Report: Some YouTubers Think Taking Publisher Money is Okay

A new survey released by Gamasutra reveals a disturbing fact about YouTube gaming personalities; of those who participated in a survey, around 26 percent admitted that they had taken money directly or indirectly to promote a game or brand from a publisher.

In a survey carried out by Gamasutra, 141 YouTubers were asked a number of questions regarding the ethics of YouTube video game criticism. Of those interviewed, 30 percent (42 people) had over 5000 subscribers to their channel. Of these 42 people, 11 (26 percent) admitted to "receiving money directly or indirectly from a game dev/publisher for recording videos of their games", with another two replying that they "preferred not to say."

Only two percent of YouTubers who had less than 5000 subscribers said they took money from a publisher.

Around 40 percent of those respondents with more than 5,000 subscribers said they thought the idea of publishers and developers paying for video coverage was perfectly acceptable, though some added it should be conditional that such compensation should be disclosed within the video.

"We video creators live in complicated times," replied one anonymous respondent.

"It is expected from our work to be free. Copyright holders don't want us to monetize, no one likes ads, no one likes paid content but we invest our free time into covering the games we love, want to share: basically give free PR for the game itself. If a YouTuber asks for money for delivering great content, it's not wrong – it's a compensation."

Another respondent added: "If you need money and you get an offer to advertise a good game I think it is worth it. If the developer can't afford to pay YouTubers to promote their games they shouldn't do it."

A third said: "If they can get away with that, it's their prerogative."

But not all respondents thought that taking money was the right thing to do. One said such practices should be "avoided like the plague." Another said taking money is going a "bit too far."

"I'm all for profiting from your work, but taking payment to play a game in this manner is a bit like taking a bribe to provide a good review," said one YouTuber. "It feeds dishonesty."

You can check out Gamasutra's survey here.

Source: CVG

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  1. 0
    Wymorence says:

    So long as it's publicly disclosed (in an obvious method, none of this micro print you need an electron microscope to read crap), I really don't see that much of a problem with it. It can be a really good way to get your game's name out there.

    Heck, a while ago when Total War: Rome 2 or whatever was getting ready to release, they hired the Extra Credits guys on YouTube to do an ad of sorts for the game in a way of their own choosing. They opted to do a 3 part video about the Second Punic War from a historical view. It was actually pretty darn cool, and a different way of advertising that worked for a number of people I'd wager.

  2. 0
    Sleaker says:

    Err, I thought it was a guideline, not a rule. IE: they won't fine you, but they'll tell you to stop it.  I didn't think the FTC had regulatory control over internet broadcasts and that's why they developed said Guidelines, which should be followed.


    EDIT: This may be me getting FTC and FCC mixed up.


    EDIT2: Found it on the FTC website the FTC Act applies to 'All Media types' so internet as a media would be subject to the same laws making disclosures necessary.  Cool.

  3. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    "that the FTC has a guideline that you have to let people know when it's a paid promotion. Course this applies to US citizens/organizations, and isn't even enforceable, it's just honest advertising."

    Actually, those "guidelines" are enforceable and the FTC will fine you if they see that you are not disclosing paid relationships.

    E. Zachary Knight
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  4. 0
    Sora-Chan says:

    I think TotalBiscuit said in a video a while back, about when news was getting out that people were getting secretly paid to give the Xbox One good reviews (At a terrible rate even), that the FTC has a guideline that you have to let people know when it's a paid promotion. Course this applies to US citizens/organizations, and isn't even enforceable, it's just honest advertising.

    Outside of that, there isn't anything wrong with accepting money to promote something, especially when you let your viewers know.

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