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:
" link="lightbox" size="xlarge" align="center" nocrop="true" clear="true"]
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.