The Future of Pirates Prospects

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.

8,000

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.

12,000

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.

20,000+

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.

Price

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).

Site Updates

  • Duane Cahill
    March 29, 2015 3:27 pm

    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.

  • Homegrown Bucs
    March 28, 2015 6:07 pm

    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 tim@piratesprospects.com.

      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.

  • Tim,

    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.

  • 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.

  • Arik Florimonte
    March 27, 2015 12:07 am

    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.

  • John_Odermatt
    March 26, 2015 5:12 pm

    Tim,
    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

  • 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?

    • Thanks Phil!

      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.

  • Tetrapharmakos
    March 26, 2015 9:28 am

    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.

    Cheers!
    Andrew Sherwood

    • 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?

      • Tetrapharmakos
        March 26, 2015 12:49 pm

        “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?

          • Tetrapharmakos
            March 27, 2015 12:13 pm

            “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.

              • Tetrapharmakos
                March 27, 2015 2:59 pm

                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?

  • Manny Mota Fan
    March 26, 2015 8:17 am

    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.

  • Stargell_Stars
    March 26, 2015 7:53 am

    Tim,

    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.

  • 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.

  • Daniel Oestreicher
    March 26, 2015 1:29 am

    Please consider an iPhone app with your expanded budget

  • Dehn Unterzuber
    March 26, 2015 1:22 am

    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?

  • 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.

  • Tim ,
    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.

  • Tim,

    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.

    Good luck!

  • Brett Griebel
    March 25, 2015 11:52 pm

    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.

      • Brett Griebel
        March 26, 2015 10:54 am

        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.

  • I only sign up for one year. I have two by by-pass surgeries and other problems. Time is short.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Tim,

    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.

      • lonleylibertarian
        March 26, 2015 3:35 pm

        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.

      • Tim,

        “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.

  • @BuccoSharkTank
    March 25, 2015 10:31 pm

    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.

  • Michael Marchionda
    March 25, 2015 10:27 pm

    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.

  • Hey Tim,
    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.

    -Tom

  • Joe Sweetnich
    March 25, 2015 9:58 pm

    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.

    • Tetrapharmakos
      March 26, 2015 1:21 pm

      “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.

  • John Janesko
    March 25, 2015 8:52 pm

    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.

  • Robert Wendt
    March 25, 2015 8:42 pm

    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!

  • You can count on my support

  • Mike Adamson
    March 25, 2015 8:39 pm

    Tim you have my favorite site and it has been for years. I wish you luck and knew this day was coming but hearing about prospects for a price is not for me. At least not until other sites go pay.

  • Am I the only one who’s stunned that there are actually 20,000 people who care about the Pirates’ prospects? I think a mere five years ago, you’d have to look under rocks to find 1,000.

    So congrats to Tim for making people actually care!

  • I would definitely consider paying if I could curse when insulting a moronic post.

    And one more condition – you have to promise to never, ever co-host Madden’s show.

  • Tim, I’ve been visiting your site, and the previous one, pretty much 3-4 times a day since the beginning – as I have with Charlie’s and Pat’s. And I never comment. Don’t underestimate how many readers there are that are just there for a read. Anyway, consider it done. I’d do it just to support the concept, let alone that I live and breath the Pirates.

  • Tim, I have enjoyed this site as well as Bucs Dugout and WHYGAVS. I have been reading WHYGAVS since near the beginning. These three outlets provide much better when compared to the local papers. I am quite interested in the evolution of the internet, writing, and business models as the years chug by. Count me in. For the record, your format is intriguing. As a 49 year guy who loves PNC and makes an annual pilgrimage to Charleston, WV each year, I rely on you to keep me informed. How about reports from Morgantown this year since I am more than happy to pay for the subscription?

  • Tim, as someone who has been here since the beginning, I can tell you that what you are laying out is reasonable. At what point will it switch over? You might consider packaging site access with your guides down the road. Another idea might be to offer some type of partnership deal with other sites to offer access for multiple sites. I’ll be doing a year for now and multiple years after. Good luck!!

    • The switch will happen on April 13th.

      We’ll have something with the Prospect Guide in the future. Still need to iron that out, since the Guide will be expanding as well.

      Thanks for subscribing!

  • I am way too addicted to this site to not pay. You do awesome work. Best of luck to you. I will be in for three years.

  • wu tang zach
    March 25, 2015 7:08 pm

    All of you people who are saying how you won’t subscribe because you can get this content for free elsewhere, I say: You are wrong. 100% dead wrong.

    Just an example, and one of many: http://18.206.184.11/2013/07/jon-sandfort-the-next-prep-pitcher-to-watch.html

    This article. It was an article on a not very well known prep prospect, and it broke down his game in great detail. You people are telling me there’s other sites where I can get extensive analysis like that? On a player who’s not a highly known prospect?

    Sure, you might be able to dig around on Bucs Dugout and WHYGAVS, both good sites in their own right, but you honestly think you would find content like that on those sites? And yeah, Baseball America/ESPN/Baseball Prospectus/Fangraphs might have an article or two every so often on our prospects, but it’s certainly not enough to say it compares to this site. And Tim (and his team) do tons of those types of articles, and I would imagine with more financial resources, he can do even more fantastic, in-depth analysis like that. Articles breaking down Jon Sandfort’s repetoire, Tito Polo’s tools, Adrian Sampson’s fastball, etc…

    So Tim, you emphatically, 100% have my support and my money. Keep up the great work!

  • First Jeremy clarkson getting fired, now pirates prospects becoming a subscription site?! Say it ain’t so! In all honesty, I will put down a couple bucks here and there to get my subscription. I have been on here for probably 4 years now and it definitely is the best site for pirates baseball. I credit Tim for getting me to fall back in love with the game. I hope my couple bucks will help!

