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Microsoft was outed earlier this week for paying YouTubers to promote the Xbox One without disclosing they were getting paid, but it appears they weren't the only ones doing so. NeoGAF has called attention to a program called Ronku sponsored by EA, which pays YouTube creators to promote their games, such as Battlefield 4 and Need for Speed: Rivals. In EA's defense, they really needed some positive promotion for Battlefield 4.
With this Ronku program, EA pays $10 for every 1,000 views. That's a lot of cash, so of course there are specific instructions how to promote the games and rightfully earn the money. Not just any video can rake it in.
Like Microsoft, the legal problem is not that EA did this, but that they asked the promoters to not disclose that they are getting paid. It directly violates the rules for endorsing by the Federal Trade Commission. The documents NeoGAF unearthed claim that EA explicitly told gamers that they could not mention they were getting paid, but EA provided a different statement to Verge:
Through EA's Ronku program, some fans are compensated for the YouTube videos they create and share about our games. The program requires that participants comply with FTC guidelines and identify when content is sponsored. User-generated videos are a valuable and unique aspect of how gamers share their experiences playing the games they love, and one that EA supports.
We explicitly state in the Terms & Conditions of the program that each video must comply with the FTC's Guidelines concerning Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.
So who else paid YouTubers to promote their products? And why haven't I been contacted?
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