Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Why I can't be bought
Everytime I get excited about a game and write about it, someone asks how much money I've been receiving for that positive review. And as I'm getting tired to have to explain every time that I never receive any money for a review, and I always publicly declare any goodies I might receive from game companies, I'll explain once and for all why I can't be bought. And at the same time I'll explain why I'm not interested in running any advertising on this blog.
The simple truth is that the amounts of money on offer for fake positive game reviews and banner ads on a blog are far too low to ever tempt me.
I am not a rich person, by any reasonable definition of "rich". But I don't have to be rich to not be tempted by the money on offer on the internet, because frankly, that money is just peanuts for any average middle-aged, middle-class guy. Bloggers even of well-frequented MMO blogs who experimented with various forms of advertising quickly discovered that the amount of money you can earn with a blog is just a few cents per day. Highest offer I ever received was $40 per month for a big banner ad. I never even got an offer of money for a fake good review, but even if I did, the amount of money I could possibly make with that probably wouldn't be higher than with advertising.
You might have read reports of people making hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month with advertising. Most of these reports are scams from people trying to sell you the "how to" guide. Commercial sites certainly make a good income from advertising, but for a typical blogger that is much harder. And for a MMO blogger things get even harder, because 99% of the companies that *want* to put an ad on your blog are tiny companies with little money themselves, or operating in some grey area of selling "guides" and other dubious services, or outright gold sellers. Just check out all the World of Warcraft blogs that have ads: Seen any official Blizzard banner ads on them? When Mythic ran WAR banner ads everywhere, that was so unusual that they ended up all over various WoW sites. :)
I'm not saying I can't be bought. There are very, very, very few people who can't be bought at all, it nearly always is a question of how much money is on offer. Pay me a hundred thousand dollars, and I'll write you a glowing review of any game you want on my blog, or put up a huge banner ad for you on top of it. Seriously. But until somebody is offering me that, the blog will remain free of advertising, and any glowing reviews of games you read here are from games I honestly had fun trying.
Of course that means I'm offering "free publicity" to many games, and always have. How many posts have I written about World of Warcraft? That probably was worth a fortune of advertising I handed out for free. And curiously very few people mind me doing free advertising as long as I do it for their favorite game. It is only as soon as I start the games the trolls don't like that suddenly they accuse me of having been bought. Bought for small change? Pleeeeeeeease, don't drag me down to their level! I don't know what they would be willing to do for $40, but in my case it isn't much. The value (or "utility" in economists speak) the integrity of my blog has for me is a lot higher. So come back when you have that $100,000.