I started Pirates Prospects a little over six years ago. I was living in Virginia, just outside of Lynchburg, and decided to start a blog to write about my trips to see the Pirates’ High-A team. This was all during the time when the economy was horrible, and people were losing their jobs left and right. I also lost my job, and immediately started focusing more attention on this site. Part of that was to keep my work ethic up while looking for work. Eventually, it was due to the fact that this site became my only hope for a full-time job that had any security.
I don’t know when I made the decision to go all-in with this site, but I do know it was very early. It was around the time I released the first Prospect Guide. I thought at the time I could make things work with a high amount of page views, advertising revenue from those views, and book sales to supplement the down months when baseball wasn’t around.
The plan worked, to a certain extent. The site became my full-time job, which was the initial goal. But along the way I wanted to expand the site, finding a way to offer more content, while also finding a way to provide writing opportunities for others. This proved to be very difficult under the free plan, and saw several instances early on where I was either selling off almost everything I owned to make things work, or taking short-term loans from family or friends to stay afloat.
There have been many times where I’ve said I have no desire to run a subscription site. Things probably would have been much easier under a subscription model, but I never liked the idea of paying for something that you previously received for free. But I’ve been thinking about it over the last year, and realized that you need some sort of consistent and reliable revenue to run a successful online outlet. Newspapers sell newspapers and local ads. Big online sites like ESPN, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and others sell subscriptions for some or most of their content. I realized that if I ever wanted the site to expand in the way I hoped it would expand, I would need to switch to a subscription site.
On April 13th, Pirates Prospects will become a subscription site.
First, I want to make it clear that the focus here is to build a much better site, and ensure that Pirates Prospects is around for the long-run. I created this site with nothing, and very limited revenues along the way. I want to create a site with the best Pirates coverage throughout the system that anyone could imagine, and the only way to do this is through the subscription model.
I also want to make another thing clear: I am terrified of this change. This site has always been independent. I have always been taking personal risks to make this site work. The difference is that a few years ago I didn’t have much to lose, since I was trying to create a job for myself. This time around I’m risking a job that I don’t really need to risk, all to create a bigger and better site for everyone.
I run simulations and projections on spreadsheets daily. Actually, hourly would be more accurate. I’ve talked with Dejan Kovacevic multiple times about his experiences on this subject. As you may know, Dejan started his own independent subscription site last year. Since he started the site, I’ve been thinking more and more about the subscription model. Our talks this Spring actually spawned from a simple question he had for me out of the blue when we first saw each other: “Why wouldn’t you charge for your site? You offer something no one else has!”
What Dejan was talking about was our in-depth coverage of the Pirates’ minor league system. I feel we also offer a unique perspective of the big-league club as well, even with the limited resources. We cover the system like no one else, and that will always be priority number one. A subscription site will only improve on that.
With a subscription site, I can afford to pay writers in every minor league city to provide reports from every home game. This would lead to a lot of exciting new features, and a ton of prospect coverage. Each week we would have an article displaying 10-15 player reports from each level. Those player reports would all be collected on the player pages, with each player’s page displaying every scouting report and featured article we ever wrote about the player, allowing you to track their progression over time.
We would be able to go down to the Dominican Republic to provide reports each year from the Dominican Academy. We would be able to offer daily reports from instructs, while also covering the MLB playoffs when the Pirates make it. We’d cover the Arizona Fall League, and we’d have room left over in the budget for any other coverage that comes up.
On top of that, we’d have a budget that would allow us to hire a full-time beat writer. When I say that, I mean offering competitive pay that would allow us to get a big writer to cover the MLB team. That writer would be the voice of the MLB coverage for the site.
Looking at long-term dreams, I could see a scenario where we’d have a beat writer and a photographer covering every game of the Pirates’ season, along with all of our minor league coverage from every level, and hiring a former player or scout to travel around and get scouting reports on every minor leaguer in the system throughout the year, serving as a “regional scout”.
So what would we need to achieve these goals? Right now the site averages 20,000 unique visitors per day. I think we can get 8,000 annual subscribers easily, just based on how many repeat visitors per day we have. I’d like to get to 12,000, since that would open so many more possibilities. And for the ultimate long-term goal, I’ll show you what we could do with 20,000+ annual subscribers.
With 8,000 subscribers, we could offer coverage from every minor league city.
We could have a full-time beat writer with the Pirates, covering every home game, and providing analysis when the team is on the road. We’d also have photographs from the games.
We’d have three full-time positions, including myself, covering everything from benefits to health care for those employees.
And we’d be able to travel throughout the year for the events I mentioned above.
