G2A has admitted that one of its employees solicited undisclosed, favourable coverage of its marketplace from some in the media.
Following a bit of a resurgence of the anti-G2A sentiment amongst indie developers, and G2A’s attempt to assuage concerns by dismissing most and promising to involve third-party auditing of its store to prove legitimacy, G2A is facing yet another scandal.
IndieGamesPlus writer Thomas Faust shared an email on Twitter they had received asking the site to run a pre-written “unbiased” article about how “selling stolen keys on gaming marketplaces is pretty much impossible”. The key point here is that the sender requested this to be done without disclosing the fact it’d be a paid promotion.
Advertorials are not uncommon on media websites, but only reputable outlets will disclose and clearly highlight to readers they’re looking at paid/sponsored content. Asking outlets to hide that crucial fact is not only disingenuous and shady, it violates advertisement rules in most countries.
Unsurprisingly, G2A admitted that the email is in fact real, and was sent to ten outlets. However, the company was quick to distance itself from an unnamed employee who sent out this email without authorisation.
These e-mails were sent by our employee without authorization, for which we apologize to @SomeIndieGames and the 9 (!) other media outlets he sent this proposal to. He will face strict consequences, as this is absolutely unacceptable.
— G2A.COM (@G2A_com) July 8, 2019
G2A head of communication Maciej Kuc didn’t name the person responsible when asked by Polygon, but said it’s against company policy to pay for promoted content without disclosing the fact.
It’s certainly strange that the news surprised G2A, but the way it quickly washed its hands off it follows the same pattern of deflection used in its recently published lengthy defence of legitimacy.