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Site Updates: What To Do If You Have a Problem With Your Subscription

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About a year ago, Pirates Prospects switched over to a subscription model. The first year has been amazing in terms of added coverage and site content. We were able to cover every level, from Pittsburgh to the Dominican Summer League, along with off-season coverage of instructs and the Arizona Fall League. This year, by the middle of May, I will have covered every full season team for one turn through the rotation, and that’s not counting the coverage from our local writers. Every team this year will get live coverage from at least two writers, and some of them have been seen by three writers so far.

In terms of the behind the scenes stuff in managing the site, things have honestly been rocky. There have been times on the site where I don’t even have time to write anything, outside of the basic coverage, and even that is a stretch. That has been the case over the last few weeks with some of the renewals. I’ve heard from quite a few of you about problems with your subscriptions entering year two. Fortunately, I’ve been able to identify and fix all of the problems for those people who have e-mailed me, and have tried to fix as many issues as I can for those who haven’t e-mailed. If you are experiencing any problems with your subscription, never hesitate to e-mail me about it (tim@piratesprospects.com) and I’ll get it fixed ASAP.

A big reason for the problems is that no one that I know of has really done what we’ve done here. We took a site that was free for six years, and had existing members who bought products through the site, and then transferred that to a membership site, using software that was different than the software we used to sell books in the past. This created a lot of problems in the implementation, and made me really wish we could have started as a subscription site from day one, just to make it easier (although on day one, there were about ten people who knew who I was, so that would have never worked).

Some of the problems have carried over to the renewals, in the following methods. If any of these sound like they could be impacting your account, please e-mail me, and I’ll have it fixed for you.

** If you paid with a credit card for an annual subscription during a certain time period in April and early May, the account won’t auto-renew. You’ll get a message from the site saying it will renew on a certain date, but the auto-renew feature on the credit card processor side was turned off for these accounts. This is because we started with a different membership software, which turned out to be horrible and created a ton of problems at the start (anyone who used to have their password randomly stop working, only for me to change it for you and have the account work again, knows what I’m talking about).

** If you paid via Paypal at the end of March or early April, your account renewed on the Paypal side, but you might not have been renewed on the site side. This usually happened with people who already had accounts on the site before the switch, but had different e-mail addresses on Paypal. The payment receipt would be delivered from Paypal, but didn’t initially get attached to your account. All I need to do is manually attach your Paypal receipt to your account, and you’ll be good to go. This is an easy fix, and I’ve tried catching as many as possible, even if you didn’t e-mail me about it. If I haven’t fixed your problem yet, let me know.

** I don’t like any problems on the site, but my favorite problem actually involved the leap year. The payment processors are set to renew on a specific date, which is the date you signed up. A few accounts were set up to expire on the site side every 365 days. This created a problem during the leap year where accounts were expiring on the site one day before they renewed, which meant people would only lose access for one day. It was an easy fix, as I just extended those accounts for a day. It was my favorite problem because it allowed me to see how many people couldn’t go a day without the site, which is very appreciated.

It’s very frustrating for me to have all of this happening, mostly because I know it’s frustrating for you to have to go through it. It should be a simple process where your account renews automatically and you don’t have to do anything. Fortunately, that will be the case going forward, as we’re getting all of the problems fixed this year that were created by tiny mistakes and issues when we switched the site over last year. And anyone who signs up now, or signed up last year after our initial launch, will be good to go with none of these issues.

I’ve mentioned it a few times, but I’ll mention it again. If you’ve got any issues, please e-mail me (tim@piratesprospects.com). Don’t even wait a few days to see if the problem corrects itself. E-mail me right away. I usually get back to you that same day, and sometimes a few minutes after you e-mail me (which I’m sure a lot of people who had a problem the last few weeks can attest to). My goal here is to give you the best experience possible on the site. Most of that revolves around providing great content that you can’t get elsewhere. But if you can’t access that content, then what good is the content to begin with? That’s why I place a huge priority on the customer service side, and fixing any problems that come up ASAP.

iPhone App

For those who have downloaded the iPhone app, I want to mention that there’s currently a problem with the stats on the Prospect Watch. The plugin we use to import the php codes that show the live stats was conflicting with the app. This prevented the home screen and the Prospect Watch articles from loading, but didn’t impact any other tab. We got that fixed, and now everything is showing up, but the stats won’t load in the article since we shut off the plugin. We went from not having that article showing up, to having it showing up, but without the stats. We’re working on a fix to get the stats in there, and hope to have that soon.

New Subscribers

I realize that it’s weird addressing potential new subscribers in an update that didn’t have any actual updates, but talked about problems we’ve had on the site side in recent weeks. We’ll have actual updates with new features throughout the year. I could tell you about those. I could tell you about the content that you can’t get anywhere else (and there was a lot of it this week, even while working through the problems).

Instead, I’m going to tell you that there will be problems on the site that come up from time to time, since this isn’t a big corporation like ESPN, or even a local newspaper like the Trib or Post-Gazette. I’m the editor of the site. I’m also the customer service department, the IT department, and almost every other role you can imagine. In turn, this is my business. This is my baby. So if a problem comes up, you’re going to get the personalized attention that you wouldn’t get at a bigger site. And I’m going to make it my number one priority to get that issue fixed, so that you can enjoy all the content we produce.

Having said that, we do have some great content, with reporting from every affiliate. I’m heading up to West Virginia next week to see two of the top young prospects in the system — Ke’Bryan Hayes and Mitch Keller. I had coverage from extended Spring Training this week, and still have a few more articles to write up from there, plus a few leftovers from Altoona and Bradenton last week. Subscribe today to get all of those upcoming articles, and everything else we’ve published this season.

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Tim Williams
Tim Williams
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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