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HollowHills

Can we trust "fan" sites and channels?

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I believe this is a topic that warrants discussion in any community that has a relationship to a profit based company. 

For example, certain YouTube personalities and those on social media who run "fan" channels related to video games sometimes receive certain benefits, usually in the form of free products or benefits but sometimes in cash, to provide coverage of games.

These benefits may be explicitly reliant on terms favourable to the company producing that game. I. E. "we will give you x but expect you to talk about y and praise the overall quality of x". Or implicitly conditional on such, for example if a company only provides early access to those who generally give favourable reviews. In such a case there is no official agreement but a company is using the "fan" as a source of marketing. 

In such scenarios a "fan" has ceased to provide objective, audience based criticism but has instead become an "influencer", an extension of the company or companies marketing. 

How does this relate to Age of Sigmar? 

Well we know for a fact that certain YouTube channels and sites are provided with products by Games Workshop in advance of their general release. This is ostensibly to provide a review of said products. However, in my personal view this coverage tends to be near universally positive and designed to build hype. This could be due to genuine enthusiasm, but without knowing the terms of any agreement we can't be sure. Especially due to the lack of any negativity or critique across big channels and sites. 

We also can't know if there are any undisclosed benefits, such as free event tickets or other financial incentives. 

This could also apply to fan sites and forums. 

If forum operators or moderators, hypothetically, received certain benefits from GW this could influence their own rules and operations. They could for instance shut down criticism of new products or pricing.

That is of course, hypothetical. There is no evidence to suggest any forum is doing that currently. 

However, the question I put to you is thus... 

Can we trust any fan site, channel or source that receives a financial benefit from Games Workshop? 

And if not has the fan community become controlled by marketing influencers operating on before of Games Workshop? 

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Youtube require the poster to clearly show where videos are paid advertisments.

If you want an open forum, go to reddit or something like that, where anyone and everyone can chime in and say anything they want and you will still have no idea of their agenda either, you can even use abusive language and bullying. However this is a private forum, run by an individual. It does not pretend to be anything else, there are rules and the people who want to be here follow them because it makes it a nice place to frequent. 

There are GW staff (or contractors, i.e. writers) who post, would an 'open' forum require these people to be banned?

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1 minute ago, stato said:

Youtube require the poster to clearly show where videos are paid advertisments.

Well, my point is there is a category between "average joe fan" and "paid employee / contractor". That being what we call "influencers". These people exist in other mediums, for example Instagram users who post favourable comments about make up products they receive direct from cosmetic companies. They have an undisclosed, obfuscated bias that impacts their opinion which in turn influences their "followers" purchase decisions. Which is a form of advertising by proxy.

To be clear, I am not criticising any specific individual, channel or website. Just raising a question about the relationship between GW and fan produced content in general.

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You can use your eyes and ears to make your own assessment if trust is an issue. People who review GW products do so because they're fans of the hobby, they're rather bound to be optimistic. What level of trust do you actually need and why do you need it? This is not a life or death situation.

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Just now, HollowHills said:

To be clear, I am not criticising any specific individual, channel or website. Just raising a question about the relationship between GW and fan produced content in general.

Yes you are, this post follows on entirely from you being told by the mods to follow the rules and you questioning why the rules should be allowed.  

You are entirely right, hidden agendas exist all over the world never mind the internet.  But this site is only become what it is because it was created by a fan, and populated by fans., many of whom have been into GW stuff for forever and even know and call friends GW employees, you cant escape that unless you go to a forum thats just generated in a massive forum network (like reddit) and not created specifically.

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17 minutes ago, Marc Wilson said:

You can use your eyes and ears to make your own assessment if trust is an issue. People who review GW products do so because they're fans of the hobby, they're rather bound to be optimistic. What level of trust do you actually need and why do you need it? This is not a life or death situation.

 

14 minutes ago, stato said:

Yes you are, this post follows on entirely from you being told by the mods to follow the rules and you questioning why the rules should be allowed.  

You are entirely right, hidden agendas exist all over the world never mind the internet.  But this site is only become what it is because it was created by a fan, and populated by fans., many of whom have been into GW stuff for forever and even know and call friends GW employees, you cant escape that unless you go to a forum thats just generated in a massive forum network (like reddit) and not created specifically.