  • Been reading for years now, but 3 dollars a month to basically add a beat writer giving information that i could literally get from 10 other places is disappointing. The Polanco is getting called up mistake last year also sticks in my head as a reason to not pay.

    • It’s not just to add a beat writer. It’s to add writers in every city. Also for travel to cover different events, and for reports from things we’ve never had, such as live reports from the Dominican, AFL, and others.

      I don’t know why the Polanco thing would matter. I was one of four people who reported the news. And we’ve reported a lot of stuff right since then. That has been our one incorrect report in the 6+ years on this site. Everyone in this industry gets one incorrect.

  • There isn’t anything at all here that I can’t find elsewhere for free. When you go pay, I go away.

    • I would argue that there are plenty of things here that you can’t find elsewhere at all. What other site has written in detail about the changes in Jameson Taillon’s delivery? Or what Tony Sanchez did to solve his throwing problems? Or how the Pirates are approaching the draft now that they can no longer spend as much as they want? And considering I’m the only media at Pirate City every day, I know that no one else has that coverage.

      I hope you’ll reconsider after you see that we offer coverage that no one else has.

      • I would argue that most of your site is written quite poorly and is extremely amateurish. To be quite honest, I read the site for the entertainment of reading the comments of your followers who think they are getting something unique here. If one reads the more professionally done sites, they can find everything you print here and more….for free. I won’t pay a penny for it. If others think this is worth paying for, have at it. I don’t think you’ll get nearly as many subscribers as you think you will.

        • WOW!!!! Whats your site? I would love to stop by and see how professionally done it is!

          • I don’t have a site…because I’m no professional writer….and neither is Tim Williams…..sadly.

  • Count me in Tim!! I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate this site and view it daily, often multiple times

  • This is the first and only pay wall I’ve ever subscribed to. I usually just go elsewhere for the info. PP is a unique resource, though, and its info can’t often be found anywhere else.

  • Wabbit_Season
    March 25, 2015 6:02 pm

    Tim.

    I don’t like pay pal and I’ve had an account before and the thing won’t let me subscribe with my regular credit card.

    figures.

    Wabbit

  • I found the site after searching for awhile for better Pirates’ organizational coverage after growing tried of the more traditional sources and their coverage of the Pirates trading the all-star out-field of Bay, Nady, and McLouth.

    I’ll be subscribing, I’m skeptical of the model, I hope it works. We have been spoiled with the abundance of free content on interweb, but the ad model isn’t sustainable the saying is dollars in print, dimes on the Web, pennies on mobile.

  • Ok tim, starting the first of april I will be a subscriber. While the monetary investment is minimal the trust investment is maximum so don’t screw it up. There is no other individual I would trust enough to pay for content on a website, it’s a 3-2 count bottom of the 9th the game is in your hands, what will you do?

    • pilbobuggins
      March 25, 2015 6:11 pm

      This is my real name I figured if I’m gonna pay for something I should be upfront all the way so here ya go.

    • Thanks Ron!

      Also, in this scenario, am I the batter, the pitcher, or the manager?

      • It’s your dream tim so you get to decide. ; ) also does this mean you get to put beer and hotdogs back in your diet? I hope so cause let’s face it what’s a sportswriter without a beer in one hand and a dog in the other.lol

  • Need my daily fix of P2……I will be joining Tim.
    Thanks for your hard work getting this launched. Best info around on Buccos.

  • I am assuming that the prospect book will still be sold even if your not a member .

  • I love the site and i love the content. By making this a subscription site, how do you plan to attract additional customers? Will some content be free and some not? The price for the subscription is more than reasonable and I’m happy to contribute. I just wonder what the plan would be to increase the amount of subcriptions without a person knowing the depth of your content.

    • Each article will have an excerpt, and there will be free articles, similar to what Baseball Prospectus does.

      That said, I feel that after six years, a lot of people are already familiar with what we bring to the table.

  • Sean Epstein
    March 25, 2015 5:33 pm

    I am in for the Lunatic level….oh wait, wrong site. 🙂 Just kidding Tim. I am on board for the next 3 years!

  • Tom Brenholts
    March 25, 2015 5:17 pm

    As I wrote a few weeks ago, the quality of the product is incredibly high. Watching the site grow and become better has been like watching Cutch go from a rookie to an MVP. Of course I’ll subscribe, and I’ll take the 3 year plan.

  • Tim… maybe I missed it reading through most of the comments, but will there be a forum section on the website now for paying members? This is how other sports sites are set up and I think it would be a nice feature. Pirates fans getting together to discuss their favorite team (and affiliates). Just a thought. Good luck with the new endeavor. Love the site!

    • There will still be the comments section. We don’t usually get a lot of discussions like you describe, but we might set up an area for that purpose if there is a lot of demand for it. Maybe a game thread or something like that.

  • Tracy Painter
    March 25, 2015 5:06 pm

    Looooong time lurker. I visit the site at least twice every day. It’s about time I got off my freeloading @$$ and purchase something! I’m in for the yearly membership. Happy to support your great site Tim!

  • You’ve got me for three years. The best site of its kind – hands down!!

  • Paul Polinsky
    March 25, 2015 4:49 pm

    Tim I just signed up for the $80 3 year plan. Why? You provide an exceptional product, I like it (better some days), and I want you to succeed. Good Luck and LETS GO BUCS!

  • I don’t pay for websites, and I doubt I will start now.
    I love the
    site and check in multiple times per day, but I will just have to find
    somewhere else to get my info. As long as I can find some place 90% as
    good for free, I’ll be content.

    • Thanks for reading to this point, Kevin. Hopefully we can get you to reconsider and see that we not only offer much more than other sites, but that it would be worth less than $3 per month.

