As Destructoid's resident publisher one of my primary duties is to protect that fine line that separates church and state: advertising from editorial. Throughout the years I've been very fortunate to work with a variety of professional third-party ad companies that keep the shenanigans invisible from my writers. Every once in awhile, however, I do get these gems in my inbox that are just too mind numbing not to share.
One particular media buyer has seemingly given up on trying to "buy" review scores outright and has found a new divisive method to produce results: going around the EIC and hoping to either hand-picking their reviewer or groom one consistent person over time. This is fantastic news as it surely increases the effectiveness of junkets and lowers the cost for all sites, as we can all now fire our managing teams. Nothing builds loyalty like a repeat customer, right?
I don't want anyone to lose their jobs in this economy, so the names have been changed to protect the daft.
This is an ongoing saga, by the way. The dude will not stand down. He just doesn't get it or refuses to. Can you imagine if this was a date? "If you ever want me to buy you the lobster again..."
Has Destructoid ever lost ad campaigns due to unfavorable reviews? Sure, we've had a half-dozen of them pulled -- but that's no news to anyone. It happens to every gaming site and its really not a matter of integrity. I fully respect that marketers should move their monies where they best feel they can capture their audience, no harm done. In every case it happened the ad rep had no idea our editors hated the game, so I can empathize where they are coming from. Its an almost comical trend to characterize the gaming press as the "good guys" who can do no harm, but lets not forget there are hundreds families on the line. Critics fuck people up. If someone shipped a crap game the least I can do is wish them luck to go peddle it elsewhere. It's releasing a wounded pigeon in a hailstorm. Chin up, winner.
Beyond integrity lies a mutual empathy for those that enter the Dojo: companies need to sell products, but the gaming sites that succeed in the end are the ones that design their editorial processes around the readers instead. That said, I'd like to thank you, dear Destructoid supporter, for allowing me to piss in the wind when it does happen. If it ever gets out of hand I hope you'll upgrade to a Dtoid Gold account.
So what is today's lesson in Gaming Webmaster Dojo, kids? Keep an eye on your press relations. Its one thing have designated editors that specialize in genres, but its a completely different game when you're inviting over a fat tipper to put down a ten course meal.
[Webmaster Dojo is a monthly column by Destructoid's blog-moguling, code-writing, robot-wearing founder. Every month I will pay-it-forward by sharing what I've learned, in hopes that others may live the dream with less kicks to the head along the way. While my lessons speak primarily to independent start-up gaming web sites and people that want to work at them, the lessons may be relevant to anyone who dares to brave a job in consumer publishing.]
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