The Internet isn't free
by El Kabong (2005-11-09 01:07:26)
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It's great to have an early start on recruiting, but that also means we get an early start to the annual "free site vs. pay site" discussion. A little rain in every life, I guess.

The reason that we are protective of premium information here is because I know just as all other site operators do that it costs a lot of money to run a site. We are fortunate to have a dedicated core of people who donate money every year to cover our operating costs so we don't have to advertise and have pop-ups and all that crap. But the amount required to cover that nut is not insignificant, which means our annual operating budget is in five figures. And that's without any compensation to us.

The people who are operating the subscription sites must do more than just cover the operating nut. They also have to make a living, because tracking down recruit and team information takes a great deal of time and effort, and doing it well while holding down another paying job is next to impossible to do. Believe me, I know -- I tried to do it for four years, and even without recruiting stuff, it was incredibly taxing.

Because people like Mike Frank and Smitty work as hard as they do to get the info the fans crave, we're very protective of them. Hell, we're even protective of the efforts of the people we don't like. These guys all work hard and expect (and deserve) compensation for that work.

Most subscription sites run their free boards as loss leaders. A lot of them don't even visit their free boards on a regular basis. It all happens in the premium sections.

Our site is unique in that none of the four of us use this as an income source. That's why (besides the fact most of us are alumni) we don't call recruits or write a lot of first-person articles on the team or any of that. This isn't our job, it's our adventure. That unique nature makes for unique problems, namely making sure that premium content is kept as premium as possible.

Some information is, by nature, not premium. Anyone who looked at Mike Frank's home page would know that Prince committed. But only the people who subscribed would get the quotes from him and his reasoning. That's where the line is drawn.

Discuss the commit to your heart's content and opine about how it works with the team, etc. But don't discuss the quotes or information that is unique to the paysite articles. If they appear in a publicly-available forum without having been lifted from subscription, then have at it.


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