Microsoft reportedly paying off popular YouTubers to promote Xbox One

By on January 21, 2014, 12:30 PM
microsoft, youtube, xbox, xbox one, xb1m13, machinima, affiliates, youtubers

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.




User Comments: 28

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wastedkill said:

Microsoft must be loosing tons of market share for them to stoop this low.. atleast we know how bad the xbox one is now...

2 people like this | treeski treeski said:

Microsoft must be loosing tons of market share for them to stoop this low.. atleast we know how bad the xbox one is now...

Why do you feel the need to troll every MS article?

wastedkill said:

Microsoft must be loosing tons of market share for them to stoop this low.. atleast we know how bad the xbox one is now...

Why do you feel the need to troll every MS article?

oh I'm sorry let me change my brain to yours so everyone now thinks like you, please stop acting like microsoft is the perfect child here. If microsoft wasnt THAT desperate as I said why would they resort to this???

I am pretty sure a few companies which basically did this got a slap on the wrist and a fine its not OK to do this it is just trying to make a sour product look like its good, atleast sony doesnt stoop to these levels.

No matter how bad a product is paying people to make it looks good just makes the product looks terrible to people with a brain, plus microsoft is huge they dont need to make people say its good unless its actually bad.

2 people like this | treeski treeski said:

oh I'm sorry let me change my brain to yours so everyone now thinks like you, please stop acting like microsoft is the perfect child here. If microsoft wasnt THAT desperate as I said why would they resort to this???

I am pretty sure a few companies which basically did this got a slap on the wrist and a fine its not OK to do this it is just trying to make a sour product look like its good, atleast sony doesnt stoop to these levels.

No matter how bad a product is paying people to make it looks good just makes the product looks terrible to people with a brain, plus microsoft is huge they dont need to make people say its good unless its actually bad.

1. I'm not saying to think like I do, I'm accusing you of bashing MS every chance you get, warranted or not, and it's just tiresome. Obviously MS isn't perfect, no company is. XB1 was the best selling console in the US in December... I don't think desperation was the issue.

2. At least Sony doesn't stoop to those levels? No, they just sue people like Geohotz and neglect to inform customers that their information was stolen after PSN got hacked. And how do you know Sony isn't doing the same stuff? Just because they weren't caught doesn't mean they're not doing it.

3 people like this | Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Microsoft must be loosing tons of market share for them to stoop this low.. atleast we know how bad the xbox one is now...

It's not a whole lot different than a burger chain hiring a supermodel for advertising, or a soft drink company hiring popular actors or performers to push their products... Or even product placement in TV shows and movies... It's not like Microsoft is reinventing the wheel here, they are just using a demographic (internet "stars" that might actually have some specific appeal to their target gamer consumer.

Guest said:

oh I'm sorry let me change my brain to yours so everyone now thinks like you, please stop acting like microsoft is the perfect child here. If microsoft wasnt THAT desperate as I said why would they resort to this???

I am pretty sure a few companies which basically did this got a slap on the wrist and a fine its not OK to do this it is just trying to make a sour product look like its good, atleast sony doesnt stoop to these levels.

No matter how bad a product is paying people to make it looks good just makes the product looks terrible to people with a brain, plus microsoft is huge they dont need to make people say its good unless its actually bad.

Fair enough, but you always seem to favour posting on MS articles more than others and then do it with so much spiteful hate. Did Microsoft steal your lunch money, hmmmm? Do you have something against them?

MilwaukeeMike said:

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.

No, it's not a surprise. Most of us just call them 'commercials'.

wastedkill said:

Let me straighten this up ok

1. I am not a fanboy of any sort dont own any console last one I did own was 360.

2. I only post on articles worth posting on I am not a on a postathon.

3. Anyone who calls someone a troll is a troll, just sayin.

3.1: I just think its bad that M$ have to pay others to make their product looks good specially when you have a better track record then sony.

Also your telling me that sony is the only one that has sued someone like geohots? I bet hundreds of companies have been hacked and neglected to inform their customers including microsoft.

I am sure sony are doing it better if we havent heard of them buying thumbs up on machinima or some other type of video network.

If you bought a product because x company payed x people to say its good and it turned out bad I am guessing you would thank them right? Not saying xbox one is bad but its not good not from a gamers point of view anyway.

m4a4 m4a4 said:

Meh, doesn't surprise me that yet another company is paying for good coverage from "celebrities". Happens all the time.

wastedkill said:

Meh, doesn't surprise me that yet another company is paying for good coverage from "celebrities". Happens all the time.

