FAQ: Sponsoring the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard
August 29, 2012 3 Comments
It’s once again time for me to update my FAQ, and with that comes a question that needs a full-sized post to answer. So here it goes. Once my site starting picking up viewers, I started getting questions about putting paid advertisements on my site. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea. I’m not interested at all in trying to make money off my site, because once that happens it becomes a job. I don’t want this to ever feel like work. This is my hobby, and I plan to keep it feeling that way. But I had so many people asking, I figured I could do something good with it. Brian came up with the idea of donating the money to charity. Once I decided to expand the leaderboard from ten members to “every game that I liked to some degree get ranked” we finally had the perfect item to sponsor. Literally as soon as I confirmed “IndieGamerChick.com now is taking sponsors” I had the position through October snatched up within a day. It went that quick.
As such, I haven’t really laid out what I require from potential future sponsors, nor have I explained fully what sponsorship gets, and what limitations it comes with, or what the cost is, or the duration of it, or several handfuls of inquires that I get constantly. Frequently asked questions, if you will. So, let’s lay it out here. If you’re looking for typical Indie Gamer Chick snark, you won’t get it here. Probably.
UPDATED February 13, 2013 to include more up-to-date stats.
Q: What does it cost?
A: Whatever you’re willing to pay, but I’ve set the minimum at $50 for a three-month period.
Q: Can I pay for more than three months?
A: I’ll work it out case by case, but as a bonus, if nobody claims sponsorship following you, your sponsorship stays on until someone else takes your place.
Q: What are the charities you’re looking to support?
A: That would be Autism Speaks and Epilepsy Foundation (also known as the EFA). I know both of these charities are legitimate and worthy organizations because I have personally benefited from both. I was diagnosed at age four with atypical autism and I developed epilepsy when I was sixteen. Both have clear agendas that are relatively politics-free (as much as any medical-based foundation can be I suppose) and aim to learn more about these conditions, develop treatments for them (the optimistic point of view), but most importantly to me, improve the quality of life for those who live with these conditions.
Q: Of course you had to pick two.
A: That’s not a question.
Q: Well which one do you prefer?
A: Either/or is fine with me. Or you could be an incredibly cool suck-up and donate to both!
Q: If I donate to one of those charities so that I can get sponsorship, does that still make it tax-deductible?
Q: How do I pay you?
A: You don’t. Instead, you donate directly to one of the two charities above. All you do is send me a screenshot (or a picture of) the receipt confirming a donation was made. Remove any credit card or banking information from that (I don’t believe they include those), leaving only a name (or e-mail) and the date, plus their “thank you for donating” statement. A picture of you giving the thumbs up with a printout of the statement works too. Once I have it, you’re good to go. Each site keeps its own information on how you get your tax deduction from it. DO NOT just make a donation with the intent of a sponsorship without discussing it with me first.
Q: What else do I need to provide Indie Gamer Chick for sponsorship?
A: You need to provide the banner for the Leaderboard. The banner should have “Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard sponsored by” on the top, large enough to clearly be visible and read. The rest of the space can be used to promote your product. You also can provide any promotional codes if you want to use me to run contests.
Q: What kind of stuff can I advertise with my sponsorship?
A: Independent video games or studios would probably be a good idea.
Q: What won’t you allow to be sponsored?
A: Non-gaming related businesses, Ebay retailers, etc. You also can’t use my site to promote your Kickstarter. This is mostly because the word “Kickstarter” makes me throw up. I’m Kickstarter Bulimic.
Q: Can we promote our Xbox Live Indie Game with it? I mean, you are an Xbox Live Indie Game site.
A: Brian and myself have debated this for months and we still have no definitive answer. We’ll have to go on a case-by-case basis. It will have to be a game already released, and one that has received a positive review on my site, and made the leaderboard. Remember, this is sponsorship, not an endorsement.
Q: I’m not a game developer, but I have a gaming site/blog. Can I sponsor using that?
A: Again, we’ll go case by case on this. I think this would be fine. It depends on the site.
Q: What does my sponsorship get me, besides advertising on your leaderboard?
A: Catherine (aka Indie Gamer Chick) will promote your game’s release via Twitter and Facebook, assuming it happens after your sponsorship starts. She will play your game, and tweet about her experience if it is a positive experience. Indie Gamer Chick will run contests to promote your games (you must supply your own prizes and assume all legal responsibility for those contests). Finally, if you wish she can do a developer interview with you that will be published on IndieGamerChick.com. Plus, Cathy is known to just randomly tweet about games. Who knows, she might plug your game long after your sponsorship has ended, especially if she liked it.
