Friday, 31 May 2013

The Pros & Cons Of Writing For Gamesbeat

As you beans know, I'm a pretty vocal guy. I respect everyone's opinions and their own views and always want to hear what people have to say, but I don't shy away from sharing my own thoughts either. 

Some of the articles I've written have been of a fairly controversial nature. Whether I'm angrily ranting and swearing at companies and corporations like EA or documenting my experience with poor customer service like I did with Microsoft (see the article I'm referencing here), I like to make my voice heard.

I'm not going to be angrily ranting or swearing here though - I have no need to. Gamesbeat is a great website that really helps amateur gaming journos as well as providing some really great articles. They've helped me a TON too. I've been a 'communtity' writer on there for a good while and had a few articles promoted by the editors of the site as well as a lot of 'success', if you want,  in terms of the views and feedback my articles have received. 

While I'd like to say writing for them is all plain sailing though, it isn't, unfortunately. There are some blatantly obvious pros and cons of being a part of the GB community and I intend to list them all here and answer the final question of: should you really write for them? So, let's get to it.

PRO - More Recognition

One of the key pros of being a community writer on Gamesbeat is the fact you're opening yourself up to more people. If you don't have a blog or personal website and mainly just freelance then you are going to get a lot more recognition for your work by writing for GB. 

Obviously GB is an already successful website, so while if you write a cracking article for your own blog or site or a lesser known gaming website then it may receive less views. However by putting it on such a popular and stable platform like GB, you'll be getting a lot more traffic on your article. If you continue to write good stuff on there too you will do a good job of integrating yourself into the community and thus become a recognised and well respected member. 

I would like to point out though that unlike Gamesbeat's predecessor Bitmob, it isn't AS community focused, so the community benefits mentioned above aren't as big as they used to be.


CON: Less Traffic To Your Own Site

If you have your own blog, like me, where all of your content originates from, you're going to want that to be getting a main portion of the views that your articles attract, right? Right. However even if you put a link to your site at the end of your Gamesbeat articles, it's unlikely that people will follow through and click it. Not a big deal though, right? Wrong. 

If you take the articles you write on your blog/website and put them on Gamesbeat TOO, then it becomes a battle for which site is going to get the more views on your articles, right? Right. This is counterproductive for your own site however because OBVIOUSLY the more popular Gamesbeat is going to attract more viewers and so people are going to go to GB to see your articles instead of to your blog.

Example: You write an article on the Xbox One. You publish it on your blog. Your blog appears on Google. There is only one website to view your article on now: your blog. So if people want to see it or if it gets shared around and even goes viral, people will be viewing it on YOUR site.

But what if you published it on Gamesbeat too? Then there are TWO places to view your article. And which site is going to rank higher in Google's search results and attract more views? Not your one. 

You see now? As much as you may get more views and recognition by putting your articles on Gamesbeat, it's counterproductive when it comes to luring people to your own site.

PRO: Great Writing Experience 

If you're an aspiring gaming journo then Gamesbeat is a great way of getting experience. Write a lot of articles for it and you'll gain a lot more confidence and actual writing ability. And if you end up writing a hit article then that is going to help A LOT. 

There's not much else to say here except writing for GB will give you a lot of experience in the gaming jounro area and will definitely help you to land maybe some more amateurish work.

CON: No Money Benefits (Ouch)

For me one of the killer things about Gamesbeat is the fact there are no money benefits. You write a hit article? Not only may that decrease the traffic to your own blog/site but the only people ultimately benefiting from those many views you brought in are Gamesbeat themselves.

Am I being harsh? No, that's just the way it is.

Even when you write for those mini websites and gain $3 per article, you're still getting paid and recognised for your hard work. In a way GB kind of sucks up your content, burps, then asks for more. 

Ouch.

PRO: Great Writer Protection 

If you blog you know that your work is going to be copied. That's just how it is. Damn I wish it wasn't, but it is. 

However if you publish your gaming articles to Gamesbeat then you're guaranteed first-degree protection from them. Someone copies your work? Don't sweat it Gamesbeat will deal with the bastards. It may be in their own best interests to work their asses off to ensure your stuff isn't copied as duplicated content hurts THEIR rankings in Google but it's always nice to have things done for you right? 

CON: WTF Is With Their Editing? 

When I write an article and put it on Gamesbeat I want the only mistakes in it to be my own. That way when people point out a grammatical issue I can hold my hands up and say 'I missed it. I'm sorry'. Everyone makes spelling and grammar issues. Even big sites like IGN. Hell, I see problems with their articles ALL THE TIME.

But what isn't right is when the GB editors themselves decide to fuck you. If they promote one of your articles then that is great for the popularity of that piece of work, but often bad for the actual writing of it.

Obviously you can't blame them for ironing out the creases and generally making the article sound better when they promote it, right? But why in God's name do grammatical and spelling mistakes that you never included yourself randomly appear?

Their editing is not impressive one bit and I've been disappointed by their choice of editing techniques on a few occasions. Below is a great example of how their editors make zero sense.

I originally wrote: 'Currently practically no one likes or is siding with the Xbox One', so
 why did they change it and for the worst too? Makes no sense. And obviously the mistake
 looks like your own when it's not
.


They also tend to remove some pictures that you include yet don't remove the captions. For instance I put captions below my pictures (like I did above) however sometimes they randomly just decide to remove the picture from the article but leave IN the caption, so there is a random caption in the middle of the article that makes as much sense as their editor's logic. 

They also tend to add in some extra, completely unnecessary, punctuation. Like random commas. Why? I don't know. 

Generally I don't trust them. 

Should you write for them?

I don't write that much for them anymore. I'll put some of my gaming articles on there occasionally but I just don't feel like the benefits are really as big as they could or should be. I'd rather keep my most popular articles on my blog and sure gain LESS views, but still more than if I'd put it on GB too.

If you're just starting out or if you DON'T have your own site or blog then sure, go ahead and join the Gamesbeat community. But for me, and I think a lot of people who have their own site to promote, they aren't a great option. Plus their editors are pretty mental.

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