Matthew DiPietro, VP of Marketing & Communications at Twitch, updated the copmany's official blog with news that starting on Thursday, a new graphic will appear on the front video carousel labeled as "Sponsored." The content newsletters will also have a new "sponsored" label. Why? Because Twitch wants to be completely transparent when it comes to who is backed by a known brand or advertiser.
In the blog, DiPietro talks about "Influencer Campaigns," which aren't uncommon in the video game industry. Advertisers will rely on the popularity of a content creator -- in this case livestreaming gamers -- to drum up product awareness and purchase intent. As an example, an advertiser would get a well-known broadcaster to play a game that has yet to be released.
"Sometimes though, because of a lack of clear best practices and shifting regulatory guidelines, coupled with a sometimes less-than-transparent sponsor relationship, these kinds of campaigns have become a bit of a dark corner in the industry, and that's bad for everyone," he wrote.
Typically, when broadcasting gamers are part of a promotional campaign, Twitch asks these players to acknowledge the paid relationship with the advertiser. However, now Twitch is taking this transparent approach a step further by clearly identifying sponsored content on the front page, email promotions and so on.
DiPietro said that he hoped that this type of transparency will kick off a trend for the broader industry. He also believes that this labeling will benefit advertisers due to the trust associated with complete transparency.
"We have never and will never require positive sentiment or suppress negative sentiment via any influencer in any campaign," the rules state in regards to partners and influencers.
Essentially, what these new rules will do is label the broadcasters who are being paid for playing and saying great things about a video game. Unfortunately, the blog indicates that these rules only apply to "Twitch driven" campaigns, but at least it's a start. Twitch should be applauded for its efforts.
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