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That being said, Clickbait ($500 vs $5000 saxophone) is the way of YouTube and that's how people get massive views to make some additional money. All the biggest sax related channels have done it. I, for one, just avoid watching the videos with titles like that, because I assume it's just more noise.
“Clickbait” usually refers to a misleading title used to get people to click. In the video, I literally do a sound comparison between a $500 and $5,000 saxophone...that’s is. Is that still clickbait? I’m legitimately asking, because I assumed clickbait meant the video was different than the title.
 

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“Clickbait” usually refers to a misleading title used to get people to click. In the video, I literally do a sound comparison between a $500 and $5,000 saxophone...that’s is. Is that still clickbait? I’m legitimately asking, because I assumed clickbait meant the video was different than the title.
Yeah, you're right. Clickbait isn't the right word. Maybe formulaic is better. Bettersax, Saxologic and others have very similar premises for videos. It stands in stark contrast to most of your other videos which are usually very original and I never know how it's going to play out.
 

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“Clickbait” usually refers to a misleading title used to get people to click. In the video, I literally do a sound comparison between a $500 and $5,000 saxophone...that’s is. Is that still clickbait? I’m legitimately asking, because I assumed clickbait meant the video was different than the title.
Clickbait is not necessarily different content than presented, but just go look through some modern "news" websites like Buzzfeed, where they title articles with dribble like "You HAVE to see picture 7" or "You Won't Believe whats in...". It's more about making people feel the need to have to click on an article or link to a video in order to learn information, rather than provide it up front - literally baiting people in to clicking.

Here's some good ones:
103024


103025
 

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But times have changed. Ambiguities have developed (like, socially, worldwide but especially in the West). People's ethical standards have loosened. Amazon includes "shillery" as a norm in its reviews and search results, etc. etc. etc.
I can’t say it’s the norm based on my limited experience, but my one and only Amazon review was pulled because it didn’t ‘meet their criteria’, or something to that effect. My review was critical of the product, but objectively worded, with no inflammatory language. My impression was that Amazon was more interested in not upsetting one of their suppliers than having a critical review on the product page. Ever since then, every email I get from Amazon requesting a review goes to trash.
 

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I can’t say it’s the norm based on my limited experience, but my one and only Amazon review was pulled because it didn’t ‘meet their criteria’, or something to that effect. My review was critical of the product, but objectively worded, with no inflammatory language. My impression was that Amazon was more interested in not upsetting one of their suppliers than having a critical review on the product page. Ever since then, every email I get from Amazon requesting a review goes to trash.
I've had the same experience - they pulled 2 different reviews of mine where I was critical of the product or vendor (and, as you were, I was objective and non-inflamatory). Amazon doesn't care that their vendors sell fakes, or garbage products, etc - they just want to get their cut. So while I will continue to buy simple, cheap, products from them, I would not consider buying anything expensive, technologically advanced, or easily (and badly) counterfeited on Amazon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
I've had the same experience - they pulled 2 different reviews of mine where I was critical of the product or vendor (and, as you were, I was objective and non-inflamatory).
Partly why I started this was to get opinions about a SOTW policy. But it's also useful to get everyone's thoughts and opinions on other platforms, whether it's Youtube, Amazon or whatever.

You probably all may have surmised this came about due tp the EMEO thread where an influencer posted a video which seemed to be a review, but was in fact just a recommendation for an affiliate product, ie the "reviewer" put up a video and most people who may have watched the bulk of would not have known it was a moneyspinner for the "reviews" because it wasn't until the end that there was the mention of the 5% discount coupon, which is how they make their money because the manufacturer identifies the source of a sale back to the endorser via that code or a URL with an identifier in the link.

Although that is no doubt legal, it seems against the FTC guidelines - it is not obvious and I wonder if folks would like to see things be a bit more transparent here.

I'd like to see people make a full disclosure in their post when there is a commercial interest. Whether it's an affiliate, official endorser or just someone who got a discount and a suggestion they write something positive (spread the word as a "happy customer") ... there are many levels.

And I may well be guilty myself as an a endorser. I always try to say when I recommend Legere or D'addario or whatever but I'm sure I may have forgotten to do so a couple of times - but am always happy to be pulled on any such transgressions.
 

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YouTube is rife with sales pitches disguised as altruistic informational videos. The basic requirement: videos which are 'sponsored' should be clearly marked for the duration of the video as a 'commercial'. Not some blurb at the end of a video that many viewers will never get to after suffering through the first two minutes of said video where the YouTuber provides a glowing endorsement like one mentioned in this thread which states -

"This is the (name blanked out here) and I believe it's the best alto saxophone you can buy brand new for under 500 dollars...."

Maybe that statement should have been preceded by 'Caution sales pitch !!'

Yes, the Tuber does add a disclaimer at the end. They outline the manufacturer didn't directly pay them, though I would argue a free saxophone is payment and they mention an affiliate link that 'supports' the channel is listed in the description of the video. 'Support' is a wiggly term as some viewers may not understand that 'support' is a very gentle way of saying....'I get paid a commission' for every saxophone sold when the link is used.

