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Advertising and TouchArcade

06-12-2009, 12:55 PM
#1
Advertising and TouchArcade

So, this seems to come up on a semi-regular basis, so here's a thread to discuss this further.

This site accepts advertising. We are the largest iPhone gaming site around and a lot of the big title games have advertising now and in the future. Ngmoco, Chillingo, Freeverse, for example, are amongst regular advertisers.

I am confident that our coverage is not influenced by our advertising, and our freelancer's compensation is uninfluenced by any advertising deals. I understand there may always be concerns about ad-influenced opinions in any review-industry, and whatever I say, I won't be able to convince those that are most suspicious.

The site exists based on the trust of the readership and this site, and it's not something we are willing to throw away for a single week of ads. We will continue to accept advertising in the future, and by no accident, many of the high profile games will have very prominent advertising.

Arnold Kim
TouchArcade.com editor
06-12-2009, 01:10 PM
#2
....

Last edited by yacoub; 06-17-2009 at 07:27 AM.

06-12-2009, 04:11 PM
#3
Editorial is not the correct word.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arn View Post
So, this seems to come up on a semi-regular basis, so here's a thread to discuss this further. This site accepts advertisers and we have many current and former advertisers. Our choice of reviews or coverage are not influenced by those advertisers.

We will continue to accept advertising in the future, and by no accident, many of the high profile games will have very prominent advertising. For some, there will be nothing that I can say to convince them that advertising has no influence on editorial on this site, and to those people, all I can suggest is that you simply find a new review site to follow.

Arnold Kim
TouchArcade.com editor


I have never considered the advertising a conflict of interest because Touch Arcade doesn't demonstrate journalistic integrity. You can't, however, refer to your reviews as 'editorials.'

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifies the following guidelines for an editorial:

Quote:
* Length for feature articles should be approximately five (5) to seven (7) double-spaced typed pages (1500-2000 words)

* Include a title and subheads

* Write in the third person, not first or second (no I, you, or we, except in quotes)

* Avoid the passive tense

* Use clear, straightforward English

* Spell out acronyms or abbreviations the first time you use them

* Include all titles of standards, in addition to standard designations

* Define all jargon

* Double space copy

* Single space between sentences

* Pull out items of interest in sidebar material

* Articles must not appear to promote the products or services of authors who represent vendors of said products

* Every effort must be made to assure that news content is accurate, free from bias and in context, and that all sides are presented fairly

* Editorials, analytical articles and commentary will be held to the same standards of accuracy with respect to facts as news reports

* All bylined submissions should be accompanied by a author's biography of no more than 75 words

* Include charts, graphs, diagrams, photographs, illustrations, cartoons, etc. to break up text

* Suggested captions and credits should accompany suggested artwork

* A permission statement for use must accompany original photographs or illustrations
I have taken the liberty of highlighting the relevant bullets.
06-12-2009, 04:25 PM
#4
Dear Editor:

It's kind of hard to take your ethics seriously when you've:
  • Changed the comments for the "review" to Moderator Approval style
  • Deleted comments discussing the review (which is what the Comments beneath a review are for) because you didn't agree with what they said or questioned about the review
  • Declared an on-the-spot rule that the comments are now only allowed to discuss the game in question, not the review itself
  • Try to quarantine all discussion to this thread buried in the Site Suggestions area of the forum

You are taking actions that punish the readership when the blame lies squarely at the feet of whatever forces at TA contributed to this review being a lousy example of an honest review and a great example of advertising (paid or otherwise).

From a TA marketing and brand reputation perspective, so far your handling of this issue is poor.
06-12-2009, 04:49 PM
#5
Oh, man. Where to begin?

Part of being an informed consumer is seeking information from a variety of points across a medium. Reviews aren't echo chambers designed to validate our own opinions. So you bought a game based on a single review and ended up not liking it? Boohoo. There are two review sites that I visit on a regular basis (among others). One of them I disagree with about 50% of the time. Do I leave childish comments accusing the reviewer of unprofessional favoritism or vendettas? No. I act like an adult and realize that there's such a thing called perspective, which is my reward for regularly seeking a variety of sources. If you're basing your buying decisions on a single perspective then you're either a fool or a liar that only wishes to read homogeneous opinions.

