To handle pre-release or promotional games, we use a bit more structure to ensure that the product is reviewed professionally, in a clear, unbiased fashion. We have a floating group of writers who have published reviews previously.
We promise one review for RPG systems and sourcebooks from RPG companies. Frequently we also do capsule reviews of incoming items, though we can no longer guarantee those due to the volume of material we receive each week. So... we promise one playtest review for one RPG item from each shipment, and if you send multiple items, one review for each item. We promise one playtest review for any miniatures game. We promise one thorough review for any magazine, novel, or supplemental item. For freeware games and novelties, we promise one review as we deem appropriate. Basically: if you send it, it will get reviewed!
All new reviews are featured for one week in the "New Reviews" section, directly linked from the front page. They are then co-featured for the next week (in a slightly shorter format). Finally, they are archived and kept on the 'reviews by company' and other indices on our site. A quick peek at our front page should give you a good idea of what we provide.
We send all the games out to our freelance reviewers for playtesting and a thorough review. This provides a very complete evaluation of the game. Playtests take time, therefore, this appears 1-3 months after receipt of the item.
The reviewer (unlike those with magazines that have to cater to advertisers) is allowed to be completely candid in their review. By the same token, we consider small publishers and new ventures just as important as "the big guns", and give all reviews equal time. The playtesters are chosen by whichever of our reviewers is most enthusiastic about testing the game. So there is a bit of a selection factor here, in that the game is being tested by a motivated and experienced gamer, and we feel results to date have been quite fair.
Finally, we have newly instituted a more aggressive policy to let companies know when their products are reviewed off our site. Each quarter, we send out a batch of notices to companies. If an unsolicited review of your product appears on our site, we'll notify you so you can see what it says. Such fan-produced reviews have run the gamut from scathingly negative to glowingly favorable, and we do not exert editorial control over the content (merely the presentation-- poorly written or offensive reviews are curtailed.) For solicited reviews, again, we let you know what was posted.
If you are with a game company and would like to have greater exposure
for your new product, we accept review copies at:
RPG Web Services
8302 Cypress Street
Laurel, MD 20707
Note that RPGnet has no 'staff reviewers' per se. If you give a copy to a freelancer who says they will review it for RPGnet, that's wholly a matter between you and them. But we can't guarantee they'll actually review it-- most times, we don't even know about such overly enthusiastic representations of affiliation. The only reviews we can guarantee are when you actually (surprise surprise) send the item to RPG Web Services, or give it to the card-carrying RPGnet staffer at a Convention. Be smart, be careful, and when in doubt, feel free to email us (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For people interested in reviewing, we require that you submit an unsolicited review before we add you to our list. This helps ensure that our reviewers are able to work of their own initiative, and finish what they start.
We keep a publically-accessible queue of items off the main review page, which you are free to track to see which freelancer was assigned your item, and what the ship dates were.
Coordinator, RPG Web Services
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org