Re: the deletion of the 'match advertising' thread..
Here's how I see it:
- First of all, perhaps it would've been wise to pitch an idea like this to first the mod team of the forum (a good link between SM's upper echelons and the paying community, the customers that fund the business), and then maybe the rest of the forum itself, to gauge responses and circumvent any potential mishaps in the game's 'evolution' (note the usage of inverted commas and apply if you see fit). At least this way the customer is not being left without a sense of having input.
- Secondly, (and tying in with the first point), when the use of adverts prior to the match report was agreed and due to be implemented, no-one outside of the dev team knew anything about it. While perhaps wanting to avoid any negative feedback in a 'too little, too late' scenario, it would've at least given customers the heads-up and maybe softened our scathing blows here on the forum (maybe). At least this way the customer does not feel unprepared.
- Lastly, now that this has all come to a head, the representation of SM to the customers has been nothing short of stubborn. Sure, we understand the need to make money, and the large amounts of revenue that hosting advertisements can bring, but please speak to your consumers in a way so that we know in black and white just why exactly you are doing this. The deletion of the previous thread, and the lack of response to many disgruntled customers quite simply does nothing to appease anyone. In my honest opinion, deleting the last thread has been seen by me as an act of cowardice. Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away. A simple apology, a mere explanation; anything that makes your customer feel somewhat valued for the service that they provide in paying you for yours, it really doesn't hurt. At least this way the customer doesn't feel undermined.
So, where do we go from here?
- Certainly take the time to not only keep your paying customers, but also attract new ones with one easy step - Listen to others in this thread, and add the ability to skip/have no adverts before a match report if you are a Gold Member. Two birds, one stone.
- Learn from previous mistakes. As I stated above, perhaps implement a better way of gaining feedback/raising awareness about future changes, rather than adopting a somewhat gung-ho style and adding features as soon as it is possible. Even it is something so trivial, and, in all honesty, as harmless to the overall match experience as adding adverts before the match report (but the inconvenience this causes is the main concern, of course). Consider adding a bulletin somewhere on the game's home screen (another Marmite new feature), where we know what is being planned in the game's development, and consider redeveloping this Game Development board to allow us to have our say on any potential developments.
- Lastly, take on more/better people who can answer to the customers. It'll save you some headache, and give us some messengers to shoot. We're good at that.