The thought actually arose in my mind a few months ago to do with a couple of big YouTube channels that cover GW releases. They reviewed the Space Wolves codex without mentioning that an errata, that overrode rules printed in the physical codex itself, had actually been released prior to the book. To me personally, this is quite a big issue. It's in a way failing to omit that a sold product is, to some extent, faulty.

This could also apply to the GH18 which had the wrong points values for IDK printed at release and recent Warscroll cards, such as the Stormcast, which had misprints.

If "reviewers" do not mention this because they are in an agreement to give favourable coverage then to me that is an issue. It isn't life or death, but I'd rather not spend money on something that isn't up to scratch but has been represented by an apparently independent source as a positive. 

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IIRC those reviews are often made in advance and put on a youtube close to release, so some of the issues (even when found before release) may not be known then.
And remember - if an editor can overlook something then a reviewer can make the same mistake.

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43 minutes ago, HollowHills said:

If "reviewers" do not mention this because they are in an agreement to give favourable coverage then to me that is an issue. It isn't life or death, but I'd rather not spend money on something that isn't up to scratch but has been represented by an apparently independent source as a positive. 

 

What your talking about is advertorial or sponsored content. The law on influencers and advertising in the EU is not all that complex (I don't know the scenario for the USA). If an organization gives you stuff but does not require a favourable review or does not tell you say something specific then it is not sponsorship, it is not paid content. It's just savvy marketing frankly. 

Sponsored content ONLY becomes so IF the company pays or gives payment in lieu so that the promoter says something specific. And the promoter must be explicit in stating that they were paid (or paid in lieu) to make the content.

Reviewers not mentioning errata or misinforming the public is more of a mess-up on their part than a  vast internet-based GW conspiracy. It speaks more to reviewers not being a reliable source for info than anything else. Like @michu said many Youtubers make videos in advance in order to "get more clicks" and enhance their revenue through Youtube by making the kind of Battletome review videos early. For the discerning customers, videos like this are just unboxings and are not a reliable source for what the army will play like after the first FAQ. Caveat Emptor and all that applies not just to the product you buy but the reviews you consume.

Edited by zedatkinszed

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I think I can see what you're focusing on - people who get given something and feel "obliged" to be positive in the hope that they'll get something else?

I approach reviews in the same way as I approach everything - with a healthy pinch of salt and a little bit of cynicism :D  Generally it allows me to see through any false claims.  I also watch/read more than one review, often a combination of people who have bought it and been given it.

I'm not entirely sure the policy/agreement between GW and people it sends items to - I'm 99% positive there is some kind of non-disclosure involved, but beyond that don't know.  The Space Wolves Codex review you mention, may well be a case of they created the review some weeks before the errata arrived.

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1 minute ago, zedatkinszed said:

What your talking about is advertorial or sponsored content. The law on influencers and advertising in the EU is not all that complex. If an organization gives you stuff but does not ask you to be favourable or does not tell you say something then it is not sponsorship, it is not paid content. It's just savvy marketing frankly. 

Correct, but as I said there is the indirect example. If there is no formal agreement but the company only provide benefits and content to those who are favourable and this causes an environment that censors criticism there is a detriment to the consumer. For example, if those who are critical were to get their copies of a battletome two weeks later this would mean they aren't competitive with other content producers.

I'm not saying there is a grand conspiracy, there are clear advantages of reviewers getting access to certain things early. For instance, film critics who go to premieres  but none the less provide an unbiased review.

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30 minutes ago, HollowHills said:

Correct, but as I said there is the indirect example. If there is no formal agreement but the company only provide benefits and content to those who are favourable and this causes an environment that censors criticism there is a detriment to the consumer. For example, if those who are critical were to get their copies of a battletome two weeks later this would mean they aren't competitive with other content producers.

I'm not saying there is a grand conspiracy, there are clear advantages of reviewers getting access to certain things early. For instance, film critics who go to premieres  but none the less provide an unbiased review.

Its entirely possible to criticise without upsetting the creator.  Plenty of reviewer and bloggers discuss concerns or potential negatives (such as OP items or points) with GW products they have received for preview.  Latest one I saw was Tabletop Tactics reviewing a preview copy of the Ork codex, and having a good complain about Traktor cannons, and they regularly raise issue with many points in the GW codex but they do it in a clear structured way which means GW has no problem with it and continues to provide them with 'support' in the form of Free books and games for review. 

