Reviews Are Serious Business

Via Slashdot, Sam Kennedy, editor of 1UP, has a good post-mortem on Gamespot’s Gerstmanngate.

As a marketer, if you recognized you needed more traffic to your product, you could buy it. You could even buy a top placement for your title on the GameSpot homepage, pretty much assuring clicks to coverage on your title, regardless of whether there was organic interest or not. And we’re not talking about just banner advertisements here — we’re talking about buying one of the top stories on the front of the site.

A writer by the name of Amadeo Plaza, who works for an advertising agency that did business with GameSpot, had this to say on the subject:

I don’t mean to maliciously call GameSpot out on this, but if you didn’t know, they sell a lot of their content coverage. The front-door rotation spots, otherwise known as “gumballs,” on the homepage are paid for by game publishers at $7,000/2 weeks (March 2006); and if you remember back, they absolutely whored themselves out to Vivendi for the release of 50 Cent: Bulletproof, a game that everyone and their mother knew was going to be terrible.

It’s encouraging that we’re starting to see accountability (even if user-driven rather than editorially) in the gaming media.