While movies and tv shows are filled with passive commercialism through product placement it is very clear to all who watch when a commercial interupts the programming. It becomes less clear when those commercials shift into the informercial genre which is exactly what is happening en masse on YouTube.

Eventually society will figure out it's just another ShamWow commercial and skip the whole thing.







Disclaimer - This is not a paid endorsement and I have no affiliation nor am I a user of ShamWow products. The ShamWow is just part of my lexicon and has become an unfortunate adjective in my life. Further there are no links with which I may collect payment by mentioning ShamWow or it's use or non use in anyone's life. This post should not be read while bathing or in the shower. Harmful if swallowed. Do not use while pregnant or nursing. Be careful when driving a motor vehicle.
 

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Yes, the Tuber does add a disclaimer at the end. They outline the manufacturer didn't directly pay them, though I would argue a free saxophone is payment
No argument needed on this point. The legal standard is not, "Was I 'paid'?" -- the standard is whether a "material connection" exists between the company and the individual, which absolutely includes receiving free or discounted products. The FTC calls out this type of financial benefit explicitly, which is not surprising, since it's widely employed.
 

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the Tuber does add a disclaimer at the end
There is a lot going on in this thread, but are you talking about Dave Pollack?
Because if you are, it is OK to say Dave Pollack.
Dave is not anonymous, he is a real person in New Jersey, an awesome player and doubler, a composer, a jazz performer, a dedicated teacher, a maker of very funny and educational YouTube videos, and publisher of jazz etudes and exercises.
Dave is in the good company of other collegial and valuable YouTube posting pros such as Nathan Graybiel (saxologic), Jay Metcalf (BetterSax), Dr. Wally (Saxophone Academy) and others.
Dave is a highly valued member of the SotW community with 3,400+ useful posts in 8+ years.
So is he "the tuber" you refer to? No prob, now you can refer to him by name.
 

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As much as I support more transparency, it'll never happen on YouTube. Can you imagine if there were a requirement that each youtuber had to START their video by clearly stating "I am getting paid/compensated for this" ? Nobody would take that video seriously, and endorsers would stop getting paid and/or given free horns. Now, maybe that's desirable for some/many of us, but some people (including some forum members) make part of their living that way. Also YouTube makes money that way, so they'll never enforce it.

The other side effect of that is the number of videos/reviews out there would absolutely plummet. I can't imagine anybody is going out and buying horns/mouthpieces/gear for the sole purpose of making a review video for others to watch, with no benefit to themselves. Sure, those of us with a couple horns and/or 4000 mouthpieces might be able to make some unbiased comparison videos, but that's it.

I think a more realistic (but probably more difficult) solution would be to try and teach all our friends/coworkers/students to keep a keen eye when watching/listening to reviews. No need to outright discount a review simply because money or a sax changed hands, but just keep it in mind. For example, I enjoyed watching Dave's comparison video - phenomenal player - but I would still make my own determination before buying a horn.
 

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No argument needed on this point. The legal standard is not, "Was I 'paid'?" -- the standard is whether a "material connection" exists between the company and the individual, which absolutely includes receiving free or discounted products. The FTC calls out this type of financial benefit explicitly, which is not surprising, since it's widely employed.
Material connection means any relationship that materially affects the weight or credibility of any endorsement and that would not be reasonably expected by consumers.

I guess this definition comes down to what would be reasonably expected by consumers. I'm pretty reasonable I think, and I don't assume Dave Pollack bought a 500 dollar sax and then spent all the time playing, recording, videoing, editing, writing social media posts, commenting and answering question just because he is independently wealthy and has nothing better to do. I think most of us who are reasonable would assume that Dave was sent the saxophone for free and maybe there is a link somewhere where he gets a small cut to support his efforts and work.
 

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Material connection means any relationship that materially affects the weight or credibility of any endorsement and that would not be reasonably expected by consumers.

I guess this definition comes down to what would be reasonably expected by consumers. I'm pretty reasonable I think, and I don't assume Dave Pollack bought a 500 dollar sax and then spent all the time playing, recording, videoing, editing, writing social media posts, commenting and answering question just because he is independently wealthy and has nothing better to do. I think most of us who are reasonable would assume that Dave was sent the saxophone for free and maybe there is a link somewhere where he gets a small cut to support his efforts and work.
First, let me say that I greatly respect your reviews and the form of disclosure that you provide regarding your own material interests in those reviews.

That said, I think the way you're stretching the definition of "reasonably expected" above is pretty reckless. It's real close to saying "everyone should know better, and realize that every reviewer is shilling", which simply isn't true (and is incredibly cynical). I (and many others) have posted reviews of products on this site without the receipt or expectation of any compensation. Many people do this just to express their points of view, or in the interest of the community. I don't think its unreasonable to think that others on other platforms would do this as well.

Note that your point of view (regarding what constitutes a viewer's reasonable expectations) conflicts directly with @NuclearSax's assertion above yours that views of review videos would plummet and "no one would take them seriously" if they announced their financial interests at the start.

