That's a tough one, and I hope you can find a path that keeps this site thriving.
A subscription version of the site with no ads and other benefits would be my preferred way to support JiG. (An enhanced interface for playing the flash games, maybe?) I'd also donate if you put up a button and accept Paypal or another easy online method.
It's interesting to see the different preferences commenters are expressing. I'm one of those who like the longer, thoughtful and intelligent reviews - the quality of the reviews and the coverage of indie games is what keeps me visiting this site every week. (The sponsored reviews are less likely to interest me, but they're not obnoxious and I do like that you've made them easily identifiable.)
Jeff, don't let yourself get drawn into arguments on the forums. :)
Lots and lots and lots of love for JiG in these pages!! I don't think one option is the whole answer--but a multi-pronged approach would probably help alleviate your money woes:
1. The Wikipedia suggestion is an excellent one--they make a very unobtrusive appeal, in the form of a PBS-like campaign. It's a once or twice per year event. This helps you create a base of support from people who want to give a lump sum.
2. An ad-free subscription allows some of us who are regulars an opportunity to show our love, as well as get a little perk--not dealing with ads. For me, the big issue is how often the banner ads are inappropriate in content for this site. I would probably go for something like this.
3. Implement the "kind reminder" approach to those who use ad blockers. As some commenters have pointed out, there are some of your regulars who visit JiG on computers that they can't control. Don't block them out! The rest of us can cover them, and some of them may be willing to pay for a subscription.
Apart from that, I hope that you WON'T cut your longer reviews--some of us come here for the depth we get. And don't forget that some of us are always willing to provide reviews for free to help you out.
Most of all, i think you can see that we don't want JiG to go away, so let us help support what you're doing.
I don't have time to read everyone else's suggestions, so I apologize if the following reiterates previous comments.
I think that subscription is the best way to go, but maybe not FULL subscription. A dirt-cheap subscription -- like the $1/month you mentioned, although that's an extremely cheap example -- would be easy for users to swallow. But you could also do something like what Conceptis.com does: limited access to one or two games for free, and a much larger library for pay members. Also or alternatively, they use a "points" system, where $x yields y link-clicks. (Y'all review Conceptis stuff, you know what I'm talking about.) Point being, limited access allows you to hook paying members. "The first one is free", as they say on certain street corners. ;) Of course, Conceptis hosts a different sort of game, so the model would need to be tweaked somewhat.
I offer the above as one possibility to implement subscriptions without closing off all access all in one fell swoop. I am, to some degree, assuming that you'll end up requiring some sort of payment, because I FREAKING HATE ALL ADVERTISEMENTS. On principle, I will not allow them into my home if there's ANY way to prevent them. Even for great people like you, I will not allow ads. I have left great sites behind forever because they implemented ads. As a reasonable person, however, I understand TANSTAAFL*, and I'm completely willing to pay for the privilege of content as entertaining and generally high-quality as yours.
TL,DR: Subscriptions, 'cause I WON'T look at ads. Check the Conceptis.com model for a subscription variant that won't deny new visitors ALL content.
*TANSTAAFL: There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
What I read:
"Blah, blah, blah. Stop blocking ads, we're going broke."
I understand your plea and I've disable my adblocking for your site. I may even click on something now and then if it truly is interesting.
After reading through these comments I feel I must butt in.
Please do not reduce reviews in any way whatsoever!
I know I've had my say higher up this page, but I was incensed by someone after my post suggesting that reviews should be cut!
The reason I come here at all is for the reviews. While most of the games are either way above my skill level, not my idea of fun, or miles too expensive, the reviews are trustworthy and help me decide whether a game deserves my interest or not after all.
The reviewers' thoughts here are informative and entertaining, and they can always brighten any dull, unhumourous day - especially Dora.
Just the sight of her mischievous little icon brings a grin to my face as I know she will always make me laugh somehow.
The games featured here may be the blood of this site, but the reviewers are the organs.
Without organs, blood is just an unruly mess. Deal with that analogy whichever way you see fit.
To add to my earlier comment, I would be happy to donate via one of my families' computers; I have no online account anywhere. [As I sit here in my cave, rubbing sticks together to make fire, I also realise I've only just learned how to operate that new-fangled invention - the wheel].
I've frequented this site for years. I've never realized or had any idea you often lose money. I despise flash advertisements, or pop-up ads, but I've always given you guys white list privileges because I want to support you. I have no idea why you don't already have a donate button! Get that up - now! I adore this site because of the honest reviews, and you guys always have awesome news and listen to fan feedback... And you introduced me to To the Moon.
So I'll donate on a monthly basis, keep you whitelisted, subscribe, or whatever.
As far as suggestions for donation incentives? Something simple like a small flair by our names when posting, like Path of Exile, or a donor spotlight once a month. Just a personalized "Hey, thanks to this user for being so generous!". Just recognition :)
I love you guys at JiGs, whatever you come up with will always be awesome!
I have NoScript, Adblock/Adblock Plus (depending on browser) and Ghostery installed for those sites I don't completely trust and for really intrusive ads. Over time, I've learned which particular bits and bobs to white-list for pure functionality.
For a while, this site was white-listed ad-wise because I like what this site is about, and I like you guys. Dora, you've become my favorite (and I'm not just saying that).
Here's the wrinkle, though: I have a s-l-o-w internet connection. The games often take their own sweet time to load. When a video ad wants to play before the game will even think about loading, that more often than not quadruples the amount of time. Assuming it loads properly and doesn't need a hard refresh or five to kick it in the pants. First world problem, I know.
I could live with it if this site were littered with plain, non-flash, non-animated ads. I could live with it if none of the ads were relevant to me. But ads that hold the game hostage are a bit of a turn-off.
I'm willing to work with you, though. Tell me which things to white-list in Ghostery. I'll turn off the ad-blocker and see how it affects the way the games load.
... Okay. Some animated ads are all right. Just as long as they're not seizure-inducing. But they do make the pages take longer to load.
Just added you to receive ad list!
I'm a lifelong lurker/fan of JIG. I very much appreciate this post, because I'm generally clueless about the issues you must face running a site like this. I use an adblocker as a matter of course, but I'm happy to try disabling it for this site (and other sites I frequent and support). I'm also in favor of a donation button -- I gladly support organizations that improve lives in some way, and JIG is definitely on that list!
No. I don't intend to turn my Adblocker off for the various reasons mentioned by a few other users.
While I can appreciate your attempts to convince me that I should, I already know that I'm not going to do it. I run Noscript and Adblock for the simple reason that I do not want Malware on my system. Despite your assertions to the contrary, you cannot guarantee me that something is not going to creep in from your website. Sorry, its not a chance I intend to take for the benefit of someone's blog.
As far as a donation/subscription, sure why not offer it. However, you better come up with something really good that is going to convince me, and I would wager others, that its worth subscribing. I mean its not like there aren't other gaming sites out there. And seriously, do I really need a review about a Flash game? I can usually tell if I like it or not shortly after I load it up. And there are lots of gaming blogs floating around out there.
Certainly, you can drop your site behind a paywall if you want. Its your site, but I would wager that the not so hardcore fans are going to go somewhere else to get a gaming fix and saying "I'll donate, yeah, yeah" doesn't translate into real money. It just sounds good.
A gentle poke like this is enough for me to enable ads for the site. As I think has been mentioned flashing ads are a potential health risk (in me can cause migraines). Because of this I disable ads by default for all sites, and only enable when reminded and I trust a site to filter ads to remove flashing ones. Of course the corollary to this is one flashing ad and the site goes back on the block list.
Well, I use adblock, but I have had JIG whitelisted for quite some time now because I realise how important the ad revenue stream is.
My thoughts on your suggestions
This works for me everytime, and I have disabled adblock on sites in response to these polite/funny pleas, especially where indie sites/devs are involved. Do this - put it on your front page - heck get someone, to create a cool banner game to bring home the point, if I am not much mistaken the banner games have been huge successes - use them !
Block or Redirect
Does not work for someone like me, it just puts my back up. This is the reason I do not even bother to follow up a Nitrome game any more ... they have made me hate their site beyond reason with their heavy handed approach.
Bleh, I am not sure, I have subscribed to sites in a way I would not donate, but I see no harm in this.
This, I think, would generate some interest if it offered ad free access.
I would say though that if you were thinking about using this as a means to gain access to the site you would just be shooting yourselves in the foot. 1st too heavy handed, and much as I have loved Jig, for me that would be time to say bye bye.
Jay built up a site that is respected for its reviews, a site where just a review MEANS something, don't throw those 10 years away in a moment of panic.
Also, as someone else said, pin this discussion to the top for a while, and make sure it can be seen on all catagories. I nearly missed it and only tripped over it because I habitually look at the help squad discussions.
* I've followed JiG almost from its inception.
* I don't block ads.
* I would not subscribe to JiG.
* I don't donate to sites.
I would certainly be fine if JiG went to merely listing games with tags so I knew if it was a genre/platform I was interested in. Keep a comments section, and let users write unpaid walkthrus. Occasionally JiG explains how to play/control the game better than the game itself, which is appreciated, but other than that, I barely skim the review/analysis.
Look, having been here for what I now realise is the better part of the decade, since we're doing the whole "give lots of advice" thing, I just have a couple of things to say.
Firstly, and most importantly, you're spreading it too thin. Years earlier, I could come here once a day and almost always find at least one game if not more which suits my tastes and which I'd spend a bit of time playing. But now, there's mobile games(not for me), there are paid games(not what I'm here for; I don't generally play indie games), etc. The people who come here for mobile gaming- they're probably thinking "Damn, so many flash games." The people who come here to see if there's anything to buy: "Nope, not today." So basically, where I could check JiG once a day and find something great, nowadays I can check JiG once every week and find something great. This could be because of many reasons- maybe I've become too much of a gaming snob? Maybe there's genuinely not enough good games nowadays?
