#GamerGate spent a good deal of time reaching out to the Federal Trade Commission to work with them in updating the guides for addressing Let’s Play videos, video game reviews and standards and practices for video game-related media. The updated guidelines made it pretty clear about disclosing endorsement ties and paid affiliations when doing articles, videos, reviews and news pieces. Well, not everyone was keen on adopting the standards and practices of ethical journalism, including the outlets News Everyday, GameNGuide and various other sites owned by the AutoWorldNews empire.
In the case of News Everyday, the site covers science,world news, anime, video games and entertainment. They use affiliate links within each of their articles in seemingly nondescript ways, such as adding Amazon links with a tag to words like “Update”, “Release” or “Best”. It generally looks like a standard news piece or editorial or review, just until clicking through the link and realizing that it takes you to an Amazon page with an affiliate tag attached.
To cover up the tag in the actual links, News Everyday uses Amazon’s short links provided to affiliates, which you can view in the image below from their recent article about Carrie Fisher passing away, published on December 28th, 2016.
Each of the links will take you to an Amazon listing page, where any of the products purchased would go toward a commission accrued by News Everyday.
Each of the affiliate links lead to a page with the Amazon tag: pro77_4-20
If you head to Analyzeid.com you’ll find a listing of other sites owned by the same company, referred to as Autonewsworld.com.
One of the other sites listed in there is GameNGuide, a site that frequently pops up featuring news, reviews, cheats and walkthroughs. If you head to the site now you’ll see that they utilize the same linking technique as News Everyday, with words like “Update” and “Release” containing shortened Amazon links that lead out to an Amazon page with an affiliate tag. For instance, this article about Final Fantasy XV published on December 23rd, 2016 that has a link out to an Amazon page.
So what’s the affiliate tag on the Amazon page? It’s pro77_4-20.
It’s the same affiliate tag used on the other AutoWorldNews websites. They also include the links in their previews and reviews, as evidence with their review of Dishonored 2. No disclosures in sight.
I did reach out to ask them about disclosures regarding the affiliate links used across the websites earlier in the week, but as of the writing of this article they have not responded.
You can, however, inform the Federal Trade Commission about this if you think it’s something they would be interested in by filling out their consumer complaint form.
(Main image courtesy of Ahmenthi)