The 12,000 mark would allow us to add two very important things. The biggest thing would be a full-time editor for the site. Right now that job is one of many jobs I have on the site, and I don’t do the best job in that role, because I have so many other responsibilities. But the current revenue model doesn’t allow for an editor to fit in the budget. A subscription site would allow for that, leading to better quality articles.
We’d also have much more for travel, leading to a few road games during the MLB season. It would also lead to the MLB beat writer and a photographer covering Spring Training in Bradenton, while I focus full-time on the minor league side.
I’d also hire part-time writers in Bradenton for the minor league season, allowing me to expand my role to be a “regional scout” that travels to every minor league city multiple times per year to see every player in the system. That would give at least two people’s opinion on every player during the season.
It would be amazing if the site got to this point. Right now I’m considering it a long-term goal. But here are the massive improvements we could make at this level.
First, I’d be able to afford to make our photographer, David Hague, our fifth full-time employee, and I’d be able to send David and our beat writer to cover every Pirates’ game of the season, along with coverage during Spring Training. I actually mapped out the Pirates schedule, looked up flight, hotel, and rental car costs for every trip, calculated meal money and other travel expenses, and then added a big cushion to the travel budget to get an idea of what this would cost.
The next exciting thing would be the ability to hire a former minor league player or a former scout to serve in that “regional scout” role I mentioned above, traveling to every minor league city and providing reports from the eye of someone who had been in the game on a professional level.
Keeping the Site Around Long-Term
I mentioned above that one of the goals for a subscription site was making sure Pirates Prospects is around for the long-term. That’s just not possible under an advertising-based plan.
Our current business model relies on page views, and it’s possible for this to be my full-time job because we get so many views. We’ve topped ten million views per year over the last two years. Revenue from ad networks are based on cost per thousand page views. We usually generate around $4 per 1000 views. That amount on a high traffic site, plus the book sales, has been enough to fund our current limited operations.
The problem is that this $4 figure isn’t consistent from month-to-month, or year-to-year. I’ll give you a real example that happened to me in 2013. In 2012, we had 7.5 M page views, and I projected we would top 10 M in 2013. I planned the budget accordingly, and hired writers based on those projections. We did top 10 M page views in 2013. The only problem was that our top ad network seriously under-performed, and we ended up making less than $3 per thousand views. The result was a $12,000 difference between what we would have made with the previous year’s revenues, and what we actually made. I didn’t actually lose $12,000 that year, but the loss was several thousand dollars of my own money. One more hit like that, and there is no more future for the site. And that’s frustrating when the advertising process is something you can’t control.
I feel like I’d have better control of a subscription model. That’s not relying on an ad sales department selling a large group of sites to a bunch of potential sponsors. It’s relying on the site’s ability to generate strong content, and to provide a product worth paying for. Performance from ad networks have nothing to do with the quality of the site. Subscription counts have everything to do with the quality of the site. I’d rather bet on this site to generate ad revenues.
A subscription site would also remove any risks of the site taking a hit for reasons that have nothing to do with the site. Under the current model, if I had a big life event, such as an illness or a child or a personal setback, I’d have to take away resources from the site. That’s because I basically take what I need to live on, and use the rest to grow the site. A subscription model will add personal security for myself, while also setting a separate budget for site expenses.
Overall, the subscription model provides security. There is personal security for myself, which I feel is totally fine to ask for in exchange for all of the work I put into running this site. There’s also the security of a long-term future for this site.
So what will a subscription to Pirates Prospects cost? I wanted to keep it low, because I think we can do all of the above at every level without charging a huge amount. I’ve researched every site for pricing points. A few team prospect sites that have changed to subscription sites in the last few years are charging $5 per month. I’m not even sure if they provide the coverage I’m describing above.
I’m going much lower than that, charging $2.99 per month. If you buy an annual subscription, it would be $29.99, which saves over 15%. A three-year subscription, which would be our “Top Prospect” plan, would be $79.99 total, giving you a 25% discount over the life of the plan.
Under this subscription plan, you can not only keep this site running for the long-run, but you can make it the best site I can possibly imagine for Pirates coverage. In the process, you can create anywhere from two to five additional full-time jobs (excluding myself), plus part-time work for up to eight additional people. You’d be financially supporting 10-14 people for their hard work, while getting the best Pirates coverage in return, and all for a small monthly cost that amounts to a daily expense like a cup of coffee that you wouldn’t think twice about paying.
I’m excited about the possibilities with the new format, as well as the future of the site. I hope that you will join me in helping this site become the best source for all Pirates news throughout the system. The site will switch over on April 13th, but you can sign up now by choosing from one of the three plans below (your subscription will officially begin on the 13th).
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
Yeah, I just discovered this today. I’ve lived this long without it, I’m sure I’ll do fine going forward. Hope you have enough people willing to pony up 30 bucks a year for information on just one organization’s farm system, but I doubt it. Good luck.
