Friday, September 30, 2016

ENWorld - It's Confirmed - Sean Fannon has No Intention of Disclosing his Affiliate Links

Before I get into Sean (now doesn't that sound awkward?) I'd like to highlight that ENWorld is indeed continuing to prominently highlight when a post is sponsored. Which is a good thing. Heck, this week's Sponsored Post was posted by none other than Sean Patrick Fannon (SPF) himself. Take a looksie:

So, its obvious that Sean understands the conversation that has been going on about disclosure, advertising and affiliate links. I mean, he is the one that inadvertently got the discussion started for us with this piece of wisdom:

Why is it then, that Sean, obviously under pressure, included such a disclosure on his weekly posting right before ENWorld went down and lost 4 1/2 month of posts (including the one in question) and since resurfacing hasn't disclosed?

Simple. He was trying to get rid of the negative attention he himself had generated. He put himself in a corner and had to find a way out. By posting the above, he figured he had. When ENWorld lost 4 1/2 months of posts, he saw his chance to wish it all away. Because without the above screenshot, it never would have happened.

If it seems that I am insinuating that Sean doesn't appreciate his readers, he most certainly does - as a revenue stream. You see, when ENWorld was offline for those days, Sean's affiliate referral monies nearly disappeared. Now I'm sure in Sean's mind that drop in revenue was due to the disclosure of his affiliate links. Folks simply didn't want to feed his family. Or at least, that's the excuse he's telling himself. ENWorld being offline had nothing to do with it.

My personal experience is that disclosure, disclosure as full as humanly possible, results in a noticeable increase in revenue for The Tavern. Maybe my readers are simply better than Sean's (well, I know they are ;) but I truly believe that folks prefer honesty and openness.

The Tavern existed before there was significant monetary support from the community. It would still exist even if that support were to cease. Your support allows me to devote time to gaming projects, post excessively, be a burr against the skin of those that have taken advantage of the gaming community and, most importantly, justifies devoting my time in retirement to the community and not some time filler of a part time job (yes, you effectively keep Rach happy.) Heck, starting next year you may see us at more than one Convention. Not because I'll be a Guest (thanks Sean for bragging about that today) but because I want to get out and meet more of The Tavern's Community - and game! Your support will make that happen.

Thank you all for your support. Without you, there is no community. Without the community, there would be no reason for The Tavern to exist.

edit: Sean discloses his affiliate link usage at his own site, which makes his failure to do so at ENWord ever more perplexing


  1. Erik,

    Why is this always about Sean? He’s not the only US Citizen posting is he? I agree with you that transparency in regards to affiliate links/advertising is important, but there are a lot of posts about “news,” where the poster includes affiliate links, without noting it in the post. I understand what you’re getting at, but I think a more relevant direction is to point out what’s being permitted at Enworld is across the board. Directing it a one person seems out of place in my mind.

    Sean maybe a part of that, but I hardly think he’d make it an issue if the authorities that be made sure their content followed FTC guidelines…

    Don’t really know Sean
    -just my two cents-

    1. It's less about Sean and more about ENWorld. ENWorld should be setting the example for all the gaming sites, not be an example of how not to do things.

      Sean comes up because he seems to always be in the middle - stupid comments about the little difference between news and advertising and how readers don't care about the difference, blocking commenters at ENWorld that asked him why he didn't want to disclose.

      Sean is also the only one that has a weekly column that is solely about pushing his affiliate links. That's all Sean's Picks of the week is about.

      If Morrus uses his own affiliate link, he falls under EU rules, but Sean falls under out FTC.

      It's not hard to do the right thing. It's hard to do it when you are afraid it's going to hurt your pocket.

    2. I disagree. That you’re post is not focused on Sean and I think it’s unfair. It comes off, as if it’s about something else (between you and Sean) that the readers aren’t privy too. No idea.


      “It’s Confirmed – Sean Fannon has no Intention of Disclosing his Affiliate Links”
      Who was it confirmed by? The fact that he’s not disclosing the links is not a confirmation unless you’re privy to some other information. NO ONE discloses their affiliate links over at Enworld. Did Sean have second thoughts? Maybe. Was Sean told not to disclose his affiliate links by the powers that be… Maybe? And either of those are two different situations. You could certainly make a lot of guesses, otherwise known as speculation. Which seems to be the bulk of this post is; a lot of speculation.

      I guess this post will generate some revenue for you? And I hope that it does and I enjoy the majority of the news you post here.

      I respectfully disagree with the focus

    3. And not to beat a dead horse but don't get me started on "Intention." How can you know Seans Intention? What he does is one thing, and it might well be different then his intention... Just sayin'

    4. Well, he discloses on his own website but not at ENWorld - that appears to be an intentional discrepancy on his part.

      Why not on ENworld? Possibly because Sean's own website does negligible traffic compared to ENWorld.

      Sean made it extremely clear he did not want to disclose. Of course, that comment died with the other 4 1/2 months of ENWorld's history, but I can dig up the screenshot if necessary.

      Intent can be construed by Sean's own words on the topic in question.

    5. Ah, the discussion in question is linked here:


    6. I have no idea why Fannon does or doesn't do things, but if I had to guess it's because it's easy to throw a header onto a website, but it's harder to remember to put a disclaimer in each and every post. (Although I suppose that could be done with a .sig file.)

  2. just to update (and edited into the post) Sean discloses the use of his affiliate links on his own website

  3. Erik- Get with me offline to discuss thoughts on how *I* personally can be as transparent as possible about my own financial process vis-a-vie the gaming industry etc. I don't want you hunting me down with pitchforks and torches in the future so I want to make sure my situation is *crystal* clear.

  4. "My personal experience is that disclosure, disclosure as full as humanly possible, results in a noticeable increase in revenue for The Tavern. Maybe my readers are simply better than Sean's (well, I know they are ;) but I truly believe that folks prefer honesty and openness."

    Alternatively, I find that the text disclosure makes me think "Oh, right, there were links to this thing I've read about and am now interested in," so I'm more likely to click through and consider buying the thing. It's just a little extra reminder and opportunity to grab some attention!


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