But mostly I think you're trying to please everyone. And while yes, that could work if you had a larger team...it won't work now. That's my two cents on this part.
In a whole, general way, that's the main problem with it.
I think, really, that you should follow this kind of strategy-
Start off with donations. I'm 99% sure this would get you a pretty big investment, especially if you offer some incentives- maybe you could get a 10% discount on the gaming networks JiG is partnered with if you donated a certain amount. And no ads for a month if you donated enough. If you get enough money to be able to do it, then you should start cracking down on ads- you would be able to deal with the more reputable advertisers who, yes, give you less money, but won't give you terrible ads and stay with static images which are tasteful. This would work VERY well if combined with a plea- people would click or follow the instructions to unblock, then they'd see "Huh, they really do have unintruisive ads" and keep the adblocks on.
A couple more things- put the "Contact Us" section in your Support bar on top. An easy way to contact you guys is really required, especially for the ads thing, and it's not easy to find it all the way on the bottom!
Hope you'll get through the hard times and make the site profitable again! My thoughts:
- add Plea for sure - put it where the ads should be asking to enable ads with "find out why" link which will explain it. For example, I am hearing about this problem for the first time.
- add non-intrusive Donate, why not? Give some reward for these who donate, for example add medals to the user profile (bronze = $15 total, silver = $50 total etc.) plus turn off the ads for these who donate for the period based on the donated amount ($30 = one month, $50 = 3 months etc.).
- instead of redirect, just add some count down page for these who block ads - the people will either have to wait while opening each page or enable the ads.
Sorry if I repeat some previous post - the thread is a bit too long to read through :)
Hi! Am glad you brought this up actually. The only reason i would really really rather not whitelist this site is I do actually have epilepsy. and it only takes one bad ad to give me a seizure. My situation isnt common, but it wouldnt be fair to my health to block me unless I allow ads.
I AM a long time reader tho so I have alternatives! I think the best options are donations and a minimal subscription. maybe even something like "sponsored posts" where a person gets a review for the game of their choice, or can draw attention to it. and/or subscription allows access to the higher level games, like the mobile apps and the big fish games. those people are already willing to pay out a little yeah?
Do have reminders to allows ads tho! Just like subtle, no pressure. a lot of people already are whitelisting since they didnt know! But yes please do not require it.
I've been checking the site once per day and didn't realize that AdBlock was hindering you. I'll gladly disable it, but personally I would not pay for a subscription - the ads are not that intrusive and honestly I don't actually use the site enough to justify paying for it.
So I think that you should implement either the plea or block ideas in addition to the donation idea. Don't be ashamed to ask for donations - Wikipedia does it all the time.
Look, JiG, tiny fansites routinely raise thousands of dollars for their bandwidth costs. There's another site which has fired all its writers who wrote 1 beautiful blog post a day because it "wasn't enough page views"... simply because their ONLY business model was the ad model (which was invented for radio and newspapers), and they thought more brainless spew per day was the only viable way to go.
If you choose a solution that in any way alienates part or all of the community, you might as well sweep the leg, 'cause that's the final move.
It's the internet. This was supposed to be the brave new world. This is the home of pass-the-hat fundraising and micro-financing. Make like Candy Crush Saga and make money in smaller increments. For instance, someone might pay for a huge favorite list (that little sidebar), or an extra level in that top-banner game. If you're like everyone's favorite cup of coffee, then milk it like the coffeehouses milk it... one latte at a time, one tip jar at a time.
(Cows do actually like to be milked. Happy cows.)
I mean, really, NoScript has a donation button. Why the angst about it?
And you can make it fun! That's what JiG's about, it's the fun. If you want to keep Casual Gameplay going, then make donations casual. That's who we are, that's your readership -- people with short attention spans who like fun shiny things. Then, give us some fun shiny things. I like IrySoft's idea of changing our little JiG men based on donation level. You may severely underestimate what someone will pay for 256 pixels.
With ads, though, there have been increasing concerns about them from the community, and they're not going to be favored unless you seem to be proactive about those concerns.
I've wrote a game or two and not got paid. I don't understand why the $7500 writing monthly cost is so high or exists at all to be frank. I would be fine without ever seeing someone write a review.
I think my only problem with ads is that some have become so involved that it overloads my well-aged computer. As my regular sites add and update their ads, some of the videos and GIDs (or whatever) will load just fine (of course) but then it seems my compy is so consumed with running that ad that the actual site will never load. :-( Sometimes, when I can block or close the ads, the site will then load (I've seen some ads that have an "X" just like Windows on my computer). Unfortunately, this isn't always an option.
So...while I want to allow all the ads for you to make lotsa money, I don't want so many ads and videos that I can't see or play the games I came here for in the first place, y'know?
Good luck though! I'll always be coming (or trying to come) back and find some more awesome games...ads or not! I hope something great works out for you though!
GIFs...not GIDs...sorry. Not only am I tech illiterate, but apparently I'm also typing-challenged.
I'm squarely in the middle-aged female demographic for casual games users (one of the largest groups, last I read).
As to the impossibly-endowed female forms? Not offended. I'm familiar with Rule 34, and am cool with it. I'm cool with hentai and all the other stuff that's out there, good and OMG and I'm cool that people who enjoy those visit those sites.
It's pretty safe to assume that if I don't visit those sites, I probably don't want to see a jiggling nipple when all I want to do is play a game...and while you may think you've removed League of Angels, it's now just static -- with a close-up of a nipple. Back to the blacklist.
I'm leery of all of the code that's hidden in those ads for a lot of reasons, and prefer to have AdBlock stopping all of these before they can get to my computer.
I tried disabling, and the stuff that I use AdBlock for is right here...
I'm another one who doesn't donate and won't ever subscribe....managing my budget means plugging all the tiny little drips that amount to massive leaks.
Thanks for bringing back LinkDump Friday (a direct request I made a few months ago) -- I still really enjoy this feature.
But you also need to know that I agree with the others who feel that the content isn't as good as it used to be (but I'm not sure what you need to do to up it -- sorry).
Thanks especially to Dora for keeping this discussion civil -- Jeff's heart is obviously in the right place, but whomever took his keyboard away did this discussion a service. Pissing off your core audience is not prodcutive. Stick to the numbers, dude.
I'm not gonna lie, I hate ads. Not just the ones that infect my computer, but all ads. (This might come from working in advertising.) However, if you're in such dire straits, I'm willing to disable Adblock to keep you afloat. I'd be more willing to donate to you directly, though, especially it if means the site will be ad-free for me.
I turned off adblock, but turned it back on when I was given flashing ads. As a very nervous and panicky person I just cannot deal with flashing or pop up ads. Many apologies, it's just not happening.
Here is a Idea: Gameify your revenue stream.
1. Put a Bar that fills up each month as ad revenue trickles in.
2. Count how many bonus clicks on ads hit. If you could let everyone know how many clicks you need to keep going I'm sure we will click away.
3. If you could keep track of clicking maybe "Leveling up" for people who click ads a lot, or small bonus' for the site if certain levels are reached.
This way I'm not clicking that SUMO ad to see more about beanbag chairs, but as a way to GAME the advertising into giving you more money.
We all like achievements, and progress why not tie that to your revenue stream?
I hate to add (again) to the already ridiculously long list of comments but I'm surprised by some of the commenters. Not surprising though is that some of them are people that created an account in order to comment. It just shows how much interest they've previously invested in JIG and how much salt should be taken with their opinions. Much more than a pinch I would imagine.
Everyone has a different opinion... blah blah blah, I get that. Rainbow hug-fest galore. But I'm appalled that people have said that the reviews should be cut because they aren't read. That is one of the main things that I love about JIG and I know that it will never change. The games may seem like the priority and main reason to visit Jay is GAMES but on the contrary. Witty, well written reviews, concise and comprehensive walkthroughs, troll free comment sections (I saw a troll here once but Tricky, Dora and GrinnyP took them out back into the alley... and they were never seen again!) and so much more make this the BEST game site online. If you just want a quick vehicle to deliver you free games then there are a plethora of other sites that will do that. It's the actual substance of JIG that make this such an amazing and resilient site with such longevity.
I would begrudgingly subscribe but I hope it never has to come to that. I'm sure there are much more effective ways of raising revenue. Judging by the amount of people that have already whitelisted JIG I think we're all at least headed in the right direction.
I just disabled my adblocker for your site. I will try to be more patient about the ads, as I love what you do.
I recently started running an adblocker, and there is one particular ad on your site that prompted me to install it. It was a banner pop-up that would load at the base of the page and obscure content. Whenever I would go back and forth between a review and the home page it would reload and I'd have to get rid of it again.
I'm also put off by the sheer number of ads. Home page has 20! The majority of sites I visit have less than 10. If you need that many ads, well then I guess you need that many ads. But it feels kind of like the annoying girl magazines where there are 10 pages of perfume samples and pouty models before you even get to the table of contents.
Deal-breakers for me: Pop-ups and scantily clad gender stereotypes.
I always turn off AdBlock for JayisGames.
