Many Dutch YouTube vlogs contain hidden ads

About 90 percent of popular Dutch-language YouTube vlogs contain advertisements for products, usually in the form of the vlogger promoting the product, according to the Dutch media commission CvdM. In three quarters of these cases, it is not clear whether the video is sponsored or not, Nieuwsuur reports.

This is the first time the CvdM is investigating advertisements in YouTube videos. Late last year the CvdM ruled that vloggers are not allowed to make hidden advertisements - if a vlogger discusses a sponsored product, he or she must clearly state that. 

With this investigation the CvdM mostly wants to increase awareness among YouTube video makers and users, because checking every video would be impossible. Besides, Dutch law in its current state does not allow for sanctions and penalties on online videos as yet. Europe is working on rules for advertising in online videos, but for the time being they do not exist.

"There is a chance that fines will eventually fall, as it happens with traditional media", Madeleine de Cock Buning, chairman of the CvdM, stated in November 2016. "But we would rather not hand out fines, because vloggers are not the offenders. There is currently a lot of ignorance and we see that vloggers want clarity."