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Subject: Table Talk Back - Show Me The Money! (Paid Reviews) rss

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Rodney Smith
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In this video we look at your thoughts on the original Table Talk episode that discussed the question of compensation for board game media. Thanks to everyone for sharing your various points of view. If you missed the first part of this discussion, you can find it here: (https://youtu.be/C7LSY6HOX5c).

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seth van orden
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Great stuff as always.

I can empathize with the feeling "I've contributed to the success of the game that the publisher is getting compensated for, so shouldn't I get compensated?"

That can be dangerous line of thinking. If that is true isn't also true that if you contribute to a products lack of sells through an average or below average rating you should be on the hook for those lack of sells too?

Just a thought
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William Thaw
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As you pointed out, the "wrong" that could occur is not in the compensation itself, it is only if you have compromised yourself. When people accuse you of wrongdoing because you can POTENTIALLY abuse your platform, they are the ones doing something unethical. It's called slander. Unless they have evidence or reasonable suspicion, they should keep it to themselves. They can find someone THEY trust on their own without besmirching others with mere suspicion.

Also as you pointed out, we should treat reviews similarly to any other business that offers goods and services. If the service has value, let it be compensated. Nothing wrong with that.

As in ANY business, corruption is possible. That doesn't mean we demonitize business to prevent corruption. We deal with "crimes" when they happen, not before.

Let the "no paid reviews" be a market niche for the people who don't like the idea of paid reviews. Reviewers can offer that service as part of their brand, and sell themselves as incorruptible if they wish. Then no new all encompassing rules need to be created for reviewers that are already honest. The free market prevails.
 
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William Thaw
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@Seth Van Orden -- Interesting point. You raised another problem. The pay should be consistent whether positive or negative. Otherwise, who would give a negative review if they lost money for it?

There's a problem in the ATTITUDE that if a company benefits from a review, the reviewer deserves compensation. That's why we should define what the service is, and to whom. The service of the outcome of a review is to the AUDIENCE, not the company. If a company pays for a review, the service is defined specifically to perform a review (and nothing more), and the results of the review are a service to the audience alone.
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Cory Kelso
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this whole 'discussion' is so baffling to me. reviewers and critics were not invented by hobby board game media. if you want to get paid, get paid by your viewers/readers/listeners.

if you want to get paid by publishers, there's a long tradition of that as well. they're called infomercials.

don't make this so hard.
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Rodney Smith
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sethvanorden wrote:
Great stuff as always.

I can empathize with the feeling "I've contributed to the success of the game that the publisher is getting compensated for, so shouldn't I get compensated?"

That can be dangerous line of thinking. If that is true isn't also true that if you contribute to a products lack of sells through an average or below average rating you should be on the hook for those lack of sells too?

Just a thought


And an interesting thought, at that. There are so many angles to look at this discussion from!
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Albert Jones
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Just curious, the discussion on YouTube comments contributed to the 'talk back', but not the discussion on BGG?

Humans have biases and money is a major determining factor. I really liked the discussion point that there is as much (more?) incentive to create negative reviews as there are positive reviews from a gaining views perspective.
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A. B. West
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Wow, Rodney! Your content and quality has increased so much over the years. Great stuff.

I'm a game designer who gets paid *far* less than makes up for the time invested in the product. But I do it because I love it. So I hope you understand that I feel similarly about reviewers of board games and as a result remain stunned that, given such a small industry, anyone can make a living from *reviewing* board games! Although probably not true, I feel I know more professional board game reviewers than I do professional board game designers and find this ironic!
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Andrea R
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I understand all potential bias by having any form of compensation outside the direct payed review. I usually try to account for that. I agree as well by the fact that the reviewers should get compensated.

My only concern about payed reviews is that in this case it's very likely that the reviewer is somewhat "obligated by contract" to create a positive review where in other cases he wouldn't be.

I guess it's all about the agreement behind the payed review. If someone pays with the condition of "i'll give you this much for a positive review" than we have a problem..
 
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Mike Forrey
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adamw wrote:
Wow, Rodney! Your content and quality has increased so much over the years. Great stuff.

I'm a game designer who gets paid *far* less than makes up for the time invested in the product. But I do it because I love it. So I hope you understand that I feel similarly about reviewers of board games and as a result remain stunned that, given such a small industry, anyone can make a living from *reviewing* board games! Although probably not true, I feel I know more professional board game reviewers than I do professional board game designers and find this ironic!


Actually it makes perfect sense. Sure making the product you should be compensated for that product but just like any product out there it's how well you present that product to the public that will generate your income.
It's a niche that BG reviewers have filled and the better quality their reviewers are the more sales your are likely to generate. Ironically this fact has led us to the point now where some people don't trust reviewers in some cases. It's a very symbiotic relationship between the reviewers and designers/publishers.
 