This measured and clear explanation of concerns and issues seems to be something a lot of forum posters are incapable of, instead they just rant, which means the mods often have to remind people of the forum rules when new battle tomes or GHB etc, come out.  Which inevitably results in posts which criticise the forum (and call reviewers 'paid to be pleasant') when in reality its the posters inability to question something without coming across like a complete <insert your own opinion here>.

Edited by stato
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54 minutes ago, HollowHills said:

If there is no formal agreement but the company only provide benefits and content to those who are favourable and this causes an environment that censors criticism there is a detriment to the consumer. 

1

Ok point for point:

  1. If there is no formal agreement then the content is not sponsored and the review is not compelled to be positive.
  2. If the reviewer is naive enough to be influenced by a no strings gift then they are not great reviewers.
  3. The internet is quite democratic. If its bad content avoid it. Then the reviewer will go out of business. This is how I've always treated magazines TBH.
  4. Censorship is not happening. Censorship is a compelled form of speech.  What I'm seeing is savvy marketing.
Edited by zedatkinszed

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8 minutes ago, stato said:

Its entirely possible to criticise without upsetting the creator.  Plenty of reviewer and bloggers discuss concerns or potential negatives (such as OP items or points) with GW products they have received for preview.  Latest one I saw was Tabletop Tactics reviewing a preview copy of the Ork codex, and having a good complain about Traktor cannons, and they regularly raise issue with many points in the GW codex but they do it in a clear structured way which means GW has no problem with it and continues to provide them with 'support' in the form of Free books and games for review. 

This measured and clear explanation of concerns and issues seems to be something a lot of forum posters are incapable of, instead they just rant, which means the mods often have to remind people of the forum rules when new battle tomes or GHB etc, come out.  Which inevitably results in posts which criticise the forum (and call reviewers 'paid to be pleasant') when in reality its the posters inability to question something without coming across like a complete <insert your own opinion here>.

 

It's nice to have a clear example of specific criticism. One thing I heard was that some of the people behind Miniwargaming had been "summoned" to Nottingham because some of their coverage was not in line with what GW wanted, I can't verify it so it could well be complete nonsense. I don't want to be spreading "fake news", so innocent until proven guilty. If that were the case though there is a potential added factor of concern where fans of the content creator pay for access to the content, via their website (others have patreon etc so I'm not singling out one website for criticism). If you're paying for access to content which is indirectly sponsored, and this isn't clear, that's certainly a concern.

Some others have mentioned reviews might be prepared well ahead and then released after the non-disclosure period comes to an end, resulting in some errors or missed areas. This seems fair and reasonable, as well as plausible.

As @stato said I think it's probably true that threads get derailed. There are some "fans" who have an eternal grudge against GW and will very quickly derail discussions around pricing etc.

Ultimately though, this subject still bothers me. I'd like to know, even without the finer details, if there are any official arrangements in place at least. For example, just a short statement by YouTubers at the bottom of videos or said at the start stating that they were provided with products for the purpose of the video and if there were any conditions on it. Some websites do this already, the Guardian website for example there are article links which have a little disclaimer beside them saying "content sponsored by (company name)". Even being provided with lots of free product is in itself something that ought to be disclosed. For instance, in the UK some MPs were gifted luxury holidays by the Saudi Arabian government. There were no official conditions to this, but the underlying assumption is that it was at least an attempt to encourage a favourable view of the country among UK politicians by those in power. Obviously this is a smaller scale, but not entirely dissimilar.

Large scale content creators, operators of fan sites and forums, whether they wished it or not, are in a position of authority and influence among hobbyists. With that comes certain responsibility. Receiving benefits from a company isn't a bad thing in itself, and has advantages to everyone involved, but it should be declared. Otherwise we as fans are being subject to the possibility of shadow marketing under the guise of objective criticism.

 

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38 minutes ago, HollowHills said:

 

Otherwise we as fans are being subject to the possibility of shadow marketing under the guise of objective criticism.

 

I'd be interested to see an example of where you think this line has been crossed.

Reviews are almost by definition a subjective assessment when concerned with a hobby such as ours which is by and large a qualitative endeavour.

So, "the minis are crappy, with mould faults and detail loss evident all over the place" could lie in the space of objective. Similarly "lots of typos".

"The minis are very good" or "the minis don't look right" aren't objective because you can't really apply any kind of scale to that.

