Starting here in the month of May, the website is moving toward a hybrid “free content/paid content” system. There will still be daily content that will be free to everyone, but there will also be several features a week that will be behind a subscription wall that will just have small portions be “free for everyone” to see.

Why is the site going to a hybrid system?

I run this site full time and have for a while as my “job”. I have made money from advertising and the sale of the prospect guide, but advertising rates simply keep getting worse and I am currently getting about 20% per advertisement that I did when the website first started using ads. With getting further on in my life, it is at the point where I simply need to bring more revenue in or I simply can’t continue with the commitment of time for the website. I am basically all in at this point for 2013. If the site can be successful enough under the new format, then it will be able to continue. If there isn’t enough interest, then after 2013 it will be time to move forward onto something else.

What content will be free and what content will be behind a subscription wall?

The content that you can find elsewhere will continue to be free. Daily game recaps, news and notes, season reviews and other informational posts will remain free content for everyone. Scouting related posts, for the most part, will be behind a subscription wall.

My Costs

I want to be up front with my readers on what goes into operating the website. The pure operational costs of the website for 2013, barring no more unforeseen issues, is pushing $1000. I also travel to Louisville, Dayton and Pensacola during the season. Depending on how well this system is received, I would also like to make a trip to Billings and Arizona. Before the season began, my travel budget was $2000 for the season and didn’t account for a trip to Billings or Arizona. Over the years I have also purchased camera equipment (about $2000 worth) to provide images and videos as well as editing software for both images and video that has been over $900.

Your Costs

Subscriptions are set at $4.00 a month, which will auto-renew each month until you cancel. Why $4.00 a month? Well, given the traffic the site gets and an estimated percentage of potential subscribers, I think that is about my break even point.

Other questions

I will leave the comments for this post open for a few days as things get going, but after that they will be closed and for questions you have at that point, you will need to contact me via email.

29 Responses

  1. Brad

    Is it possible to give more than the 4 dollars a month? Is there anyway to open up giving?

    • Kris

      I agree here. I’d be willing to pay a bit more to help you or possibly give a small donation. Would this be possible?

    • Doug Gray

      At this point, no.

      At one point I had a “donate” button on the site. However within a day of it being up, my paypal account was hacked. It could have been a great coincidence, but I don’t want to take that chance again.

    • Doug Gray

      Yes, it is going to be a paypal thing. Basically, it is the only way I know how to take credit cards through the internet.

  2. Statssofresh

    Good deal, Doug. Set-up the link and I’ll pay.

  3. Kris

    Doug,

    When will subscriber only content begin?

    • Doug Gray

      Later this week, likely on Friday with the Scouting Notebook, then things will ramp up from there. But for this week, that will likely be the only one since we just got started on Wednesday. The plan is for at least two subscriber level articles each week, more depending on the given week and what is going on.

  4. Richard DeLucio

    The scouting reports aren’t my thing but I subscribed as I believe all your hard work and dedication for many years deserves to be rewarded. Good luck with this!

  5. ChrisSD

    Doug,

    You have a great site that I have enjoyed for many years. While I like a “free-lunch” as much as anyone, I also believe in paying people for their work.

    I will be signing up shortly.

    Keep up the great work.

  6. Steve Andersen

    Instead of a monthly charge, would it be possible to pay for 1 year at a time.

    Thanks

    • Doug Gray

      Steve,
      The reason that things are just month-to-month at this point is because this is all being implemented here in May, and as noted above, if things don’t go well enough, 2013 will be the last year I can manage to keep the website afloat at anything resembling the level I have it at (or better). So a yearly subscription doesn’t make sense in the case where after 2013 not enough people found things worthy of paying for and I had to shut things down, that the people who paid for a year would be left out to dry for their remaining months and I just don’t feel comfortable with that scenario. I had hoped to offer a 6 month subscription, but unfortunately right now the only options are daily/weekly/monthly/yearly without any leeway in the billing cycle.

  7. twill

    Doug,

    I check the site almost daily and then tune in to the Reds game. The minor league info you and the other contributors provide have increased my love of baseball substantially! With that said, I’d like another option to pay because I have had similar issues with Paypal. Any ideas? I’d be happy to send a check.