As for the specific accusations? Every week, I get an Entertainment Weekly in the mail. I can't even count the number of times I've received an issue with a centerfold cover story on an upcoming movie only to flip to the back and see it get trashed in the review section. I've seen full page ads for TV shows that get mediocre reviews. I've also seen the feature story end up with a great review. It's the way this medium works. It's the way it's always worked. If you haven't realized this yet, maybe leaving this site, putting down the iPod touch and picking up a newspaper or book would be a good idea. Your introduction into the real world has to start somewhere.
06-12-2009, 04:57 PM
#6
EVERYONE above who rebuked the editor's message is so well and intelligently stated that I really can't add to it other than I agree and hope that this fine and useful site that has found a heyday in a new world of mobile computing and found their niche will keep their integrity intact and continue a great job. I posted about one user in a forum the other day offering a dev a 5 star review in exchange for a promo code, and called him on it. It was his "sig" that he practices that, and has removed his "sig" in yesterday. Your integrity is everything, else I'll take my eyeballs somewhere else. Thank you for the freedom to voice my criticism

Dark NRG
06-12-2009, 04:59 PM
#7
@starjimstar - took my use of the word "editorial" too literally.

@yacoub: I doubt there is much I can do to convince you otherwise. You have been particularly negative in all your comments across all our articles about developers, their games and this site. If you don't trust the site, then you should not read it. The site exists, of course, based on the trust of the coverage and readers, and we work hard on that. While we welcome feedback and understand the issues surrounding perceived impropriety, we won't tolerate your blanket accusations simply because you have a deep seated anger towards this site and developers who charge more than $0.99.

Arnold Kim
06-12-2009, 05:06 PM
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by arn View Post
@starjimstar - took my use of the word "editorial" too literally.
Some would call me anal.
06-12-2009, 05:09 PM
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by HJJ View Post
Oh, man. Where to begin?

Part of being an informed consumer is seeking information from a variety of points across a medium. Reviews aren't echo chambers designed to validate our own opinions. So you bought a game based on a single review and ended up not liking it? Boohoo. There are two review sites that I visit on a regular basis (among others). One of them I disagree with about 50% of the time. Do I leave childish comments accusing the reviewer of unprofessional favoritism or vendettas? No. I act like an adult and realize that there's such a thing called perspective, which is my reward for regularly seeking a variety of sources. If you're basing your buying decisions on a single perspective then you're either a fool or a liar that only wishes to read homogeneous opinions.

As for the specific accusations? Every week, I get an Entertainment Weekly in the mail. I can't even count the number of times I've received an issue with a centerfold cover story on an upcoming movie only to flip to the back and see it get trashed in the review section. I've seen full page ads for TV shows that get mediocre reviews. I've also seen the feature story end up with a great review. It's the way this medium works. It's the way it's always worked. If you haven't realized this yet, maybe leaving this site, putting down the iPod touch and picking up a newspaper or book would be a good idea. Your introduction into the real world has to start somewhere.
You really could not have said it any better then me. That list of comments for the review just kind of sickened me. I've read similar topics about things like this and pricing of apps and sales etc. Everyone one of them there becomes this multi post war because people say something without really sitting down and thinking about it before they say it. Then they get mad because other people are trying to defend this site and/or devs and publishing companies. And it goes on and on. It's got to the point where I can't even read them anymore and after this I'm pretty sure I'll just ignore them.

Simply put its like this. The reviewer has his right to rate a game HOWEVER he feels like. If a reviewer loves the game so much that he looks past and sometimes even doesn't see the flaws in a game then so be it. You also have to remember that not everybody sees the same flaws in a game. Hell I can't even count how many games I've played that I loved and when I finished them I didn't even notice the flaws until I read someone's review about them. This review is someone's opinion on the game. He really liked it. PERIOD. If you don't like it then fine. Do like I do and read other people's reviews for the game and compare.

For the people getting all huffy at TA and Arn for this review, give them a break. If you don't like it fine, go somewhere else. Or simply don't trust front page reviews anymore and only go to the forums. Hell, do whatever you want. Just don't act immature and explode at the site, Arn, and the reviewer simply because of a reviewer's opinion about a game which he loved. It's his opinion and he can write whatever the hell kind of review he wants. Actually still just read "HJJ"s post. Like I said, he said it the best.

"I love escalators. They can never break. They can only become stairs." -Mitch Hedburg
06-12-2009, 09:08 PM
#10
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: America
Posts: 1,012
A major point being missed is that is it nearly impossible for the reviews to be absent of bias from the reviewer because that specific reviewer has certain interests.

For example, if they love TD games and they believe that Star Defence is one of the best on the market, then it will be represented as such in the review.

I have been on TouchArcade for months and the reviews, in my opinion, are quality and competent reviews that I believe are quite useful.

Do I always agree with the reviews? Of course not, but I am entitled to my opinions and have different interests in games.

I have seen advertisement for games that I have never seen a review for and I have had my game review here but have not yet paid for advertisement.

Game Designer and Producer of Trenches, Evertales, and more!

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