Online transparency is an important topic nowadays.
Now, I’m not saying that your audience needs to know anything about your personal life, after all, I write my articles under a pseudonym. When you’re a YouTuber, no matter how prominent, it’s best to be honest and open to online transparency to avoid any controversy and to avoid scamming your fans.
Recently, Trevor Martin and Tom Cassell have been in the news for such a thing. They spent a lot of time hyping up this new gambling website without ever fully, clearly disclosing that it was them that owned it. The controversy is understandable and you can read more about it on the BBC.
The point is that right now we live in a day and age where it is very hard to trust a lot of businesses. Another example is the controversy, GamerGate, stemming from critics online not being clear on their relationships with the developers that they reviewed games from, to taking bribes for their reviews, to other unsavory practices.
Ultimately your audience needs the same things you do, to be able to donate to a cause that they support without having to wonder whether or not its all part of a scam. If you make a claim that you need money for a video project, it’s only right to actually deliver on it.
If you fail to meet expectations then you shouldn’t expect people to donate regardless of whether you are Smosh, Sarkeesian, or The Amazing Atheist.
Using Your Independence
One of the important things about YouTube is that it is truly independent. People that make videos for a hobby, or make videos for a living have full control over what they make. Even if you are partnered with company that helps promote your videos, they don’t get a say in what you do. This means that that just like Peter Parker, you need responsibility with all of that power.
Your audience needs to be able to trust you, and you need to be able to fulfill promises should you ask for money. You should always disclose if you are working with or know the company or person that you are advertising. If your audience doesn’t trust you then it is only a matter of time before they stop investing in your work, or maybe stop watching all together.
YouTube has become so popular, especially for gaming news because of a transparency and informality that a lot of professional websites simply don’t have anymore.
As a YouTuber myself, I firmly believe that you need this transparency to avoid being labelled a scam artist, or otherwise have your reputation spoiled. Usually it’s best not to ask for anything at all, but if you are promoting or crowdfunding, you’d best be willing to put a sizeable chunk of money into the project yourself.
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I’m not saying you should have total online transparency all the time. I don’t think anyone would make that claim, but when it comes to matters of business and your relationship with your fans, you’re insulting their intelligence if you are not up front and honest.
It will usually end with you getting called out and end up stuck in a controversy like Trevor Martin and Tom Cassell.
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