I would be honestly surprised if someone said they felt we weren't being proactive about ads. After all, not only are we trying to discuss them here, we have many times in the past removed ads that, for one reason or another, someone told us they found offensive... and likely will continue to do so in the future. :) Comments about flashing ads and the like are annoyances I can understand, but the problem comes in when someone says they won't disable the blocker until we "change" without trying to open a dialogue or specifying what it is you want us to change in the first place. If you see something you hate... you need to tell us! My e-mail is always open, and screenshots showing the ads you're talking about can help us identify and remove the ads that bother you the most. Obviously we would love to find a solution that means ads are no longer a necessity, but in the meantime, we are actively trying to remove and change whatever specific ads people bring to our attention that they have a problem with to meet you guys halfway. Seems only fair if we're asking you to whitelist us, right? :)
As to getting rid of the reviews, well... respectfully, we're not a portal. Portals are awesome, but that's not what we do. And if you don't come to us for the reviews, that's fine, but the core of this site has always been people passionate about games and wanting to talk about them in depth. If that's not something you want, and I say this with no malice whatsoever, well, there are plenty other sites out there who offer what you're looking for. After all, we're not holding out for universal popularity... there's something for everyone somewhere, and if you like what we have to offer, well, that's awesome!
As to why it costs so much to pay our reviewers... a lot of people don't understand the time, effort, and talent it takes to write an article, and we believe the people who are good enough to give that to us should be rewarded for it. :)
My problem with turning off AdBlock is the usual stuff - it is all too easy on this internet age to get a new rotation of Ads that either pop-up/pop-under/install bad stuff. I understand that the site tries its best to try and correct these breaches as quickly as possible, but I'm one of those "I'd rather not risk it" (one of my computers got hit by some ad installed malware, and it took me some malware + rootkit removal to clear it). Sorry about that point of view. :(
That said, I find no issues with asking for donations or perhaps setting up a ad-timer block for the site that runs for 30 secs - 1 min that briefly explains this stuff. People who will donate will donate, those that don't, don't (and you won't need to care about those who don't). I suppose you can also try having a no-ad subscription site that requires people to log in before accessing, but of course still allow the ad site to run for those that can't pay to subscribe. (However, as simple as that sounds, I realize that would incur different server costs which may not be feasible). My two cents. :)
I'm sincerely very sorry if my words have upset readers, it was not a lack of respect, just a try to understand some feelings.
My apologies again.
Regarding the numbers of ads on the homepage, it should be 8:
The rest is internal promotions for helping studios which did not find a sponsor (for instance The Grey Rainbow) or studios which send to us their games in first (for instance Plexus Puzzles). Of course those spots are free for them.
The problem of ads with sexual content is a BIG problem and Google does not help. I've removed the whole account of the company which is behind 'The league of Angels' as I did the same for other companies and it seems as you still view theirs ads, they use several accounts.
I will check again.
I really think time is came to leave Adsense. A good choice would be to have the donations plus ads from sponsors we can choose.
The website http://buysellads.com/buy/gaming seems to be an alternative if sponsors follow us.
The idea of a 'special' rank for the members is something to consider too.
Many thanks for all the answers and feel free to continue the discussion :)
Didn't think about that. Adblock disabled for this website.
A subscription would be a good idea, but only if itdidn't totally lock out almost every function of the website for non-paying customers, such as Club Penguin's or Toontown's. Donations would be good too. Bonus stuff for subscribers, also a good idea. Just not near/outright blocking for non-subscribers.
I also want to reiterate since some people seem to have missed or ignored it that we have in no way scaled back on free games. Ever. :) We have always tried to feature at least two per day... tried being the operative word, of course, since we're all fairly picky in terms of quality, and we can only write about what developers have created. If you see a day go by where we only feature one or none, it isn't because we're "trying to push paid games"... it's because there simply wasn't anything we felt met our standards to write about!
This is part of the reason why you see fewer escape games too. It isn't because we're ignoring them, it's because fewer high quality ones are being made. Many of the popular escape developers have significantly scaled back or stopped their production altogether since it just isn't worth it to them. (Especially when you consider escape games from Japan and the like aren't sponsored, which means the developers are ONLY getting paid for their work in terms of what their ad revenue brings in!)
We are not trying to cut back on anything... we're just trying to keep our standards high, and we would rather have a few days of few reviews go by than push out lackluster games we weren't that excited about just to drive traffic. There have, of course, definitely been games you fine feathered folk have rated lower, but every single game that we feature is on here because one or all of us liked it enough to think it deserved to be shared with you. :)
It seems everywhere I visit there are complaints about adblocker. I only recently tried adblock and was happy to be free of ads. I would be okay with getting rid of it if the flashy annoying types of ads got toned down. I actually like seeing new products or services offered. but trying to enjoy a game with a loud flashing obtrusive that cant be ignored ad ruins it. I hope some compromise happens as I love JiG but cant abide the ads unless they calm down or only last temporarily. How about that? keep the ads but have them shut down during gameplay?
I would not be back if I had to subscribe, my wife laughed at me when I asked about a donation, so I have happily added you to my allowed lists in both my browsers. I didn't actually realize they were blocking anything. Sorry about that. You guys are awesome, and I really hope you make it through this. Good luck.
My general policy is if a website asks me to disable adblock, and I like that website, I do it on the spot. So, done.
To that ends, I'm totally in favor of the plea option. If I hadn't seen this post, and a week from now I saw one of those in place of ads, I would disable then. It's not obtrusive, and it gets the message across.
Hopefully that's enough, but if it isn't I absolutely understand taking more drastic measures. SMBC Comics has recently experimented with Patreon to reasonable success. Has JIG looked into that option?
I didn't start blocking your ads until your ads became really, really offensive: I mean the ones for games that are "For Men Only" and the one where the female avatar's boobs literally got bigger and bounced.
I am sympathetic to your position; I spent 10 years working for newspapers, and I know that "free" really means "supported by selling ads." But if I am going to turn my blocker off, YOU HAVE TO EXERCISE SOME STANDARDS. I'm not even asking for ads that are feminist-approved, just for ones that do not actively create an environment hostile to women.
This site has a history of including and being friendly to female gamers. Don't let your ads destroy that.
@Carny Asada: earlier in the discussion it was mentioned that such ads can be sneaky: they are banned, the account behind them is banned, and then they pop up on a different account. The JIG staff, not that I speak for them in the slightest, seems to agree with you regarding those ads and does what they can, but can't prevent them 100% of the time, apparently.
I guess I'll have to reset AdBlocker Plus (in Firefox) to "allow some non-intrusive advertising". I don't see any way to add JIG (or any website) to some whitelist anywhere within ABPs' options. I could add, delete or tweak filters...if I knew html, etc. And I don't.
For what it's worth, I would offer an ad-free site to subscribers/contributors, or free access with ads. I am learning that I am willing to pay -- not huge amounts, but pay -- for a better online experience.
Carny Asada, as stated multiple times, we have removed every single one of those ads we saw as soon as they were brought to our attention. :) Jeff even removed League of Angels yesterday. All we can do is block them as they come, since Google seems to be adding new sites every day. We can't stop new ones from coming, but we can remove them as soon as we see them!
Jeff, it worries me to hear you actually don't get paid for the ads that play before a game starts; those often prevent me from playing games because the game simply won't load. I also have to delete my cache and reload pretty often on Jayisgames and I always thought it was pretty stupid how sites get paid more if I have to do that, since the ads reload too. So on goes the adblocker when I have seen the ads three times or more but no game. In that respect I would like a plea where the ads are supposed to be to remind you to whitelist you again.
I hope this is helpful, but I try and be honest. While I don't use an adblocker I would consider it if the ads got any more annoying. At the moment JIG ads are fairly non-intrusive so I dont see it as a problem. As for donations, I would consider one off donations but probably not on a regular basis. The UK image message board b3ta uses donations and gives users icons when they have donated. This is a nice touch and shows who has given some money to the site.
Good luck and keep us updated! We are more likely to dig deep if we know what is going on.
As a long-time reader, here are my (personal) two-cents�
I've been a regular since Rob Allen's first banner game back in 2007, maybe even a little bit before that. I've commented here and there, even wrote a walkthrough for a game I can't remember, and generally enjoyed coming back here time and time again hoping to relax to some jazz music playing in the background of the latest escape game. I miss those days when review after review were escape games and other cool, indie flash. I also miss Jay.
I wasn't aware that this site had been sold(?) until I read one of the comments here. Now I wish I had been less forgiving towards some of the very disappointing changes this site has undergone. I didn't mind much when other readers started pitching in with the reviews to help Jay (initially) and I was even inspired at times to do so myself (though it never manifested into an action). I DID mind a bit when 'mobile games' started making an appearance (seriously� what?) and at the same time these paid (often Big Fish) games as well. After more and more reviews for Big Fish, it was obvious BFG were sponsoring the reviews somehow. It was disappointing, but I decided to let that go: after all, I imagine the cost of the servers were growing with the popularity of the once low-key site. I didn't mind when ads started popping up (part of the process, I assumed). I DID mind when I noticed reviews and comments by Jay were lacking� and lacking� and seriously lacking as the days went by.
I started on this site reading his reviews� but where is he now? Did the site get too big for him? This is very, very disappointing. I honestly miss the cool guy whose personal blog reviewed games that were right up my alley. I kept coming back to read Jay's blog� not this consumerist, ad-dominated site with paid (but not passionless, I admit) employees now threatening (or "warning") a shut-down or some subscription plan.
For those who have been here as long as I have� surely you guys share some of my feelings? Had I jumped in on JiG in the recent years, I imagine I probably would not be ranting/raving as much. But the old site felt like home. This site is like another planet now.
I've been feeling more and more hesitant to come back here with all the changes, but after all the years I've spent coming back to this site, I felt an attachment I just could not let go of. Now knowing that even Jay is no longer a part of this site (except the name), I finally feel like I can let go.
I suspect I'll still pop in from time to time (old habits die hard, after all), but this is it. Goodbye, JiG. It's been a good run with you.
