Move Along – Nothing to See Here

In the spirit of disclosure, which seems to be a big topic today on blogs (and link to other blogs) I must admit I am a big fan of KTR. Look to the right on my huge list of blog-folk I have there. Kill Ten Rats is in the list. Right near the top! (Please, don’t get into semantics on how many are actually on my list to begin with. KTR is top two baby!) I was a very, very late bloomer in the blogoshphere (see? I don’t even know the hip word used for that sort of description) and it was one of the first I read regularly while planning my own blogomination.

Ethic made a post today that piqued my interest. Were the corporate overlords trying to sway my beloved ad free daily reading of choice? Were they being wined and dined? Were hookers involved? I wanted to comment – only to see that comments were locked. I planned to make a fun jab at my peers along the lines of ‘anything titled “Full Disclosure” shouldn’t be closed’ (haha, badum-ching, lol,  _insert other cliche here_) but the truth of the matter is I was very curious as to whether the article itself was prompted from within the authors, from the readership, or to keep the corporate virus at bay. Keep in mind it had absolutely no bearing on how I felt about the KTR guys, or the site – it was just that damn curiosity. What would prompt a post like that? Google had no answers! The post itself reminded me of a police scene with gigantic yellow caution ribbons criss-crossed over 6 city blocks and the army, air force, national guard, and local police surrounding it reminding people to move along because there is nothing to see. The fun part of that is with no ribbons highlighting the fact there is something to see people wouldn’t stop in the first place.

Armed with the deductive powers of Nancy Drew, I had surmised that Ethic must have been getting some offers and was tired  of receiving them – so figured he would stop others from trying the same. [ed. note -am I right? huh? Shameless attempt to get Eth to post here – you can have my WoW account if you do!]  It seems a choice was made based on a personal set of values to not accept the gifts, and to make sure people knew it. Like most choices made on moral ground it is open to scrutiny from those who have a different set. A little free account doesn’t measure up to much. Either does a little bit of weed. While I respect his choice to not accept anything free from any company he may (or may not) post a public opinion about I tend to lean on a bit of a different side – that I would prefer he take an account (if he hadn’t planned on buying it himself), give it a whirl, and let us know what his honest thoughts were about it. Like this guy, (who also covered this topic much better than I) who I also read, I read because I respect his opinion regardless of whether I agree with it or not. And I am pretty sure any regular reader of any particular blog would be able to call BS if the author suddenly tried to pull wool over everyone’s eyes for the almighty dollar. Reading comments on the other blogs who have covered this some people take it as very serious news, and a very scary tinfoil hat slope of danger one should not tread upon. Would you rather have the information from a marketing department, or a source you trust?

I guess the fun part of the entire thing is how one small post can balloon into a giant blogcentric code red. Whose blog can you trust* nowadays?

*note – this article was NOT brought to you by EA Mythic, makers of Warhammer Online : Age of Reckoning.

4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. The post was prompted by a few emails asking me if we had been given free WAR accounts. Tobold wrote a post recently explaining that he had been given one and he seemed to think he was not alone. I suspect he was unique in that matter. Still, I decided to clear the air for our readers. It’s not really a decision I spent a lot of time on. When I first created the site I decided it would be advertising free forever. In my mind a free account is the same as advertising, so it falls in the “no thank you” category. I will be clear, none of us at KTR had been offered a free WAR account as of this writing. We have been offered things in the past and we turned it all down. You are correct in that the post is mostly directed at any company that might consider offering something to us. I’d rather they don’t, so we don’t need to say no.

    Great site, btw!

  2. I saw the Tobold post today. It wouldn’t shock me if he were the only one; but then again, it wouldn’t shock me if he weren’t either.

    I can see his point about the free games to people who review them, but in my mind, there’s a distinction. Reviewers get paid to review games. They’re journalists, not bloggers. Giving free stuff to people who aren’t paid to objectively review something comes close to the conflict-of-interest line.

    This comment was brought to you by Blizzard. And when I say Blizzard, I mean the kind you get at Dairy Queen. Mmmm… Dairy Queen.

  3. “Reviewers get paid to review games. They’re journalists, not bloggers.”

    Exactly. Except, you know, backwards. Bloggers tend to blog on their own time because they have their own opinion and a need to express it. Generally, I can’t see any of the blogs I read being willing to sell their opinion for a 15$ a month. Reviewers, on the otherhand, may very well be willing to sell their opinion when their livelyhood itself is at stake. To me, whether a blogger gets a free game or MMO subscription is completely irrelevant. Whether a game journalist’s publisher is sponsered by the company who’s game he’s reviewing is not.

  4. Raelyf – I do agree but I think the danger is one of Perception. When I read a magazine review I know the source – the guy gets paid, and he gets paid by the advertising provided by the companies he is reviewing. Still, the PC mags I read I do have a fair level of trust in the reviewers.

    The “danger” (and I use that word very loosely!) is that readers probably have more trust in the bloggers than the mags themselves for that very reason. A company could approach me, and offer me $x.xx to quietly promote a game. Heck, I do this for free, and if I was hurting for money (and had no morals) it could be a good deal. The company gets a popular opinionist in the blogosphere for peanuts while the readership believes in that opinion because of the source.

    If a company offered me a free sub to check out their game I would. It has nothing to do with the blog. I use free trials all the time to try new games or visit old ones I no longer subscribe to. Of course, if that I ever did happen I would clearly state I got a free trial and share my honest opinions about it here.

    The most difficult part would to be NOT overly critical to ensure people realized I wasn’t bought out. =)

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