And Another Thing: How to overthrow the local media monopoly

7 min read

So yesterday I received the weirdest message via Facebook from a local online anime and geek culture  site who’re upset at the lack of local support they are receiving and who seem to think there is a great conspiracy between the larger media to control the advertising funds.

So their plan appears to be that all the smaller sites need to agree to group up and insist that if an advertiser wants to advertise on one site they must advertise on all the partner sites and the marketing spend needs to be split equally.

The original post has been taken down but by the power of the Internet we have it here

At the moment organisations like NAG / PC Gamer & the Government are running Gaming / Otaku / Tech in South Africa.

Wait what… First up PC Gamer isn’t a local website, PC Format was a local magazine but they went bankrupt. And the Government running gaming? The closest I can get there is that Telkom Gaming which is owned by Telkom and the government has some share in Telkom?

In essence, it is handful of people dictating the way that the community operates in South Africa.

After some considerable thought I had an epiphany and realized that the community is not the Corporates, the community is the thousands of Otakus, Gamers & Geeks that support the corporates without much choice.

Now, the corporates have a huge lead and in essence bully the start ups which are mainly made up of young folk in their 20’s with very little support or interest from outside investors of Otaku Communities.

To cut a long story short, Otaku , Gaming & Tech is still in it’s infancy whereby a monopoly is forming amongst the corporates & government.

This in essence destroys communities as it becomes more capitalist. An example of this is EA buying up everything in USA and destroying titles left right & centre.

But what about Epic, Valve, Activision, Ubisoft, 2K and many many others? EA is the typical publisher to bash on but to liken them to a monopoly is ridiculous.

The below communities found themselves without a voice and many abandoned their products.

This mentality has already become prevalent in South Africa whereby the community is largely not happy.

Historically speaking most of the community start ups have failed and will continue to fail due to one simple reason:

Everyone is in it for themselves.

But lets just do a simple calculation

20 Online communities boasting on average of 1000 members = 20 000 community members.

This is the equivalent of 2 Rages.

I hate to burst your bubble here but rAge had around 35 000 people this year. So your 20 tiny communities together aren’t even one rAge. Also we had over 35 000 hits to this site yesterday, do you think yesterday that Lazygamer was bigger than rAge?

With those numbers the obvious solution is to own the community and not become slaves of the corporate entities.

Our solution is as follows

What we propose is a contract that simply allows our companies to operate independently but to approach the market together and not individually.

This exact email word for word has been sent to several other mid level gaming / otaku & tech communities.

Together, our communities are bigger then NAG in numbers.

Possibly, but possibly not. Remember the 1000 readers you have may be the exact same readers your friends site has. Your 20 000 could in reality be 4 000 avid readers.

But how do we achieve a mutual amalgamation of our communities?

Very simply.

A contract is put in place whereby when one of our organisations is involved with sponsors or investors, that all of our organisations have to be included in every single campaign.

So if I come up with a great campaign and idea I have to share it with everyone thereby removing what makes me independent?

The idea is that we all run our companies independently and are responsible for our own companies as such. However none of us are allowed to be sponsored without all of us being sponsored. Yes, this will raise the cost to the corporate but the corporate gets more visibility. More importantly we control the price without creating a monopoly.

So walk me through this. Samsung want to sponsors our coverage of E3 but for them to get that privilege they also need to give money to a bunch of other sites that aren’t doing anything with E3? And while we know that will increase the cost to Samsung they will still do it because… why? Why would they now give us anything instead of going to NAG or IGN and giving them all the money they have? You want to stop monopolies…by creating a…monopoly?

In the words of our esteemed editor

Geoff Tim – Not to put too fine a point on this…but are you high?

As mentioned the original post is now gone and there are claims that it was a disgruntled web developer who put it up. However there is a post here which is written by a different person than the one who sent the Facebook messages. Now we all know that it’s hard being the little guy and that getting corporate sponsors is extremely difficult in any industry. Have you ever tried to get a corporate sponsor to give your community football team some cash to cover your uniforms? It’s hard, you are either good at it or not. However if you win the league it becomes easier, as you keep winning it gets easier and easier.

And this is exactly the same thing in the local media. How can you expect a corporate to give you R10 000 to advertise when you get 200 hits a day? It doesn’t make logical sense and for that same R10 000 they could get a million impressions from someone else locally.  Beyond that, trying and form an organised consortium to price fix the local sponsorship market is illegal.

And Another Thing

I’m all for people trying to work together for the betterment of all. But you haven’t put together a single logical reason why I would hobble my site. Yes it could force someone to give you a bit of cash but in reality it would just mean I would lose money. When I started this site we got called the annoying little university kids, or something along those lines, and we weren’t taken seriously at all.

It’s taken years of hard work to get to where we are now and I see absolutely no reason why we should just let you skip that. If you write good content and that content has a valid market, and you get a bit lucky, you will do well. Hoping everyone around you will carry you over the line because life’s not fair just sounds like the whining of an entitled youth. Stand up and sort it out yourself.


And lastly, your lack of knowledge of the local gaming industry is probably why you are struggling to get any investment. The government has no say in the local gaming media, PC Format is dead and we get more readers than NAG so asking me to join your crusade is asking me to fight against myself.

I like what you guys and girls are trying to do with your content, keep doing that or quit. Either way there is no conspiracy against the little guys.

Last Updated: October 24, 2014

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