Regarding ads like League of Angels, Evony, etc, I feel it's also important to talk about how ads work for us. We don't pick and choose what specific ads we get to see. We have categories to choose from (sports, gaming, pizza, etc), and there are categories we can choose not to have at all, such as adult websites or political ads and so forth. A site like Evony would simply be classified as "gaming" to Google regardless of its content or what its ads look like, and so it gets added to rotation. When we see this, we can go and choose to block that specific ad from showing up on our site, though it takes a bit of fiddling. Because sex sells, however, new ads of this type for various sites are always cropping up... we have, in the last two or three months, blocked over six different sexualised ads/games from our rotation, and new ones just keep coming. All we can do is weed them out as we see them, and sometimes we need them to be brought to our attention because we might not happen across them ourselves immediately. (Someone once e-mailed me to complain they had seen a graphic ad for antisuicide featuring a woman in a bathtub with slit wrists, but they couldn't tell me when or where, and I have NEVER seen that myself, or even, to use a less severe answer, the person who Tweeted at us claiming our ads were shilling condoms. It's just not something we had ever seen!)
Song, I'm not sure where you get us threatening or warning you about anything. :( We're simply putting all our cards on the table and talking about how expensive it has gotten to run this site and the fact that recently it has gotten difficult to make ends meet. How is it threatening to ask for different ways to do so by providing suggestions and asking for feedback on them and other ideas?
We have always, always covered games we thought were worth it, regardless of platforms. If you don't like Big Fish Games-type downloads or mobile games, that's cool! We certainly never scaled back on the free online content we started with. We just added other things we liked in around it. Big Fish Games doesn't "sponsor" anything. We have a lot of reviewers and readers who like the games, and we write reviews on the ones we like best. Big Fish Games has an affiliate program wherein any games sold from a particular link pay a portion back to the originating site, yes, but we have always been clear about that (the reviews were always tagged as affiliate), and you seem to be implying we were being shady about it, or somehow disingenuous in the way they were represented, which I feel is unfair. If you see a game on here, whether paid or free, it's here because we liked it enough to talk about it. Period.
Asking why something is done a certain way is one thing, especially since we've always been more than willing to answer questions or clarify, but it seems to me that implying we're somehow menacing you or lying or threatening is another thing entirely, and not fair considering the way we've been trying to open up a discussion here and responding honestly to questions... or accusations.
Have checked it again, and League of Angels seems to truly be gone now.
So here's the current inventory that I see:
Norton Utilities (assuming paid)
Fire Boy and Water Girl
The Norton one is static, and I don't really consider the others ads in the truest sense. So fair play on the left column.
Rather sloppy placement that overhangs the column width -- AdChoices that rotates between local companies. Mildly annoying (because it doesn't fit the column!), but static, so no big deal.
OneWorld (mildly flickery, but okay)
Loren the Amazon Princess (seriously, boys, bewbs don't look like that. Really)
and Magical Diary.
All are static (except for OneWorld)....so I'll let you stay whitelist for now.
I have been comping to JIG for about 8 years and you guys do have the best review site I have found, that being said my complaint with the adds and why I use adblock is simply the flashing annoying ones, they are extremely distracting and I loathe them. I am not the most computer savvy person out there and I tried to click on 'don't run on this domain' for you but the adds are still gone, not sure why....I don't understand the whitelist as there is a warning next to it saying to be careful I could break filters?? Anyway, as long as you guys are choosy about which ads you put on your site, are respectful to us (me), and don't use the adds that are beyond obnoxious with the flashing and strobe effects, I will return the favor be MORE than happy to find a way to enable adds for your site as I don't want to lose you. Thank you for being up front and letting us know, I did not realize the negative effects of using Adblock.
ive been visiting and using this website for years. I'm very surprised to see you spending 7500 dollars a month on your writers. I have a feel for how much daily content you have and the quality of the articles, and that content feels to me like i could be easily done by one person spending 8 hours a day (full time job) on reviewing games, maybe a second one who finds the games the other person then reviews.your content does not warrant spending 7500 dollars a month on. i have no clue how your payment system works, but i'd have a good hard look on who you're paying how much.
the advertisements have been horrible, the space is cluttered and the pre-game youtube commercials are cringe-inducing. you're overdoing them, turning away the userbase that has no idea what adblock is and pushing those that do know about adblock but have chosen not to use it to regret their decision.
it makes me sad that we live in a society where the lack of MONEY can come in the way of people giving enjoyment to others, especially when its on a large and near-proffessional scale like this. i vote for the donate button. it wont give you a stable income but it'll give you something. and something is better than nothing. if it doesnt work you can still cancel it. maybe cut back on some of the more annoying ads in return (pre-game commercials and that big floating banner thing at the bottom that you have to cancel to prevent it from giving you eye cancer)
Hi JustMe, thanks for the list! We are not paid for Norton Utilities. That's just an ad in rotation. (In that location on my browser, for example, I have Hyundai.) The games you list apart from One World and MaxCon aren't ads, they're just some of our most popular games that we reviewed we put up to fill the space. :) We figure if we ARE going to put up ads, we might as well put up some permanent links to the games we love. In general, the ones in the left column are all free browser games, while the ones in the right are indie downloads.
Thrilling: Could the whole site be written by one person? Sure. But don't you think it would suffer as a result? The reason why we have so many different people is that different viewpoints, interests, and even just personalities yield a great variation to the reviews, both in the way they read and what they're about. It would be extremely difficult to find one person out there who is not only well versed in every single gaming genre but is equally passionate about all of them too, and a review written by someone who isn't genuinely interested in and excited by what they're playing does a disservice both to the game itself and the reader. We pay people for their time, talent, and effort the way you would any hardworking freelancer. That's all. :)
dora: youre referring to an example of mine that i used to make it easier to perceive the content/money spent ratio. im aware of the advantages of using various writers. that doesnt justify spending 7500 dollars per month on them, however. i repeat that i feel that the content that is uploaded to this website per day does not justify a 7500 dollar a month paycheck
I wasn't aware you were posing it as an example, thrilling. :) I suppose what you feel a person is worth comes down to how much you feel the time spent playing, writing, coding, and creating images for even one of our shorter articles is worth, especially when it comes to the much more effort intensive walkthroughs.
dora: i think the author of a review of a flash game has to do the following: play the game, write the article, slap a picture of himself and the main menu of the game on it, upload it. Playing the game doesnt take too long as were dealing with flash games, also i assume that the author actually likes that part of his job. the review is the core and the only part i judge an author with. what skills do you need to have to be able to write a good article? i think you need to have played a few games in your time to be able to judge their mechanics and put them in perspective for the reader. then you need good english skills and some talent to make something that is at its core a very repetetive structure enjoyable to read, with the main mission of it being informative. i think there are a LOT of people who could write articles. lots of people who could do a job = smaller wages. I imagine i could write a review of a game in two hours. maybe less with some training. how many reviews are getting uploaded a day and per month? does the work required justify spending 7500 dollars a month? i think not
regarding your walkthrough: why do you even pay people for doing them? i was honestly surprised youre paying for them. the walkthrough of a game have very little to do with the main function of this site: providing a comfortable, quick way to find good flash games. what jayisgames is doing that helps me with this service is 1. people are reviewing the games 2. the website is organized in a way that helps me find games i feel like playing 3. a good voting system. your walkthroughs may be an extra service to the reader, but i cant imagine anyone choosing jayisgames over another site because "they have walkthroughs" - it doesnt make sense to pay people to do them. let the chat figure it out by itself if they want to, your job and main service is already long completed.
@Thrilling: I really have to agree with you. Just checking a few of the reviews, I'm only counting between 300-500 words... so, what is that about 2 typed pages double spaced? As far as creating images for the reviews... what creation is really involved? These are screenshots ... Ctrl-Printscreen... Seriously, 7500$ a month on writers seems a bit excessive.
While I don't know your pay structure, it seems that if things are as dire as you report that you should consider cutting wages/staff in addition to trying to pass it all on to the users.
Hi, Dora --
Sorry if I was unclear, but I'm completely unfussed about an ad block for popular games -- you're keeping eyeballs on the site, and in my eyes they aren't ads.
I don't have any issue with the Norton and Hyundai ads, either -- you have to make money, and they're pretty unobtrusive.
The top ad in the right-hand column bothers me only because it doesn't fit in the column, and it drives the OCD part of me bonkers.
League of Angels is still showing up in the middle column rotation, but at least it's not an anime crotch shot, and it's not moving/flashing/etc.
I'm a very regular visitor to this page and enjoyed hours of playing very nice games.
Being reviewed on this site is IMO a kind of quality-badge for a game.
I personally never used ad-blockers and I won't do so in future. I tend to click on annoying ads because I know that many ads are paid per click and if they annoy me, they have to pay for ;-)
I prefer the plea and donate options, because I think, and many of the previous comments prove me right, many people aren't aware of the problem and have no change their ad-blockers and/or donate some small amount.
I also suggest the Wikipedia-method: Raise a certain amount once or twice a year.
That doesn't make you look like a beggar as a permanent donate-banner would do (you might have a decent donate-button somewhere on the page anyway)and it gives the people that donate the feeling of being part of something.
It also reminds people like me to donate in more or less regular terms (I rather donate a bigger amount once or twice a year than having to remember to donate 1$ each month).
If parts of my comment sound strange or ironic, it's due to the fact that English isn't my native language and I apologise for it. I mean it as I write it.
So far so good. I hope you find a way to pay your bills and keep some bucks for yourself.
I'm a long time 'silent' user of the site, but had to sign up to comment on this one.
Thanks very much JIG for asking your users about this issue before making a decision.
As one of the ad-unblocked, I really love to see a Subscription option for 'ad-free' enjoyment of the site - ads are a necessary evil, but I'd happily pay up to $5.00 per month to NOT have to watch them. :)
Since you asked, I decided to try out the ads on this site. I was so disgusted by the experience that I created this account just to tell you about it.
