Post your announcements to ‘comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.announce’.
Back in April, the Usenet powers that be (a.k.a., The Big-8 Management Board) began a discussion about removing the newsgroup, comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.announce. It made some sense, given that there had been a moderator vacancy and no legitimate messages posted in seven years (and only the Internet PC Games Charts for a couple years before that). It made me feel like a greybeard, given that I have been subscribed to that newsgroup since it was previously active.
Long story short: I volunteered to be the new moderator of that group, a unique game marketing resource, and “the people who decide these things” (in the words of Brian Epstein) appointed me to that position. Now, I am the sole and official moderator for that group. The next step is to increase content and readership.
The beauty of using Usenet for marketing is that it is essentially free, making it one of those easy steps that an independent game publisher can take to get additional exposure for its titles. Google Groups carries comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.announce, so your announcement is searchable there and quickly incorporated into the Google index as well.
This is an announcement group, rather than a discussion group, so messages will stand on their own, though the (unmoderated) ‘comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.misc’ discussion group provides an outlet for conversations. For shareware authors, there are other software announcement groups on Usenet, but none that cater specifically to games, so this is an opportunity to be noticed.
Here is the official charter for csipga (as it is known for short):
This newsgroup is for announcements that are useful to the entire PC computer gaming population, including but not limited to new release announcements, software publisher news, bug information, and PC game reviews. Followups will be directed to comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.misc, or another appropriate subgroup at the moderator’s discretion.
In practical terms, I will likely approve almost any message as long as it relates to PC gaming (not in a cheap spam way) under Windows, DOS, Linux, or even Mac OS X if I am feeling generous. Press releases are encouraged, as well as product announcements that may not warrant a full press release. Note also that game reviews are allowed, so it is perfectly acceptable to have a satisfied customer post a glowing game review (though it should come directly from the author, not via the publisher).
The first independent game publisher to take advantage of this opportunity was Ilya Olevsky of Valen Games, announcing the release of their new financial strategy game, Lunar Domination. I have had the pleasure of “speaking” with Ilya and my son did some beta testing on this title. If you enjoy strategy games, I urge you to check out this game, which follows in the beta traditions of the genre. It is available for Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Linux (all distributions), and Mac OS X (coming soon).
I look forward to more announcement approvals in short order.