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YouTube (s GOOG) has notified some of its content creators that independent brand-integration deals in their videos could violate YouTube’s terms of service, reports MediaWeek.
The move comes at a time when YouTube is working overtime to convert its massive viewing audience into money. The site has made a number of moves in the past month to make itself more advertiser-friendly, including changes to its community guidelines and courting more professional content. Kevin Nalty (a.k.a. “nalts”) received a letter from YouTube about his brand-integrated videos, but told MediaWeek, “It’s not unreasonable…They are paying these high bandwidth fees, and they don’t want to be seen just as a dumb pipe.”
Aside from dumb pipe issues, these integrations could muck up YouTube’s own efforts to sell advertising as some brands may not want to run an overlay ad on a video that already has a sponsor.
A number of YouTube celebs have worked independent sponsorship deals into their online video work. One of the best known is Lucas Cruikshank (a.k.a. “Fred”) who has parlayed his high-pitched fame into sponsorship deals with Zipit Wireless and 20th Century Fox.
According to MediaWeek, YouTube will soon be announcing a new formalized process for brand-integration videos.