Enabling ads (on Firefox) was an interesting experience in itself. Because I use NoScript, RequestPolicy, and Ghostery in addition to Adblock Plus, I had to hunt through the various third-parties asking me to run their scripts and save their cookies to find the ones that had to be enabled to see the ads. Did you know that there are five domains serving ads on your site? How do you know that they are all secure and trustworthy? You don't, and for that matter, you don't even need to ask the question, because experience tells us that they aren't. For example, Yahoo just admitted that they were serving malware on their own ad network a few days ago.
Once I finally got that figured out, my eyes and, eventually, ears were assaulted by animations. You have ads that sparkle (AdventureQuest Worlds and OurWorld, I'm looking at you), ads that move (looking at you, GameArk), and an ad (powered by SayMedia) that takes up vertical real-estate (increasingly valuable with the present trend of wide-screen monitors) by parking itself at the bottom of the screen and, when hovered over, plays sounds and covers the entire screen with a video that makes Firefox run slower than molasses flowing uphill in the middle of winter. The slot occasionally occupied by AdventureQuest Worlds commits an additional violation of common decency by sitting in the middle of the content area as opposed to staying out of the way on the side. The ad (and script, and third-party request, and so on) blockers went right back on!
This is a pretty well-designed site. The presentation is clean and professional, and you do it a disservice by slapping dancing, sparkling, singing ads all over the place. On the other pages that I permit advertisements, the ads are images, occasionally animated but only in a slide-show style (i.e. no movement, no sparkling, just static images displayed at a rate of one every few seconds), and they are kept clear of the content. Funnily enough, most of them use Project Wonderful, so maybe that's worth looking into, though you probably won't get $10K/month from them. As others have mentioned, there is also the option of managing and inserting text or image ads yourself. That would have the further benefit of "evading" most blockers entirely, as they usually focus on intercepting third-party ads. Gamification and artwork and other benefits for donating or subscribing users have also been mentioned.
In conclusion, if you (or any other website) want me to permit the execution of unverified third-party code (that's what ads are) on my computer, you had better clean up your act. I realize that my frustration is more with the advertising industry than with you, but showing their ads is supporting them. If it makes you feel any better, I also block the ads that games show when pre-loading -- my hatred of online advertisements is equal-opportunity. I'll leave my Opera ad-blocking disabled for your site to check on the ad situation now and then, but Firefox will stay locked down for the time being.
I certainly don't envy your position, and I hope you find a solution that causes minimal dissatisfaction.
I do run an ad-blocker, but it has a blank rule list. I only use it to block specific ads that I have some problem with.
However, I do run a flash-block extension, as I've never found a flash based ad that I wish to follow and every one distracts me from whatever I actually came to the site for. Sadly, flash ads seem to be getting more and more popular, presumably just for that reason.
I think informing people of the ad blockers AND explaining how to change the settings would be a good start. you could try this as well as opening up donations. that way people would not feel bullied or forced and it would be informative.
@Thrilling, I have no idea what you do for a living, but clearly, it isn't writing. Writing is work. It might sometimes be fun work, but it takes years of practice to be able to hammer out a review as easily as you seem to think it happens.
$7,500 a month on writers, for a site with multiple posts a day, isn't "excessive." If it was spent on two full-time people with benefits, they'd be making about $35K each, which is hardly princely.
When you're arguing "pay people less money because I want free content," you really lose me.
I started using Jayisgames a couple of months just before the paid content started rolling in, so I was first attracted to the site mostly for the free casual flash games and walkthroughs. Writing about paid content didn't stop me from visiting. In fact, I'm pretty sure the reason I signed up for Big Fish Games was because of articles and reviews on some of the games.
With the ideas that Dora has mentioned in her article, pleading, donations and subscriptions are ideas that I think would work. Having a donation goal bar available would make it more engaging, letting the community know whether they might need to donate a few dollars to meet the goal. The person who suggested gamifying sounds like he/she is up to something for sure. I've also seen sites where subscribers can access special contents or events. (Major Spoilers is a site that comes to mind, if you want a more solid example.)
Blocking or redirecting is an option that I think would antagonize the readers. If an ad is preventing me from playing a game because of technical issues, and I absolutely must get to it via an adblocker, being blocked by the site itself would leave a bad taste in my mouth for me.
I personally started using adblocks just recently because of "mystery sound playing in background that I cannot locate" type ads on another site. So far, the ads on Jayisgames for me has been an acceptable experience, so I feel comfortable with disabling it for the moment. Though if a quick link for reporting is attached to the rotational ads, it might help with speeding up the reporting on offensive ads process.
The $7500 price tag on writers is something that surprises me, but also delights me at the same time. As an aspiring writer, it's good to know that you guys are not underpaying your writers. For those that are complaining about the cost, here's some simple arithmetic.
Say that Jayisgames publishes about 60 articles in a month's time. Each article is on average, about 400 meaningful words long (taking away articles and pronouns and such). That makes 24000 words per month, which means each word is getting paid at around less than a third of a dollar. Sure, there are many magazines out there that buy short stories for $0.04 a word, but do you know how hard it is to even get the opportunity to be paid that amount for a writer?
Let's simplify it even more. Each review cost about $125 to produce, using the formula above. The time it takes to play the game you are reviewing, about anywhere from 2 hours to 6 hours or longer. Writing the article, lets say it takes about 1 hour. Now comes the difficult part. You need to edit your article down, change words around, double check your grammar. Is your article expressing how you feel about the game? Is there a better way to phrase is? Are the audience going to fall asleep when they read this, and how are you going to keep them reading? Am I misinterpreting the game, showing too much bias? By the time you are satisfied with what you have written, another hour might have passed. Which never happens. Most writers are perfectionists that spend at least double, if not triple the effort to edit their own work. You then spend another half-hour putting things together such as the image, double checking that your links are right, or that your article the right tags and ratings. So, if you are reviewing a simple flash game, and are at the top of your game, you can get your $125 worth of work done in about 4 hours. Sounds like a dream job, right? Let me remind you that $125 is probably all you get for the week, because you only get published once a week. At the same time, you need to also put in your part of the effort in maintaining Jayisgames, because that comes with the job description of being a writer with them.
Moral of the story? Jayisgame, thank you for valuing your writers and the quality work they produce. Keep that $7500 price tag. Please do not trade quality and the good work the writers have done just to decrease your spending.
carny: my argument isnt "pay people less money because i want free content", it's "pay people less money, because youre having problems financing yourselves and you may be paying them too much but i might also be wrong". my posting here is merely an attempt at finding solutions to the financial problem they're experiencing, which is what the creator of this thread asked the userbase to do in the first place.
how you got the impression im venting for personal reasons is beyond me. other than that, i regognize your opninion about the actual content of my post and leave it at that
Please consider switching to Project Wonderful's ad network. In general they have very acceptable and non-offensive ads, and you can even specify non-animated ads if you like (though you can allow them too.) They're smaller than most other ad networks, but they're still big enough. With your traffic you could bring in a lot with them.
The contract is clear. If you want to use the site, you have to pay, by showing ads (currently).
If you have a slow computer, then load the page once with adblocker to read/play, then load a second time without AB to pay.
If you have a slow internet connection, then load a second time while you do something else.
If you have a capped internet service, then watch one less youtube clip and instead load the ads on JIG.
I use AB, but JIG was whitelisted the first moment I read this is how they finance it.
The problem with donations, is that they are a very unsure income - hard to count on even within the scope for next month. Users pay when they want, not when JIG needs them to. Often they will ebb unless you constantly plea for more (new users dont know, and old forget). Always they will fluctuate. Ads on the contrary provides an even flow, easy to track and count on.
Get on the ads people!
I'm going to go back and comment on the "pay writers" bit.
Writing is an art. And writing is a skill. It is, in point of fact, an under-appreciated skill. Because everyone thinks they can write. Because look at what we're all doing in this thread. We're writing! But to do so consistently, at a high-quality level, in a way that conveys the information you want to convey, even when you feel like crap, even when your computer is giving you problems, even when there is nothing out there to review, takes a buttload of time, effort, and skill, all of which are harder to find than one might think.
So no, do not pay your artist less. Pay your artist the amount you value their quality, or else their quality will decline. We do not want JIG to turn into Buzzfeed lists. We do not want JIG to have its writing outsourced to people who barely know English grammar (I've seen it happen). We want quality reviews that are fun and engaging.
And quality costs money.
$7,500 a month is nothing. How dare anyone here, all of whom obviously get value from the work these people do, even suggest that someone else take a pay cut. As patrons of the website, we should all be demanding that the writers get paid *more*. We're their patrons, their fanbase, and if we are not on their side, nobody will be.
Support quality in artistic output, or lose that output altogether.
please, for god's sake, acknowledge the comments about Jay. respond to the comments and questions about Jay. tell us what has happened to Jay. please. i have been a fan of this site for years and years as well, and am perfectly willing to help keep it going, but in reading through this particular thread i've found myself getting more and more upset about the strange avoidance of addressing what has happened to Jay. and please, no short answers about the site being 'sold' because that's not enough detail. it doesn't explain a thing. explain what has happened to Jay, please - Jay's absence specifically. explain what the site is now, and i personally will be so much more ready to listen. if you can't do this i feel you will lose a number of supportive but sad and confused site followers strictly based on your odd inability to confront important concerns head on. tell us about Jay please. tell us about what has changed and let us make decisions based on that. the key to empathy is honesty. so please answer the many comments made about Jay, and not just with one or two sentences. tell us in the most open terms possible what we are about to support, and we will listen. thank you.
To begin, a story:
A competition was held between the American and Japanese rowing teams. The Japanese team consisted of 10 rowers and and 1 captain. The American team had 10 captains and 1 rower.
