Editorial ethics have been around as long as the published word, but that might not be obvious if you read iPhone App review sites. Unfortunately, there are some Web publishers (and reviewers) that put quick cash in front of the best interests of their readers by taking money for reviews. Selling out is the critic's cardinal sin, and the growing tendency to do so is why we established the Organization for App Testing Standards (a.k.a., O.A.T.S.).
O.A.T.S. is a group of iPhone App review publications that came together to raise the journalistic bar for the emerging world of iPhone application and game review sites.
From our initial base of four sites, we have grown to 35 publications that have promised to serve their readers first, last, and always. Joining is simple, and every English-language site is welcome—providing they take the following Oath:
WE, THE CONSTITUENT SITES OF THE ORGANIZATION OF APP TESTING STANDARDS, have gathered under the auspices of O.A.T.S. with a common goal: to improve the quality of iPhone games and app criticism. While we applaud the great diversity of opinion now available to consumers looking for iPhone app reviews, it is clear to us that not all of these sources have put the best interests of the readership first. We hope to combat this by holding ourselves to a higher standard.
TO THAT END:
- WE PLEDGE to never mix business with editorial. We reject all forms of paid reviews, including "express reviewing" fees. Advertising on an O.A.T.S. site will have no bearing whatsoever on whether we decide to review an app, or on the nature of coverage we give it, when and if we do;
- WE PLEDGE to clearly mark all advertisements as such on our sites;
- WE PLEDGE to ensure that each of our reviews is as thorough, accurate, honest, and fully informed as possible;
- WE PLEDGE to promptly correct all factual mistakes in our reviews and to post an Editor's Note when we do;
- WE PLEDGE that all editorial work appearing on our sites is our own;
- WE PLEDGE to allow disagreement, dissent, and complaint through reader commentary, and to never censor it;
- WE PLEDGE that all app reviews will follow the same process, whether a particular app is obtained via promo code, purchase, or ad-hoc distribution;
- WE PLEDGE that site promotions or contests involving promo code giveaways will not influence reviews in any way.
O.A.T.S. Member Publications
For more about O.A.T.S. and ethical iPhone app reviewing, go to gotoats.org).