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Friday, March 25, 2016

An Open Letter to the Various Online PDF & Print RPG Stores

The other day on social media I mentioned that retailer XXX doesn't give a shit about blogs in the RPG hobby. I stand by those words but they need some further explanation.

Back in the "way back", when a Mr. Fannon was Community Director (or whatever title) at a certain online RPG store, he had a program in place for bloggers and their blogs (possibly podcasters too, but I can't say for sure) Those blogs that applied and got approved were given "featured reviewer" status so that they would get access to review copies of gaming products (reviews were then posted on said blogs), which was (and still is) cool. More importantly, they were given products and store credit to give away on their blogs to their readers.

Holy shit. Giving away free stuff on blogs would be beneficial to online stores and the publishers that sell through them? Say it isn't so!

Publishers see the benefit of giving away free stuff via blogs. Hell, I organize an OSR Christmas every year were publishers (and gamers), not retailers, donate gifts to the gaming community. Their generosity is humbling. I make an announcement and those that want to give, give.

What about the online stores? Nope. Why? Probably because even the biggest blogs aren't seen to drive enough traffic to justify the effort (the expense is minimal)

The thing is, the copies or credit given out to the community benefits both the blog and the retailer. The blog gets traffic and the retailer gets folks following links to products that they have for sale. Oh, and some lucky reader gets free shit.

Strangely enough, I'm not frustrated for The Tavern, as we do enough traffic and affiliate sales to give away store credit on our own. Giving back to the community we're all a part of is fun. Really.

I'm frustrated for the smaller blogs and the newer blogs that have great content and ideas and just need a little push to get more eyes on them. The Tavern was small and new itself at one time and it's success was certainly due in part to Mr. Fannon's program. Of that, I have no doubt.

To the new kid on the block, Table Top Library, I suggest you reach out to the blogs in the OSR and beyond and put together a program that will benefit them, you, their readers and your potential customers.

For the old kid on the block, I suggest you look to the past for ways to expand your reach and goodwill within the gaming community.

We are in a new era of online sales to our hobby. Competition may soon have an effect on the current monopoly, and blogs and even podcasts may be the means to reach out to new customers and maintain old customers, all while strengthening the online community that makes those purchases in the first place.

Stepping off my soapbox.

Tenkar

18 comments:

  1. Í would be delighted to give review copies of my online products.

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    1. maybe i should organize something where publishers and bloggers / podcaster can find each other for review purposes - time to think...

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    2. You are dangerous when you think. That is a good idea that I am surprised I have never seen before, which would need a good execution but would be a valuable service to highlight good products and by being a place to reach out to when no one has ever heard of a creators project- even though he may have spent 1187 hours on it.


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    3. So, what are you thinking? blog/publishers make a pool and throw their stuff in, to be reviewed by each other? I'd be game, I don't do nearly enough reviews.

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  2. My publisher allows full size previews of my work, but I'd be grateful to get the full versions into reviewers hands.

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    1. working on an idea to allow publishers / bloggers / podcasters to find eachother for review purposes

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  3. I always enjoyed doing my Top Six every year for that reason: I was helping people find games that I thought were cool, and giving them a chance to win free copies of those games.

    This year killed that for me when I had fewer publishers agree to participate and only single digit entries (which meant that 100% of the people that entered, won!).

    But yeah, that sense of community can definitely be fostered in blogs, and be a very good thing for all involved.

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  4. Please, please, please keep us posted.
    I am stepping into the English language market in a few weeks, and everything helping is a good idea! :)

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  5. I just never thought of this. The OpenGamingStore.com is ... open to the idea!

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  6. Erik, you know that anything ThrowiGames has written/printed is available to you as a PDF. That's in perpituity.

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  7. We can do this at Tabletop Library once the first set of revisions is made to the site. I think you're right that the real point of connection is probably between the publishers and the reviewers, though. Publishers will want their reviews posted more broadly than just on one online store where a featured reviewer happened to post it. Let's talk over the next couple of weeks about how to build something like this that's got the widest reach. In the OSR, in particular, products have always outstripped the ability of reviewers to to cover them, and reviews are really important for smaller publishers. On the other hand, having an online store involved would have the benefit of being more objective than you'd get if the publishers worked directly with the reviewers.

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    1. for now I'm going to put a forum page at The Tavern (as proposed here http://www.tenkarstavern.com/2016/03/working-on-place-for-bloggers.html)

      it's the 6 dollar option (or rather, free and immediate) - if we can build a better option (6 Million Dollar Man with bells & whistles) I'll be all in :)

      There's certainly interest.

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  8. What would be really cool is if a product was reviewed at one store it was posted automagically at the other (major) online stores, or if there was one single online reviews site, unaffiliated to stores, and which has reviews from many different people. The site could be advertising supported but *not* affiliate code-supported because to me that seems like a conflict of interest.

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    1. At the moment, only one of the online retailers has an affiliate program, so yeah, for a devoted site, perhaps not. For a forum as I'm proposing in the post that follows this one, not a big deal, as the forum's purpose is to facilitate reviews.

      Mirroring reviews to all retailers would be like cross server play for Xbox One and PS4...

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    2. Incorrect. I also have an affiliate program. I just haven't blabbed too much about it just because I'm very busy. Endzeitgeist and a few others already have affiliate accounts with me.

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    3. John, I literally had no idea. To the best of my knowledge there is no publicly offered information on your affiliate program at the Open Gaming Store but I could be wrong. Hell, it's already happened once in this thread alone ;)

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