The Japanese team won the race by a mile.
So, the American team decided to restructure. This time, they had 1 captain, 9 assistant captains, and 1 rower. They challenged the Japanese team to a rematch.
The Japanese team won the race by 2 miles.
So, the American team fired their rower.
You guys are the American team. We're the rower.
I almost got through the whole first page of posts, and just had enough. Your problem is simple: the market is changing, and you have to change with it. You're obviously not prepared to do so. Your problem. When DVRs first started showing up, I don't remember people getting on TV reminding us to watch all commercials, otherwise we're being greedy and abusing all the free content they give us. Grow up. You're not giving us free content any more than network television is. You get benefits in many ways. It's up to you to figure out what those are, and how to use them to your advantage. The internet was mostly ad free for a very long time. Then these ad companies realized they could make money exploiting something, and here we are. Realize this: ads suck. NOBODY CLICKS ON THEM. And if you think otherwise, you're an idiot. The grand majority of people know how bad it is to click on an ad. Jeff is straight nuts if he thinks anybody believes that he sometimes clicks on ads if he likes the product. And speaking of Jeff, I can barely make out a word he says. If he is foreign, maybe have someone help him with his illegible posts if he is going to represent your company.
When I was a kid, PBS used to try and get people to donate money in order to see certain things on their channel. If enough people donate, we'll show the rest of this series, etc. I don't think PBS is the business model you want to follow.
Regarding your "talented writers": I frequently find spelling and grammar errors that an editor should be catching. You are asking me to pay for your service, so at least make it better than the substandard job you guys usually do. At least hire an editor. Honestly, I see another obvious answer to your problem: fire your writing staff. Boom, $7,500 more a month right there. This is a WEB SITE, people. It started as one guy writing a blog, and became a way for a few of you to escape the real world for a short time. Well, I guess the gravy train is over, and now you have to go get real jobs like the rest of us. Writing on a blog doesn't make you a writer, any more than having an instagram doesn't make you a photographer. If you have real talent, gather up your portfolio and go try and find a job with a company that doesn't whine to its readers about what they're not doing to fix it's problems. They exist. Otherwise, thank god that you had a time in your life where you survived without doing any real work, and move on. I'm talking to you, Dora.
Hey, I had a hobby that other people enjoyed observing. For a while, that's all it was. Then one day, it dawned on me that I deserve something from those people who are amused by my hobby. I figured out a way to make money off my hobby. Now, it's over. Boo hoo.
Seriously, I don't know if it's internet culture that does this to people, but if I have to go bust my butt to pay my bills, and when I get home and want to unwind, I go to a website, only to find that it wants money for writing poorly written articles about other people's work, I'll very quickly go somewhere else. Your readers that complain about people unwilling to allow ads are either idiots or lying. You'll figure that out when you implement these changes and find that the number of adblockers isn't going down, it's going up. Congrats that you have attracted enough retards who respond to this pathetic post by throwing money at you. The rest of us will continue to enjoy what we please for free.
Here's a thought: if you get paid by these ad companies to advertise for them, and you openly tell your readers to ignore the ads, don't click them, just let them load for your benefit, then you're not really advertising anything, are you? You're essentially stealing from them. Why would I help you trick the ad company into thinking you're helping their clients? You're no better than they are. In fact, you're worse. You're taking advantage of their bad business model to benefit yourself. I'll keep doing the same, thanks.
In honor of the JIG review process, I'm not going to read or edit this post before tossing it on here like wet toilet paper on the bathroom wall. Enjoy.
...you all deserve better than that last commenter. people have become really entitled to not just expect things for free, but insult the providers. getting free things is a luxury and we forget money has to come from somewhere. DAM complains about spending money but will not let these people get paid? so you deserve and and not them? ugh.
please keep doing what you do JIG.
I get paid for actual work. This is bullcrap.
Also, answer the questions about Jay and the site being sold. Here they are:
What happened to Jay?
When and why was the site sold?
The trolls have come out, I see.
If you don't like the overall direction JiG has chosen (longer reviews, many types of games for several platforms, paying the writers), and you're contemptuous of the very idea of supporting this or any site, and you mock these losers for not providing exactly what you want for free... then please don't waste your valuable time in this thread telling us all so.
Your talents are needed elsewhere. Somewhere far away, over...there, yes, there, Someone is Wrong on the Internet and needs you to flame them. Better hurry before they get smug.
DAM seems to be under the impression that they're part of a majority. In truth it's just a big comment from a small person. I don't know what they do for a living but it better be curing cancer or feeding starving children for how important they seem to think they are. Nobody has the right to judge anyone on what they do for a living or what constitutes a "real job". Fortunately once this whole discussion is over then all the trolls will go back under the bridges they crawled out from.
PS. People seem to think that $7500 is such a huge amount as if it's being paid to one person for writing a paragraph. It's none of our business how much anyone gets paid but if you worked out how that money was distributed and for how many hours work involved you'd see that the JIG staff aren't living in diamond castles and driving solid gold cars.
People need to stop claiming "This is how a capitalist society works" and in the same breath criticising people for making a living.
DAM, I understand you seem to be annoyed because the people in this website have jobs that they make money from and they enjoy it. While you, I'm sure, are in an office and hate every moment of it and are angry about the fact that other people get money from things they actually enjoy.
But please, don't try to aim your anger at these people. Maybe you should be angry at yourself since you seem to be paid for "actual work" but you don't even UNDERSTAND what "actual work" is. If you don't want to support this website- which you use all the bloody time, mind you, and for absolutely FREE- then that's YOUR problem. Please continue being a leech and feed on other people's time and money. That's totally what someone with a "real job" does, isn't it?
Please ignore people like him and rest assured- your quality of writing is EXACTLY why I come here and it's exactly why most people come here. People like me will always support this site- especially if you have a donation.
And I want to further add to anyone wanting to pick on the $7500 amount that they should go and look up the flow on money in any business. Almost without fail, anything involving human beings WILL have the most amount of money sent to those people- because labour is expensive. And labour is expensive because people are the only things that can do it. It's a tiny amount- supposing even one person works full-time(and we know there's at least such a person- the administrator), and supposing they're being paid a hardly sky-high wage of $10 an hour, then that's $2400 a month, or just less than a third of that amount. And there is a pretty big team involved to run a website like this- if the total work required is just above three people working full-time, that if anything means a couple of people are getting paid a lot less than they should be.
You're right Dam, English is not my native language although I speak more English than French now every day. I suppose (and hope!) even if my English is not flawless, I can join just a discussion?
We don't hide anything. Jay has sold the website in April 2013 since it was on the market for sale two years before but did not find buyer(s). He should join the discussion soon (he is very busy these days)
I'm myself an old reader and biiigggg fan of JiG (and especially Dora) and when I knew the website was for sale, I've tried to convince people into my company to take a look and deploy financial efforts for buying it.
I'm the co-founder of Akinator.com, the website and mobile app ( http://en.akinator.com/content/2/the-fabulous-story-of-akinator ).
Maybe some of you know it. JiG reviewed it some years ago. I'm a developer, not a boss of a big company in his office at the latest floor.
Despite the fact Jay sold the website, he is still among us, on our internal forum, on skype and of course reachable every day at any hours by mail (Thanks Jay!). He was and still is a great support for the team because the website is his baby and he is all the time here for helping.
I read the website has changed?
Well, my first decision was to not change anything in the team except giving more responsabilities to Dora as the new leader of the website. So before, there was a duo (Dora & Jay) and now it's Dora.
I would want to point something.
This is a screenshot of the website in march 2013 when the website was for sale and when I brought the information of the sale to the company:
You can notice the difference with now. I've removed the box with BFG games and the BFG promotional articles inside the reviews on the homepage. And replaced this big BFG box by the 'New free online games' (coded by Jay) because my main concern is to not confuse the readers regardless it brings less revenues. So really, I don't understand when I read, ads are more important now with even paid articles when there are none.
I think Weekday Escape disappeared before the sale and will come back next friday. We will cover too one or two paid games per week. We stopped to cover them due to the removal of the BFG box.
It's important to say, we have never received (and won't receive) money for writing an article. I mean, nobody can ask us to write an article for a specific game by sending money.
This integrity is very important.
Regarding the $7,5k for the writers, I'm very happy to pay this amount. The writers deserve their rates and for me the writers are the value of the site. I still feel myself like a reader fan of the writers. The work is not only to write articles.
Testing games for finally not write anything is a part of the job.
As Dora said, we are not here to find a goldmine, we are not twitter, facebook or snapchat. I'm a fan of JiG and games in general and it's like a dream to have bought the website and to see the work done by Jay during years, to be continued.
I do not pretend to do better, just try to continue.
Thank you for reading and sorry for the bad English.
I have opted not to specifically "speak on Jay" because I don't feel that's my place to do. I can only presume if he wanted to talk about his personal life, he would have done so already, and I don't think it's up to me to go into detail beyond what has already been talked about. :)
Thanks to everyone for your comments and opinions, positive or otherwise, and I appreciate you all taking the time to share them!
I love this site and want to support it however I can. I used AdBlock for years because I honestly didn't realize it was legitimately hurting the sites that I use for free every single day, sometimes several times a day. I didn't know that the ad payouts depended on the ads actually loading on my screen. Know how I finally realized it? One of the sites I'd been using came out and said it, using the "plea" method described above. In a little box where an ad would have normally loaded, there was a message basically saying "Hey, looks like you're blocking ads! It's cool, we get it, we hate ads too. But here's the thing: it's how we make our money so we can keep delivering you free content. Would you mind whitelisting us if you like our site? We promise to do our best to make our ads relevant and unobtrusive." I didn't feel guilty, or put-upon. I felt educated--like I said, I honestly didn't know. I whitelisted them immediately. And after that, I did the same to other free sites that I enjoyed on a regular basis, including JiG.
