The ambiguity surrounding the frankness of YouTube payment disclosures means that this week’s scandal is unlikely to result in any legal action in the US.
Federal Trade Commission Betsy Lordan told Polygon that FTC guidelines are designed only "to help advertisers and endorsers comply with federal advertising law” and that they "are not legally enforceable, and there are no monetary penalties or penalties of any kind associated with them".
Said guidelines require that “paid endorsements are fine as long as the fact that a endorser is being paid is clearly and conspicuously disclosed”. Lordan would not comment on whether the highlighted YouTube cases fulfilled that requirement or not.
Polygon also reached out to a number of publishers to clarify their position, the results of which are as follows:
EA pointed out that its Ronku program, detailed yesterday, required full disclosure from participants.
Microsoft claimed that the decision to use content creators in its deal with Machinima was Machinama’s, stating: "As part of this campaign, Microsoft advertising dollars on Machinima were specifically for banner and pre-roll media placements. The additional video content creation was provided by Machinima as a value-add program. Microsoft was not aware of the terms and requirements that Machinima has in place with its content providers.”
Nintendo said that “the company does not disclose or comment on its business practices”.
Sony and Activision did not respond.