Kotaku has posted what it’s calling “a behind-the-scenes peek at what it looks like when YouTubers shill for game companies.” Perfect World Entertainment, well-known to MMORPG players for its stewardship of multiple Cryptic MMOs and Chinese imports, apparently partnered with a marketing firm called Reelio, which sent YouTube “influencers” an email asking for their help in promoting Star Trek Online and Neverwinter. (It’s not clear why Kotaku was included in the original email.)
“The primary objective of this campaign is to encourage viewers to download and play Neverwinter and Star Trek Online,” Reelio told video creators. “Remember, this campaign is CPC based so the more creators that sign up using your link, the bigger the payoff for you!”
Affiliate schemes are nothing new to even legitimate press websites, of course, although $120 — the start-up going rate for this promotion, apparently — is incredibly high and surely reflects a presumption of the power of video and the perhaps more lax ethical standards of the Let’s Play generation. Kotaku runs many affiliate-link-laden articles itself, like the one published just a few minutes before the article quoted here. Massively OP likewise includes affiliate links for Amazon and a handful of MMOs, prominently displayed in an orange box in relevant posts and tags.
The full article is over on Kotaku for those curious about the messier side of the business.