I’m in for the 3 year plan, Tim. Like other readers, I have some doubt about the future of your site, due to springing subscriptions on your loyal readers/fans. If you go belly up, I hope you figure on refunding unused years!
I’ve ordered your Prospect Guides and Annuals since 2012, and asked 4 different times if you have pre-2011 books available. You never do answer. Then the next year, you post that a few 2011 are available first come-first served. I’ve also asked about 2X shirts 3 times in posts – no response there either. My point is that you rely on us for revenue – and you seem to remember that now, as evidenced by you reponding to most all of the comments about changing to a subscription site.
Remember where your money comes in from – customers and markets can become rather fickle over a few dollars and/or service. You now have 24/7/365 customers.
Good luck! I look forward to the new content!
I never received your questions about the books. I looked through my e-mail and saw where you have ordered books, but never had any e-mails from you. I’m sorry if I missed your messages anywhere else.
I didn’t realize I had any 2011 books left until this off-season. I actually found a small amount of those when I was clearing out my house in VA in October. If you’re interested in the 2011 book, I might be able to find a way to get you one. Just send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for the shirts, I haven’t decided if we’ll make new ones yet. The original order didn’t include 2X sizes. If I do a new order, it will definitely include that.
The best thing about this site is that if you subscribe, you don’t need to subscribe to any others. As a die hard Bucco fan, I rely on this site each and every day. Its truly one of a kind and easily worth the $2.99 in my opinion.
I read the site everyday and really appreciate and respect what you have built and how you have done it. The subscription purchase was the least I could do for all the information and entertainment the site provides. Opponents of your decision keep saying they will just go elsewhere for their Pirates news (and maybe they can for MLB coverage), but I have yet to find a site that comes close to your coverage and analysis of the Pirates’ farm system. As long as that continues to be your differentiator, PP will thrive. Keep up the great work, and congrats on this exciting step forward.
Thanks for subscribing! I also feel that we provide stuff you can’t find elsewhere.
Some people will pay, some won’t. I don’t visit this site very often so, while there definitely is good stuff on here, I won’t be one of the paying customers.
I am a subscriber to Dejan’s site. He’s fortunate to have major advertisers supporting him. While the site started off gangbusters, it seems to me, at least, that while he is getting new subscribers, and just passed 9,000 subscriptions in nine months, the number of new customers has really curbed off. He will reach his goal of 10,000 in a year, but not by much.
I hate to say it Tim, and nothing against you at all, but if someone as widely acclaimed as Dejan is barely going to reach 10,000 subscriptions in one year, I doubt that you approach that number. I have a feeling that only the most diehard Pirates fans will subscribe here.
Having said all of that, I do wish you the best of luck Tim.
I feel our advantage is that we’re an established site with a large reader base that covers a topic (the minors) that no one else covers, all while providing a different look at the majors than anyone else. There has always been demand for that, which is how we got to this point. I think there will continue to be that demand, even if it costs a small fee each month.
I love the site, now, just as it is. I would pay $30 a year just to keep it that way. (I actually bought the prospect guide more because I wanted to support Tim than I really wanted the book.) I too am a little worried that the additional content will not be more esoteric than I need, but I’ll give it a shot.
I don’t typically pay for content because there is so much available free, but Tim’s is the best reporting on the Pirates anywhere. Seriously. If you read PP it’s almost impossible to learn anything new about the Pirates anywhere else — everything’s been covered here already. Small price to pay to follow my favorite team.
I signed up for one year. I’ve been a long time reader and have promoted PP to family and friend frequently. As someone who runs a political website on the side (and makes no money) I have tremendous respect for the business plan you’ve executed. You have filled a void in this niche market known as Pirate fans. Keep up the hustle!
Not unexpected news, not sure if I will subscribe or not. I do check the site daily, but don’t read all the articles and rarely comment. The site is blocked at work and I have limited Internet time at home, especially in the summer. I have been around since the early days and have bought a couple of the prospects books.
My initial reaction was that I would not be subscribing until I (hopefully) retire at the end of 2017 but I’ve been mulling it over. You do provide content that I either can’t find or am not willing to look for elsewhere. If I do subscribe, it would be the 3 year plan.
Here’s some additional feedback. I’m more interested in minor league coverage than I am you hiring a beat writer to follow the Pirates. I would also hope that a paid subscription would entitle the subscriber to a PDF version of the prospect guide.
Either way, I wish you well and very much appreciate the content you’ve provided over the years.
I hope you do subscribe.
The minor league coverage is priority number one. The “beat writer” is actually an analyst position, and would be the next step, just because you need that organizational approach to understand what is needed from the farm system.
There will be discounts for the Prospect Guide.
