YouTubers are all the rage these days when it comes to getting word out on a game. Whether said word translates to actual sales is whole other debate. Still, PR loves them, because YouTube videos from particularly dedicated personalities are pretty much positive endorsements of games.
And free ones at that. Sponsoring a video isn’t unheard of, with some YouTubers even making a living off of that. Which is all well and fine, when such deals aren’t kept secret. And then you’ve got the tale of one YouTuber, who offered to cover a game in a video.
For $22 000.
That’s according to the PR and marketing dev for Wales Interactive, who claims that a popular YouTuber asked for the ludicrous sum, to spread the word on a title from their studio. Ben Tester, who also happens to be an environment artist, wrote on Reddit that his “jaw dropped” when a YouTuber who apparently had “a few million subscribers,” made the offer.
“On one of my normal PR rounds I received an email from a very popular YouTuber with a few million subscribers offering to have one of our games featured on their YouTube channel for a rate of either $17,600 for 2-3 talking points or $22,000 for 2-3 talking points AND a description link,” Tester wrote.
Upon reading this my jaw dropped. Is this real? Are there developers out there that pay that sort of money to have their game featured in one video?
It’s unclear if the coverage have even been labelled as sponsored or a paid promotion, but since doing so is something that is very rarely seen in YouTube circles, I doubt such a business deal would ever be made public. Wales Interactive declined the offer.
“I must stress that I emailed the YTer first to ask if they would like to receive a free code for our game to play for their channel,” Tester wrote.
The YTer did NOT mention anything about making a ‘positive’ promotion nor was this a scam from a fake YTer. Finally I’d like to state that I refused the offer.
It smacks of pure exploitation on the part of the guilty culprit, but it’s hardly illegal. If said business deal is made public, that is, something that YouTubers Syndicate and SkyVsGaming experienced when it was revealed that they were paid up to $30 000 for positive coverage on the Xbox One and failed to disclose the deal to their viewers.
In that same Reddit thread, YouTube Let’s Play pioneer slowbeef lamented on just how much the industry was being exploited by a certain minority of YouTubers and channels:
I obviously am in no position to speak on behalf of the LP community, I can only say personally that I’m really sorry that this happened.
We always wanted to foster a symbiotic relationship with game developers (we used to have rules about LPing games early so as not to impact sales before learning devs generally liked early LPs/coverage).
I don’t like this trend, and I want to do what I can to spread the word about it. Game developers shouldn’t be exploited like this and most every Let’s Player I’ve talked to about this agrees that it’s disgusting.
I still think that honesty is indeed the best policy. If you’re making money by spinning some hyperbole, you owe it to your readers to be open about that. Hell, even a few seconds before every video just quickly confirming that said videos are sponsored, can help build a reputation.
Honestly, was that difficult? Not at all. Because it’s about ethics in YouTuberismz.
Last Updated: September 11, 2015