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Reviews, Previews, Kickstarter and Independent Designers

I want to make this post because I feel there is a gap between the perception and the reality of the world of reviewers and previewers in the tabletop industry, particularly in relation to Kickstarters. I’m making it mainly in relation to the payment for reviews which many backers seem to find problematic when addressed but I feel that it is seen as problematic largely due to an unwillingness to acknowledge the realities of the situation, which I hope I can help with. I would like to say, I personally have never paid for a review or preview, so I don’t feel I have skin in the game in relation to defending it. However, I don’t rule out doing so in the future and don’t think the practice is inherently questionable so long as all parties are aware of its root and implications.

Its fairly standard for Kickstarters at this point to feature "reviews" of their games, to the point where not having a review can be a marker of a campaign that's not going to fund. In the industry in general there is a line between reviews, which are generally free, and previews, which are generally paid for. However, within Kickstarter this line is often at best blurred and at worst intentionally obscured.