Wouldnt call anyone from machinima celebrities...

1 person liked this | m4a4 m4a4 said:

Wouldnt call anyone from machinima celebrities...

Hence the quotes. A lazy way to get the point across :P

2 people like this | lipe123 said:

"paying off" is a phrase used to describe bribery or something illegal, poor choice of words for a perfectly legal advertising campaign.

Also what negative vibe? From what I understand among the lesser beings that use consoles they prefer xbox over PS3 and Sony's recent track record with hacks and law suits really left them with a nice dent to their reputation.

MS isn't asking users to lie or make up fictional BS they are asking them to post gameplay footage.

That means they are promoting their actual product so I don't get the hate or negative vibe from the article.

Advertising costs money and like several other people posted, everyone pays for advertising so this is no different. If anything this is WAY cheaper at $3 for 1000 views!

1 person liked this | Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Wouldnt call anyone from machinima celebrities...

To the younger gamer crowd, the Machinima guys can have have a minor rock star-ish status. At the very least, there is quite a bit of admiration and respect for them. So yah, when you look at the demographic Microsoft is after, they are a perfect example of a "celebrity" to the young gamers. It's all relative.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't know about some of you, but I see a big difference between Britney Spears promoting Pepsi, two things very unrelated, vs Machinima a gaming and media streaming website promoting a gaming console, two things very much so related. See the problem?

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't know about some of you, but I see a big difference between Britney Spears promoting Pepsi, two things very unrelated, vs Machinima a gaming and media streaming website promoting a gaming console, two things very much so related. See the problem?

Maybe a better analogy would be movie critics and movie promotion. Movie studios pay big money, bring in tons of "critics" to screen their movie, encourage positive reviews, and then post little comments and snippets all over their ads and posters. It's a common story in the entertainment business, with nearly identical plot lines, only the type of media involved changes.

Guest said:

Perhaps part of the blame rests on the gaming channels themselves, would you trust them to be honest? They can always choose not to promote Xbox One if they do not feel like it. If a channel honestly sees the console as "good" then they can choose to participate in the Xbox One promotion.

1 person liked this | Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Maybe a better analogy would be movie critics and movie promotion. Movie studios pay big money, bring in tons of "critics" to screen their movie, encourage positive reviews, and then post little comments and snippets all over their ads and posters. It's a common story in the entertainment business, with nearly identical plot lines, only the type of media involved changes.

Hence why I don't believe what critics say about general media, I need to make my own choice because of that problem. Which is the same issue with Microsoft paying Machinima to promote the Xbx1, forced publicity is never good publicity, at least not in my eyes.

wastedkill said:

If your having to pay people to say nice things about your product then it sounds like your product has already failed, being paid to say nice things about the xbox one is not advertising its making the viewers get the wrong idea of a product thanks to microsoft paying them to say nice things and only nice things about their product.

penn919 said:

I don't know about some of you, but I see a big difference between Britney Spears promoting Pepsi, two things very unrelated, vs Machinima a gaming and media streaming website promoting a gaming console, two things very much so related. See the problem?

Maybe a better analogy would be movie critics and movie promotion. Movie studios pay big money, bring in tons of "critics" to screen their movie, encourage positive reviews, and then post little comments and snippets all over their ads and posters. It's a common story in the entertainment business, with nearly identical plot lines, only the type of media involved changes.

That's a perfect analogy. The difference between Britney Spears in a Pepsi ad is transparency. When people see ads on TV, they know it. However; if you are promoting a game in the guise of an objective review or demonstration then that is deception and betrayal of trust. It certainly hurts credibility.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This is just one reason why advertising as a whole is wrong. You never know when to believe them.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Sad from Microsoft, but not at all surprising.

treeski treeski said:

This is just one reason why advertising as a whole is wrong. You never know when to believe them.

From a consumer standpoint, consider advertising as just a way to tell you that a product exists. Beyond that, do your own research to get the facts and take everything in the ad with salt mine... of salt.

IKROWNI said:

"paying off" is a phrase used to describe bribery or something illegal, poor choice of words for a perfectly legal advertising campaign.

Also what negative vibe? From what I understand among the lesser beings that use consoles they prefer xbox over PS3 and Sony's recent track record with hacks and law suits really left them with a nice dent to their reputation.

MS isn't asking users to lie or make up fictional BS they are asking them to post gameplay footage.

