The FTC had been investigating Warner Bros. for an Ad Campaign they ran for their game, Shadow Of Mordor. The campaign involved many popular YouTubers, as part of influencer marketing strategy. The exact nature of the issue is as below (as reported by Variety).
“According to the FTC, Warner Bros. enlisted ad agency Plaid Social Labs to hire online influencers to develop sponsored gameplay videos for “Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor,” post them on YouTube and promote them on Twitter and Facebook. WB paid from “hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars” to each influencer and gave them a free, pre-release version of the game, and told them to not disclose any bugs they discovered, according to the complaint. In addition, Warner Bros. failed to instruct the influencers to include sponsorship disclosures “clearly and conspicuously” in the videos themselves, but instead told them to put disclosures in the description field of the videos, the FTC said.”
Warner Bros. has since come to a settlement with the FTC. However, earlier today, Pewdiepie has responded with a video on his channel claiming that he had done no wrong. He had put in a disclaimer in the video description and that according to YouTube laws back in 2014, it was adequate. He also states that he verbally states paid promotions in his videos as of late, as per the updates YouTube norms.
The Poodipu responds:
Without condoning or condemning the YouTube reviewers/content creators, it”s strange how the ‘traditional media’ jumped at the chance to show them down. Gawker had this to say, and it reads like a 13 year old whining to his mum..
“As the profession of journalism slowly dies, what is sprouting up in its wake are “content creators”—people who replicate the facade of journalism while skipping most of the hard stuff. One manifestation of this phenomenon is the growing swath of people who review art and entertainment on YouTube, healdined by Pewdiepie, the Swede who has become the single most subscribed user on Youtube, making of tens of millions of dollars in the process.”
Come on, you’re just underlining your own irrelevance.
Polygon says, “..disclosures were buried deep within the video’s description box..”
Now, we’ve been using YouTube for years, and there’s no “deep” within the description. It’s just there, and you read it if you want to. More importantly, if you’re going to a video expecting to make a purchasing decision based on it, then it’s your responsibility to try and get as much information as you can, be it getting “deep” within the description or otherwise.
“Consumers have the right to know if reviewers are providing their own opinions or paid sales pitches,” director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Jessica Rich said in a statement. “Companies like Warner Brothers need to be straight with consumers in their online ad campaigns.”
We absolutely agree, given that the consumer also does not go throwing money at the first thing his/her favorite YouTuber says is great.
Venture Beat has a rather distasteful description for Pewdiepie, “PewDiePie is a Swedish YouTuber who is famous for making guttural noises in English while playing video games. He reportedly makes millions of dollars from his channel.”
YouTube critic TotalBiscuit has also responded via Twitter saying:
Pewdiepie is being brought up for clicks. He actually did disclose. Not well, but he did. Others didn’t at all.
— John Bain (@Totalbiscuit) July 12, 2016
Online user Arden puts it best, “I’m curious where the line is drawn that The Consumer should just be expected to NOT be a colossal moron? Like, a disclosure in the description box seems adequate to me. It’s not like it’s a secret watermark that you also need a decoder ring to solve, it’s not buried 42 scroll-wheel turns deep in a ToS page… It literally is *right there.*
Where is the expectation that grown ups with disposable income begin acting like grownups and not hurl money at the first person who says “bro, you should spend money”?”
What are your thoughts on this whole debacle? Coming fast on the heels of the CS:GO gambling scheme, do you thing this will be bringing more regulation to YouTube?
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