As anyone who has worked in, knows someone who has worked in or really has any vague notion of the media industry can tell you, advertising is key to the bottom line. That monthly/yearly subscription you pay? It about covers the production cost, whether it's the printing and shipping for a print magazine or the bandwidth and upkeep for an online publication. Ads pay for the rest - writers, editors, artists, equipment, office space and so on.
So, for a company to turn down ad dollars, either they have plenty of money, other advertisers in the wings or there's a really good reason. PCGamer has recently come upon a really good reason. They have recently made the announcement they will no longer take ads, and so money, from gold farmers.
It is a tough thing, turning down tens of thousands of dollars, per month (trust me, I know). That is several people's salary. That's updated software. That's a comfortable cushion for the slow months after the holidays, but before E3.
But, at some point, it has to be done. At some point, we need to take a look at what advertisers are doing and saying in our magazines. Yes, it has to be done for legal reasons; pointing to their $7.2 million lighter wallet, The Sporting News can tell you that. But perhaps more important, we, as media gateways, have a responsibility to our audience.
This responsibility has led us, at The Escapist, to our advertising philosophy. The relevant bit here is that we have never accepted ads or money from gold farmers. In the nearly two years I have been around Themis Group, our parent company, we have never accepted ads from gold farmers on any of our properties. We've rooted out any gold farmer we find in our Google AdSense - almost 200 of them, to date. And over the years, we have turned down, quite literally, hundreds of thousands of dollars, money that was sometimes needed, because of ethics.
So, to PCGamer, and any others recently joining the fray: Welcome. It feels pretty good, doesn't it?