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You also have to remember, Wil, publishers also treat small press outlets like dirt, overall. Even if the site has a decent following, has a staff (paid or unpaid volunteer staff), has tax information, etc., many of the biggest publishers treat the smaller press sites as nothing more than blog sites. I worked for a small press outlet for about 10 years, unpaid, because I liked being able to get my reviews and editorials out there in a way that more people than those who already knew me could see them. I've reviewed great games, I've reviewed craptacular games. We had a decent PR relationship with some companies, even getting review copies a week or so before the official releases on some games. But most of them don't care about a site unless it gets more than 1 million unique hits in a certain time frame (EA was bad at like 1 million a day, which pretty much only let the Big 3 get any PR consideration). I've since branched off into doing my own thing, going to a blog and YouTube to get my reviews out until I relaunch my own domain. But, I already know my reviews won't be taken seriously for quite a while by the publishers, even though I have 10 years experience doing them. Why? Because I do not have a bigger site behind me. Also, since I am focusing on video reviews over just written reviews, the reviews may not always be super timely because of my paying job's work schedule and the fact I have to buy all my recording equipment and games myself. Not exactly cheap, mind you. As a result, so far I have only 4 reviews up (two more being worked on) and one impressions video. Not exactly what most publishers want to see. The good thing about this, though? I can feel very free to criticize or praise what I want without fear of upsetting publishers or their PR companies. Not that the small press site I worked for before ever censored my thoughts (they let my review of the original Fable go up with a score of 4, without any editing to make it sound better than I thought it was, because I was assigned to write it). It also means that I basically review what I want, when I want. No deadlines beyond what I try to keep for myself, no worrying that I am going to be sent a copy of a game like Aquaman for the GameCube (yes, I did receive that to review years ago) that I will loathe playing. But, I also know I am still in the learning stages of editing and making it sound like I'm not reading from my review script (I still write out a review, I'm not a fan of winging it in my reviews). My first two reviews sounded very stiff, while my next two seemed to come out much more natural. I've also been testing new editing techniques with each review, as well. But, this lets me evolve.
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Apr 20, 2011