In response to continued exposure of shady and undisclosed marketing deals between advertising and prominent broadcasters, Twitch.TV has established some new transparency rules. This is a good thing.
The language used in this announcement is (understandably, given the source) a little soft on the borderline-illegal (in some countries just illegal) practices of broadcasters taking undisclosed money from advertisers to be unrelentingly positive about an upcoming game. But the rules ultimately being adopted by Twitch are admirable and should be applauded. The company says it hopes this will “set a precedent for the broader industry,” and that’s something I can wholeheartedly agree with.
Twitch’s in-house rules will only apply to “Twitch driven” campaigns, which is probably due to the fact that these are the only campaigns they can really legislate for; so don’t assume that absolutely everything you see on Twitch will be transparent from now on. If I’m interpreting matters correctly, third-party ad agencies won’t always be bound by any of this.
However, anything coming from Twitch driven marketing campaigns will now be labelled as such. Here are Twitch’s promises:
You will know what is paid for and what is not. All copy and graphics attached to [Twitch driven] sponsored content – Twitch front page, social media, email promotions, etc. – will be clearly identified.
We have never and will never require positive sentiment or suppress negative sentiment via any influencer in any [Twitch] campaign.
You will benefit from the trust afforded by completely transparent [Twitch driven] sponsorship campaigns, while engaging with the Twitch community in an entirely organic way.
Twitch will also be adding a relatively clear “sponsored” tag to anything sponsored by an external brand. Accompanying twitter posts will make it clear that said broadcast is sponsored, too.