[Update: Microsoft and Machinima respond to the XB1M13 campaign controversy]
By now, some core gamers have learned about the XB1M13 tag that's associated with the Machinima Xbox One promotion. If you haven't heard about it, the basic gist is that during the run of the promotion the XB1M13 tag is used to identify a video that promotes Xbox One content, positively and without negative criticism.
Now it's been mentioned before in the articles regarding the Machinima promotion about the XB1M13 tag and what it means (viz., basically a promo piece containing 30 seconds or more of Xbox One gameplay footage, without anything negative or disparaging said about the product), but not everyone is completely aware of the fact that the tag used in these videos means exactly what was mentioned: gameplay video(s) on YouTube with the XB1M13 tag means it's pro-Xbox.
The actual promotion, according to Ars Technica, has met its end after achieving a cumulative of 1.25 million views. This was also noted on Poptent, which kept track of the advertising promotion (you can also check out an image right here and right here, in case the entry is removed).
The big controversy spawned over the campaign due to the fact that Machinima forbid users from making it clear that the puff pieces were being done under the regulation of monetary gain, a big no-no in the Fair Trade Commission's guidelines.
However, despite the campaign coming to a close, it hasn't stopped eager YouTubers from hopping onto the stealth-marketing bandwagon in hopes of earning some extra CPM. Keep in mind that the Machinima promo was only for registered partners and affiliates, but when some fervorous YouTubers caught wind of the whole ordeal they thought they could earn a quick buck or two by tagging their videos with XB1M13. In a way, it's become its own guerrilla-marketing force, weaving its way through the underbelly of “Let's Play” sessions, daily news stories and YouTube commentary videos.
Don't believe me? Just check out recent videos from YouTube users such as Itani, jojopetv, Deniso, TECHXPOSE.ORG, Street, Official RTV and countless other YouTubers all attempting to get in on the positive promotion vibe.
Now there's nothing wrong with talking positively about your favorite console; there's nothing wrong with batting for the team you genuinely believe is the better device/company. No one has any qualms with that. However, attempting to attain monetary gain from purposefully being positive, and knowingly skipping any sort of critical comments, analysis or information, would essentially fall under the category of dishonest advertising.
Again, you can view videos of your favorite YouTubers for the content you feel contributes to your entertainment media experience, but be wary that the XB1M13 tag that you may occasionally see from some YouTubers basically falls in line with what the Machinima promotion was all about. There's really no telling if a promotion like this may return or if some other companies may use similar guerrilla propaganda to peddle their product, but it's certainly something you should at least be made aware of as you venture throughout the interwebs.
Whether you think that this situation is fair game or not, doesn't really matter; but being made aware of what tactics companies are using to sell you products at least makes you more informed as a consumer.
Of course, there are still the hard-hitting YouTubers who, no matter what, will always tell it like it is... like the NSFW AlphaOmegaSin. Also, don't forget to check out the awesome "I'm a Whore!" video from farfromsubtle.