Home Gaming British Ad authority clamping down on YouTube payola

British Ad authority clamping down on YouTube payola

2 min read


There have been far too many controversies lately surrounding YouTubers. Somehow, they became idolized on the internet as if they could provide the most clear and honest opinion, untouched by evil corporates. Unfortunately, that’s been exposed as complete hogwash, and the authorities are getting serious.

Speaking to BBC, the British Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) has warned vloggers that they need to make some changes. The controversy arose after several UK YouTubers were paid to praise Oreos, but none of the videos were clearly labelled as an advertisement. As a result, Lynsay Taffe from the ASA has explained that they will need to put the word “ad” or “promo” in the title of their video (or use a symbol in the thumbnail) so that viewers know it’s an ad before they click on it. According to Taffe, “Vloggers often have huge followings built on authenticity, built on them providing interesting, funny, natural content.”

We think it’s only fair that when they start promoting stuff on behalf of a brand – which is absolutely fine for them to do – that they do so in a way that’s clear and upfront with their audience.

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw sees it as a loophole that needed closing – the rules for advertising are quite strict on radio and TV, and should be applied equally to online video content. Of course, enforcing these laws will be difficult – YouTubers are only liable to the laws in their own countries, something that sounds like a nightmare to control.

I’m glad that some of these more nefarious dealings are coming out. As awful as they are, I hope it exposes the truth behind so many fake videos. As much as some YouTubers are honest and just showing their opinions and videos for their audience, it becomes too easy to take money from companies. It seems many people have their integrity for sale, and it makes me sad. Hopefully, these kinds of laws will be a deterrent for some of them. Now if only all game journalists could stop getting lumped together – some people might be willing to sell their opinions to the highest (or not even so high) bidders, but there are also those (*cough* like us *cough*) who pride themselves on honesty and integrity. Clear labeling and transparent communication are always the best means of addressing these kinds of issues.

Do you still believe in YouTube integrity? Which channels do you think are honest and fair, and which ones are absolute sell outs?

Last Updated: November 27, 2014


  1. Hammersteyn

    November 27, 2014 at 18:37

    Well who doesn’t like Oreos?


    • Jonah Cash

      November 28, 2014 at 05:55

      Puts hand up very slowly to gauge the rest of the rooms feelings…..


    • Captain JJ the fair

      November 28, 2014 at 07:46

      I don’t really buy cookies or biscuits, but I will ravage some Oreos if they’re put in front of me.


  2. Ross Woofels Mason

    November 27, 2014 at 23:51

    First thing I am just going to say is, what actually qualifies someone as a sell out? Because they take paid promotion work from corporate? If that’s your definition of a sell out, to you I say feck off.

    90% of people who whine and complain about youtubers being sell outs every time they do a paid promotional, even ones they are being completely open about it being a paid promotional, are the same people who are probably watching all their content with Ad block on.

    Lets be honest, how many of you actually let 30 seconds of an ad play out? When you click that “skip advert now” button, the channels you support get squat. Don’t click on the pop up link? They get squat.

    To actually make decent money off youtube videos is insanely hard which is why we do not have thousands of pewdie pie’s. It’s why virtually every youtuber actually still has a day job, or most youtube videos these days are just recordings of their twitch streams.


    However I do agree, the act of not labeling it or openly admitting to it being a paid promotional is a problem, that is unscrupulous behavior and something that deserved this action.

    But for calling youtubers sell outs because they take on paid promotional work people need to get off their high horses. These guys (and girls included) have worked their asses off to build a fan base, get noticed and bring us quality content, they deserve every damn cent they can get.


    • Her Highness the Hipster

      November 28, 2014 at 07:39

      I have no problem with YouTubers getting paid to promote products. However, I do believe in full disclosure – without it, it seems that their actual opinion is for sale, instead of saying “I accepted money to promote this”. Everyone needs to make money and pay bills, and I have no problem with YouTubers accepting cash in various ways to monetize their viewership, but it needs to be done ethically.

      Also, even if you click “skip ad” the youtube channel does get some money, it’s just not as much as if you watch the whole thing.


      • Captain JJ the fair

        November 28, 2014 at 08:16

        I couldn’t agree more. I really don’t mind them promoting stuff, after all everyone needs to get paid somehow, but without disclosure it seems a bit wrong.


  3. Jonah Cash

    November 28, 2014 at 05:57

    I’ve never followed or watched any youtuber…. Every now and then I get a link on here to that Joe dude or that rather big other one who looks like he is about to have a heart attack…


    • Hammersteyn

      November 28, 2014 at 07:45

      I like Joe.


    • Captain JJ the fair

      November 28, 2014 at 07:47

      Francis (the big dude), I like him. He gets excited about games the way we all do, only we don’t show it. 😉 Joe is also really good. Those are actually pretty much the only two I follow.


  4. OminousRain

    November 28, 2014 at 11:36

    I wonder how movies and tv series work. Product placement and so forth.


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