This site has been amazing for me since I was introduced to it by my girlfriend’s dad. I can’t understand people using this forum to make a statement about paid content on the internet. This is not ESPN, this is a privately run site that provides more content then any other site about our beloved Bucs. If you have been an avid reader of this site I can not understand where the support is lacking. This site was started by a single man with no help and has built it to where it is today. I am far from being well-off by I think of what I waste $30 throughout the year on and I can’t think of a better investment. Thank you Tim for all of your hard work and I wish you the best of luck
Thank you for your comments!
This site is great and I will definitely be subscribing
Good luck Tim, I have enjoyed the site a lot. I log on and read several times a day. But I just don’t subscribe to any sites. Maybe I’ll go through withdraw and change my mind. I wish you nothing but the best and I hope you meet all of your goals.
Is there any reason you don’t subscribe to sites specifically? Do you pay for any other form of entertainment? Have you ever paid for a book, magazine, movie, app, game, or anything else that took someone’s hard work to create? What would be the difference between someone providing you information and entertainment on a site versus any of those formats?
After considering how many articles I read on your site per year, I figure its about 5 Cents per article. Can’t really beat that, so I will subscribe. I also have a hangup about using my CC on the internet, but you take paypal so it’s all good. I just couldn’t see myself not reading this site, especially when the minor league season starts.
I appreciate you subscribing. I was asking the questions just because I’m trying to get the thought process behind people who have said they love the site, but just don’t subscribe. It’s an interesting dynamic, because there have been others saying they don’t subscribe to anything, and yet they love the site enough to make this the exception.
I just signed on. I dropped my ESPN Insider and Baseball Prospectus subscriptions the last few years. One reason: My income is stagnant; food prices inflate. Still….
On Tim Bashers: I recall the time when the Irate Fans site was running and we sold Irate Fan tee shirts. Our vendor required our taking a very small profit margin on these shirts. I doubt anyone cashed in these monopoly rents! We also had a fan try his hand a shirt distribution. But his effort came to grief. He lost money, although early on we offered to make good on his dead inventory.
The upshot: Haters accused us of profiteering and dirty dealing. That’s one way to identify a hater: The hater looks for reasons to spit venom, often going so far as to twist the facts to match his bad intentions.
To Hell with them.
Tim I just wanted to let you know I have been reading articles on your site for at least 5yrs and maybe longer. I was browsing the internet one day for Pirates news which was difficult to find especially back when they were lossing and I wanted to find all the insight on the Pirates minor league system. I have also bought your prospects book for the last four years and will continue to do so. I am disappointed that you have to go to a subcription format but, I also subcriibe to a two other sports sites and understand having to go to this format and will be subcribing to your sites as I love the content and reading about the players in the system.
The only thing I ask is if I have to pay than I want to know what happened to Rinku Singh? I never head anything after he had tommy john sugery?
Rinku is returning this year from his rehab. He had a setback last year, missing the entire season, but is slowly working his way back this Spring. I haven’t seen him in games yet, but they’ve only been playing a little over a week.
I’m happy to subscribe. The price is reasonable and you’ve earned it. This has become my “go-to” site first thing in the morning, and all through the day. Keep up the good work.
by the way, I’m a refugee from the official Bucco fan forum (WWSD). I just couldn’t take the sniping anymore though I still check occasionally. This is the better place for me.
This is the worst news I’ve read in a while. I’ve been with you since the beginning and I am certainly one of the multiple-times-a-day users – Pirates Prospects is the first thing I check online every morning – so I love your work and love the site. But I think you are making a huge mistake. There are plenty of ways you could have separated me from my money, but a subscription service is not one of them. So it looks like we will be parting ways. Fare well, Tim, I wish you nothing but the best of luck. And to the PP community: you guys are great and I hope we meet again.
I’d be interested to hear some clarification on this:
“There are plenty of ways you could have separated me from my money, but a subscription service is not one of them.”
If you love the site so much, and you’d spend money on products we’d offer, then why is the site not one of the products you’d spend money on?
“If you love the site so much, and you’d spend money on products we’d offer, then why is the site not one of the products you’d spend money on?”
The thing is, I am tempted to subscribe because I like you and your work and I want to support it, but I refuse to contribute to the notion that a subscription model is the future of the internet. I just refuse to believe that is true. Maybe it is the way of the future, but I will support something else as long as possible.
So how could have you monetized PP? For me personally, I would have been far more willing to have just donated the money, or contributed to a fundraiser. Let me buy an exorbitantly priced T-shirt, that lets me show my allegiance to the site and lets me fee good about contributing to work I really enjoy. (I just spent $150 on a couple of t-shirts from my favorite history podcaster) Premium content? I wouldn’t have loved that either, but at least it wouldn’t have chased me away and I wouldn’t feel like you put the PP communtiy (which as much as I love the content is the real asset that the site has to offer that can’t be easily replicated) behind a pay wall. Had you done Spring Training, mid-Season, Playoff, Season wrap-up podcasts and charged for them, I know I would have bought them.