If viewers really do largely expect the video makers to have financial interests in the products that they are reviewing, then adding an announcement at the start should have little-to-no impact on the perceived credibility of the review, the number of viewers, etc.
 

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Material connection means any relationship that materially affects the weight or credibility of any endorsement and that would not be reasonably expected by consumers.

I guess this definition comes down to what would be reasonably expected by consumers. I'm pretty reasonable I think, and I don't assume Dave Pollack bought a 500 dollar sax
I prefer not to analyze these issues in the context of specific named individuals. That approach almost inevitably leads to rancor, as many threads here demonstrate. Moreover, it can yield flawed analysis as well, because the specific circumstances of one case tend to get attributed to all cases.

In general, there is no reason for the average consumer to assume that a seemingly disinterested reviewer of a product was simply given the product for free by the dealer, especially when somewhat expensive products are involved. Some reviewers purchase all the products that they test. Other reviewers are lent products by the manufacturer, which they must return after testing.

The "not reasonably expected" standard applies mainly to contexts such as celebrity promotions. If a pro football player appears in a TV commercial for Pizza Hut, the average TV viewer will understand (in the opinion of the FTC) that the player was hired to appear. It's not a charity gig. And he's not pretending to offer an unbiased product review. He's simply there because he was paid to endorse Pizza Hut. Consumers are so familiar with this model that it's not necessary to include a "Paid spokesman" chyron or the like in the commercial.

Ostensibly neutral product reviews from an expert in the field are an entirely different category of messaging. Here, the presumption is that the reviewer is not a compensated endorser, unless a disclosure is made to the contrary.

The following analogous example is from the FTC's guidance, available at 16 C.F.R. § 255.5:

Example 7: A college student who has earned a reputation as a video game expert maintains a personal weblog or “blog” where he posts entries about his gaming experiences. Readers of his blog frequently seek his opinions about video game hardware and software. As it has done in the past, the manufacturer of a newly released video game system sends the student a free copy of the system and asks him to write about it on his blog. He tests the new gaming system and writes a favorable review. Because his review is disseminated via a form of consumer-generated media in which his relationship to the advertiser is not inherently obvious, readers are unlikely to know that he has received the video game system free of charge in exchange for his review of the product, and given the value of the video game system, this fact likely would materially affect the credibility they attach to his endorsement. Accordingly, the blogger should clearly and conspicuously disclose that he received the gaming system free of charge. The manufacturer should advise him at the time it provides the gaming system that this connection should be disclosed, and it should have procedures in place to try to monitor his postings for compliance.
 

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I'm nearly certain that a lawyerly analysis of FTC guidance is going to have no impact on the style of or content CREATION by a good guy like Dave.
Thank goodness.
In life there's makers, and there's... well, critics. Read what Hal Crook wrote about critics in one of his improv books, O.M.G.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
It would also be good if we could, as a community, find a way of constructively pointing out to others who cite these biased sources
Just say so in your post.
Clickbait is not necessarily different content than presented,
No and it is usually connected, it is just the use of a cleverly sensational and tempting headline. Once you are nibbling the bait that is when the stuff happens, like loads of ads you click on by mistake because they don't necessarily look like an ad.

Within this niche you get these so-called reviews that look useful, but then only at the end do you find out it's an affiliate. And with such a long video, most people won't watch the very end credits etc. Like the EMEO video. It's just sneaky shill marketing basically that does the bare minimum to stay within the law.
 

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I can’t say it’s the norm based on my limited experience, but my one and only Amazon review was pulled because it didn’t ‘meet their criteria’, or something to that effect. My review was critical of the product, but objectively worded, with no inflammatory language. My impression was that Amazon was more interested in not upsetting one of their suppliers than having a critical review on the product page. Ever since then, every email I get from Amazon requesting a review goes to trash.
Any time you click on a "sponsored" or highlighted retail item on Amazon, there's fake shill reviewing on it (at least this is what it looks like to me). The ratings also seem to be goosed so that negative reviews -- which may actually be closest to the top when you actually go to read recent reviews (which any one using Amazon should always bother to do) are deemphasized in the overall ratings "star" rating.

Robo-shilling seems to be pretty plainly a norm, there, any time you're looking at someone buying priority in the search engine's algorithmic queue.
 

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I am the victim of a similar situation. I bought a pair of earbuds because they were highly recommended by a well-known music producer on YouTube. I thought a good sounding pair of earbuds would be pleasant to use. And well they might be - unfortunately the earbuds in question didn't sound good at all (tinny and with an exaggerated smile curve EQ).

I put up a 1-star review on Amazon, and immediately got an email from the company's marketing department asking me why I had such a negative review. I explained, and they sent me a second pair of earbuds, their "pro" model, and asked if I could put up another review.

Bottom line - I now own two pairs of "high quality", "professional" earbuds, one of which is marginally better than the other, and neither of which I will use. I should have just sent the first ones back. Of course, I didn't put up another review either...

I guess these companies live and die on reviews, but the whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth. And I don't trust that producer guy very much any more.
 
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