“We have never asked for money to avoid negative coverage”, except where they did exactly that. This is why I’m glad NPI is explicit even about things like review copies.
Yeah, even if unintended, accidental extortion* is really no different from deliberate extortion.
(* and that’s a very generous interpretation)
It’s weird to see someone I’ve never heard of described as “the biggest board game influencer”. What were people’s impressions of him before this?
I only heard of him when I was following Oath reviews, and I noticed him being very negative about the game after doing a lot of very positive preview stuff. That’s the only time he was ever on my radar.
I don’t like to speculate whether or not there was any intentional attempt to extort money here (I’ve read the reproduced email exchanges, and both interpretations seem feasible to me); but if it’s accidental then I think it’s also terribly naive about how that exchange might be interpreted – the “appearance of impropriety” and all that. Even giving then the full benefit of the doubt, I suspect Quackalope’s best option here is to admit that they messed up (if accidentally), and to make some assurances that they’re implementing some better processes to ensure that they don’t do the same thing in future.
Never heard of them, and checking YouTube SU&SD has 402,000 subscribers, NPI 73,100.
For reasons, I checked out Quackalope a few months back. I watched a few videos and never got around to removing my subscription after deciding the channel’s tone did not agree with me. It felt very “sponsored” or a bit too cozy with the industry for one thing. The other thing is more of a personal thing, that may of course vary for every one who watches. But it is not the kind of person I would like to have a coffee with and chat about games.
I have not yet had time to read the above article but from what I have seen I am not hugely surprised–either intentional or unintentional.
I do plan on keeping the subscription now until the drama dies down. I am not unsubscribing because of the drama. The channel just isn’t for me.
And then there’s ProZD who has almost 4 million (though board game reviews isn’t all he does).
I’m assuming “influencer” is some sort of special category where they don’t get included for whatever reason?
I’m sad that both of them don’t have more subscribers. They both deserve it.
I watched them a bit 2-3 years ago, which might have been when they were starting out or getting bigger. Didn’t get good vibes, so stopped watching.
At a glance those emails seem so “unfortunate” that any person who could phrase it that badly accidentally shouldn’t be running a business.
Personally I don’t sub to channels as I won’t watch everything on channels anyway.
Back on topic - I don’t know what to think, certainly doesn’t make him look professional at least
Yeah, I don’t subscribe as I don’t have a YouTube account, I just download them via the RSS feed.
I’m amazed at the number of people on bgg and Facebook defending this behaviour.
As others subscribed for some interesting Kingdom death community expansion stuff, soon grew tired.
Gets slightly complicated because there are clearly lots of YouTubers who will provide a positive (p)review video to go on the Kickstarter page for just about anything. On the one hand no money is changing hands, on the other there’s a basic idea among the fandom that the default approach is positivity, and if someone makes an “I hate this” preview they probably won’t get a preview copy of the next project. Is there a line between review and advertisement? Well, yes, but “I know it when I see it”.
I only have a small voice, but I do have a voice, and I have responsibilities. The Zatu blog rules don’t actually say “be positive”, but I’m picking games to blog about that I like, and they’re putting those blog posts on the page where you can buy the game; I hope that nobody looking at the sales site would expect to find a review that said “this game is terrible”, but I do my best to mention the problems as well as the good points. Similarly in More Games Than Time, I’m not going to suggest we feature a game that I really hate.
From the time the Quackalope channel popped up, it was clear they were setting themselves up as a PR firm for Kickstarter campaigns. They almost immediately launched into sponsored videos for Kickstarter with some light pseudo-reviews baked in for the branding and establish the personalities. As they grew, the other stuff dropped away and the channel was one Kickstarter infomercial after another.
They also clearly had good gear and studio from the start, so it gave the impression of someone starting a business rather than having a passion for boardgaming and wanting to create videos because they loved games. There was not the usual dodgy camera and mic in the dining room that slowly got upgraded to better stuff. It was professional level production straight away. It at once seemed very cynical but also very amateurish - like, these guys weren’t particularly charismatic and didn’t have good presenting skills. I do wonder if their skills were all in the background stuff, since they launched into this without much of an audience to speak of and must’ve had some way to win over publishers.
I suspect they have a background in marketing. They seemed to know how to work the YouTube algorithms to build an audience and they mustve had some sales patter to win over publisher’s to make their videos. They came out of nowhere and then seemed to just overtake everyone else - it was all too slick for them to not have had some form of prior expertise in industry. Once they became established, it just rolled as ‘those guys in every Kickstarter page’.
Their coverage of Townsfolk Tussel was the most Quackalope in emperor’s clothing moment for me. They sold it as the best game ever, but it looked to all the world as some wonky dice rolling jank. The bgg page of people playing on TTS seemed to align much more with how the gameplay appeared to me. Maybe that’s my own personal biases, but it felt off to me.
So long story short, this doesn’t surprise me at all. They never gave the impression of being small town folks who enjoyed games. They clearly came in to make money off of the Kickstarter industry. They’ll like whatever they’re paid to like, whilst trying to enamour themselves with the audience as ‘just normal guys’.
It’s like Man Vs Meeple with more “hey guys, we’re just like you” pretense.
I watched a few Quackalope videos after seeing a cross promotion with them and The Dragon’s Tomb, which was humorous. Watched a couple other videos, but was rather nonplussed, so never bothered to view more.
It used to be one of my go to channels when it was Jan and Jesse (or however you spell it) because they loved Root and used to play it a lot. Then they started really going down the promotion way, and after Jan left, I unsubscribed, as they were promoting Kickstarter after Kickstarter, started doing more videoblogs that often were not so interesting to me, and were using often clickbait techniques that felt cheeky most of the time, even if they admitted to having done it.
I haven’t really seen much about this yet, I haven’t followed their channel much for the last year, but from what I see looks like a big blunder of which it is still out there to see how genuine it was. I’m inclined to think it is a genuine mistake, but then again I am too kind generally.