You risk also confusing the chicken for the egg.

IIRC Lady Atia began as a pretty good rumour merchant, then there was some kind of C&D undertaken, then all of a sudden re-emerges as a channel with a direct line to GW.

My opinion on that is that the warofsigmar blog are dyed in the wool GW fans who GW give stuff to because they are likely to start from a good place in their reviews.

Mengel minis were a similar arrangement I believe.

The positive reviews led to product access, not vice versa.

I have a relative who makes their money from online 'influencing'. Quite simply, if something supplied is bad they will not review and let the company know why.

In this day and age, caveat emptor. Disagreeing with an opinion is not evidence the system is broken.

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48 minutes ago, HollowHills said:

Ultimately though, this subject still bothers me. I'd like to know, even without the finer details, if there are any official arrangements in place at least. For example, just a short statement by YouTubers at the bottom of videos or said at the start stating that they were provided with products for the purpose of the video and if there were any conditions on it. Some websites do this already, the Guardian website for example there are article links which have a little disclaimer beside them saying "content sponsored by (company name)". Even being provided with lots of free product is in itself something that ought to be disclosed. For instance, in the UK some MPs were gifted luxury holidays by the Saudi Arabian government. There were no official conditions to this, but the underlying assumption is that it was at least an attempt to encourage a favourable view of the country among UK politicians by those in power. Obviously this is a smaller scale, but not entirely dissimilar.

As has been said, Youtube requires creators to be clear when they are receiving payment, not sure how this relates to free product, but if the are following the law then there is nothing that can be done.  Could GW be doing underhand things? possibly. Is it likely they are being especially underhand? probably not, they are just sending stuff out to people who will review and have good ratings (if you contact them there are criteria they have to get preview copies). If you think its really an issue let GW know you think they should have a clause that requires reviewers to mention they got product for free (they might do already? every preview ive read states they got it early, as its a preview.  Its the ones who review it on release day that dont state anything, because they paid for the item)

 

Quote

Otherwise we as fans are being subject to the possibility of shadow marketing under the guise of objective criticism.

It happens everywhere.  Is it happening with GW?  with some reviewers possibly. There are people who think it makes them special to be a previewer and will shower GW in praise to stay one or get to be one (i know someone who is trying to be that), but thats not them being coerced by GW, its just shallow people wanting to look special to other people on the internet. Often they dont get to be previewers though, as the reviews like that are rubbish and so wont generate followers.

 

 

 

Regarding Miniwargaming, i VERY much doubt that was what happened.  From what was said they went to GW to work out ideas for content and what support they could get, they even sneaked in a teaser of a new model to one of their videos and played on WHTV.  There was an issue at the same time with their Necromunda preview (which actually went out as the MWG guys were at GW) and that was an embarrassment for them, not because they were saying bad things about the game, but because the particular person who created the video went on a rant and made what was a pretty terrible video. The MWG guys were embarrassed because it was unprofessional and undermined them as a professional 'channel'.  The follow-up video by MWG stirred the internet into a frenzy saying MWG had rolled over and were under GW's control, when in reality (if you look what happened) it was just a business trying to act like a business and apologize for one of its staff being a ranty child.

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3 hours ago, HollowHills said:

Well, my point is there is a category between "average joe fan" and "paid employee / contractor". That being what we call "influencers". These people exist in other mediums, for example Instagram users who post favourable comments about make up products they receive direct from cosmetic companies. They have an undisclosed, obfuscated bias that impacts their opinion which in turn influences their "followers" purchase decisions. Which is a form of advertising by proxy.

To be clear, I am not criticising any specific individual, channel or website. Just raising a question about the relationship between GW and fan produced content in general.

It's an interesting question that is a big discussion in marketing(communication) channels. The same things are discussed over and over.

1. Influencers must declare and declare clearly when something is sponsored content. This is more and more becoming law and precedent but more visibly social media platforms are creating a system for declaring sponsored content and restricting 'dubious' behaviour. 

2. And as a result: When is something sponsored content? Sometimes there is a clear contract, sometimes not. Your point that if channels are gifted stuff, and maybe become dependent on those reviews, are instantly means they can't be totally unbiased is totally valid. 

