Site Updates

Site Updates: The Plans to Keep Pirates Prospects Going Strong For the Long Term

Site Updates: The Plans to Keep Pirates Prospects Going Strong For the Long Term

About a month ago, I posted an update about the future of Pirates Prospects, with some uncertainty to that future. At the time, we were seeing a massive amount of cancellations in response to the Pirates having a losing season. We saw 4-5 people cancelling per day, new signups were rare, and I would get a daily e-mail from someone saying they loved the site, but just weren’t supporting the Pirates while they were losing.

I was hesitant to post anything. In one hand, if that trend continued, and people kept unsubscribing to the site, the site wouldn’t be around for the long-term. We still have enough subscribers that we’re not in any immediate danger of shutting down. But we also can’t afford a mass exodus of subscribers to continue, as the future of the site would have been uncertain. That created the other side of the dilemma: If I do post something, it might be met with a negative reaction, and the idea that the site had no future.

I ultimately decided to go with the post. There was the concern I wanted to avoid, where people interpreted the post as if the site were in immediate danger of shutting down. But the good thing was that there was a stronger response to the post that helped avoid those fears. Cancellations slowed to a normal pace, where they were rare, and not a daily or hourly occurrence. You guys also stepped up with your support, both in terms of gift subscriptions, Pay It Forward plans, book sales, and the recent extensions.

We’re not out of the woods yet. This last year has made me realize that the site needs some sort of plan to counter the Pirates losing. Pittsburgh is not a city that accepts losing. It’s hardly a town that accepts winning. You wouldn’t know that the Steelers are 6-2, or that the Penguins won two Stanley Cups in a row if you read some of the coverage of those teams. If there is negativity about those situations, then the Pirates stand no chance when they’re not winning. And as I saw, the response was to jump off the bandwagon.

You guys have shown your support, and that is appreciated. Continued support is appreciated. But I realize that a future plan to avoid this problem is my responsibility.

I’ve made it public how you can help the site. I haven’t made it entirely public what kind of plans I have. Some of those I can’t make public yet, but involve some outreach programs next year to get new members. Some involve more marketing of the site, such as more frequent newsletters, or more activity on social media. We’re also going to be adding sponsors. I want to avoid ad networks, since they’re just the worst, and instead go with direct ad sales to businesses in the markets we cover.

Then there’s the business side, evaluating our spending and focusing on the things you really want to read. For example, the biggest interest comes with our features, and not much interest goes into game reports. This year we had too much priority on game reports, and features slipped. My number one priority next year is to load up on features, and scale back the game coverage. That already started this offseason.

This will be a balancing act, where my focus is to maintain the most coverage on the site, while making sure we’re getting that in the most efficient way. Bringing in new money from new subscribers and sponsors will only make that easier. And of course, your continued support is always what drives this site, and has been much appreciated over the last month.

Price Changes and Extensions

We’re about a week away from our prices going up, as I announced last week.

Annual prices will go from $29.99 to $34.99.

Top Prospect Plans will go from $79.99 to $89.99.

We have also done away with the monthly plans. Anyone currently on a monthly plan will need to upgrade to one of the two plans we have to maintain access to the site.

We are currently allowing you to extend your plan under the current prices. That will continue until next Wednesday, although former monthly subscribers will have until December 1st to make the switch under the old prices.

If you wish to purchase a one year extension at the current prices, you can do that here.

A three-year extension at the current prices can be purchased here.

The 2018 Prospect Guide

This year the 2018 Prospect Guide will have a bit of a different release. It will primarily be an eBook, and will have two updates. The first update is going to be the week before Christmas, containing our initial top 50 prospect list.

The second update will be before Spring Training, with the full book release. You can pre-order the eBook here, and get all of the updates the moment they are available.

We’re also selling a limited amount of paperback versions of the book. Those will be released when the full book is released before Spring Training, and can be pre-ordered here.

Site Updates

I’ve been working on several site updates this offseason. The first involves a few server updates, which finished up this week. The next step will be updating the site design. That will be followed by a switch to new membership software. Finally, the updates will conclude with the rebuild of the Pirates Prospects app.

This has been a slower process than I’d like, since my time is also divided between writing articles for the site and working on the Prospect Guide. I’m hoping to have the new site design finished in the next week or two. After that, the switch to the new membership software shouldn’t be far behind. At that point, I would have a good timeline for the return of the app.

