Just a quick follow-up post after a very interesting few days debate on my take on the fansite issue. The main platform for debate has been a thread on the official forums, MMO Champion, and Game Banshee. Darth Hater has a small thread as well.
Summarising debate across a range of forums is always risky, but from my biased standpoint, opinions seem to fall into two broad camps:
1. Those who see the fansite agreement as being too prescriptive, with a focus of angst being the advertising ban. This includes those who didn’t read the intricacies of the argument and assumed things were worse than what they are.
2. Those who see it as a storm in a tea-cup / overreaction / rightful stance by Bioware. This includes those who felt Bioware should be left to do their thing as they see fit. There was even one person who was angry the issue was raised as it was taking Bioware’s community team away from valuable time working with the community.
So overall? The split to me seemed 70% concerned about the issue, 30% not fazed / in favour of Bioware’s agreement. As I said though, I’m biased and would love your thoughts in the comments. I think a debate on the issue is overall a positive thing.
What’s interested me the most about it all, is the near silence from the fansite community. TOR Wars and SWTOR-UK have mentioned it, but that’s about it.
It could be that most sites don’t have an issue with it. Or it could be that no-one wants to speak out for fear of repercussions. I don’t believe the latter scenario is one to be concerned about i.e. as far as I can tell, Bioware don’t mind dissent. They rightfully want to minimise it, but to date they’ve allowed the debate on their forums, and I can confirm no horse heads have appeared on my pillow. So if you’re a fansite that has a concern, then now would be the time to flag it prior to game release. The larger sites or smaller ones like these that take a journalistic bent, have some clarity i.e. we are treated as press sites. I’m not so convinced that clarity is there at a wider level.
Rather than close off all such loopholes individually on a case-by-case basis, BW/LA simply takes a broad approach, and forbids fansites from generating ANY income from ANY source.
Is that wise? Maybe; maybe not. But that’s why executives get paid the big bucks — to make such decisions.
If you’re impacted by that broad approach, then perhaps you might like to speak up.
And for the cynics, here’s how much ad revenue I generated in the big bump in traffic over the past few days as the debate unfolded:
Maybe we should have signed the agreement after all 😉
Again – would love your comments / thoughts.