Microsoft Allegedly Pays for Positive Xbox One Press on YouTube Videos Tagged with ‘XB1M13’

Looking for video reviews of Microsoft's Xbox One console on YouTube? You may want to play close attention to the tags, one of which may indicate that the video you're watching is little more than a paid advertisement and not a true review. The latest rumor making the rounds is that of a stealth promotional campaign involving Microsoft and Machinima.

If you jump down the rabbit hole like we did, you end at iGamerResponsibly, which posted the supposed contents of an email from Machinima offering its video partners a monetary incentive to post Xbox One content. To qualify for the $3 CPM bonus, users had to incorporate at least 30 seconds of gameplay or footage of any Xbox One game, verbally mention in the video they were playing on the Xbox One, tag the video with "XB1M13," follow the guidelines listed in the assignment, and submit the YouTube link through Poptent.

Xbox One Controller

While a little sketchy, that alone isn't cause to cry foul, especially if the person uploading the video posts a disclosure that it's a paid video. However, Arstechnica points to a leaked copy of the full legal agreement associated with the promotion, and according to the terms, participants "may not say anything negative or disparaging about Machinima, Xbox One, or any of its games." Furthermore, the details of the promotion must be kept confidential in order to qualify for payment.

NOW you can cry foul, because a paid review in which you're not allowed to say anything negative about the product you're examining is not a review at all, but a marketing tactic, and a potentially illegal one at that. The bottom line here is be wary of YouTube videos with the tag XB1M13, and if you want a truly unbiased look at the Xbox One, look no further than the one posted here at HotHardware (as well as our YouTube video above, which in no way participated in Machinima's promotion).