Q: What don’t I get from my sponsorship?
A: Again, this isn’t a paid endorsement. Sponsorship at IndieGamerChick.com does not guarantee your game will receive positive press from Cathy. Even if you are a sponsor, if she thinks your game sucks, she’ll say so. She also won’t plug your Kickstarter or any other fundraising efforts. This also means you can’t comment on your Kickstarter if she interviews you. A sponsor also has no say in my site’s content.
Q: I want to make sure I get my money’s worth, so how much traffic does IndieGamerChick.com get?
A: The amount varies day by day, but on average IndieGamerChick.com receives between 1,100 and 2000 unique hits daily. According to Alexa.com, this makes IndieGamerChick.com the most read Xbox Live Indie Game website in the world. As of February of 2013, Indie Gamer Chick has drawn over 500,000 page views since opening on July 1, 2011. Below is a screen grab of my views breakdown taken February 13, 2013.
The amount of views the leaderboard itself pulls in fluctuates wildly. The leaderboard is updated with every new Xbox Live Indie Game review, regardless of whether the game makes the board or not. If a game makes the leaderboard, the review directs the person to the board to see where it has landed. We also direct attention to the board on Twitter if a milestone is reached, such as a game landing a high ranking on the board. Hard numbers are deceptive (over the first sixty days, the board pulled in 3,482 views, for an average of 58 views a day. However, some days the board pulls in several hundred views. It just depends on whether a game makes the board or not. As of August 29, 2012, only 43.93% of all games reviewed made the leaderboard. Also, the strength of a game’s review makes a difference. Games that only get mildly positive reviews generally don’t create a lot of traffic for the board. Whereas a game like Spyleaks, which I tweeted had been the first game since the board’s creation to make the top 25, generated several hundred views to see where it ranked. When a game doesn’t make the board, the percent of games ranked is still updated, for those dorks that would be interested in that type of thing. Like me.
Q: Do you have information on your readership demographics?
A: I have location information. Everything else is an educated guess. My typical regular reader (someone who checks in at least weekly) is an adult male age 18 to 40, with the average age being around 30. My readers are typically “hardcore” gamers, almost all of whom own an Xbox 360, and the majority of whom also own a PlayStation 3 and play PC games. My readers are also enthusiastic buyers who are genuinely looking for inexpensive indie games across a wide variety of platforms they can spend spare change on. Below is a screencap of the views-by-country breakdown, taken between February 25, 2012 (the furthest back it was counted) and February 13, 2013.
Q: My product is for a system other than Xbox Live Indie Games. Can Indie Gamer Chick start to cover more games from that platform to make sure that my sponsorship reaches the right target?
A: I do limited coverage of iOS, Xbox Live Arcade, and PlayStation Network games. Indie Gamer Chick is just my hobby, and I don’t have enough time to fully cover all systems. However, all my reviews, no matter what platform they’re for, on average generate the same amount of page views. It’s a pretty safe assumption that my readers are gamers looking for indie games in general, and you’ll find them receptive towards games across all platforms.
Q: In previous sponsorships, has the banner generated clicks to the sponsor’s website?
A: Unfortunately, getting readers to click links is difficult. Most of my readers who purchase games off a recommendation do so from the system’s dashboard, not from the marketplace. Thus, it’s impossible to calculate how much “awareness” of a product or total sales are generated from IndieGamerChick.com. What you just read is me dancing around the hard numbers. Pretty slick, eh? In truth, the average is 1 in 60 views results in a marketplace click for an Xbox Live Indie Game review. For the Sponsorship banner, between July 1, 2012 (the day it went up) and August 29, 2012, the banner was clicked only 45 times. However, the developers of Count to a Billion have told me they are very happy with their sponsorship, which created product awareness and, in their belief, generated sales of their game. I asked Mario Wunderlich, developer of Count to a Billion, if he would like to offer a testimonial of his experience as a sponsor. Here’s what he sent.
Kairi’s been very supportive and great to work with. Since we sponsored Indie Gamer Chick’s Leaderboard with our latest game, Count to a Billion, we’ve seen more than just website traffic from the Indie Gamer Chick. She’s been very supportive in ways I’d never imagined. It’s been great working with The Chick, and I’d do it again without a second thought.
Q: If we sponsor the leaderboard, can we also do a Tales from the Dev Side editorial?
A: You do not need to sponsor me to do a Tales from the Dev Side editorial. It’s an open platform for anyone with topical or motivational subject matter to talk about.
Q: Alright, I’m in! How do we start?