I'm not a gamer. So I'm not overly invested in this particular story. But i do think that this story is a good jumping off point to investigate how closely reviews are tied to advertising dollars in the gaming industry and in the tech industry in general.
Unfortunately, since it was Gamespot's firing that brought this into focus; it's justifiable to ask the question how far throughout CNet's properties does this problem go?
I don't for one minute think that anyone is told outright to give good ratings because "company X" advertises with us. But it's not hard for me to imagine the occasional suggestion to the reviewers that advertising dollars is what keeps your paycheck coming.
Just remember that it's easier to believe a 9 or 10 star rating when you hand out a 0 or 1 star rating every now and then. IMHO nobody gives out low ratings anymore.
Either way, I continue to listen to BOL.