Finally, what I think the real winning strategy would be/have been to offer PP travel/tours. Make a deal with some local hotels/motels, rent blocks of rooms and offer travel packages where folks can come down, meet other folks from the site, attend spring training or minor league games with The Tim Williams, eat, drink and be merry along with whatever other activities you might come up with. Do it a couple of times a year, in a couple of different cites. I think people would be interested in this sort of thing – I know I would have been. It trades on your expertise and takes advantage of the great community that you’ve built here. Just an idea. In any case, I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors. I’m sorry I won’t be along for the ride.
I still don’t understand this. You’re literally saying that you would have paid the money via donation, or that you’d buy an over-priced shirt, all to support a site you like. But you won’t spend the exact same money on that actual site?
Let me ask you this: what do you think provides a bigger impact? Taking a stand against subscriptions by not subscribing to a small business that is offering a product for pennies a day? Or paying that small fee for a site you say you enjoy, and allowing that site to continue to grow and stay in business?
“You’re literally saying that you would have paid the money via donation, or that you’d buy an over-priced shirt, all to support a site you like. But you won’t spend the exact same money on that actual site?”
Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. I don’t want to buy your stuff; I want to be a part of the community you started. To that end I would have supported you and your work as the owner/operator/organizer of the best damn Pirates fan community on the internet. But instead of asking that community – which has clearly shown itself to be as generous as they are passionate – instead of asking us for help and support, instead of inviting us to be partners in this enterprise, to help take ownership and secure the financial viability of the operation, you decided instead to unilaterally to take sole ownership and draw a bright line between you (the owner) and us (the customer).
That certainly was well within your rights – you certainly got more riding on this than I do – but as a customer rather than a partner, I have no investment in your success or failure. Simple business transactions are without a moral dimension. I’m not going to worry about your ability to operate any more than I am going to worry about the local pizza shop’s ability to turn a profit. If the local pizza shop fails, I am not concerned that I will never again find an edible pizza. I am equally confident that I can subsist on free internet content even if I will miss your product. You want to be a small-business. I am obliged to treat you as one.
“Let me ask you this: what do you think provides a bigger impact? Taking a stand against subscriptions by not subscribing to a small business that is offering a product for pennies a day? Or paying that small fee for a site you say you enjoy, and allowing that site to continue to grow and stay in business?”
I don’t know that what I do will have any impact, but you sound exactly like the newspaper industry in the 21st century. The thing is that this is a false dichotomy. You and PP have shown that hard work and passion are sufficient to get a top-notch baseball website off the ground. In fact, you did a lot the heavy lifting by making it much easier for the next Tim Williams to get media credentials and be seen as a legitimate news source. I understand that what you do is not easy, and you are to be commended for all of your hard work, but I believe there is someone out there who might be willing to work just as hard, and be just as passionate. By kicking me to the curb, you may have just bought that guy one extra reader.
I think if you look around, you will find that these comments are full of people displaying great generosity. I think had you gone about it differently you would have been allowed to grow and stay in business. I get the impression from reading the comments that most people aren’t buying future content so much as they are paying for the pleasure of past content. I think you could have done at least as well had you asked just that: “Guys, can you donate as much as is within your means to ensure that PP can continue to grow and stay in business.” People were obviously eager to help. You have just capitalized on your well earned goodwill – good for you; good for them – but I suspect that the way you have gone about it has ensured that it was a one time deal. Going forward the content is worth the price, or it is not, the market will decide. I sincerely doubt you’ll find as much generosity now that you are operating under a standard business model. It is hard to charge market rates and then ask for additional generosity. You are now just one of many people out there selling stuff and many of them are giving it away for free. Good luck with that – I really do mean it – I wish you no ill will. It is not personal; it is just business.
“That certainly was well within your rights – you certainly got more riding on this than I do – but as a customer rather than a partner, I have no investment in your success or failure. Simple business transactions are without a moral dimension. I’m not going to worry about your ability to operate any more than I am going to worry about the local pizza shop’s ability to turn a profit. If the local pizza shop fails, I am not concerned that I will never again find an edible pizza. I am equally confident that I can subsist on free internet content even if I will miss your product. You want to be a small-business. I am obliged to treat you as one.”
Maybe it’s just be, but what you are describing is inhuman.
I want the local pizza shop to be successful. If the pizza shop fails, it won’t hurt me, but it will be very disappointing. I’ll be able to find good pizza again, but meanwhile a person and a family just took a huge hit, which is sad.