  8. Robert

    Very happy to be a first day subscriber. Appreciate all you do Doug to provide quality, organized content.

  9. MikeD

    Hi Doug,

    I can’t say that I am looking for anything outside of the great work you provide now, but I will certainly subscribe as a way to show support for your tremendous efforts! I don’t know if this would ever work, but I have a running coach website that I use for my business, I would be willing to advertise for some fee if there’s a way to make it work for you. If you think it’s possible let me know and we can swap emails. I hope this works well for you as I believe your passion and hardwork shows and I would like to see that rewarded!

    Mike D

    • Doug Gray

      Thanks for the kind words Mike. If you are truly interested in advertising, you can email me and we can talk about that.

  10. William Frye

    I am continually impressed at your effort and the content of this web site. I stop by daily to get my Reds fix. Thanks from Syracuse!

    C’mon Esasky – pony up!

  11. Ron

    I feel your pain Doug. I graduated from college in December and have applied to everything in sight and haven’t gotten a single interview … just one phone call to tell me I was over-qualified. You at least have created your own job.

  12. Ryan the Red

    Will subscribe asap. Good place to talk about the Reds and also keep informed about the Reds minors. Really enjoy the content and can tell you are passionate about what you do here. Thanks.

  13. Donny

    I won’t purchase anything, anywhere, that has a reoccurring charge. But if you had an option like, the rest of 2013, without a reoccurring charge I would support your efforts.

    • Doug Gray

      Donny,
      email me and we will see what we can do.

  14. Kevin

    Small price to pay for a great resource and community. Given how much time I spend reading this site, I’m most definitely in.

    Keep up the great work Doug. Hope everyone can help out as much as possible.

  15. The Duke

    I know I’ve asked this before, but how do you get a picture for your avatar?

  16. Kurt

    I have been following you since 2005/6 or when you had the generic blog forum. I have said this before, but I am astonished that the reds organization does not provide you with a stipend for all of your hard work. You have given the organization a lot of free publicity, perhaps tens or hundred of thousands dollars worth. I was shocked that you had to pay for your own playoff tickets in 2010. I am shocked that they can’t supply you travel expenses and tickets to minor league games and prospects debuting in Cincy. I know you got a heck of a deal on stubhub for cigrani’s debut, but the least the reds could have done was give you a scout seat for the game in appreciation for all that you have done for the reds.

    I know I rarely post on your site, perhaps 10 to 15 times, but I visit almost daily. Your site gave me hope during the dark days of the reds when Bruce, and Bailey, and Votto where coming up. The reds stunk and all I could do was look toward the future, thus my attachment to your website. I moved to Texas in 2008 and could easily have switched my allegiance to the rangers, but your coverage of the reds first wave of talent had a big influence on me staying true to my childhood team. Because of this the reds have benefited from my purchase of MLB tv and extra attendance in Houston for the away game box draw. I have already purchase tickets for the rangers game at the end of June. I followed these guys through their minor league careers that created a bond strong enough to endure moving over 1000 miles away. These are tangible economic benefits that the reds have benefited partially due to your website. Perhaps the Reds should go without your effort to see what they are missing.

    Anyways I have no problem paying $4 a month for your services. I do not have a Paypal account. Perhaps you can turn your website into an iPad app and I can purchase the subscription through an app. Sorry, I am techno stupid. Again, I am let down that reds
    Can’t subsidize all your hard work.

    • Doug Gray

      The minor league teams, when asked, have been very generous with media passes.

      I would love to make an app for the website, but the last time I checked into it to make it worth spending any money on to have it made (it costs $99 just to submit an app to the app store, then they decide whether or not they will even accept it), it was thousands of dollars. I have talked about learning to write apps for a while now, but just haven’t gotten around to it. With that said, if you would like to subscribe, several others have contacted me about paying by check for a given amount of time. If that is something you would be interested in, shoot me an email.

      As far as the Reds go…. I love the Reds. Heck, I would love, absolutely love to have a way for this site to truly be affiliated with them (so if you are reading…. let’s talk).

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