Regardless of what the media says about #GamerGate, the goal was always to improve the standards of gaming media so that consumers and gamers alike would have a sound and ethical press they could turn to for information regarding purchases and valid forms of news regarding upcoming gaming titles. Gamers simply wanted disclosures and honesty regarding ties to subjects being reported on from the media. Well, some sites acquiesced and updated their disclosure policies, other sites doubled-down and attacked their audience. One site that surprisingly took steps (and continues to take steps) to improve their ethical standards is Ziff Davis’ IGN.
It flew well under the radar when it originally occurred, but a concerned reader who regularly tracks ethical policies and updates from big and small gaming media outlets alike, alerted us to the fact that back on November 17th, 2016 IGN updated their disclosure policies with a disclosure page.
On the new disclosure page, they state…
“If you see content on the IGN website that does not carry one of these disclosures, it is purely editorial content that was produced by IGN editorial without any advertiser involvement. Advertisers can target ads around content they want to be associated with. That’s why you might see Microsoft ads around a Halo review. However, our critics never have prior knowledge of the ads that will run alongside any pieces they write—if there is no disclosure, there was no advertiser involvement”
There are three types of disclosure messages they use, one for Promoted content, one for Presented Content, and one for an Advertisement. They explain the differences between the content and what each one means when used on the site.
This comes after the FTC updated their guidelines following an e-mail campaign from #GamerGate imploring the Federal Trade Commission to take a closer look at video game review sites and Let’s Play content from YouTube content creators.
According to the Wayback Machine, the page has no existence before November 19th, 2016. This seems to indicate that it may have actually been created on November 17th, 2016. The only similar page is their Standards and Practices and Deals page, both of those were created back in 2014. The Deals page appears to have been made back in May, 2014 while the Standards and Practices Wiki was made public back on December 30th, 2014.
Back on November 1st, 2014, IGN publisher Tal Blevins acknowledged that an e-mail exchange he had with an individual who was encouraged by #GamerGate to reach out and request for IGN to make a public policy available regarding ethics and disclosures.
It appears as if IGN is at least adhering to the standards, practices and requests to maintain the appearance of ethical reporting and media publishing.