Yesterday we reported that Microsoft was paying Machinima channel users extra cash to pimp out the Xbox One without actually being clear about Advert vs Advertorial vs Editorial. Today's its everybody's favourite gaming baddie, Electronic Arts in the same dock.
First up, why is paying a US-based Youtube user to be nice about your game - in this case Battlefield 4
- a bad thing? It's not if you're not breaking FCC guidelines by telling that Youtuber that they cannot reveal that they are being paid. This is made clear via the EA/Google Ronku program (login pictured).The Verge
reports that, "the company pays gamers quite a bit: $10 for every 1,000 views, or roughly $200,000 for an entire 20,000,000-view Battlefield 4 promotional campaign. In order to qualify for some of that money, YouTube video creators apparently have to follow specific instructions about how to promote the game."
One of these instructions is, "You agree to keep confidential at all times all matters relating to this Agreement and any Assignment including, without limitation, the Details and Compensation listed above."
This quite distinctly goes against the The Federal Trade Commission instructions that if you're endorsing a product you must "clearly and conspicuously" tell your audience that you're being paid.
So, this was chased up with EA/Ronku and a response was sent:
"Through EA's Ronku program, some fans are compensated for the YouTube videos they create and share about our games. The program requires that participants comply with FTC guidelines and identify when content is sponsored. User-generated videos are a valuable and unique aspect of how gamers share their experiences playing the games they love, and one that EA supports.
"We explicitly state in the Terms & Conditions of the program that each video must comply with the FTC's Guidelines concerning Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising."
Strangely conflicting if the quote regarding Confidentiality is true. It does, however, emanate from NeoGaf
that hotbed of truth and justice.