But in the end, in my mind, it's nothing new. Our grandparents bought certain newspapers with who they shared a political ideology and advertisers used that relation to their advantage. Movie-stars with gifted products are (almost) as old as the medium itself. It's good that sponsored content must be declared but the viewer is responsible for judging that content. And that's no different if your neighbour recommends a certain lipstick or if Kylie Jenner does.

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A review channel or site only works if they get traffic and they'll only get traffic if what they post resonates with a portion of the market large enough to generate income from the articles (if they monetize, not everyone monetizes). As a result a professional reviewer has pressure on them to produce results that are accurate to a segment of the market rather than to the manufacturer. The manufacturer gives them early access and product information, but its useless if the income comes from the monetizing of the site which requires fans. 

So honestly its more likely that you'd find a reviewer more influenced by their fanbase than anything else. There are, of course, exceptions;but GW is nowhere near the "big fish" to need to pay out huge sums of money to reviewers - heck they don't even need to they've already got their own highstreet shops and staff. 

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I don't really care if the reviewers are given free stuff.  I do wish they would say for each episode/post something about what they were given and the approximate dollar amount.   Just for transparency sake.   

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I guess the question that's bugging me on this...

What effect does any of this declaration have on your opinion or purchasing?

I recently bought a piece of tech, after a fair amount of research as I had a specific ask. The manufacturer's website didn't have the required info, so I looked at reviews.

I bought it as *multiple* reviews stated it did the specific job I required. That is, in theory, objective criticism, a specific yes/no query.

It didn't / doesn't. These were fan reviews, by the way. Official reviews didn't say one way or the other, hence digging deeper on fan sites.

Just pulling something out of the hat, the warofsigmar p/review of Speed Freeks.

What would you expect from an " objective" review? You've seen the photos, you know what's in the box. They like the game. What yardstick do you measure that review as 'objective'?

What would that look like? How do you score the contents or rules? What difference do you think free product makes?

"You make your orders in secret like in X-Wing so that's good, but there's no barrel roll so it's not as good...?"

Even here on TGA - where excessive negativity is a banhammer offence - the mods have to wade in between people arguing whether Stormcast should wear purple pants or woolly longjohns under their armour.

But we're all here because at the root of it, we love us some GW.

The flip side is risking a cesspool like Warseer.

TL : DR - "But did you read that on the internet?"

 

 

Edited by BaldoBeardo
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Is not the onus on the consumer of the review to decide for themselves how accurate that reviewer is?

What you (the OP) are talking about has been happening for years in every walk of life.  The 'free meal' for directors and salesmen to discuss a big contract for example.

I don't understand at what point people started to believe everything they hear, see or read without any sort of fact or basic sanity checking on their part.  Social media probably has a lot of the blame but even reading a paper (old technology) or watching the news (slightly more modern technology) you will see a definite bias from different organisations on what they present and how they spin it.

If the reviewer has been going for a while then simply get their review of  a product you own.  If their review is in line with your own personal experience then you are more able to 'trust' that what they say about the new product.  If nothing else you will be listening to someone who has a similar set of tastes and biases as you do.  If you disagree about their review of the old product then chances are you should not be influenced by their review of the current one.

I know there are reviewers out there that I pay no attention to whatsoever.  It's probably not because they have a hidden agenda about being falsely positive.  I just find that the things that matter to them don't align with the things that matter to me or alternatively they are so 'fan' oriented that anything and everything is always perfect.

Edited by paul7926
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I don't understand how people think reviewers are able to review things, and review them well, if they aren't sent whatever it is weeks, or sometimes months, ahead of time? the idea that it's some big secret, or some new development, is ridiculous. different business but as an example right now I'm already talking to music journalists about albums I'm working on that won't be out till next year. 

print magazines deadlines are crazy, and for bigger sites online ones are longer than you'd suspect too. if you want editorial to come out when it makes sense (that is around a release date) then you have to service those titles way in advance, obviously you try to send things out to online media closer to the release date but frankly most people cross over between the two now anyway so it's increasingly hard, and sometimes pointless, to delineate.

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1 hour ago, HollowHills said:

Ultimately though, this subject still bothers me. I'd like to know, even without the finer details, if there are any official arrangements in place at least. For example, just a short statement by YouTubers at the bottom of videos or said at the start stating that they were provided with products for the purpose of the video and if there were any conditions on it. Some websites do this already, the Guardian website for example there are article links which have a little disclaimer beside them saying "content sponsored by (company name)". Even being provided with lots of free product is in itself something that ought to be disclosed. For instance, in the UK some MPs were gifted luxury holidays by the Saudi Arabian government. There were no official conditions to this, but the underlying assumption is that it was at least an attempt to encourage a favourable view of the country among UK politicians by those in power. Obviously this is a smaller scale, but not entirely dissimilar.

