The lord may yet bless thee.

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