      • It’s possible, but unlikely, that I will reconsider. I love the site. Seriously, LOVE it. But I choose to spend my money on other things.

  • Just signed up for a year. Easy decision. Keep up the good work

  • Jeremiah Ewing
    March 25, 2015 4:42 pm

    Um, ah hell no! I can’t believe you waited THIS long to go subscription… because, well, I would have paid double for this two years ago.

    Keep up the good work, and I’m looking forward to the additions to the already excellent coverage!

  • Lucas Magalhães
    March 25, 2015 4:40 pm

    There’s no better way to follow the Pirates than PP. Words from someone who lives in Brazil, exactly 4944.2 miles from Pittsburgh. And despite the fact 1 US Dollar equals 3,24 Brazilian Real in the moment, i’m definitely subscribing. Wish you all the best!

  • While, of course, I hate to pay for something that I was getting for free, I can’t not have Pirates Prospects in my life. Put me on the lifer plan!

  • Kevin Gundlach
    March 25, 2015 4:29 pm

    Im out. Good luck. Wish you well.

  • Signed up for the annual. Been reading the site since “Buccofans”. I don’t have a problem paying for specialized Pittsburgh content.

    • Thanks Aaron! I still see several people being referred from the “Buccofans” site. I always wonder when people will update their bookmarks.

  • I read pretty much every article on the site (with an occasional hiatus). However, like others, I do not pay for online content. I love PP and some of the unique features that you provide and I will likely miss them a lot, but this may be divine intervention returning a portion of my day to me. When baseball recovered from the ’94 strike, I began watching every televised Pirates’ game. Then, four years ago, I stopped paying for tv (yes, just in time for the Pirates to start winning). I was amazed how much more that I got accomplished in the evenings without dedicating 3 hours to a Pirates’ game. Losing a great site like PP may have a similar affect. I will likely become more productive at work, go to bed earlier, and generally have more time in my day. If I find that I can’t live without the Future Payroll Commitments and prospect updates, you may become a few dollars richer.

    • I hope you reconsider, but I thank you for reading up to this point.

      Just to put things in perspective, we averaged about 8 articles per day last year. We’ll probably maintain that average this year, only with better quality for all of the articles. You’d be paying less than a penny per article for the three year plan. So if you’ve enjoyed it to this point, enough that you’ve read pretty much every article, then ask yourself if you’d be willing to pay less than one cent for each article, while getting better quality going forward.

      • That is a very valid point, Tim. And I hope that it is valid enough to others for you to obtain your desired results. I admire you for you bravery in walking out on a limb to start (and follow through on) something that is truly a passion. For me, I am not that brave which is why it is not in my financial model to pay for (many) things that I don’t NEED. My brain works in a way that sees the $30-36 that could buy my child new shoes leaving my wallet that did not previously. I will not only still be able to buy those shoes, but now I may save money by using my extra time utilizing my carpentry skills and not paying a contractor while I am reading PP. The time I spend on your site goes beyond reading all the articles (at home and work). I utilize it to do my own analysis and write my own articles (that I share with only my family and friends–again, I’m not brave enough to do what you have done). Perhaps, I will have a lot more time on my hands. Once again, Tim, I hope the subscription model works out great for you. As long as people want those unique features (and I believe they do), you will succeed in this model. It will be me losing out in the baseball world, not you.

    • P.S. Tim, there is no doubt that you have created the BEST Pirates blog out there. Will some content be available without a subscription and/or will non-subscribed readers be given a “teaser” much like ESPN Insider articles? I ask only because I wonder how new readers will know what they are missing unless there is some degree of free content. With the volume of Pirates’ blogs out there, what is going to make a new reader pay for your site as opposed to just going to a free one?

      • There will be a teaser, like ESPN Insider. There will also be the occasional free article, like Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America provide.

  • Todd Vanadilok
    March 25, 2015 4:18 pm

    Just joined in with an annual subscription. Thanks, Tim! Excellent site and excellent work!

  • Tim, I have been a Pirate fan for 71 years, and I love everything about your site. It is the first one I go to each day. I have just subscribed for one year; if I weren’t so old, I would have taken the 3-year deal. Best of luck to you…follow your dream!

  • Geof Hileman
    March 25, 2015 4:02 pm

    Congrats, Tim. Your site is already tremendous and is a great resource, especially for out of town fans. I’m sure it won’t be for everyone, but I’m pleased to pay a bit for something I enjoy this much.

  • Paul Overholt
    March 25, 2015 4:01 pm

    Tim – any thoughts of offering a combo subscription and prospects guide?

  • Scott Tidlund
    March 25, 2015 3:59 pm

    Tim – Will you still post photos to the PP2 instagram account or will that be going away?

  • Best of luck Tim and PP. I have enjoyed reading your articles the last few years. Unfortunately, as you mentioned above I already subscribe to DK’s venture as well as ESPN among others. I’ll have to wait and see if I miss the news and articles or not. I feel I can only subscribe to so many online sites and this one came after DK’s. I respect what you’ve built this site into and the personal sacrifices you’ve made. I hope this switch bodes well for you going forward. I may be back, but if not good luck.

  • Patrick Kelly
    March 25, 2015 3:47 pm

    Thank you Tim for all of the incredibly hard work and effort that you have put into the site over the years. P2 has become a daily read for me and I find myself checking the site every 30 minutes or so looking for more of your work to digest. I will be signing up here in a minute for the yearly plan.

    PSA moment: For those on the fence or considering the $2.99 (or less) per month to be too much, think about what this would actually cost you in terms of having to give things up. If you go month by month at $2.99, you can make up for it by buying 2 less sodas from the vending machine at work. That is also half the price of a cup of coffee at Starbucks (would you rather support a site that give you unrepresented content or a company that sells tar for coffee). If you do the yearly subscription, all you will need to do is buy 2 fewer cases of beer, or 3 packs of smokes, or a couple Big Macs, etc.

