"...marketers, lured online by YouTube's growing viewership and the low cost of Internet advertising, had already been trying to capitalize on YouTube's big names — just more directly. Everyone from giant brand owners such as Coke, Proctor & Gamble and Hershey, to tiny one-man shops such as Robert Singer's Waterstone guitar outfit in Nashville, have been offering cash and goodies to the amateur filmmakers — in exchange for a little good will toward their product.
And, increasingly, YouTube performers seem happy to oblige.
...since many of YouTube's video bloggers have built their followings without a cent of corporate capital, some have been more circumspect about becoming vessels for paid messages.
...On hoax-happy YouTube, attacks on authenticity and accusations of 'selling out' have always plagued artists, and the influx of advertising dollars has not helped with trust-building.
'It's getting hard these days to even talk about a good movie you've seen,' Robinett said, 'because I know people who have been paid by movie companies to do that very thing.'
The blurry ethics of 'guerrilla' advertising are still being worked out. One trend is ad spots that are made to look low-budget and amateurish when they're anything but. In other cases, such as the payola incidents Robinett alludes to, it can be difficult to tell if a video is an advertisement at all...."
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