I am the owner of Invision Game Community, I have seen my site come from nothing, altering and changing as it grows. I have seen the words on our site and how we see ourselves working with students, get twisted and changed to suit a person’s agenda, to the extent where a hate tweet get splashed across the Twitter social media scene, harassed for offering and doing something that is not wrong, not un-ethical and perfectly legit.
I have never hidden anything from anyone, viewers, students, publishers, game developers, everything can be found on the site and on the application process.
After the recent hate campaign on Twitter started, the following day I wanted to make sure that I was not in any way committing fraud, which was one of the comments made against us. Citizens Advice the UK based http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ and asked them a simple question. I run a website that allows Students/Graduates to review games and gaming peripherals and much more. They do not need to buy anything themselves, as we request everything for them. The student/graduate gets to keep whatever they review from £40.00 game right up to a £300 headset. It makes no difference to us what the cost, we see it as thanks for the publisher/developer and thanks from us.
But we do not pay our students/graduates for their work, as we do not have any way to currently offer this to them, this is something we wish to do in the future. Citizens Advice said a Value is a payment, a game, a product has a value and can be classed as a payment, you are doing nothing wrong, you are actually doing something right. From what I can see from the site, you are open about everything, honest and nothing is hidden. People that wish to join you, understand what you are offering and have made a conscious decision to join up.
In addition, we will also allow for students to post a limited number of adverts on their reviews which may be linked to affiliate accounts they have in order to help them source an income. In addition, any videos they produce that go on our YouTube channel, this can be gameplay or video reviews, means they will benefit from a percentage of the monetization that we receive. Not just that, but unlike other sites who only allow their website to showcase your work, we encourage students to create their own blogs, websites, and vlogs to help build up their web presence, again providing you an opportunity to monetize your reviews.
I have worked on Invision since 2011, with no other full-time or part-time job since I left University, I am like the students that work with us, I get to keep what I review, I do get some perks like extra keys once in a while and first dibs on stuff, however, ask any of the staff that work with us, I will drop a game for them to have and review, and purchase the game instead.
You could be wondering how I survive, well IGC makes around £100 every 6 months via advertisement, also once in a while I get asked to write an article with a price behind it. I have always seen what we get given as a ‘value’ or a gift which for me is better than nothing, yes, there are sites out there that pay, and we do not hide that fact. Our students, choose what to review, order what they wish to review and keep what they wish to review, what happens to the product after they review is down to them, I have no control over that.
For me it takes an average of 3hrs to write up a review of a product (Depending on the depth of my review, 800 words is the minimum that we expect from any writer), this does not include playing time of course, this for me is fun time and the benefit of doing what I enjoy doing. If I was to look at this in a way of value per hour, then a full price title around 49.99 RRP would mean for the three hours of sitting at my PC screen equates to 16.66 Per hour, recently I reviewed the Goodman base RRP £199 that would equate to 66.33 Per Hour. It’s not real money, no, but it’s a value and a value to me is awesome. If I had not started Invision, myself and many students would not have had a chance to create such a great lib of games, have some great gaming peripherals thanks to the 100s of game publishers that love what I have created an offer.
Some of the ‘minority’ has a very strong opinion about us not paying, and they are totally allowed that opinion, and their opinion is right, but to mark as a wrong, unethical, fraudulent, bad ethics, makes no sense, starting a harassment campaign or hate speech is just as wrong. Even today the person that started has us pinned to their wall, even after saying sorry.
What I am doing wrong more than anything else is allowing my wonderful partner to work in the job she loves, to bring in the main bread money, while I try my hardest, my best to do what I think is right for Invision Game Community, something I love, adore and will protect like a child. (Staff included)
I asked the staff to be honest and tell me what they think,
Jimmy Dean I’m happy with the way things are. Writing for you is flexible around my busy student schedule, it gives me great opportunities I would otherwise not be able to have, and it allows me to get my name out there and work on my craft. The whole thing has definitely gotten me very interested in pursuing games journalism as a job route instead of just a hobby.
Daniel James Extremely good, really flexible for students with busy time tables like my own.
Nathan O’Grady I’ve been doing this shit with you for 3 and a half years now Craig – you don’t do something for 3 and a half years if you think its crap my friend
Phil Dean My writing ability has improved ten fold and I’ll be eternally grateful! You given me the chance to have my work read on a global scale and a lifelong hobby has turned into a potential career choice
If you feel like you need to say something, then please do so, and make it ‘constructive criticism’ on ways we can improve. (We already know, one-way paying staff)