I was recently messaging with someone who has a rather large following in his Facebook group, and the topic of paid vs free reviews/previews came up. He asked if we (at Everything Board Games) charge for reviews. We don't, and I told him as much. I also told him we also review pre-Kickstarter games, and he asked if we charge for those. Again, I said we didn't.
Now here's the question: What are your thoughts on reviewers charging to preview a game? I know a bunch do and a bunch don't; it has even become a topic of hot debate. I think paid reviews can become biased, or at the least, the audience simply won't know if they can trust the review. But a preview? That's more of an advanced look--like a movie trailer--for something not yet released. It's advertising for the upcoming Kickstarter. With that in mind, I am fine with folks being paid to preview games. And if companies are willing to pay, that's their right.
When we at EBG do previews, we do them just like a review--opinions and all. This is one reason we don't charge. But another question to you is, do you consider there to be a difference in a review of a game not yet launched on Kickstarter (i.e. a preview with opinions) and a review of a game already published? If so, what are those differences?
We have no intention of charging for previews at this time (and we've already discussed it thoroughly and have all agreed to keep it free of charge), but I'm curious as to all your thoughts.