Here at BeefJack, we take ethics extremely seriously. As such, we’ve made available an abridged copy of our internal ethics policy. Feel free to have a read below.
BeefJack receives “free” copies of games and other items for review purposes. This is to facilitate our ability to produce timely and relevant content that assists our readers in their buying decisions. We never sell, swap or otherwise benefit from such review materials. Our access to review materials does not dictate our editorial decisions of what to cover, and we do not consciously allow such materials to affect the opinions voiced in our reviews.
Rarely, but occasionally, we are asked to attend a review event, rather than receiving a copy of the game to review remotely. These events tend to be one or two days long, and reviewers are required to play through the whole game in lengthy sittings. Such events often come with free food and other refreshments. They are also often long, tedious and frustrating. We do not consciously allow either of these factors to affect our judgement of the game we’re reviewing, but in order to ensure transparency we will always disclose when a game has been reviewed in this manner.
The badge awarded at the end of each review is at the final discretion of the reviews editor. Each individual reviewer submits their review with a badge chosen based on a number of criteria that all our reviewers must adhere to. No other person, either within or outside of BeefJack, has permission to change a badge once the reviews editor has finalised it.
Occasionally, sadly, we receive word that the public relations team handling a particular game is unhappy with a review or badge. Our policy here is to clarify why we selected the badge in question, and why our reviewer came to that particular opinion, but we will not enter any discussion about altering the review or badge. We will also not enter discussion with PR about the content of a review or its accompanying badge before the piece is published. We will, however, happily correct reviews if they can be demonstrated to contain objective factual inaccuracies.
Features & Previews
We are sometimes invited to preview events where we can try out an early build of a game. These events tend to have refreshments provided, travel costs are sometimes covered by the publisher, and ‘swag’ is sometimes offered. BeefJack does attend these events – a hands-on preview is the best way we can give you our early impressions of a game, even if it occurs in a PR controlled environment – and we will accept travel and accommodation costs, because we are a small start-up business with only a small budget for such events. We will also accept a reasonable level of catering at such events (snacks, drinks etc). We do not consciously allow either of these things to influence our perception of a game. We will turn down swag that is exuberant or unrelated to the game in question. We will not brag about or show off small gifts from publishers that are offered, and likewise will not brag about how many free drinks we received while at a press event.
We have a responsibility to readers to report on what interview subjects tell us, but we also have a responsibility to those we are interviewing. If an interviewee tells something is ‘off the record’, and we are informed of this before we publish a story, we will not report that information. If an interviewee/source has asked for anonymity, we will not publish their identity or any details that could lead to their identity being discovered. We will also provide context to quotes, and will not knowingly present information in a misleading light.
When reporting news stories, our writers will endeavour to always provide links to the original source or sources of that news stories, whether it be another videogaming website, a forum, a retailer or company website, or social media. This is both to give proper credit to this original source and to allow the reader to further investigate the story themselves. If the source is a non-online property, such as a newspaper or magazine, our writers will provide the name and issue or publication date of the source.
When reporting information from other sources, we will always provide the surrounding context for the information or quote to ensure that it is represented accurately, and do our own fact-checking as to its legitimacy. Sometimes, as with interviews, we may receive information from a source who wishes to remain anonymous. If so, we will not publish their identity or any details that could lead to their identity being discovered.
Occasionally, we will publish news stories whose original source is unclear or we have not yet been able to definitively confirm. Our writers will clearly note that these stories are as yet rumours, and before and after publishing the story will do their utmost to contact an appropriate source of information to ascertain whether the rumour has any substance. Our writers will also use their knowledge and judgement to inform our readers as to whether such rumours have any credibility and why we believe so or not.
Gifts & Competitions
Our writers may occasionally receive gifts from development studios or PR companies as part of a delivery of review or preview materials or at a review or preview event. If a gift has no significant connection to the product we are covering, our policy is to politely refuse or return said gifts.
