Popular YouTubers, like PewDiePie, Got Paid for Positive Game Reviews

pewdiepie paid reviews

Rich McCormick, via The Verge:

…Warner Bros. deceived customers by paying thousands of dollars to social media “influencers,” including YouTube megastar PewDiePie, to cover Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor without announcing that money had changed hands.

Warner Bros.’ deal with the influencers involved stated that they had to make at least one tweet or Facebook post about the game, as well as produce videos with a string of caveats to avoid showing it in a negative light. Those videos could not express negative opinions about the game or Warner Bros. itself, could not show any glitches or bugs, and must include “a strong verbal call-to-action to click the link in the description box for the viewer to go to the [game’s] website to learn more about the [game], to learn how they can register, and to learn how to play the game,” according to Ars Technica.

I don’t want to focus on the YouTubers being at fault here, even though they are. Just reread that second paragraph because the key point here is that this is happening all the time, and for the most part, people are getting away with it.

Getting paid for positive/negative reviews is an insult that gets thrown around a lot, especially at critics who disagree with the majority of fans over something. Just take the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice backlash directed at just about anyone who hated the film, like me. But you can’t argue that the practice is some conspiracy. The studios are doing this every day.

Not to be confused with the more common practice of luring influencers to exclusive “events” in order to extract a positive sentiment from the person or persons. It’s hard to criticize a game, TV show, or movie when the makers of said property have put you in an environment where it’s incredibly easy to get swept up in the day. I know this from firsthand experience, and it’s a bitter thing to overcome.

You’ll never read a paid review or “sponsored article” on this website. I get the requests on an almost daily basis, and it’s not happening. Not because I’m above it all or that I’m scared I’ll get caught (even though that’s a fair consideration). But because you’re reading my opinions, presented by me and no one else. That’s what you’re here for, and it would be useless, even moronic, for me to give you anything else.

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6 Replies to “Popular YouTubers, like PewDiePie, Got Paid for Positive Game Reviews”

  1. And we LOVE your opinions!

  2. We seriously need more people like you to rise up against this sh*t. Advertorials are not going away,and I would say the only use we get from them is weeding out which websites to visit.

  3. Oh no, How dare you tubers take part in an advertisement so they can make money for their job? Truly criminal.

    • You’re missing a huge distinction. No one is criticizing YouTubers who take part in advertising and sponsorship. There’s a huge distinction between using your channel to promote a brand and getting paid to say nice things about a game or movie without making it clear that you’re receiving compensation.

      Technically, none of this is very criminal, granted. But it is dishonest and should be called out.

  4. The awful thing about this is that in all of the articles the only name being mentioned is PewDiePie because he is such a large name on YouTube. The sad part is that he was one of the more honest YouTubers because he actually puts that his video is sponsored in videos, but sometimes it’s beneath the fold because of links you’re required to put by your sponsor which makes you look disingenuous. I’ve also seen that video and he doesn’t review it, he just says that he had fun playing it. It’s sad because PewDiePie and a few other YouTubers did make it known, but their names are getting dragged through the mud because no one fully read the description bar.

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