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Riccardo
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I think it is normal that as the demand and the quality of the contents increase, you reach a threshold where the video creator should start making a selection. The BG to be revied are more and more and the competition between content creators grows like that of publishers.
I believe that video creators need to be pushed more to show the game rather than to express strong personal opinions. After all, they are influencers.
On the occasion of the release of my first video game I was able to appreciate those who did not express strong opinions (positive and negative) because they are still personal opinions.
In conclusion, imo is a "mandatory" stage of a strongly growing market to have paid reviews. I think in this, the videogame market is to be taken into consideration to see future developments in marketing in the world of BGs. Big websites receive money from advertising agencies to promote the product, Streamers receive money or collectors editions in exchange for their support.
What the player can do is simply try to remove the "too strong" personal opinions of the reviewers and try to understand if the game is what they are looking for, making their own opinion.
 
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Jamie Bird
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Compensation for improving sales? Not sure how that would be quantified, but such a business model would obviously have a conflict of interest.
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Don O'Brien
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adamw wrote:
Wow, Rodney! Your content and quality has increased so much over the years. Great stuff.


That.

Love seeing you on Gamenight too!

 
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Bart Brunscheen
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Two wonderful discussions. Thanks for the discourse Sir.
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E.R. Burgess
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Thanks for including my comment, which gave me a chuckle when I saw it. But more importantly, thanks for bringing a thoughtful approach to the discussion.
 
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Carlo Fiorenzani
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ckruns624 wrote:
this whole 'discussion' is so baffling to me. reviewers and critics were not invented by hobby board game media. if you want to get paid, get paid by your viewers/readers/listeners.

if you want to get paid by publishers, there's a long tradition of that as well. they're called infomercials.

don't make this so hard.



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Eric Vannoy
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Rodney, I admire the articulation you bring to this issue. Sharing the different perspectives (as you do) certainly broadens one's perspective. At this point, I've concluded that the best solution for everybody is disclosure. In fact, it so easy and simple a solution, it baffles me beyond infinity why there would be any resistance to the concept ...everybody wins, right?

The tricky part is what to disclose. I see two aspects that reviewers should really be upfront about:

1) As of the time of the review video, disclose if the game is published or unpublished.

2) Disclose if you are uncompensated by the gamemaker. If at any time, you are going to be compensated by the gamemaker, disclose this instead. This goes for whether compensation is direct (check, electronic funds, etc.) or indirect (crowd funding, Swiss bank account deposits, etc.).

If both these items are addressed in a review video, I would rate the review as being golden; earning my highest respect.

If one of these items is addressed in a review video, I would rate the review as being silver; as I will have to make an assumption about the other item not addressed.

If neither of these items is addressed in a review video, I would rate the review as mud; having to heavily gauge the integrity of opinions presented.

However, I don't think these disclosures need to be made to videos that are strictly instructional or demonstrative (such as the type of videos presented in the "Watch It Played" series).

___
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Ian S
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One thing touched on in his video when discussing Patreon / Crowdfunding, was how many people value the reviewers, and how much.

Taking that more bluntly, if a high-profile reviewer stopped making review videos, how much loss would we feel? How much if all video reviews stopped?

For me the answer to the first one is minimal - close to 0 in whatever currency you use.

For the second part it's still very small indeed. Playthroughs are more valuable to me than reviews, but then I've seen in plenty of other spheres, reviews being treated as far more scientific than 'some dude's opinion'. I am very wary of single opinions, and indeed much prefer the explanation and reasoning to the final score / opinion.

So for me the problem of video reviewers not being able to financially support themselves, is not a problem that I feel motivated to resolve.

If it's a question of board game designers struggling to keep going, then I feel very much more motivated, be that by buying their games, buying direct from them to add additional revenue, or supporting them on Crowdfunding platforms.

Regards
Ian



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Joe
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moonfrog wrote:
At this point, I've concluded that the best solution for everybody is disclosure.

Exactly.

As long as reviewers are open about whether or not they were paid, people can decide for themselves the level of trust to put in them. There's no need to police it.

If enough people are not bothered by paid reviewers, then those reviewers will maintain a large enough audience such that it is worth it for publishers to compensate them for their time. If not, then they won't.

I don't think there is a need to come to a consensus regarding whether or not reviewers ought to be paid. Those who don't trust paid reviewers can simply stop watching them, while those who do can continue to do so.

There are certainly many other reasons why we may or may not trust a reviewer's analysis of a game that go beyond payment from a publisher. This is just one more factor that each of us can add to our individual determination of which reviewers we look to in order to get an impression of a game.
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