All Hail The ASA: YouTube Sponsorship Policy Updates

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I've seen a great deal of people blogging and vlogging about this hot topic, but I'm quite surprised that not one of the posts or videos I've seen have reported the benefits of this new law from a consumer/viewer's point of view.

For those of you who are unaware of these new laws; Youtuber's must now state whether they have been sponsored (paid by a company) for a video they have posted, they must make this clear by specifying in the video's title - this is to make viewers clear when they are being advertised to. 

I'd be lying if I said it hasn't changed the way I view these videos; it's made me far more sceptical of the intentions behind the content. I can only speak for myself but I'm sure the question on people's minds is, are the products featured in sponsored ads solely there just to make money for the YouTuber and the company, where does the consumer benefit?

Although I must state that these doubts are not being targeted at all YouTuber's, many in fact are now releasing footage reassuring their viewers that they can trust their opinions and how they would never give a positive review of a product they weren't happy with.

However… one of the lines I KEEP hearing from YouTuber's which is drawing me further away from watching a sponsored video is "people should understand that I need to pay my bills too." Of course understandable, they need to earn a living and the best way to do this online is through a sponsorship, but using that as your argument is making the intentions of a video appear more profitable than honest.

Another repetitive line I've heard - "If I'm paid to review a product I'm unhappy with, I'll not give a positive or negative opinion nor will I say things which aren't true. I will just review it." Whether you state a product worked for you or not, by reviewing it you are still contributing to the marketing of that product and attaching your name to it. 

If it's not clear already I think this is the best thing the ASA could've done and in fact it should've been done earlier. I won't be taking it as far as some viewers and stop watching sponsored content all together because there are a lot of YouTuber's embracing these laws and using them to contribute to their honest reviews. But I definitely will be viewing the content in a different way to before as we're now able to differentiate when we're shown an advertisement and a genuine personal review.

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