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Friday 2 September 2016

ENWorld Reviews are Payola, Probably Broke The Law!

The big news today, which I hardly have time to decently report on since I have to rush off to a local gaming event, is that apparently Sean Patrick Fannon of ENWorld has accidentally revealed (while trying to justify himself) that ENWorld has been engaging in what is essentially "Payola". They've been filling the "news and reviews" section of ENworld with paid promotion without being explicit about revealing their business relation to the product they're pretending to review honestly.

You know how at the start of any review I make of a product I'm even remotely associated with, I explain exactly how I am?  That's why. Because it's utterly totally scumbag-level unethical to be paid or have a personal economic interest in something and not disclose it, and pretend to your audience that you're a neutral admirer or whatever.

But it's not just unethical, it's probably illegal, as Tenkar of Tenkar's Tavern pointed out, both ENWorld and the game designers/publishers who paid the site to pretend to give them good reviews are in violation of FTC regulations in the United States.  If someone issues a complaint against them, they could face serious trouble.

Let me make this clear: we already knew that there is no better place to come get news or especially read the best reviews in the hobby than theRPGsite, but now it's also obvious there's no place more honest.  You will NEVER see this sort of bullshit on theRPGsite, not while I run it.

At theRPGsite, we care about honesty. And you could buy six month's worth of banner ads and still find your product called shit by a moderator if they think it's shit. We don't care.

If you think your options are between totalitarian RPGnet and corrupt Enworld, you have been badly misinformed. And if it's reviews you're looking for, come check out the amazing RPGsite reviews section, which has the best reviewers around, and where no one is getting paid to lie to you.


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  1. damnit!
    this is terrible!
    why can't this happen to TBP?

  2. Therpgsite: The home of internet freedom, banning only those belonging to inferior cultures!

    1. We've banned like 3 people in the last year. The only people we ban are people that go out of their fucking way to get banned on purpose. In other words, complete cunts who somehow managed to be offensive or damaging enough to get themselves banned from a site that has some people that have called the owner a motherfucker daily for the past decade.

  3. There was an article I read somewhere (If I can find it I'll send it your way) That the critical review regarding almost all types of media is dead. Being a reviewer myself I have to admit I found the article to be pretty consistent to what is occurring now, while at the same time completely disagreeing with it. As to the importance of performing (at least) a fair/unbiased review.

    1. Well, I still do a fair review. Maybe not totally unbiased but one where I'm completely upfront about my biases, and I'm not being paid for writing it. I think a lot of theRPGsite reviewers do this, and none I know of get paid to write reviews (and if they did, we'd very likely delete those reviews).

  4. On my show, we do reviews every episode. We do receive review copies of stuff, but we do not get paid.