It seems there is a good pub guide that may have good bad. Well, some people seem to be in disarray with a change in how entries are placed within the guide.
Pubs to be entered were anonymously inspected by the editor, deputy editor, or both prior to entry. My 1996 edition listed Alisdair Aird, editor; Fiona May, deputy editor, Robert Unsworth, research officer and Karen Fick, editorial research. Alisdair and Fiona are listed on the current cover but Fiona appears to be married now.
The article in the Daily Mail suggests that publicans can gain entry to the guide (new for the 2012 edition) by supplying cash. At most this could be misleading and appear to be unethical. It is not illegal. There are two ways to look at guides. I post a page on my pubnetwork.com site for bars in the South Side (of Pittsburgh, Pa.).
I note that it is not a review and only a directory. I do not accept advertizing or cash, although I have never been offered any. Perhaps it is a testament to the greatness of my post? All the work is mine and I write what I want. CAMRA puts out a Good Beer Guide that lists pubs that must adhere to one basic policy note that the Pub Guide does not require: serving of real ale is a must. Any publication can set its own rules as long as it makes them clear to the people buying the publication.
What the Good Pub Guide is doing is not advertizing. But is does seem to be moving away from its original goal of supplying first hand information about pubs. The 2012 issue will do what my site does; help you find a pub. It will no longer guarantee a “good” pub as a “good” pub that has not paid may be excluded but a “bad” pub will be included. As long as you know money has been given for entry, are you fine with the book? Would you buy it for its intended purpose implied by the title? What about the Good Movie Review or Good Food Restaurants? Has the guide’s credibility been tarnished? Only you can decide.
One more thing: if a pub is going to pay, should the pub have something to say about content? Do pubcos pay more for greater control of content and editorial criticisms? When does the guide loose all control? Having money coming in to this can be a game changer.
Good Beer Guide from CAMRA
Good London Guide from me