That means they are promoting their actual product so I don't get the hate or negative vibe from the article.

Advertising costs money and like several other people posted, everyone pays for advertising so this is no different. If anything this is WAY cheaper at $3 for 1000 views!

When your telling the person that they are not allowed to discus the fact that they are being paid for what they are doing, that's when it becomes an issue. And also these people could know for a fact the console is a turd but since they are getting paid to say it's a great console they are misinformed the general public to make there wallets fatter. So they very well are asking these users to lie.

If you ask these "YouTube stars" are you getting paid by Microsoft to say the console is a great item and they've been gag ordered to not divulge that info the person is forced to LIE. If you don't like the console but you get paid to say it's good your being paid to LIE. How can that not be any more obvious?

Microsoft doesn't stop at having others lie for them either. Look at the consoles reveal. They showed millions of people games running on a pic with titan gpus at 1080p 60fps and said that this is what the owners of the console would have to look forward to. That was a LIE. Look at the games being released in 720p. What's the point that of upgrading your console to get something that looks close to the same on the previous one?

When Microsoft and Sony came out with the last Gen consoles what made them great was the fact that the hardware inside was much more capable than the previous parts that were available at that time. This time around they are both using hardware that could be bought for a pc 5-7 years ago.

I was devoted to Xbox for years until these new consoles came out. I realized for farcheaper I could play at 1600p over 60fps while multitasking and have infinitely more features by going with a pc. When titan fall comes out you can rest assured I will be playing it in a truly next-gen manner while the people who spent hundreds on a new console get to enjoy there games in the same level of locked down low rez manner for another 10 years.

True next Gen is 4k and VR. Both something that neither of these new consoles will ever achieve in any manner even close to pc.

Here go through this list and tell me on each which sounds better option 1 or option 2

1. GDDR5 - 2.GDDR6

1.DDR3 - 2.DDR4

1.smaller community - 2.larger community

1.slow processor - 2. Fast processor

1.expensive games - 2. Cheap games

1. Childish community - 2. Mature community

1.rumble triggers - 2. Immersion virtual reality

I can keep going on in this list forever but if you choose option number 1 then you are a complete fool.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Sad from Microsoft, but not at all surprising.

Sad from MS/Google and others as well who indulge in similar activities.

But the fact is, many so called 'critics' or 'reviewers' do get offered' favors' from the big corporations in almost all sectors, not just tech industry, hence this issue keep raising its head. Ethics doesn't seems to gel too well with the business practices .... but that is just my opinion.

Heihachi1337 said:

It really is amazing how stupid people are though. look at everything microsoft did leading up to launch. everything from always on connection and charging full price for a "used" game and downloading games only and ortho's post about rural internet and the morons still go buy a xbox one. granted microsoft backpeddled but they will try it again, I can guarantee it.

Seriously. what worse is these ****** are totally okay paying for xbox gold sub but god forbid a company with an mmo charges money cause those "should all be free to play"

drjekel_mrhyde drjekel_mrhyde said:

EA is doing it also, along Google for Google glass. If we really want to go there websites and companies do it with like us on Facebook for prizes and coupons.

theBest11778 theBest11778 said:

MS dropped the ball this generation. The original Xbox came out of no where. No one expected much of it at first (much like the Ouya or whatever it is,) but Halo became a must own game, and Halo 2 started online gaming for consoles. Xbox 360's launch was perfect. It was a year ahead of it's competition, it had cheaper, but equal hardware to it's main competition, and had a lower price point.

Today MS launched it's console at the same time, with lesser hardware, and a higher price tag. Pretty much exactly the opposite of the key factors that made the X360 successful. There's no doubt in my mind that MS will try every marketing strategy to try and fix this massive error in judgement. Their best option would be sell the system w/o the Kinect for $299, and with the Kinect for $399. This would put them back in the position they were price wise last time, but will end up costing the company a lot of money over the next couple years, and would probably be considered their FINAL option. Until then, enjoy all the biased reviews out there folks... Check youtube for PS4 vs XBO. Many MANY videos will tell you that you can't see the difference between 720p and 1080p hahahaha. As PC games we know this is a major lie.

Guest said:

That's why they had good December sales? Very sad and desperate on Microsoft part. It's pretty clear the XBone is not as good why they resort to such low deceptive type of promotion from this machinima folks. Really sad for those gamers that bought their console thinking it's a good product.

No company is perfect but a lawsuit should follow.

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