Letter from the Editor: GameDaily pledges to reinvest all profit back into the site

James Brightman, Thursday, March 5th, 2020 5:00 pm

Dear reader,

Media is hurting, and yet a true, unbiased press is now more important than ever. At GameDaily, we’re not typically reporting on life-and-death matters (except when they cross paths with the games business), but we do aspire to provide our readers with in-depth, well researched articles that show no outside influence.

We’ve held ourselves to this standard ever since we launched the website in June 2018, and in my humble opinion, I think we’ve done an admirable job of true journalistic reporting that puts facts first, emphasizes an abundance of context, and steers clear of any sensationalism. 

We never rush a story to publication because we don’t see this as a race. If other outlets report on some major news development before us, good for them. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we want to give you the complete picture. What we’ve been striving for is to give you stories that offer more insight into how a particular trend or announcement impacts a company, developer, or the industry as a whole. We don’t regurgitate press releases. 

Not only that, but for a young publication, we’ve broken numerous big stories, and interviewed many big names in the business. And it’s all been done on a shoestring budget.

Last week, I reported on the ongoing problem that the games industry faces with sales data transparency. So, in that spirit, let’s talk about GameDaily’s business. We’re owned by a content marketing firm called Greenlit Content, which in turn is now a part of esports firm ReKTGlobal. Greenlit Content does incredible work for its clients across the industry, but GameDaily does not ever conduct client-based work. We do not cross that church and state line. The reader is our one and only “client,” and for the sake of true journalism, it needs to stay that way. 

As we state in our internal ethics guide, “If there is even a whiff of ‘pay for play’ – whether intentional or not – it torpedoes earned credibility.” Therefore, we look to issue disclosures on any stories about companies Greenlit is working with, and we’ll continue to be thoughtful in our approach. 

We have never worried about traffic numbers because we’re not seeking millions of consumer eyeballs. We are not guided by page views, by what’s salacious, by clickbait, by sponsors, by banners, or any commercial influence. Editorial discretion is paramount, and the direction of the website is driven solely by the editors and writers who work here.

The problem with this approach, however, is that our parent company has been (effectively) operating GameDaily as a charity. Good journalism isn’t cheap and it shouldn’t be perceived as a “free” service. The Washington Post and The New York Times, among others, have successfully implemented subscriptions into their business. We’re not about to do that, but we do need the industry’s help. We don’t use banner ads now, nor will we ever implement them in the future. We want our readers to enjoy a clean website that is free of distractions and pop-ups, but we do need sponsors.

For prospective sponsors, we believe there’s a better way to espouse a company’s message. You can support our mission of free journalism and align your company with our ethos while we include sponsor branding and clearly marked sponsored content. This allows us to show your value while also reinvesting more into a publication that serves to educate this industry that we all hold dear.

If you’re reading this right now, and you believe in our mission to become a “PBS of games,” then spread the message and please advocate for supporting real journalism. We just need a few companies to step up to the plate and go to bat for us. We’re about to sign one, and that allows us to come off of life support (for now), but there’s only so long that Greenlit Content (a for-profit company) will continue to operate a non-profit business. 

Here’s our pledge to you, straight from Greenlit CEO, John Benyamine: “All the money that comes into GameDaily will go directly back into supporting GameDaily’s growth. Period.”

That means Greenlit Content will not pocket any profits, but sponsors will instead allow us to hire more full-time staff, expand our freelance budget, cover more parts of the industry, and allocate resources to a website redesign in the future. At the moment, GameDaily has had to cut back significantly, because operating at a loss is not tenable. We have one full-time editor (yours truly), and one freelance reporter, Sam Desatoff. It pains me to continually tell people that we aren’t hiring or that we don’t have any budget for that great article pitch sitting in my inbox. But with your help, we can change all that. 

The industry deserves a publication that’s not beholden to commercial interests, that does not promote click bait, and that strives for fair and balanced reporting. GameDaily is that publication, but we need your support. 

If you believe in GameDaily’s mission, please contact John Benyamine at jb@greenlitcontent.com

As always, thanks for reading.

James Brightman


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