  • Tim,

    First off, I was going to not re-subscribe because my interest in prospects had waned considerably. In fact, I only purchased a monthly plan (after cancelling), just so I could log in and apologize to everyone for the negative consternation I had caused. But, in the end, I did not want this site to go under. To me, it was a very small investment in a quality product.

    Secondly, aren’t you afraid that many of the month-to-month subscribers will just drop their support totally?

    Thirdly, for anyone on the yearly plan, can they add on an extra year, no matter where they are in their subscription? Ie, 1 month into it or 11 months?

    Fourth….Once I renewed my subscription, I vowed that my criticism of you and/or John (and that 1bman that we drafted #1) would cease. So far, so good.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Philip K

      First time to comment. Lee, I always enjoyed your comments. Tim, I sent an e-mail to you at your e-mail address about renewing – haven’t heard back from you. Faithful reader.

    • emjayinTN

      Lots of good stuff, especially your last sentence of the first paragraph – as frustrating as this franchise can be at times, P2 is an excellent investment. Tim, John and Staff have improved the very high quality of output over the years, but the quality of input from regular contributors like you is what keeps P2 an excellent read.

      When did we draft a 1B? Nice article in BA recently about how RH hitting 1B fall to the later rounds of the draft.

    • Foo, criticism is fine (and should be welcomed in a forum like this) as long as the intent is friendly and respectful.

  • Hugh McBride

    I don’t comment here much, but I’m a daily visitor & I consider my Top Prospect subscription to be one of money extremely well spent. Appreciate this follow-up, and I hope that there’s a long, stable future in store for the site.

    • BUCNDrummer

      Same.

  • Chuck C

    Tim, If we buy the limited edition for $30, do we get access to the E-book?

    • No, they are sold individually.

      • Philip K

        Tim, check your e-mail address please re:renewal question

  • bradlej31

    John’s constant analysis/updates and Wilbur’s prospect writeups are worth the cost.

  • kenehdn

    Happy to re-subscribe under the new terms. The best thing about this site is that each day I am getting to know a little more about baseball prospects, major leaguers and the business intricacies of it all. Have become a big fan of all things to do with the Pirate organization, from the minors on up. Hopefully the City of Champions moniker will soon embrace the organization at its several levels!

  • dr dng

    Tim, being on the fringes on the Pittsburgh metro area, you would be surprised how many folks I have encountered and talk about the Pirates and the information I get from Pirates Prospects and they respond, “what is that?”

    I am not completely sure how you improve on that,
    but I think making contact with radio talk shows
    (both sports and not totally sports formats) might help.

    In our area that would be Steve Novotney (former
    Pirates media employee) at WKKX and WVLY
    and David Bloomquist (aka: Bloomdaddy) who is
    heard on WWVA in Wheeling as well as a couple
    of other smaller stations in the Pittsburgh area.
    Both of these gentlemen are avid baseball people
    and exposure on their shows might increase
    exposure of PP.
    Just my thoughts…. Dr. G.

  • Bridgevillebuck

    i looked at my account and it says that it expires next month. This would be the end of my second year. How often do you have to update your payment agreement?

    • Once you’re in, everything auto-renews until you cancel that feature.

      • Bridgevillebuck

        Excellent. Keep up the good work!!

  • terrygordon30

    Many Pittsburgh fans are spoiled, but the Pirates losing being connected to lost subscribers may have more to do with frustration with Nutting more than anything else.

  • Ron W

    Tim, this is a great product. I do miss the app and look forward to its return but i will remain a loyal subscriber.

  • Michael M

    Somethings are worth investing in. The coverage is excellent and I want it to continue.

  • Rpumilia

    Tim I enjoy the site and find it a good value. I am wondering if you have been experiencing cancellations due to the app not functioning.

    • Maybe some. But the large majority started in mid-to-late August when the team was losing. We had a ton around the Juan Nicasio move. And then there were daily cancellations in September. The app was down before all of this happened.

  • Bruce G

    Hi Tim,

    I really enjoy the site and have learned quite a bit about player development.

    As I read your article, it struck me that you don’t have any advertising on the site. Have you explored this as a way to generate some revenue? There might be some niche companies who might want to set up a link here. One thing that comes to mind would be a company that sells minor league team gear.

    Just a thought!

    • That’s something we’ll be doing in the next year.

  • Paul Britton

    Excellent value for the price. Even for the NEW prices. Writers that started out a few years ago playing at being sportswriters have become serious reporters and journalists.

Site Updates

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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