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YouTubers including PewDiePie were paid tens of thousands of dollars to give video games positive reviews, it's been claimed. Warner Bros, makers of Shadow of Mordor, has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after they were accused of hiding the payments from people. The FTC, a consumers rights organisation, stated Warner Bros had deceived customers by paying YouTubers to promote the game without admitting it. The company is now banned from hiding similar deals in the future and from pretending sponsored videos are the work of independent producers. "Consumers have the right to know if reviewers are providing their own opinions or paid sales pitches," said Jessica Rich from the FTC. View the full article
We've of course seen no limit to the complaints by users that YouTube videos often get stuck buffering, despite blisteringly-fast connections. Most customers blame their ISPs, while most ISPs (or companies paid by ISPs) blame Google. The real reason is often the power and cash struggles going on behind the scenes over CDN and peering links, with last-mile ISPs, core network ISPs, and content companies like Google all sometimes playing a role in making your YouTube performance suck. With that in mind, Google has posted a new video quality report. Right now the report is simply a series of slides explaining how video gets delivered to you, but ultimately Google is going to start logging ISP connection speeds and ranking them based on YouTube streaming performance. The concept appears to not be all that dissimilar from Netflix's attempt to name and shame ISPs for lower quality streaming performance (or name and shame them into using Netflix's Open Connect CDN, depending on how you'd like to look at it). Ultimately Google will list the best ISPs in each region based on YouTube performance, and when ISP subscribers are able to watch 90% of the YouTube videos in HD (720p) at consistent quality, that ISP will be branded as "YouTube HD Verified." View the full article
Google has announced that it will soon penalize sites that are repeatedly accused of copyright infringement. But one site in particular doesn't need to worry: Google's own YouTube. It has a unique immunity against the forthcoming penalty. The penalty - which SearchEngineLand dubbed the Emanuel Update - impacts Google's web search results. If someone has reported a web search listing as being a copyright violation, using the DMCA takedown mechanism, that's a strike against the entire site. Accumulate enough strikes (how many, Google's not saying), and a publisher may find their entire site hit with a penalty. Every page, whether it was reported for copyright infringement or not, will have less chance of ranking well. View the full article