Large scale content creators, operators of fan sites and forums, whether they wished it or not, are in a position of authority and influence among hobbyists. With that comes certain responsibility. Receiving benefits from a company isn't a bad thing in itself, and has advantages to everyone involved, but it should be declared. Otherwise we as fans are being subject to the possibility of shadow marketing under the guise of objective criticism.

5

Ok from a legal perspective IF a company has an "official arrangement" that involves payment for saying/doing something specific then the content a is an advert not a review. And then it falls under advertising standards law. This addresses the "shadow marketing". 

Being provided with lots of free stuff with no strings is something a content provider should note BUT it is not the same thing. It does not make them less trustworthy.  This happens in every industry, all the time. It's a perk of being a youtube personality with high views or a journalist with a wide readership. This is normal and savvy marketing. The politician comparison is apples with oranges TBH.

And no. Just no. Operators of sites and content creators owe the world nothing beyond the above legal obligations on advertising and sponsored content. A private club (like TGA) or a private publisher is not a public service. You agree to their terms and conditions to be a member, not the other way round.

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Trust those you feel like trusting, make decisions based on your own research.  
From here you can go and talk about morality of paid reviews 

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14 minutes ago, JPjr said:

I don't understand how people think reviewers are able to review things, and review them well, if they aren't sent whatever it is weeks, or sometimes months, ahead of time? the idea that it's some big secret, or some new development, is ridiculous. different business but as an example right now I'm already talking to music journalists about albums I'm working on that won't be out till next year. 

print magazines deadlines are crazy, and for bigger sites online ones are longer than you'd suspect too. if you want editorial to come out when it makes sense (that is around a release date) then you have to service those titles way in advance, obviously you try to send things out to online media closer to the release date but frankly most people cross over between the two now anyway so it's increasingly hard, and sometimes pointless, to delineate.

JPjr, you're right of course. As I mentioned earlier we are fine with traditional reviewers in print having earlier access to material in order to produce content that can coincide with general release. This is of practical benefit to both parties and allows the consumer to get a view ahead of time, in that case while there may be some risks I think we generally accept they are outweighed by the benefits.

However, there is a line... if a musician's agent was sending gifts to a music magazine, inviting them to expensive lunches etc and this was revealed then I think music fans might lose some faith in the magazine itself. You can point to the fact this does happen, which in some cases and areas I'm sure is true, but that doesn't mean that we should condone it.

@zedatkinszed You've used the phrase "savvy marketing" twice. Now, I don't necessarily disagree that a strategy of creating "influencers" via non-disclosed gifts or forms of sponsorship is likely to be a successful tactic. However, as consumers why would we defend or encourage a company for adopting strategies that we may see as unethical? 

 I like GW products and I think there are some great, talented people working for them.  However, I don't place trust or support in any company. Ultimately as a publicly traded company they are there to increase profit for shareholders and they will do so within the bounds of what is legally permissible and unlikely to damage their public relations. If we, as customers, spot something dubious or consider that the behavior of the company has a potential detriment to us as consumer's then we should debate that and possibly use our voices to raise those concerns.

Companies cross the line with marketing and advertising all the time, that's why many countries have regulatory bodies to ensure this doesn't happen. However, this whole sphere of online content, relationships between fan advocates and companies themselves is the wild west right now. GW aren't immune to that any more than any large company that runs a marketing department.

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3 minutes ago, HollowHills said:

However, there is a line... if a musician's agent was sending gifts to a music magazine, inviting them to expensive lunches etc and this was revealed then I think music fans might lose some faith in the magazine itself. You can point to the fact this does happen, which in some cases and areas I'm sure is true, but that doesn't mean that we should condone it.

I'll be honest and say this is pretty standard practice.  In my last job I worked for a company that produced monthly Equine magazines, they'd frequently be sent demo products and the bosses would go out to lunches (as we termed it "hob-nobbing").  The reviews put into the magazine were still completely unbiased, but worded in such a way that a poor product wasn't ripped to shreds and kept factual.  However that's me going off at a complete tangent :D

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