Digital store G2A is embroiled in yet another scandal, this time for trying to convince websites to run advertorials without revealing the source.
An advertorial is an article that looks and reads like a normal feature but is written and paid for by a company looking to promote its products. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the concept – which many newspapers, magazines, and websites use – but only as long as it’s made clear that it is in fact an advert.
However, it’s been confirmed that G2A were trying to get websites to run advertorials specifically without revealing who wrote them.
At least 10 websites were contacted, which led to IndieGamesPlus tweeting a copy of its email, where an unnamed G2A employee asked the site to reprint an ‘unbiased’ article he’d written defending G2A and showing how, ‘selling stolen keys on gaming marketplaces is pretty much impossible’.
G2A has been the subject of renewed criticism from developers, who claim they don’t see any profit from sales on the site; with many going so far as to say they’d rather people pirate a game than buy it from a key reseller.
The complaints led G2A to offer developers up to 10% royalties on sales, access to their databases to verify sales, and proper developer support, although it remains to be seen whether that will placate them.
Developers have claimed that many of the keys being sold on G2A were originally purchased with stolen credit cards or otherwise illegally obtained, and that’s specifically what the would-be advertorial is trying to refute.
The problem is, G2A wanted the websites to run the article without stating that it was a paid advert – something which is illegal in many countries. Although whether that means they’d written 10 different articles to send to each website is unclear.
G2A has admitted to sending the email, but in talking to Polygon refused to say who exactly was responsible. It’s also committed itself to undergoing a full audit of its accounts, to try and prove that the majority of keys are not stolen.
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