    Best of luck on the upgrades and thank you again for everything you have done for Pirate fans!

    PS – I’m one of those guys that uses the ad-blocker, so…my bad 🙂

  • William Wallace
    March 25, 2015 3:41 pm

    I think this makes sense. One thing that I do not have is a facebook account and will not have one. So if you transition to requiring a facebook account to post I would be inclined not to subscribe.

  • If I was in your position I would be very interested in all opinions.. so here is mine:

    Gutsy call! The transparency is welcomed also in your explanation. I am a daily reader and am seriously leaning toward joining. It is just a new thing for me to pay for internet content. The price is lower than I thought when I started reading. Also another idea is have you given any thought to bringing on board some of your “competition”? Slightly different concepts but probably the same reading group. Like saberbucs blog and such? Perhaps consolidation would also help you while you redirect traffic to the main site and bring them on as writers either full or part time. Best of luck, I too hope that this site lasts for a long time.

    Finally, I like the way you interact with us readers on the article comments throughout the year That is a huge positive for your site.

    • We’ve brought in people from other sites in the past, and we’ve brought in people who were unknown. I don’t think I’d take either one off the table in the future.

  • I am so confident on what a great site this will become I signed up for the 3 year deal. Good luck Tim.

  • I love the site and appreciate your personal commitment in making it a very good site. I’m in.

  • William Beckley
    March 25, 2015 3:23 pm

    While I only visited a few times during the offseason, I’ve been on here almost daily during the season for year. Glad to hear daily game recaps will return with a beat writer. Love following the Pirates minor league system and no site does it better. Count me in for 3 years.

  • Todd Shevchik
    March 25, 2015 3:23 pm

    Congrats Tim!!! I am your newest subscriber

  • I may subscribe but I view myself as an aberration because I waste money on baseball information at ridiculous rate.(baseball hq, baseball america, various prospect guides, fielding bible, bill james et) I’m not sure how well this will work though for as far the target market. The articles have improved here, I will say that. But keep in mind a fangraphs plus subscription costs less than $6 a year. How much could Kiley Mcdaniel or someone with some real chops as far as scouting charge if they went to the pay model?

    • FWIW, and only because this is coincidentally topical, FanGraphs still apparently derives a lot of it’s revenue from ads:

      “Dave Cameron: Do you want us to go out of business? Because this is how you put us out of business. If you use an AdBlock program, you’re effectively making sure that we get no revenue from you in any way.”

      But I’d certainly be all for the FanGraphs+ model if Tim decided to go that way.

      • I’m not really sure what the FanGraphs+ model is, because everything I’ve gotten from them has been from the free section of the site.

        • Essentially amounts to additional articles and player information not found on the free version of the site, but for a lower dollar amount than a full pay site.

          For instance, maybe the standard Player Pages you guys write would be available for free, but PP+ subscribers would be able to see tool grades from MLB scouting contacts you’ve made.

          I’m happy to pay for all PP content, but would also pay for additional content if the majority of the site went back to being free.

          • Fangraphs only has about six or seven full time people, and they do joke about the pay, I’ve always wondered why they don’t paywall a little more of their content.

        • Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  • Scott Kliesen
    March 25, 2015 3:20 pm

    I’ve never paid to read content on the web. Guess that will be changing.

    From a business perspective, I believe you are making the right move. DK has proven this model works in the Pittsburgh sports market.

    Best of luck in meeting both your short and long-term goals, Tim.

  • Tim, thank you for all your hard work and courageous decision. Living in California, your site provides me with the best Pirates content. I am happy to subscribe. Keep up the great work!!!

  • Tyler Sweeney
    March 25, 2015 3:13 pm

    Besides, if I don’t subscribe what else will I read in class?

  • One more subscription sold. No brainer!

  • It’s a fantastic site and easily worth what you’ll be charging. Good move on your part and I look forward to the expanded coverage

  • Tyler Sweeney
    March 25, 2015 3:06 pm

    I’ll be subscribing. No questions asked. Quick question and my apologies if this has been covered, any chance you would think about putting a podcast out or maybe a mobile app down the road? Just curious, think it would be an interesting opportunity.

  • Tim: you have provided quality content for years. I am happy to invest in the next year of Pirates Prospects.

  • I’ve been a skeptic, and quite honestly just plain didn’t think I liked Tim for a while.

    But the maturation of the site over the past year into what it is today has been amazing. Original, intelligent content – not just some guy’s opinion – that is easily earns what Tim plans to charge.

    Love Dejan as a writer, but being the baseball-only fan I am makes for an easy decision to spend that money on Tim from now on.

    Best of luck, sir.

  • Bravo, Tim. The big picture is that you’ve built a site with unique content that has a large, dedicated audience that warrants a subscription service. Very few media outlets can claim that — but almost all would like to be in a position to seriously consider that option. It’s quite an accomplishment.

    Standard advertising is not a sustainable model for many. It continues to be commoditized through ad exchanges, and the CPMs will likely decrease further. Soon, if you are sustaining a media site with ad revenue, you’ll have no choice but to do big-ticket native advertising. (Side note, this may allow you to get rid of all banner advertising on the site and eventually look at more relevant native ad options down the road.)

    My hunch is that you may have an opportunity to add micro-payments — readers pay 10 cents to read an article, for example — in the future, once someone nails an easy, seamless solution. I’m fairly convinced that content micro-payments will be ubiquitous at some point. That would be mostly incremental to subscription revenue.

    The issue you’ll now face will be new subscriber acquisition. With subscription content, you’ll get fewer users, more bounces, fewer inbound links and decreased SEO. It will require you to be proactive about getting in front of potential subscribers, potentially through radio/TV spots, distribution partners, one-off free articles, etc. But that can be fun.