What you’re basically saying is that if other people want to be paid for their work, then you no longer feel the need to treat them as people. I want to be paid for my work. I want to pay my writers for their work. I want to stay in business and have security for the future.
You have a very idealistic view of how donating works. And it’s wrong. As someone who has knowledge of that approach, I can tell you it doesn’t work to just ask for goodwill. I did that a few times. I got $600 in 2011. I got $475 in 2013. That was after saying I needed help to keep the site going, and I couldn’t do it without donations.
Asking for donations does not work, because the majority of people just assume everyone else will donate, and they don’t need to do anything. And that’s not just my experience, but the experience of others. The only way to make this work is to say that the only way you can access the content is to pay for it. That’s not the horrible thing you make it out to be.
As for your talk about how you’re more inclined to offer goodwill, and how you’re so willing to donate and support sites you love, let me offer up this fact. I have no record of you donating a cent to the site. I have no record of you buying a single book or shirt, even though I’ve said I had to sell these to keep the site going. So all of your talk is just talk. It’s idealistic, and not based in reality. And all of your talk about being generous and willing to help this site in other means turned out to be false as well.
That is not what I am saying at all. Man, you really just don’t get it, do you? I don’t want to buy your…look, it is pointless to argue about this. I am sorry if you think this is personal. It is not. I’ll say it for at least the 5th and final time: Good luck. I hope it all works out better than either of us could have imagined. If anybody deserves it, you do.
How will you draw people in without having some of it free?
There will be free previews.
Tim, been enjoying site since 2010, nothing more comprehensive out there, totally understand the need, as others have stated I have never subscribed to any internet content either, count me in and keep up the great work, Jeff
I am also disappointed by this. I have enjoyed reading this site for years, but I don’t pay to read articles online. I wish you had tried something like a Patreon fundraiser first instead of charging everyone for the content. Maybe one day I’ll subscribe, but I think I’ll first see what else I can find for free.
I don’t like the idea of forcing some people pay for everyone, just because others want the product, but refuse to pay out of principle. I’m not a big corporation here. I’m just one guy offering content for pennies a day, and hoping to further improve that content with the revenues. I’m making the price low so that it would be reasonable and non-prohibitive for as many people as possible.
I discovered this site around 2009-2010 when the Bucs were in baseball hell. I’ve purchased the Prospect guide every year except this current one. As the team has improved each year to the point where they are now, so has this site. Living in FL, the in depth coverage you provide is invaluable to me. Your site is the first I visit each day! Thanks to you and your writers for superb work. I’m all in. I’ll be subscribing next week.
Thanks! Look forward to your subscription.
It appers that I’ve found my old man a Father’s Day Present. He hasn’t read it that I know of, but that’ll change soon.
I hope he likes it!
Please consider an iPhone app with your expanded budget
Apps are definitely in the plans.
You have provided a great service so far and because of that, I will be sticking by you. How about first dibs at the beat writer position?
Thanks Dehn! If I offered dibs on that, I’m sure I’d reach 20,000 subscribers by tomorrow morning.
Good luck Tim. Sorry I won’t be following, but I can’t rationalize spending money on internet content. I just hope you haven’t terribly over estimated your membership, as I know that over the past 5 years I have probably counted for multiple of your “unique” viewers by using 2 home computers, a work computer, a tablet, and my cell phone to visit your site, all while deleting my cookies often.
I hope we can get you to change your mind in the future. Thanks for reading to this point.
As for the readers, I used a large sample for the data, looking at the average daily views for over a year. So what you’re suggesting won’t play a big factor. Also, if you’re logged in, it counts all of the views the same.
I actually just created this name in order to post the above, my first ever comment. And as a daily reader I can say that surely I must have been counted for a minimum of 2 people if not more, even averaging over the year. Let’s just hope for your sake that I am the exception and not the rule. And let’s hope for my sake that there will still be enough free content to get me a PP fix every once in a while.
Trust me, this is not at all how it works.
I could explain the 20,000 number in detail, but to keep it short, that’s just a conservative estimate of how many actual people read the site. I looked at a massive sample of data to get that number, which eliminates a lot of these scenarios, and other scenarios that would actually increase the number.
We have plenty of days where we top 20,000 readers. On our busiest days we will see 40,000-50,000 unique visitors. So I’m not saying we have just 20,000 people who read the site. I’m just using that as a conservative guide.
Goodbye you mother fucking egotistical short sighted piece of shit.
Thanks for reading to this point!
Since tim won’t say it I will, ditto to you ya lowlife trash!
