O.A.T.S. is a group of sites that were brought together with the goal of improving the editorial ethics and standards in the emerging world if iPhone application and game review sites. It's a new industry, with a lot of people without any editorial experience doing some great work. We want to foster that, but for this area to succeed, we need to have proper editorial standards upheld by this new segment of review journalists.

To that purpose, this organization and the following oath were created. Sites that follow this oath are displayed on this site as ones that uphold proper editorial ethics and standards.

The oath will continue to change as the market changes and new challenges are found. For now, it covers mainly the areas of editorial and advertising separation, honesty, accuracy, authorship, and influence.

The 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 equally clear to us that not all of these sources have put the best interests of the readership first. We hope to combat such unscrupulous journalism by holding ourselves to a higher standard.

TO THAT END:

1) 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;

2) WE PLEDGE to clearly mark all advertisements as such on our sites;

3) WE PLEDGE to ensure that each of our reviews is as thorough, accurate, honest, and fully informed as possible;

4) WE PLEDGE to promptly correct all factual mistakes in our reviews, and to post an Editor's Note when we do;

5) WE PLEDGE that all editorial work appearing on our sites is our own;

6) WE PLEDGE to allow disagreement, dissent, and complaint through reader commentary, and to never censor it;

7) 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;

8) WE PLEDGE that site promotions or contests involving promo code giveaways will not influence any review in any way.

Origin of O.A.T.S.

O.A.T.S., or the Organization for App Testing Standards started out of a discussion on editorial ethics between the app site publishers. After repeated stories of expedited review fees and advertising and editorial packages, it was decided that attention should be drawn to the ethical standards that most sites abide by. A few other great minds were brought in and O.A.T.S. was formed.

Related Reading

Here are a few posts related to ethics in the iPhone app review community, and in the game/application review community in general.