    I’m excited to see how things transpire, and I’m optimistic that this is the right move. Congrats, Tim. I’m in.

  • One idea. Have a drawing to give away 5 free one year subscriptions to those who bought the book this year. If you continue that yearly you may help interest sustain in the book.

  • Tim, I just tried to subscribe and Paypal wouldn’t let me log in to my account telling me my password is incorrect, which I have written down, nor will it let me open a new account telling me there is already an account using my e-mail address. Not sure which way to go now, any advice would be helpful. I am also unsure why this user name is now coming up here when leowalter has been on my comments now for several years. Good luck with the endeavor.

    • Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown
      March 25, 2015 2:58 pm

      Will you sign up as buster09 or Leo Walter?

      • If the paypal issue is resolved it will probably start showing up as buster09 again.

    • I’m adding an additional payment gateway as an alternative to Paypal. That should be up soon.

      The membership is through the site account. I’m guessing leowalter was your Disqus account. You might be able to merge them together using Disqus.

      • Great ! I ‘m not really not concerned much about which username I wind up using, but being able to subscribe is my main issue ! Withdrawall from P2 could be deadly ! The information here is invaluable.

  • Tim. As an entrepreneur myself I totally get it and support your decision. Count me in. I do need to know though if this means my offer to cover Morgantown for beer has been denied. Best of luck and you are doing the right thing.

  • Honestly, I found myself thinking just within the last couple of days of, “What else can I buy from P2 to support the site, because there has been some damn good reporting, analysis, and writing there this spring.”

    My biggest fear – and probably yours, too, Tim – is that you’re overly optimistic on the take rate. I have zero experience in take rates when sites convert from free to paid, but feeling a need to convert 20k unique daily visitors to 8k or more paid subscribers would scare me.

    But I hope it works, and I’ve already bought my three-year subscription with the greatest optimism.

    • The 8 K is based on how many people check the site multiple times per day. The 20K figure is based on the average daily readers over a year. There are probably more than 20,000 people who read the site, with some checking every few days.

      It’s definitely a risk, but it was a risk to stay with the previous model.

      Thanks for subscribing!

  • Eric Marshall
    March 25, 2015 2:40 pm

    Love this site and visit daily. Very happy to support your efforts and expand the site. Just signed up for 3 year to hopefully keep you and the site going. Looking forward to even more detailed content.

  • Tim, you do good work. I’ve been reading for a year or two, almost daily. In the off-season your site is on of the highlights of my day. I remember years ago getting the Sunday P-G two days late in Kentucky, just top read up on minor league stats. Count me in…good luck pursuing your dreams.

  • Tim, thanks for being so upfront with where you want to take the site. I was laid off two years ago from the IT world and it’s been so rough that I have given up on IT altogether after a 16 year career. I applaud you for figuring out something else to do and making it into something special. I am trying to figure this out for myself also and this site is an inspiration of where you can take a small idea and turn it into something much bigger. I can’t afford my rent let alone pay for this site but understand the reasons for making it a pay site. I hope it works out great and you make a lot of money doing it.

  • Tim, I really appreciate the work you have put into the site. You have done a job well done with your stories, analysis of the game and your scouting reports. I truly hope this change does not affect you and is only beneficial to you and this site.

    However, as much as I enjoy reading about and following the Pirates, when I sit down at the beginning of each month and do my budget, there is no way I can convince myself that a part of my income should be designated to allow me to read about a baseball team. I absolutely love baseball, but as long as their are message boards, other free sites, and other ways to follow the pirates, I can not justify spending money to read about them. For your sake, I hope other people feel more inclined to spend money on non-essentials, but my budget is just too strict to allow this.

    You have certainly provided great coverage and I understand the need and want to expand. I also understand this is your livelihood and how you make your money. I guess I just can’t justify spending money for access to a website when I already pay for my internet connection and there are other free methods to get my pirates news and scouting updates.

    I do appreciate you trying to keep costs down, but unfortunately, even “low costs” now aren’t really all that low. Unfortunately, I do believe I provide 20+ views a day from 5 different devices. Good Luck.

  • pilbobuggins
    March 25, 2015 2:36 pm

    Like a few other folks have said it’s a tight budget on my end so here’s the deal, give me a day or so to go over the finances and see where I can save 2.99. This should not be to difficult to do. I will say this upfront however, if you sell out the almighty dollar I will drop you like a hot potato, other than that keep up the good work and expect my subsrcription in a day or so.

    • I mentioned this in another comment, but my previous situation made me sensitive to the idea of tight budgets. I plan on keeping the prices to the point where as many people as possible can afford it. So I definitely won’t be selling out to the almighty dollar.

      • pilbobuggins
        March 25, 2015 2:43 pm

        I know you won’t tim I hafta say it though, if only to justify the albeit minimal expenditure on my part. Thanks for all the years so far and here’s to many more.

  • Hi Tim! First of all, I appreciate your transparency and candidness in regards to laying out an extremely detailed explanation of why you feel the need to make this change. A lot of sites would not bother with much of an explanation, just a take it or leave it type of attitude. So, thank you for that – its appreciated and shows your respect for your readers.

    Secondly, although I don’t always agree with you or your other writers, I do LOVE your site and visit it often, I also have purchased your Prospect Guide for the past 2-3 years, as I did want to support what you are doing. I have been an avid Pirates fan for over 40 years (since I was 10-11 years old) and I love the team and the city (although I live in MD now). I even followed the team daily and went to Pirates minor league games during the 20+ years of losing! Those years hurt a lot, as the team was so mismanaged – not so anymore.

