VideoGamer.com, a U.K. based website that’s part of the Candy Banana network, which includes TheSimsResource.com and Planet Destiny. The site has been regularly including affiliate links in their news stories and standard articles, as well as their Twitter feed, but without disclosure.
A concerned reader notified me that articles as recent as this past April have included Amazon affiliate links without disclosure. An article on April 22nd, 2016 regarding Amazon blocking certain non-Prime members from buying games includes affiliate links to GTA V and FIFA 16, but with no disclosure. On April. 19Th, 2016 there was an article about World of Warcraft: Legion, which also contained an affiliate link without disclosure. The same applied to a Dark Souls III article published on April 18th, 2016, where there was a lack of disclosure. The affiliate tags is prog-21, which relates to
I reached out to Candy Banana – which has offices out of the U.K., and Sweden – about the lack of disclosure for content published on VideoGamer.com, and director Adam McCann responded on April 20th, 2016, stating that they were looking into adding disclosures to their content.
Right after I received a response from McCann, I was then informed a day later on April 21st, 2016< that they also promote sponsored content through Twitter as well, still no disclosures. This time it was for Pro Evolution Soccer on the PS4. Even after contacting McCann about disclosure, there were still articles being published on VideoGamer.com including affiliate links without disclosure, such as the one featuring Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on April 28th, 2016, with the affiliate link being made available through a blue button at the bottom of the page.
And while VideoGamer.com might be based in the U.K., the rules about disclosure still apply. Bright Digital Minds quoted the U.K’s Advertising Standards Authority, who stated…
“The advertising rules, which apply across media including online, are very clear. Ads must be clearly identifiable as such. Put simply, a blogger who is given money to promote a product or service has to ensure readers are aware they’re being advertised to”
The ASA wanted to reinforce the guidelines about endorsements, sponsorships and advertising, following the Federal Trade Commission revising their own guidelines regarding reviews, sponsorships and endorsements, following closely in tow with an e-mail campaign by #GamerGate.
Funnily enough, as the ASA’s original quotes were spreading around places like Reddit, some users in the United Kingdom sub-Reddit brought up TotalBiscuit’s comments about the necessity of disclosure, and as if on cue there were comments in the thread about how the lack of disclosure is what go things like #GamerGate started.
(Main image courtesy of Get Pills)