I have been waiting for this to happen. You provide far to much coverage and insight not to be charging for the information on this site. You deserve it. The site deserves it and with the growth of information that it will create ,we deserve it as readers. I will absolutely subscribe. I couldn’t live a day without visiting this site.. SO good luck!
I subscribed because I read this website more than every other pittsburgh sports website combined. I want to support good analysis and intelligent writing, which is supremely lacking in the rest of sports media.
I respect the hard work that you have put in to build “Pirates Prospects” to the excellent site that it is today. This site has become my #1 source for information regarding the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization. I believe that you are making the correct decision in changing your business model in order to improve your product and to keep it viable.
In appreciation of your past work and efforts, I will support your brave move to a subscription service. I just subscribed to your 3-year “Top Prospect” plan.
FYI…I subscribed to Dejan’s 3-year “Lunatic” plan on Day 1. The content on “DK on Pittsburgh Sports” has far exceeded my expectations. Best money I have ever spent.
I have no doubt that “Pirates Prospects” will also exceed my expectations as well.
Thanks! I’m hoping we will far exceed your expectations.
I am extremely disappointed in this. I can’t rationalize paying for information when so much is readily available for free. I have been coming here for years and will often link your articles to message boards which draw more people to come here.
Why havent you gone with a patreon system? It seems like most people here are subscribing out of charity anyways.
We have a lot of content that no one else has, and I’m hoping this new model will only increase that.
It might be so but that content will now fall upon far less eyes. The site will have tremendous difficulty growing and attracting new subscribers. The people like me who were regular visitors and refreshed every day and linked your articles on message boards will go away and likely never return. The token “free” article isnt something that causes people to check up on the place.
I post this because I give a damn. I see a huge mistake being made, one that will likely ruin any potential this site had. It’s not entirely too late to go back from this. Change out of this garbage subscription model and just offer a donation with a token item in return. The people subscribing are essentially donating anyways. If you read their reasoning they’re not entirely doing it for the content but for you.
There are other ways to monetize this place than putting a pay wall up.
The mistake would be heading down the path we were on. I’ve been running the ad model for the last six years. I know how many donations are offered as well with that approach. It would not work in the future.
What might be nice is an option to combine the book (either this year or next year) with a subscription model. People would get something to keep for their payment even after the year is over.
We will eventually offer discounts on books.
I’ve been reading PP for a few years now. When Maz hit his homerun, I was eight and have been a Pirate fan all my life even though I have spent my life in CA. I did get to go the last game(s) at Forbes Field and loved watching from the bus heading back to my Grandma’s the fans carrying out rows of seats and other mementos. I wanted to know about prospects since Woodie Fryman, Richie Zisk, Dave Parker and Carlos Garcia and there was so little info available. Your site and work provides it in depth and suffice to say, I’ve subscribed. I see it as not price, but the value I get. And if it helps maintain and grow your work, I’m definitely getting my money’s worth. So good luck and go for it!
Thanks for subscribing!
I only sign up for one year. I have two by by-pass surgeries and other problems. Time is short.
I hope we have you around far beyond one year. Thanks for subscribing!
I have no problem with this- it’s a great site and i’m willing to make the 3 year committment and trust that you will deliver what you promise.
Will this become a subscription + advertisement site, or are you going to strictly subscriptions?
It will start with ads, although they’ll quickly be trimmed down. Eventually I’d like to remove them entirely once the subscriptions build up.
For what it’s worth – ads done well are not objectionable [to me] and I understand they can help keep subscription prices down.
will ads disappear with advent of subscription site? I can understand reason for changing to that format. Not sure that having your own major league beat writer (especially if only for home games) is good use of funds. What would that person be able to add that is different than Post Gazette, Trib Review, MLB.com, AP reports?
The reason I go to this site is for minor league prospect news. Certainly interested in majors but more roster decisions than game coverage.
Would site name change if major league coverage is increased?
I say “Beat writer” just to simplify it. Analyst would be better. I’d be looking to expand to provide analysis that those other outlets don’t provide. It wouldn’t be the cookie cutter coverage you get everywhere else. It would be a more analytical approach, and a deeper look at the team and the players on the team.
The site has always been about prospects, but considering it’s all connected, you kind of have to cover everything. You can’t put the prospects in perspective without covering the MLB level, and you can’t get a full understanding of the MLB level without knowing what is happening in the system. Plus we have some people who don’t read those other sites, and depend on us for all Pirates news, which is why we’d cover everything.
“It would be a more analytical approach, and a deeper look at the team and the players on the team.”
There is a term for that – it’s called a “scouting report”. Teams do it all the time when they face opposing teams.
I love what you do here, but at what point does your “more analytical approach” become an opponent’s scouting report for the Pirates?
I am saying this in half jest because I don’t know exactly where you are going with your in depth analysis.