    So, although I am never happy to have to pay more for something, I fully understand why you feel the need to do this subscription model. I am very envious of your position – of being able to make a living watching and writing about baseball and the Pirates. I would love to be a writer for a baseball site – as I have always been a pretty good writer in my professional career – but, I don’t live close enough to any of the Pirates minor league cities to even be considered. The closest one to me is Altoona – and its 3 hours away.

    So, this is a very long way of saying I support you and your decision – count me in as a subscriber! And, the very best to you and this endeavor!

    Lets Go Bucs!!!

  • You are going to run into a problem. Newer people to the site (like my self) have no interest in subscribing. Getting new people who are not already familiar with the quality content provided will simply go to other sources of information. Perhaps adding a free 1 month trial or half rate? The price is pretty affordable for most everyone though once you hook them with the content (which is generally top of the line)

    for me, i’ll pass and get my fix from other outlets. I hope it works out for you as well as you hope.

    • We will still have occasional free content to show people what we offer. It will be similar to the Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America approaches, where we offer certain articles for free.

      • This is a point that I was going to bring up, Tim.

        I’ve got a freemium thing going on over at my site. 90% of the content or more is free, but there are “premium articles” that show up once or twice a week that do require a subscription to read.

        I got into the same place you were: I simply couldn’t continue operating the site without the extra revenue. Every year it’s still a struggle. The ad revenue is incredibly unpredictable. When I first started running ads, rates were three or four times what they are today. So despite all of the growth, the revenue isn’t any better from advertising.

        While we’d all love to have everything be free, and heck, even as someone who has a site that does charge, I wish I didn’t have to, it’s just not really sustainable unless you are somehow able to generate truly large numbers in terms of traffic and be able to do most of the work on your own.

        Best of luck Tim. I hope things go well for you with this new plan. If you’d like to discuss anything a little more privately, feel free to get in touch via email.

        • Thanks Doug! I’ll definitely be in touch. There are very few of us independent prospect writers. We need to bounce ideas off each other as much as possible.

      • here is a thought as well. Don’t use AdSense or other PPC programs for anything except for a hobby. One month you maybe making a few thousand, the next month google bans you ( almost always a perma ban ). the other problem is PPC rates will change from day to day. One day 100 clicks may get you 100 bucks another day might get you 4 bucks. ( i don’t know what ads you use i block them ).

        I would suggest hiring an Ad Rep in the Pittsburgh area tho sell ads on your site. More steady and reliable income and if your site really gets the unique visits you claim you should have no problem. ( check freelancer . com to find someone in the burg to do it fairly cheaply. )

        Also another thought. Going Subscription will also drop your unique and could also get you removed from google news (how i found pp.com) and also lower your ranking in search results.

        I’m not an expert in this, i just know a little about a lot. I would highly suggest finding someone who is an expert… (if they claim to be they probably arn’t you know what i mean lol)

        anyway just some thoughts that may help… or not lol. again good luck i hope what ever you decide works out.

  • I’m in Tim… I’ve been following you for years and would pay $20 a month for your material. Good Luck!

  • Jeffrey Bruner
    March 25, 2015 2:27 pm

    Signing up for a year was a no-brainer. I’ve followed Tim since the early years and no one covers the minor league system like he does. Tim knows his stuff, he’s a good writer and a damn good reporter — and I say this as someone who was a journalist for 20 years.

    To those of you who will whine about paying, answer this: Do you do your job for free? Why do you expect Tim to work for free, forever? The advertising-based model of media is failing and Tim candidly spelled it all out for you. This isn’t a television station or big-city newspaper during the 1970s — there are millions of competing sources for advertising dollars.

    Thank you, Tim, for the many sacrifices you’ve made over the years. It’s time for us to support you so you can spend less time worrying about paying the bills and more time providing great coverage of the Pirates.

    • Thanks Jeffrey!

      One thing I didn’t mention, because I didn’t want to get off-topic, is that I think the advertising model will be dying soon. Ads are starting to get more invasive, creating a situation in the future where you either have to accept rollover ads, 15 second previews, and so on, or just move away from ads entirely. Also, the invention of ad blockers will definitely hurt the market.

      I could go on and on about it. Basically, I decided that if I stuck with the current model, I’d have about 3 years left, max.

      • To people such as I who read this site religiously, it’s been obvious for some time that PP was not long for this world in it’s current format. Honestly, with how much you work, for how little you make Tim, I am surprised you made it this long without burning out so bad you had to quit.

        I assume a successful launch will mean more money and more time off. If not, shame on you for not looking out for number one.

    • People in general have a skewed view of costs for online and digital media. Think of how much you hesitate to buy a $0.99 app for your phone. But $30/yr is inconsequential unless you are on an extremely tight budget.

  • I think I’ve visited your site daily for a couple years now. Without a doubt I am in.

    • Thanks for reading and subscribing!

    • Wow!! What a bargain, and the site will get even better! Count me in for 3 years.

      Just came back from Bradenton, looking forward to the Pirates season and more great content from PP. Best of luck. Beat ‘um Bucs.

  • I have been a huge fan. I have felt guilty for not buying a guide in the past.here comes my 3 – year.

  • Was upset at first thinking you’d charge ESPN prices. After seeing the plans however I am excited for the future of this site and will be subscribing.

    • ESPN insider costs less that $1 a month. Just buy ESPN the magazine for a discount at $9.99 a year (you get insider for free with this subscription). So this site will cost 3 times as much as espn insider does.

      • Let me clarify my concern here.I think this site is worth the investment, I also like my espn insider access. Not trying to say anything negative. Just pointing out espn is also a great daily read.

    • Thanks Bill!

  • Jason Rollison
    March 25, 2015 2:13 pm

    Jason from Rum Bunter here. I admire your courage and respect your hustle. Will definitely subscribe!

  • You have me for a few months to test out the waters. The articles that have been coming from this site have earned you the benefit of the doubt.

