Researchers at Princeton’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab recently released a browser extension for Google Chrome and Firefox that highlights when a YouTube video includes sponsored content.
AdIntuition is a browser extension that alerts YouTube users when they watch a video containing a sponsorship. An influencer may endorse a product on social media, but it can be unclear if they were paid to endorse the product or if they genuinely endorse it without any incentive. The purpose of this research project was to automatically detect and disclose sponsored content to relieve users of the uncertainty about endorsements.
With the help of automatic disclosure software, content creators can no longer be deceptive about endorsements and viewers would be informed about any relationship between a social media influencer and a brand. AdIntuition is an automatic affiliate marketing disclosure tool that allows users to form an opinion about the content of a post with full information about sponsorships.
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AdIntuition flags affiliate marketing, one type of social media marketing. In this type of marketing, a social media influencer provides a special link or coupon code, in addition to their endorsement of a product, in order to drive users to buy the product. Often a deal or promotion is given to users in the marketing campaign. The social media influencer is given a commission based off of the sales that they generate. Anyone can join an affiliate program.
Of course, Google almost immediately took down the Chrome extension, likely because the extensions does collect some information about the prevalance of affiliate marketing on YouTube for research purposes,
We will not share the data with anyone beyond our team. Our team is strictly interested in the research opportunities that the data will provide. We will not share your data for commercial purposes.
Silly researchers. Nobody shares information about Google users other than Google, and it better damn well be for commercial purposes.