Think about the article James did on the defensive shifts. Or the article that Nate did last year about how the Pirates were focusing on being more selective and improving their OBP (before the results even came in). Or Pete’s article about what Sanchez did to improve his throwing. It would be a continuation of this type of content, giving you a deeper look at why things are happening.
Your work has increased my enjoyment of following the Pirates by providing insights about the prospects, including the videos. And I don’t know of another site that goes anywhere near as in-depth as yours. For those of us obsessed enough to want as many details about the organization as possible, your site is essential–I’m glad to have the chance to support your work and help provide opportunities for others.
Tim, I am more than willing to pay a subscription for your content. I check the site multiple times everyday for the great analysis that is provided on each and every move concerning the Pirates.
I just subscribed and I wish Tim good luck. One of the few sites I go to everyday. Multiple times per day. Blows away the Trib and PG.
I’ve only been a Pirates fan for the past three years but I’m a huge fan of all things baseball. I love your site and content… it’s on the first screen of my iPhone and I visit 3-5 times a day. It is my “go to” site for Pirates info and I happily just purchased your 3-year subscription. Worth every penny and I look forward to seeing how you build on what is an already strong foundation. Thank you!
I liked your site before you changed the format. Now this change. I will not pay for information that I can find on the web elsewhere. I wish you well in your venture.
Just signed up. Happy to see you get paid for what you do.
Just wanted to say I’m very excited for the new content and I’m signing up. I don’t comment much on here but I check your site several times a day and recommend to everyone I come in contact with. I have been reading your articles for 3 years now along with buying the prospect books. Every year I see the site improving and I’m sure it will continue to do so. Keep up the great work and all the negative comments you have gotten so far has given me a good laugh.
Hmm, one Starbucks cup of coffee or one month of P2? Come on guys, pony up! I don’t know anyone who works harder than Tim.
“I don’t know anyone who works harder than Tim.”
Well, that is absurd.
“One Starbucks cup of coffee or one month of P2?”
It is more like one bottle of water or a month of P2? I don’t buy bottles of water when it come out of my tap for free. I love Tim Williams and P2, but it is a big internet and a bigger world. There are a lot of things to love and I, for one, ain’t gonna pay to love them.
Tim what content would he subscriber exclusive and are you planned discount or deal on the prospect book for subscribers or at least the annual and 3 year subscribers?
I`m out.I have been with you 3 years.My small business has seen some rough times the last 2 years.I can find other things to spend my dollars on.Good Luck.
Just make a toll inside right in front off all the cool stuff u sell just a quarter it’s not much I’m sure they’ll pay for the convenience of not having to go somewhere else might not recommended friends or family though may 2 dollars and they can come in ur store whenever they choose for a year
I’m in for 3 years, cheap investment if you ask me. I don’t always comment but I read daily and thoroughly enjoy the site. Makes sense to charge, it costs money to do anything right and you seem passionate about your site. I am happy to help support a good cause and help put people to work.
On another note, I was actually looking for you at Pirate City on March 14th since my wife and I were in town for our yearly spring training fix. Maybe we will see you in Harrisburg while you are “scouting”. Good luck.
Damn pretty disappointing to read I understand it but having to pay to view when the content is minimal by today’s standards is crazy u shoulda did a patreon donation I’m sure we’d all donate alot I’ve been here since u left the pirates message board but this is where we part ways sweet prince good luck I guess trying to hit it big with the website but I don’t think the fan base is big enough to make the sub matter kinda like depoli and tiops I’ll be around if u change ur mind and do a patreon gonna suck to see the site die though
Thank you for your work on this site. I really enjoy it. I’ve been a Pirate fan for over 50 years. This is some of the best info I have ever gotten about the team. I have signed up for your subscription and I wish you nothing but lots of luck. You deserve to make a fair living for doing this.
Tim, I’m sorry to hear this. I don’t fault you by any means for doing what you have to do, but I’m not sure I can afford to subscribe. I guess I have a couple weeks to think about it. Normally I wouldn’t even consider paying for Internet content, and you couldn’t pay me enough to read DKs pompous writing, but I would consider it for your Site which I love.
In any case, I wish you the best in your endeavor. You are living the American dream. Those that are making negative comments about this are idiots. Only you know what you must do to survive, to put food on your family’s table. I understand.
I will definitely be signing up, I visit this site way too much to miss out on anything. It would be neat if people who signed up for a year or more got a copy of the prospects guide (if not this year, in the future) Or maybe as an incentive to sign up for the 3 year plan. Just throwing it out there, maybe find a way to merge the two services together.
Fantastic site! I joined for a year as soon as I could. I can’t wait for the site to get even better now. I also can’t wait for Tim to predict the breakout minor league players for the upcoming season! RTJR!