    • Thanks! I’ve already got some plans lined up for the first few months, and I’ve got some big ideas that I hope to implement during that time. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

  • Dave Parker's Unfiltered Camel
    March 25, 2015 2:09 pm

    Dave Parker’s Unfiltered Camel will be subscribing. Honestly, I’d pay more. I pay more for 247.com subscription (VT football), and it doesn’t come close to the content here. Also appreciate your up-front approach, explaining the change.

    • I wanted to keep the price low to make it affordable for as many people as possible. Thanks for subscribing!

    • Dave, if you really want to pay more, you can give gift subscriptions to some of the rest of us who don’t have the budget for it.

      • Dave Parker's Unfiltered Camel
        March 26, 2015 9:09 am

        My apologies if I offended. I think that Tim understood my point.

  • ballparkfranks
    March 25, 2015 2:09 pm

    I really like the site, and appreciate the work you have put into it. The price is fair for the content, but I can honestly say that you will lose me as a reader. I just don’t pay for internet content. There is too much to read as it is, and I will stick to the free stuff. I post from 3 different locations, so losing one person might count as 3 in your 20,000 visitor count.

    I’m just posting this to provide an example of what I, and probably others, are thinking. You have done a nice job and I hope you succeed

    • Yep, everyone thinks their insight is special, but reality is that it is not. Their are many more sources for information out there. Tim you provide a great deal of reporting that no one else is doing, but the problem is when readers ask themselves how much they really need to hear about the John Sever’s of the world the answer will most likely not be what you hope.

    • I realize that there will be people who are against the idea of paying for content, although I think in a few years that will be unavoidable. I’m just hoping they’ll realize that you’re not paying for “content”. You’re paying for someone’s hard work. In this case, the subscriptions will help support 10-14 people, while providing better content than we’ve had to date.

      • Unavoidable? This is the internet jack there’s a work around for everything and I mean everything

    • Gotta agree with ballparkfranks on this one. The funny thing is, I feel like Pirates Prospects is pretty perfect right now in the amount of content. I actually don’t want anymore content than the site already has, because then it just gets more and more specialized. And then it means that I’ll start getting fed up because I’m paying (even a nominal amount) to skim more and more articles that I don’t care about to get to the ones that I do.

      Keeping it simple would seem to be the best approach, but I understand Tim’s desire to grow bigger, instead of just staying smaller and being the best small site in existence.

      Best of luck to you, Tim! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your site for the past few years.

      • When I say more content, I’m mostly talking about more live coverage and more stuff that we can’t offer now. Think of it as providing more information and more details. Here is one example:

        Right now we do a weekly article recapping the prospects and their performances from the last week. This might include one live report, and the rest of it is written based on box scores and stat lines. The new model would allow this article to be written entirely by people who saw the prospects in those games. The article count doesn’t go up, but the quality of the article goes up, and the amount of first-hand information increases.

        • I do hope this works for you Tim, I’m skeptical, but you have built this from the ground up and I’d hate to see it falter.

        • And, Tim, that’s all well and good, but the problem for me is this: I started reading Pirates Prospects because I enjoyed reading your writing style and your take on Pirates/organizational events as they unfold. It gave PP a unified and very unique style to the presentation of the site.

          More reporters, more eyeballs, sounds all well and good, but I find that as other sites that I know and love grow and expand beyond the first voice that drew me there in the first place, I start to become less interested. More is not always better.

          One of my favorite tech podcast sites (TWiT) allowed their news guy to walk and they replaced him with a really hard news guy, and promised that they were dedicated to breaking news and making it a true news source. The problem was, it was the personality of the talent that they let get away, was what led people to the site, not the content. We often choose how we get our news based on the personalities of the presenters, more so than on how in-depth the information is.

          But, that’s just my take. I’m not trying to convince anybody of anything, and you’ve certainly earned the right to do what you want with your own site. I just won’t be following.

          • So you liked the way Tim wrote for free, but not so much for money. In this world there is one constant. You have to make money to live. Tim is not going to make a killing with the subscriptions, but will have a safety net and employ people. Hard working people that deserve to make money for their special skills. If you think writing a few 12-1500 word articles every day, proof read them and do the research is easy, then you won’t understand any of the content anyway. Count me in Tim.

        • PODCASTS!!

      • Scott Tidlund
        March 25, 2015 2:26 pm

        I’m of the same opinion as impliedi. Sometimes getting bigger does not always translate into getting better. I have been a loyal reader and really enjoy the insight of this site. I too though don’t want to pay for MORE content. I like the current content. I don’t need all the analysis that Tim will provide going forward. Too much content will be difficult for me to digest and read. There is a lot of free info out there and I enjoy hunting for some of my own insights as well. Tim, you run a top notch site and I wish you the best with the new site, but I will not be subscribing.

  • You should ask DK about how that whole pay site thing is working out. He made himself irrelevant in this market overnight. His only outlet now is preaching to his choir and filling in for Madden of all people on talk radio.

    • i think that’s kind of the point. the people who signed up for his site get his content, and the people who didn’t sign up don’t get his content. He just got his 9,000th subscriber. assuming the low bound $1.50/month, that’s almost $15,000 coming in per month for site costs and profit.

      sure, his name isn’t in the paper anymore. But him only reaching the people who paid for him is kinda the point.

      • Yeah I guess, but its not really very intellectually interesting to preach to the ludites. Its kind of like Smizik’s cohort.

        Newspapers have been trying this road over the last few years and it just doesn’t work on a large scale. If you want to restrict your impact to 5,000 pittsburgher’s go for it. Most people want more of an audience.

        • i definitely don’t disagree with your Smizik comparison.

          not a ton of thinking for one’s self happens in the comments over there.

          That’s why i stopped reading the comments haha.

