It should come to no surprise to many of us that companies regularly pay off popular internet personalities and networks to positively showcase and promote their products. Now reports are suggesting that Microsoft is engaging in this sort of activity with Machinima video content partners on YouTube in order to rebound some of the generally negative feelings towards the Xbox One.
The company is said to be making deals with various popular Machinima partners, offering them payment in return for showing off Xbox One footage and talking positively about the machine. Affiliates are said to be getting around $3 for every 1000 views a video that meets Microsoft's criteria receives.
This type of activity happens quite regularly, like Google who recently handed out Glass to a number of partnered and popular Youtubers. These kinds of internet personalities have become quite a popular form of advertising for companies, but there is one glaring difference about Microsoft's recent deal. The contract Microsoft enters into with the content creators reportedly calls for non-disclosure of the deal's particulars, which as many have suggested could potentially violate FCC regulations.
The full legal document presented to potential content creators reads:
"You agree to keep confidential at all times all matters relating to this Agreement, including, without limitation, the Promotional Requirements, and the CPM Compensation, listed above."
While there has been no official comment from Microsoft or Machinima at this time, Poptent digital marketing campaign materials recently surfaced that showed listings for popular YouTube personalities to get involved with Microsoft's Machinima partners affiliate program. We also saw evidence of the Xbox One astroturfing deal when emails detailing the deal's requirements sent to Machinima partners leaked over the weekend.
To receive payment, Microsoft requires video makers to show off 30 seconds of Xbox One gameplay footage, verbal mention of the game, tag the video with "XB1M13" and to submit the the video's link to Poptent (among other things), according to an email sent to potential content creators over the weekend.
Evidence suggests that the particular deal Microsoft and Machinima have available will only run until February 9 or until participating creators reach 1.25 million views collectively. Based on the affiliate payment rate mentioned above, Microsoft is only in it for $3750, so this isn't some massive campaign nor is it something other companies (including Microsoft) aren't likely doing on much larger scales already. There is also mention of similar Poptent campaigns dating back to November, meaning this kind of stuff has looks to have been happening since the console was released last year.