Originally Posted by TheSeks
Hopefully it's more than "I don't give a shit, don't bother me again."
Because frankly, I really want to know what Jeff thinks even if he doesn't see it as "huge news" like Kotaku didn't at the time. Maybe him stewing on it a little will make him change his mind and give a little transparency about GiantBomb's reviews and the like.
I'm not really sure what additional level of transparency you're looking for. We're already quite candid about our policies and have discussed editorial issues like this to death on the podcast over the years. Are you just interested in seeing people in this line of work talking shit about each other? Between this and people Tweeting me nonsense like "HEY MAN POLYGON STOLE YOUR TAGLINE WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT??" I sometimes think some folks just want more Twitter drama in your lives.
I also think a lot of people in this thread are painting everyone who gets paid to write about video games with the same brush, when in reality there are tons of different jobs at tons of different levels. For example, I understand why a freelancer might want to get into the financially lucrative mock review market. I'm not going to begrudge someone doing something that puts food on their family's table, especially these days. But I wouldn't let anyone who writes for me do that, and if they had been doing it recently it'd probably prevent me from even assigning freelance work in their direction because it creates a conflict of interest that I'm not comfortable with.
It's the same reason I once threatened to fire someone because he had vocal dreams about someday working in development. Those two things aren't compatible. I actually used to take it really personally when someone made the jump into development. Nowadays, it's happened enough to people I respect that I've come to understand why some people do it and the ways that it can happen without it causing people to compromise themselves as critics. Sometimes people change their minds. Sometimes people fall into jobs. If my firing hadn't generated a lot of public outcry and I was forced to hit the actual job market, I might have ended up as... I don't know, a publisher-side producer or something insane like that. That shit happens. Sometimes people just grow up and don't want to work the weird hours that people like me end up working. Oftentimes the pay is significantly better. Sometimes there's an asshole like me in the EIC position and it's clear that I'm never going to leave, which in turn prevents other people from getting promoted. There are a billion reasons, it turns out. It took me over a decade of doing this to finally realize that people who went into development weren't betraying their now-former lives.
We'll go over some of the recent happenings on the podcast this week, I'm sure, but I also don't think it'll ever be enough for some of you because it's starting to feel like some of you have smelled blood and have convinced yourselves that this entire line of work is morally bankrupt. That's fine, you're certainly welcome to your opinion, and I'm not really interested in swaying you one way or the other. I spent years wringing my hands about that sort of stuff and sweating it to death and we still got nothing but shit from people who were CONVINCED that everyone was on the take. If you don't feel like you can trust me, go find an outlet that you do trust and support that instead. I'm comfortable enough with our policies and the more I sit and defend it, the more some of you will come up with weird theories about how that just makes me look less trustworthy.
The reason why I think some people in my position are blowing this off is because we've spent the last five years being all navel gazey about our line of work. Getting fired ended up generating a lot of conversation like that. I think the general feeling is that most readers and listeners have already heard us cover this ground and there isn't much more to add beyond "well, some of those people overseas are certainly behaving in a completely inappropriate way, aren't they?" But you all already know that. And I'd like to think that you'd know that I'm not out there behaving like that.
In short, please stop treating every single Tweet you see as a smoking gun of some kind (though HOLY SHIT some of that stuff looks bad).
Boy, all this posting sure makes me hungry. I don't know about you, but when I get Big Hunger I think small! Kentucky Fried Chicken's Chicken Littles are available now at your local KFC!
Fun Fact: This recent uproar over non-endemic product placement might put a bullet in some of the bigger, travel-heavy ideas I've pitched. Maybe that's for the best, maybe the tax on our credibility would be too high. But with the amount of money I wanted to spend shipping the team around the continent and putting on shows it'd be the sort of thing that would need a sponsor, like some sort of "and after the show let's meet up in the Fast Food Restaurant #3 or Big But Failing Tech Retailer #7 Parking Lot" sort of public appearance thing. It's, admittedly, not a great option, but at least it's cleaner than going around and doing verbal mentions of actual games. On top of that, I think going out and filming a world tour kind of thing would be fun.
Either way, the ad market is still really weird. Regular banners are increasingly useless, but video ads are, I'm told, holding their value. This was the basic idea that Whiskey Media's ad plan was founded on, but the process moves incredibly slowly, so most ad buyers wanted to buy raw pageviews (which we didn't have enough of) for their banners instead of this nebulous "engagement" thing that we're quite good at. We're the guys putting up hour-long videos in an era when everyone still thinks anything over three minutes is worthless. I'm convinced that, in the long run, we'll be right and everyone else will be wrong. The completion percentages on our video views already bears that out, to some extent.
Figuring out how to make all of that work as a business without it being completely sleazy is, as it turns out, kind of difficult and requires a series of checks and balances to be in place. So expect everyone in the business of putting content on the Internet to keep trying different things on the ad side. Some of it will work, some of it will come off as completely filthy. I feel like I already have a pretty good idea of where the line is, but the good news is that by letting us know when the line gets crossed anywhere on the Internet, you're potentially helping to define the future of advertising... in some weird way. At any rate, I sent this thread to our sales/marketing team so they can hopefully understand what it's really like out here.