Posted by Daeity On Thursday, February 16, 2012
After the big Fansite Beta Key Giveaway post by Bashiok went live, it was quickly announced on other gaming fan sites.
There was even a post on Diablo.incgamers.com, but it suddenly vanished shortly after going live:
Remember that question Bashiok had in twitter a while ago? The one where he asked you where you went for your Diablo 3 news? Well, it seems to have had some significance to the Fansite Giveaways they’re now holding on other sites.It's gone now, but they had a special emphasis on "other sites". :)
In the past, fan sites were provided beta keys by Blizzard, but incgamers.com was mysteriously absent from the list. The Ghetto actually talked about why this was the case a couple weeks back, and I was waiting for an opportunity to make a post about it myself. I think this is a good opportunity.
The reason they didn't get any beta keys at the time, being as huge as they are, is because incgamers.com isn't exactly favored by Blizzard these days. Sixen (Blizzard appointed MVP) explains it best when he publicly and unprofessionally ridiculed incgamers.com for being permanently blacklisted by Blizzard.
At the time of his obviously joyful comment, he was the Site Administrator of incgamers.com's main competitor. I'm positive there was no loss of sleep over Blizzard's decision.
Remember when Bashiok had that Twitter contest where users were asked to submit their favorite sites? Apparently, the incgamers.com team were actually expecting something negative to happen.
Pretty sure Bashiok and the PR team have the word "incgamers" auto-delete. Lol.Rushster, the Site Admin explained the issue as being related to their old SC site:
What does he have against incgamers? He deleted my tweet from replies btw.
He deleted everybody's that says incgamers. Either PR has access to his account, or he deleted it himself. Probably the former, though. It wouldn't surprise me if there is a PR hootsuite account that has all BLizzard guys' accounts tapped in.
This is not correct. They didn't want to include us because of something that happened on our old StarCraft site with a news post by a new staff member whose first language was not English and he used the word 'Exploit' instead of 'Bug'. They wanted it changed so we did. Blizzard also started to ask we change the way we write about StarCraft 2 and stop being so critical (even though they were not critical unless it was justified and had merit).It's definitely concerning that Blizzard tells gaming fansites and blogs what to write. The same sort of problem has happened many times with gaming reviews in the past.
This site has never done anything wrong and we thought it best not to change the way we write about Blizzard games because that would not be beneficial to the readership, and fans of Diablo are very important to us as we are all massive fans too :)
I have been told by an anonymous user that the team from incgamers.com aren't even invited to any of the press events or Blizzcons anymore, and if they go, they're either hidden or they were possibly blacklisted as "normal visitors" (since no one ever sees them at the events.)
They also went on to explain how Blizzard is very strict about questions and you need to stick to their own script. If you ask questions that deviate from their rules, they're told "question time is over." In one particular case, the individual who asked the wrong question was not invited back to followup Blizzcons. It sounds like Blizzard PR is very controlling over every aspect of events, fansites, and information.. and it was quite scary to hear.
How To Get On Blizzard's Good Side (and Get Beta Keys)
Thanks to Bashiok's post, we now know which blogs are "preferred" or "Authorized Fansites" for Blizzard (BlizzPlanet, D3DB, D3Sanc, DiabloFans, Force Strategy Gaming) and which ones aren't.
You can see a tremendous difference in their blog posts too. DiabloFans, for example, just re-posts the official news announcements directly from Blizzard.. no original thought, no questions, only following orders. Diablo.incgamers.com, on the other hand, might be critical or snarky and post interesting topics that DFans and the other sites would never dare write about.
It's interesting to see that D3Sanc managed to obtain 400 beta keys. If you're familiar with the site, you'll know that they're very small and have very little traffic. It's a well designed site, don't get me wrong, but the forum has been sitting on like 1 thread and 4 total replies for several months now (19 total members). They don't have a lot of traffic, but they are a "Blizzard preferred" site.
A couple weeks ago, I knew they were going to get beta keys, but I didn't think they would get so many due to their smaller size. If you wanted to make a "preferred site" yourself, get beta keys, and be invited to press events, D3Sanc is the perfect model that you need to emulate.
You only need to stick to a short list of rules: only post Blizzard's official announcements, keep everything positive and supporting Blizzard, control forum posts, and moderate every facet of the website so that Blizzard is only painted in a positive light.
Remember when D3Sanc heavily modified and edited an old Bashiok Battle.net Forum post to make it positive? This is the sort of stuff you should be doing if you want a successful website, even if you don't agree with it yourself.
If you really want to get on Blizzard's good side, take it beyond typical propaganda sites like Diablofans, and turn it into a crazy fanatical "Dear Leader" style website. You need to GLORIFY Blizzard is every decision they make, retroactively edit all of your old posts if they can cause any negative harm, stick to the company line, only post official announcements, put all of the employees high up on pedestals, and brag about how great the team is. Defend them every chance you get, and talk about how Bashiok is just misunderstood but he's truly an amazing person. He donated one of his kidneys to a dying kitten, that sort of stuff.. it will get you a lot of blue brownie points.
This is how you get a successful website and get special treatment. Doing it this way might even get you access to exclusive press events and information. If you ever wanted to do this, you could even run two simultaneous websites. Your main "Worship Blizzard" blog, but then you can anonymously run a smaller blog or unofficial site that's more critical (using exclusive information obtained from your official site.)
Luckily, I have already had beta access for several months now and the topics I discuss don't require any special treatment or exclusive information from Blizzard. :)
The thought of a propaganda website really interests me though.. I would go totally overboard with it, and I think most fanboys would believe it's legit.
Incgamers.com should be handed beta keys given the size of their fanbase and it would be pretty foolish for Blizzard to leave them excluded in such a massive and public giveaway. Bashiok has stated that they have only passed out keys for NA, and EU is still to come. Even though half the other sites are NA/EU fansites, just like Incgamers, you could still consider Incgamers a "UK fansite".
So, there's still a chance they'll get keys. And we'll see for ourselves how flexible Blizzard's blacklist is.
I think incgamers.com wasn't expecting any keys, though, given the post that suddenly disappeared from the front page and their past experiences. :)