One of the biggest „GamerGate-scandals” broke out recently: Internet billionaire PewDiePie had a positive opinion of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor back in September 2014 – for money. (You can see this video below our article.) Also, Warner Bros. paid YouTubers in other cases as well to make them give positive reviews and videos about the publisher’s games.
The Federal Trade Commission has punished the publisher due to it having failed to state clearly that the sponsored YouTube videos were part of an advertising campaign for Shadow of Mordor. Only a few thousand dollars spent on promotion, over five million views in return, and who knows how many game copies were sold due to the influence of the campaign? Warner had only one other requirement next to the Facebook/Twitter posts, and YouTube video(s): the paid people were not allowed to talk negatively about the game.
The FTC‘s order is that Warner Bros. has to disclose that the reviews/articles people are about to see (or read) are part of a paid advertisement campaign, as the consumers have their right to know the critics’ real opinion of the said game(s).
Recently, Machinima got caught red handed in a similar case – one of the biggest YouTube partnership companies failed to state that the paid YouTube creators are talking about the Microsoft Xbox One in a positive fashion due to them being paid. History repeats itself.