BeefJack runs competitions from time to time, and competition prizes may be supplied by development studios or PR companies. We will always provide full disclosure as to the origins of these competition prizes, and they in no way affect our coverage or critical assessment of the game or product they are related to. BeefJack staff members will not enter such competitions and are ineligible from winning any prizes offered in them. If you win and for reasons beyond our control we are unable to supply you with your prize as described, we will contact you and arrange an alternative solution to your satisfaction.
BeefJack.com is funded via a number of different avenues. In our ongoing efforts towards transparency, each is detailed below.
Direct sales of adverts
Companies approach us to purchase advertising space directly. Generally speaking, when working directly with advertisers, we deal with small independent studios or digital marketing agencies representing larger clients. Our direct sales largely represent low-value bespoke advertising solutions, including ‘promoted posts’, which are written and paid for by the advertiser, positioned alongside our regular editorial content; these are always marked as paid-for content so as to avoid confusion among our readership. Direct advert sales are handled by a separate team to editorial, and do not affect our editorial policies or strategy.
Agency sales of adverts
We work with Game Revolution, a videogame-centric web agency that negotiates advertisement deals on behalf of partner sites. Game Revolution handle all of our traditional web ad inventory, so the vast majority of content you see in our regular ad slots will be theirs. Game Revolution do not deal directly with our editorial team, allowing our writers and editors to retain complete independence from ad sales, but we do reserve the right to reject any ads we deem to be unsuitable for BeefJack.com.
PR and marketing services
BeefJack Ltd offers bespoke PR and marketing services to a number of clients, particularly targeting new businesses and small independent development studios. The BeefJack marketing team’s aim is to get client games covered in the media. To avoid potential conflicts of interest with BeefJack.com, all PR and marketing services are sold, managed and coordinated entirely separately from editorial, and BeefJack’s client marketing activities are not allowed to influence editorial content. For our readers’ peace of mind and in our efforts towards transparency, management will always add a disclosure to any articles related to products represented by BeefJack.
Funding from BeefJack Studios
BeefJack.com’s sister property, BeefJack Studios, provides financial support to BeefJack.com on an ad-hoc basis, funding many of our editorial activities. BeefJack Studios is a game development house working primarily on outsourced work for clients, but additionally on its own IP. The level of funding provided to BeefJack.com is at the sole discretion of BeefJack Ltd’s management and varies on a month-by-month basis. If at BeefJack.com we write about a BeefJack Studios game, we will always add a full and clear disclosure in the text.
Conflicts of Interest
BeefJack.com vs BeefJack Studios
BeefJack Ltd currently owns two properties: BeefJack.com (comprising videogames editorial, online Flash games and social networking), and BeefJack Studios (a web and mobile game developer specialising in marketing campaigns, but which also creates internal IP for publication on BeefJack.com or via other channels). We may sometimes report on what the development studio has been working on, but will always accompany this with a full disclosure that it is our game, and not pretend to be impartial. We will never review or preview BeefJack-developed titles, nor will BeefJack editorial staff members do so for other websites or magazines. If we report on companies that have been past or present clients of our development studio, we will make a full disclosure of the nature of that relationship in the article.
PR and marketing
As detailed in ‘Funding’, BeefJack Ltd offers PR and marketing consultancy to independent game developers and other small businesses. These services are handled entirely separately from editorial and are not allowed to influence editorial content, but management will always add a disclosure to any articles about client games.
Freelance responsibilities / side-projects
Many of BeefJack’s editorial staff members either hold positions with other companies, work on a freelance basis for other companies or have personal side-projects outside the confines of BeefJack. Our writers will never write about any game that they are either personally involved in developing or working in any professional capacity on, such as in a PR, marketing or development role. If a writer has in the past been involved or provided a service for a game or company, they will provide a disclosure of this in any article related to that game or company, even if it is about projects they are not involved in. If a writer has contributed to another website or magazine and discusses that publication in the course of an article, they will provide that information as a disclosure.
Games companies BeefJack staff have previously worked for
Publications BeefJack staff have contributed to
Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Brands BeefJack Studios has created games for
House of Marley
Glasgow Celtic Football Club
Games represented by BeefJack
The Curse of Nordic Cove
Boo Bunny Plague