To be honest, no, I don't like the ads. I don't think anyone does. They're flashy, obnoxious, and irritating. But to me, it's a small sacrifice for a site that I truly enjoy. Add me to the "plea for whitelist" list. :) I'll bet there are lots and lots of other people out there who, like me, simply don't realize what's going on, and will be happy to whitelist JiG once they do.
Regarding Jay: I hope all is well with him and he's healthy and happy and fabulous and whatnot, but it's really none of my business where he is or why he doesn't contribute the way he used to. I'm curious, sure, because I like Jay's reviews and posts as much as everyone, but all this "THE PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW!!" business is just silly to me. It's a FREE site. Jay didn't take our hard earned cash and run off to the Bahamas (or...DID he??). He started a great gaming blog, it took off, and now he's stepping back some. Good for him!
One thing I'd love to see is a subscription option, but I understand that it would be difficult to implement and possibly not cost-effective. But it would be pretty great. I'd happily shell out a few bucks a month if it meant I could play all my games, read all Dora's silly pony-filled reviews, find well-written and concise walkthroughs for when I get stuck, not have to view a single ad AND still be supporting a site that I've grown to love!
A donate button would be fantastic as a way for you guys to get some extra revenue, but I don't think you should rely on it as your primary source of income. Like someone said above, it would be too unreliable. I think your revenue sources in order of importance should be ads, subs, and donations. I think a paywall would be a misstep; people don't like feeling forced into something, and are much more likely to just click over to another site than to actually go through the signup process.
To the folks suggesting that JiG cut back on their lengthy reviews to cut costs: that's, um, sort of the point of the site, isn't it? There are hundreds of flat gaming portals out there that don't bother with reviews and just toss links up there for you to check out yourself. And there's nothing wrong with that, if that's all you want. But I personally come to JiG because I know that every game they post has been played in depth and passed the JiG QA process, and that's what the reviews signify. I for one am glad JiG spends so much on the folks who write the reviews. It means they care about quality. People who have the attitude of "if you don't do what I do for a living, then you don't have a REAL job" are so irritating to me. If you love what you do and you get paid for it, what is so wrong with that? Don't worry, guys...those folks are very much in the minority.
Final thoughts: I'd just like to point out the fact that Dora, the head honcho of the site, is taking time to read all these comments (even the unnecessarily wordy ones, like mine :P) and respond thoughtfully, answering just about all of our concerns. THAT is the type of dedication to quality that I am willing to pay real money for. And while Jeff's English may not be the best (though he certainly speaks and types better English than some of the native speakers I know), he's still one of the controllers of the site, and he IS responding to our questions and concerns (and now that I know he's French, I read his comments with a French accent in my head, which makes it way more fun). That is a big deal to me. Thanks JiG, and know that I'm going to do whatever I can to make sure you guys stick around! :)
(Incidentally, the League of Angels ads have snuck their way back onto the front page but in a different spot. Dora--you should have an email from me shortly with a screencap. :D )
For a while now I have seen ads for Zwinky on JIG. I know that they have supposedly "cleaned up their act", but frankly, given their past and my own experiences with trying to clean up after them on several computers makes me VERY leery of them. I've never blocked ads on JIG in the past, but just seeing their ads makes me consider it. I realize that the ads themselves are probably benign, but it still makes me cringe just seeing them. And I am probably not the only one either.
I don't think that carrying any ads for anything from Mindspark (Zwinky's parent company) helps your argument that you are careful about what ads appear here.
Anyway, what are your options for financing JIG? I have seen several post that they would be willing to pay a reasonable subscription and think this would be a good idea for JIG. Maybe it would, but I doubt it. There is a loyal fan-base that would provide some subscribers, but in the long term, I really doubt that JIG would be sustainable in this fashion.
What would be the real advantage to the subscriber? An ad-free version? Those that aren't in that original loyal base would probably just continue to run ad-block. If you completely block access to those running ad-block, I think you will quickly see your numbers dwindle down to those original subscribers.
Offer bigger better incentives to subscribe? You will probably very quickly divide your reader-base. Again, your readership is likely to dwindle.
So, what do you do? I think the donation button is a no-brainer. Many of those that would subscribe will donate. As long as you don't over-do the push, you don't alienate your readers. Don't over do it though.
A *polite* reminder to those that are running ad-block. Placed where the ads would be if possible.
One last thing. A few have suggested cutting the length of reviews. A few have stated "NEVER!" I can see that a rather in depth review might be useful for choosing whether or not to purchase a game. But is it really needed for most of the simple flash games? Honestly, I don't need 1000 words to help me decide whether or not to play a Tesshi-E. :)
> So if one day, the website becomes offline, what will you say, you have won or lost?
I guarantee that means you have lost.
Thank you for having mentioned 'ProjectWondeful', 'Patreon', 'Buyandsellads', I have taken a look and it's definitively something to consider. It's also the proof, other ways for monetizing a content exist and it's good to know!
Thank you Sessie for your kindly words.
As this discussion begins to be popular I wondered if a forum could be something you will like to see on JiG? Obviously, it has nothing to do with the revenues, I take the discussion for some opinions.
This forum could be a place where readers and players meet each others and meet the developers.
I saw TouchArcade implemented a forum and this last one seems very active.
Go with the subscription model. if you reckon 1% of your users paying a dollar a month would be enough, how many would subscribe at a dollar a year? 12% would be enough wouldn't it? and you'd probably get much more than that. anyway i'd happily subscribe monthly and have ads running aswell if it helps. when you provide something for free and then charge, there will always be some who are angry, the same thing happened when conceptis started charging but they're doing ok. thanks for all the fun! :-)
I signed up for an account just to make one plea: Whatever you do, PLEASE do not curtail reviews in any way!
I've been following JIG for about 3 years now, and it's become the primary place I find new games *because* of the great writing and informative reviews. If not for that, there's no reason not to find games on a hundred other sites. I like the information you give so I can decide beforehand if a game sounds like something I might want to play, and honestly, I think the reviews are funny, and I often read them even for a game I have no plans to play. I understand maybe some users don't come here to read & really aren't super picky about which games they play, but for me, the reviews are the number one reason to come here.
I don't use Adblocker, but if I did, this explanation of the situation would make me reconsider. I think you can't do much harm (except losing a few users like Mat) by posting a plea to turn it off, accompanied by a pragmatic explanation of the circumstances.
Also, I'd definitely be willing to donate to the site -- $12 a year is nothing for a site I go almost every day, especially when the donation tab is accompanied by an explanation of the situation, as you've done here.
I don't like the idea of a subscription, as it turns off new users and really makes other users less inclined to come here. I don't visit newspaper sites that have turned to a subscription model much anymore.
Finally, just FYI, for me, the most obnoxious ads (the ones that make me sometimes consider using Adblocker) are the flash ads that play when the game loads & the half-naked girl ads in the sidebars. I cringe every time I see those.
Thank you for all the great content!
Just curious, but what exactly is the $2000 in taxes for? It can't be payroll (because the writers must surely be independent contractors, not employees), it can't be sales because you aren't selling anything.
I don't want to state the obvious, but if you're having a money problem, there are only two ways to fix it...increase money coming in or decrease money going out. That $2000 is almost 20% of your monthly budget, and you are the first blog I've ever heard anyone paying taxes on, so I'd start with figuring out a way to decrease that number.
As to payment for reviews, I don't think 7500 monthly is an insane amount to pay for the amount of content on the site, but then again, the amount that is appropriate is entirely dictated by the amount you make, so if you're losing money, then you're paying too much for reviews. Cut back the number of reviews or payment, or increase the number of 'guest' written reviews until you figure out how to generate income.
Also, not sure if I'm the first person to point this out, but there is absolutely no way that this site should be 100% ad supported (outside of donations/subscription). You have claimed to be a REVIEW site first and foremost (as opposed to merely a games portal). That is how you justify paying the majority of your monthly cost to review writers, which is fine, but that means the majority of your PROFIT should come from writing reviews. You have an audience, a rather large one if we go by your numbers. Why are you not charging developers for reviews? Sure, lots of these are flash games, and you can have your indie flash game corner where you review and promote free games for free and not stray from your mission. But the iPhone games you review that must be purchased? Those reviews should be paid. Are you seriously telling me you wrote a review for Candy Crush Saga and showed it to 1.5 million unique users a month and you DIDN'T ask King.com for any money? Baffling. This is a no brainer. The cost of reviews should be irrelevant because each review should generate more money than it costs to write. So you get $500 from king.com for a feature article, you pay Dora $100 to write it, cover expenses, and the rest is profit.
If you can't do this, if you can't monetize the service you're providing without charging the user rather than the game distributor, then you don't have a business, you have a hobby, and as others have pointed out, having a hobby is fine, but then it isn't your only job, and it making money should matter.
TLDR; You are a review site. Charge companies to write reviews. If this is not sustainable, then you have a hobby, not a business.
Yep, League of Angels with its half naked women is definitely back. Jeff, you guys should definitely look into a new ad provider.
People (myself included!) are turning on ad blockers because they're annoyed by ads: they're incredibly annoying in some cases (flashy, sexist, etc.) and occasionally dangerous. A LOT of people seem to be specifically calling out ads JayIsGames runs.
If you can't pre-screen your ads with the services you're currently using, you need to switch services. Telling me that you'll block ads that bother me if I write you an email is great! But I'm not here to work. I'm here to have fun. I'm happy to fund you guys, but passively: whether this is via a recurring donation, or by looking at ads, I'm happy to do it. But I'm not going to do something which I view as your job (making sure the content on the site is good) for you. The fact that you're forgoing that responsibility is pretty horrifying.
