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The GoG Defence force!

September 22, 2010

I fell for it.

Hook, line, sinker and copy of Angling Times… I fell for it.

This week, www.gog.com, a site which distributes classic DOS games, a pioneer of the software preservation movement, a site I have been very supportive of in the past, pulled a PR stunt in which they pretended that, due to issues with their DRM free principles, they had been forced to shut down. They did it to draw attention to themselves because they’re a small company, they’re re-launching their site, and it was free.

Today… those guys are going to get a lot of hate.

I hate GoG, yall!!!

Try and distance yourself from the hysteria for the moment. Think about the types of people who will be besmirching their name on this day. A lot of them will be Twitter’s ‘Media Types’ who try to jump on top of any big issue going. They’ll have never actually bought anything from GOG.com, and perhaps didn’t even know who they were before this whole fiasco kicked off. Yet because it’s a current issue that they think their followers will want to know about, they’ll just hit the ‘ReTweet’ button and follow the majority opinion. I’m not having a go at them, that’s just what they do. They’re in the business of spreading news, not commenting on it.

The rest will probably just be pissed off that they got ho4x0r3d.

OK… the social media types… they get to tweet about some contemporary issue. Win. This works for GoG, because the idea behind the site reaches thousands of people who might not have heard of the site before. They’re going to inform a lot of people about this site, and some of those people may actually be paying customers! This is a win-win situation.

If the concept, the ‘idea‘, behind GoG gets to the right people, they WILL buy things from them. Seriously, stop and think… if you’ve tweeted about #GoGHoax today… have you ever bought anything from them? Even if the answer is no, you’ve still helped them out.

I’d like to ask how many of the people who will rage about this are in fact just pissed off that they fell for it. That was my initial reaction. I even got up on my soap box when the hoax first started and began bleating about how crap gamers were that they thought that £5 for classic games was still too much of a rip off for them to avoid the temptation to just nick the things! I was publicly mourning the loss of an amazing site.

Now I look really stupid!

But put that gut reaction to one side, and think about the impact of this stunt for a minute.

Of the people who are loyal customers of GoG.com, few of whom have many bad things to say about the service, there’s not a lot of harm done unless you deleted the games you’d bought and desperately wanted to download them again in the last four days. In fact, you may well rejoice at how the increased exposure might enable the site to expand their catalog!

With games like this one!

It also highlighted the merits of their DRM free policy, in that you’d have gotten to keep your games even if the site had gone bust. That’s something you wouldn’t get with other sites.

Of the people who had never heard of GoG.com before, through this stunt, you may very well have done now. And with what they’re offering, if classic games are your thing, you’ve just discovered a gold mine.

For those of you who just focus on the ‘bad PR’ attached to the stunt… chances are you were never going to buy anything for them anyway.  And loyal customers who have now decided to never buy anything from them again… I just don’t think they exist.

What this stunt demonstrates to me, more than anything else, is just how pliable that media, and not just games media, has become. And I believe too much in the importance of what GoG does not to stand up and defend them for using whatever tools they have at their disposal to promote themselves.

If they ever try anything like this again though… I might have a different opinion!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2010 12:53 am

    Funny thing… I’ve only discovered GoG this last Monday when goggling for some old games, and their website was closed just the day before.
    At that moment I thought “Closed? This sucks”. 🙂

  2. Amanda permalink
    September 23, 2010 8:29 am

    Thumbs down. Sorry.

    Twitter “media types” of getting hysterical? The only people I’ve seen getting hysterical over this so far have been games journos and players. Media types have commented on the marketing strategy, or the PR aspects, which they’re entitled to as generally it’s their area of expertise. I haven’t seen ANY unrelated bods on Twitter talking about GoG though, mind you, and I follow a fair amount of these “media types”.

    I also think it’s jumping the gun to say people who are focussed on the “bad PR” were never going to buy from GoG anyway. “If you build it they will come” is NOT true for most companies – PR and marketing is what gets most people to come and buy from them, and it can be what turns them off to buying too. I know a few people who probably would have bought from GoG, or used to, and now won’t because they feel they were tricked. This effect will probably wear off in time and in any case will have been negated by the buzz this little stunt has generated.

  3. September 23, 2010 9:39 pm

    I agree totally with these comments. I’ve made many purchases from gog over the last year and actually stumbled upon this stunt mid-implementation (I hadn’t seen any of the build up or contraversy mentioned here). While i largely support DRM for newer releases, that model would not work for older releases and certainly not through a third party. I hope the site gets more traffic as a result.

  4. September 24, 2010 7:45 pm

    It was a pretty unethical marketing ploy, using the voices of those people who ‘loved’ gog to spread the word to new ‘potential’ customers. Pretty disrespectful to their existing loyal userbase, who they surely caused some unnecessary anxiety to.

    I won’t be supporting or recommending them again I’m afraid. -1 gog fan.

  5. September 24, 2010 7:57 pm

    Every alternating comment is pro or against. Extraordinary.

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