"This happens every day on YouTube." Boogie, a popular gamer and personality on YouTube, is right.
He's talking about the Xbox One promotional contract that YouTubers were recently offered to sign in exchange for extra cash. But in the world of making YouTube videos, these kind of promos are actually a lot more of a common occurrence than you might think. Boogie's been offered his fair share of them—some more deplorable than others, he says, though he doesn't go into too many details about what they were exactly.
But it's something of a necessary evil, he continues. With copyright issues and the struggle to remain relevant amongst the sea of other YouTubers trying to get their Let's Plays noticed, a cushy bonus like a few extra bucks per thousand views could feel like a good deal. And so Boogie warns to take the videos you see with a grain of salt, because these kinds of deals are fairly widespread within the community. And despite many of these contracts necessitating a disclosure of the agreement in the descriptions of these videos, not every YouTuber is as open about the deals they make, Boogie says. They might not tell you about the free games they got along with their promise to its publisher to cover them.
It's not just an offer made to networked channels—as in, channels associated with a larger network like Machinima—either. Boogie is just one example.
Considering the increasing relevance of video coverage of games—many of that coming from less the traditionally professional outlets like these YouTube channels—it's important to keep educated about how these things work. And, as you can see, it's not quite the black and white moral ground that we may think. At least that's how Boogie has come to understand it.