The ads before the games are another problem altogether: I'd suggest moving hosted games to another URL (if possible), so it's possible to leave the site unblocked, while blocking pre-game advertisements. jayhostsgames.com? You get what I'm saying. It is possible to block parts of sites, and not others, but asking people to do that seems like a losing battle, and telling people how to do it seems like it would annoy the people whose games you're hosting.
You need better editors, or you need to run every review through Microsoft Word before you post it. Spelling mistakes are just annoying, and they're entirely preventable.
Jeff, as someone who writes online in a second language (teaching myself Mandarin) please stay away from charged topics until you've got a better grip on English. Miscommunications are fine in casual conversation, but people are much likelier to misinterpret what you're trying to say when it's a sensitive topic, like ads on a website. I commented on a political forum once. Never again.
A forum sounds like a good idea.
At the end of the day, you have to recognize that ads aren't a sustainable way of making money anymore. They only work in an environment where people HAVE to look at them: they're annoying by nature, and people won't look at them if they have the choice. We now have that choice.
Since you ask for knowing what are the $2K taxes, I'm willing to answer.
Operating/owning (dunno the right word here) a website from France involves taxes. I suppose France is among the countries with the highest taxes, our system takes money all the time. Remember, it's not now a personal blog but something handled by a company. I think a company in USA should pay some taxes too?
Regarding Candy Crush, yes, I'm serious, we did not earn anything and we don't want. As already mentioned, we don't want to cover titles for money from the developers/sponsors/owners.
I understand it could be a fantastic way for us for monetizing the website but as you spoke about King, do you think if they paid us $500 or more for a review, we will be free to do a review as we would want? I mean, with telling the good things and the bad as we did for any reviews. I don't think. I guess when a company gives money it's for a complacent review and we do not want to deal with integrity.
The reviews for the mobile games are different. We still cover the titles we like and get a commission from the link to Appstore.
Well, as we put all the numbers on the table, I can tell you how much we earned since april 2013: $0!
I don't know if something is wrong, I see in the dashboard lots of clicks but it seems nobody has bought one day an app from our links.
I love coming here to read your reviews. I'd be happy to pay via donations or subscription to avoid the ads. I don't use an ad blocker, but I do immediately leave the page if one of the more offensive ads comes up. Video ads tend to make me leave, too, because things freeze up.
I'd also like to add that I find the notion that anyone would seriously believe we accept money to do reviews INCREDIBLY offensive. At that point, you're insulting my integrity by saying you don't trust me not to lie or be up front about our content. :( I feature things I like, BECAUSE I like them, and neither myself nor anyone else has ever been asked to do differently, especially not because we were accepting money, period.
As Jeff points out regarding taxes, by the way, that's something I as a writer have to do in the US as well. When you're in business for yourself, you have to pay your taxes manually at a percentage of the income you earn quarterly. JayisGames as a site is not exempt from this, and has to pay/set aside to pay substantially more than I do.
So, $11,300.00 per month in costs; which we'll round up to $13,000.00 to allow a bit of growth/better content.
1.5M monthly visitors, which we'll round down to 1.25M to give a buffer.
So, unless my math is wrong, if half of a percentage of your monthly visitors (6250 people) gave you $2.10/month, (25.00/yr) you could go entirely ad-free. Obviously, that's a large number of people, but an ad-free subscription model at $25.00/yr (or, say, $3.00/month) would be a good start to an offset of these costs.
I pay every month for Netflix (content) and HBO (content) and my digital newspaper PDFs (content) and an online magazine subscription (content) and a streaming radio service (content). Where do I sign up?
Uhm�I'm not the most technologically adept person in the world, so I didn't even know adblockers existed before I read this! If I investigate them further and install one, I'll make sure not to block your ads :). I will mention, though, that when the ads move next to games it is VERY annoying, and sometimes makes me go play the game on another site.
All your suggestions sound reasonable, except I really don't like the idea of this site needing a subscription to access what was once free content. I go on here sometimes but by no means every day, so I would not feel like a regular monthly expense for something I was not using consistently would be justifiable. Others might feel the same, so just a little feedback on that idea!
Also, someone else mentioned that there are way fewer games reviewed than there were before the site was sold. I've noticed this, too. I've also noticed the increased number of pay games, which can get annoying for people who don't want to be constantly spending money on entertainment. I understand that this is a business, but you should understand that a lot of your audience members are not serious gamers. These people can't be relied on to pay for subscriptions or give regular donations every month.
I really do love this site, and I think it's the best game site out there. I love the walkthroughs, format, design, reviews, and discussions. However, if JayIsGames were to become subscription-only, I would take my business elsewhere.
I have adblock, and I have no intention of disabling it on this site. Ads are just too much of a nuisance. However, I've been a long-time reader of JiG, and I'd be more than willing to donate or subscribe. If you implement a subscription service, please allow for a yearly renewal plan. Paying once a month would be a bit annoying.
I think this has been mentioned before, but for subscription benefits, partnering with developers for beta testing or other exclusive content would be the best way to reach out. Exclusive forums would be a perk, but they probably wouldn't be enough to win over less frequent visitors.
sunnylauren, Whenever you see a day where there are fewer games reviewed, it isn't because we're scaling back because of costs... it's simply because we're just being picky. :) We have always tried to do two browser games per day during the week and one per day on the weekend, even before the sale as Jay had required... but that comes down to what games we feel are up to our standards. We don't want to review something just to fill the page if we don't genuinely think it's worth it. If one of us buys a game we really love by an indie or casual developer, we feature that, too. We have changed NOTHING about the way we review content since the sale.
There is nothing about business in reviewing pay games. We review games because we think they're good, regardless of whether they're paid or free, and as discussed in the article and the comments, we RARELY get ANY sort of affiliate revenue out of paid games(Good Old Games and Big Fish Games are the only sites that offer use any sort of affiliate return when we decide to review something from them), so the implication that we cover them for business purposes is a little strange.
We don't cover paid games because we think you're "serious" gamers, or any type of gamer other than one that might be interested in something cool we find, when we find it, the same as if it had been for free. :) That's all.
I'm kinda leaning towards the "this-is-a-hobby" category. Ultimately this is a blog that appears to have no business direction. The impression that I seem to be getting is that suddenly we need to start making this thing pay for itself, but we don't know how. If this were a business, you'd have already gone to an accountant, figured up your expenses/revenue and seen where to trim things down. You just said it yourself.. you could get paid to write reviews for some of these games -- though I still don't know why anyone needs a review of flash game -- but you choose not to do it for fear of losing some "artistic freedom." Angie's List which does the same sort of thing is struggling financially because no one wants to pay to read a review. I concur with DAM... plop more ads on the screen and I doubt you see a significant drop in Adblocking.
It seems it is time to stop with the emotional appeals and the emotional decision making, sit down,revue some numbers and make a business decision or two. Good Lord, its 200 comments in beating on this dead horse. Why don't the powers that be go make a decision? You should be able to glean from here that half of us won't stop blocking ads, and I would predict that most of the people that claim that they would pay probably won't.
I think subscriptions for ad-free is a great idea, but I think subscriptions for access would cause more harm than good. I've been coming to JIG for years (mostly without an account) and it's my favorite site for browser/download games. However, I'm particular about the games I play and probably haven't played anywhere near a quarter of the games reviewed over these years. The site's monetary worth (strictly my uneducated opinion, here!) is based on how much use people get out of it (especially use they can't get anywhere else) for their money. If someone visits the site a few times a week to see what's out there but only plays one game a week, what would you charge for a subscription for access? You'd end up losing that kind of viewer because these games can be found anywhere else; the reason people come to JIG is because of the community and the quality of the games reviewed. But with a little extra time, I can uncover quality games on my own. Yes, I'd miss the writers and the community (which is a great deal more mature than so many other places, it seems!), but I wouldn't pay for it.
It honestly didn't occur to me that I had ads blocked because I think the ad blocker I use automatically blocks ads without me activating it (since I don't remember actively blocking ads here), so I agree with the plea option the most. I have disabled mine.
And to address Cutty's statement... I wouldn't work for this site if we accepted or charged money for reviews. At all. I don't trust sites that do myself, and I wouldn't want to be a part of one that did. That seems to be an extremely shady way to do business and a guaranteed way to make it impossible to do an unbiased review because you're not reviewing something because you think it's good and more people should play it... you're reviewing something because you were PAID to by the person who made it. I would think that would be the only "no brainer" thing about that sort of arrangement. ;) We don't "claim" to be a review site. We ARE a review site. We are a review site that chooses to do things honestly and openly and not compromise our morals and our standards for money when we can seek out other ways to make ends meet.
For people like DAM and zzzzz and casualuser, well, it's clear they're looking for something else in a website, and I hope they find it. :) Sadly, it seems like you and I must part ways since you have such a low opinion of us and our audience. There are tons of sites out there that could meet your standards and do things the way you suggest. Though I might offer that if you do choose to offer them suggestions, they might be more amenable without the deliberately caustic comments to boot.
Jeff -- thanks for the clarity. As a former formatrice d'anglais pour formation profesionnel (in France, no less) , I am really, really familiar with francophones writing in English as a second language. You are really, really good...good enough that I wouldn't have picked up on English even being your second language. Bien fait!
And as someone who still struggles mightily to write professional letters in French (*my* second language) -- I completely understand and empathize how the subtleties of the 2nd language are evasive and sometimes pure evil. (like trying to close a business letter in French with the proper degree of formality without being stuffy....)
I've had to turn the whitelist back on -- something was loading onto my computer that's making all of my surfing run like molasses...an unfortunate reminder of why I downloaded AB to begin with.