          • If we think back to Kevin Creagh’s article here on prospect values, it is probably the most famous article on this site ever. If behind a paywall I wonder if that work gets out to the masses. The FG folks cite that article all the time taking Kevin’s message nationwide.

            • It’s possible that 1 article per week will be free or something like that. I know that on Dejan’s site you can read a few articles before subscribing.

        • Don’t know about you Jalcorn but I have not found the papers able to put out the quality of work, and the quality internet site that Tim does, at least in this city.

          Most papers are stuck in the past, and the present of trying to prop up a dying industry and the unions that go with it. If the PG or Trib was as good at what they do as Tim is, well I would probably be subscribed to them, but they aren’t, and likely never will be. And I seriously doubt a ramped up PP with more and better content would not easily surpass the 9,000 subs that Dejan already has.

    • Honestly, DK has started a revolution. He is doing very well, likely making more than he did at the paper already, and in a couple years there will be a hundred sites like his.

  • Jake Copeland
    March 25, 2015 2:06 pm

    Between you and Pat at WHYGAVS, you fuel my daily reading of all things Pirates. I wish you the best of luck as you provide the best content out there. Count me in!

  • Tim,
    I am in for the first year, but I’m old style. I have two questions.
    1) If I want to sign up, can I do it just for the first year. I do not want my credit card billed yearly without my permission.
    2) I would much prefer to send a check for the first year and go from there.
    (I told you I am old.) Just send me an address where I can send the check.
    Thank you for your work and service.
    Dave

  • Subscribed. No brainer. Surprised you didn’t do it earlier! Best of luck.

  • I understand this decision, but it’s very disappointing. Even an inexpensive online subscription is out of reach in my budget. This looks like the end of Pirates Prospects for me, but I wish you luck and I hope the change is a success.

    • Only a few years ago I was in a situation where I was selling all of my stuff just to avoid going bankrupt while I built this site. So I definitely understand that there are going to be people who can’t afford even the smallest subscriptions. I tried setting the prices low to accommodate as many people as possible, while also trying to reach our goals. We might offer an option in the future for donation subscriptions, and we definitely will offer gift subscriptions to help include everyone who wants to read the site.

    • fletcher6490
      March 27, 2015 9:19 pm

      If you can afford to have a broadband connection, I’m pretty sure you can afford $3 a month. If you don’t want to spend the money, you don’t have to spend the money. That’s what’s great about living in the USA, you have choices of where to spend $$$. That being said, I worry about this site now. Americans are cheap when it comes to content online. We expect it all to be free. I really hope you get your subscriptions, Tim. I’ve loved your input over the couple years I’ve frequented this site.

  • Way to sell out you bitch. There are other ways to make money than some bull shit scam to charge readers that only come to this site so they don’t have to pay for the better material. I will not be spending money on a no name like you when I can pay money to read reputable blogs The only reason I go to this site is because its free.

    • Thank you for reading up to this point.

      • Dad, stop embarrassing me in front of my friends. Sorry, Tim. Dad’s a drinker and a Cardinals fan.

        • PP is so good and offers so many things I can’t find anywhere else that it’s a no-brainer IMO that you would go this route Tim, and I can’t imagine not signing up even though money is tight, although I’ll have to go montly at first.

          Those criticising you here have no idea how much work you have put into this for very little pay, or they are simply jerks that don’t care. Best of luck with the new venue.

          • I have refused to pay for subscription sites ANYWHERE, but this will be my 1st. I have “pushed” your site every chance get-I appreciate it that much. However, what sold me was your very real desire to have it support not only yourself, but also those who would join you. I FULLY understand and appreciate that-it is what my wife and I do for our own little family business. Kudos. And my respect to you. (Join us on FaceBook at Pixburg Pie Rats…)

            • Me too. this is going to be my first time to pay as well. You do great work Tim and it will be worth the small fee.

              • I have never paid for content either. But you laid out your financial case quite well, and I understand your reasons. $3 a month is definitely worth. BTW, can I buy two subscriptions, one for my wife, who may not be as thrilled about paying now? 😉

      • Tim, Even with the business plan you have mentioned, you won’t be taking any trips to Europe. Some people just don’t want people to make a living. They want everyone but themselves to make mimimum wage for maximum work.

    • Let me get this straight Jack… you think Tim’s posts are valuable enough to read every day, but don’t want to pay for the service. His site generates 20,000 different viewers a year, but he is a nobody- harsh words from someone who thinks spending 2.99 a month is outrageous. You think it is a scam for a hard working American to build something from absolutely nothing, based on a team that was (at the time) probably one of the worst sports teams to write about? Here’s guessing you wouldn’t do your job for peanuts. The site is great and has obviously taken a lot of hard work. I am happy to see a great success story, and proud to partner with it.

      • 20,000 unique viewers is very low especially low to start a paid subscription service

        • zombie sluggo
          March 26, 2015 12:44 am

          It may be, but my guess is a fairly high percentage of the page viewers are voracious readers of all things pp. We generally read about baseball (e.g., fangraphs), we generally check in on sports in general (maybe dk’s new site), but we most especially love the Bucs. I know I am far from the only person on here that reads pp and bucs dugout everyday. This would lead me to believe that the venture will most likely be successful.

    • Sad.

  • I’d love for the site to get to the point where a scout can write for it.

    I’ll be signing up. Hope everyone else does too.

  • And here I thought you were going to tell us about Cutch’s hair. Sounds like a well thought out plan and the least I can do for the amount of reading I do here daily. No problem with it on my end.

    • Jordan Babinsack
      March 25, 2015 1:52 pm

      ^^^Agreed. Still a great value.

    • Thanks MLfan!

      • Well let’s see some of the ways I can fit $2.99 into my budget since I
        have read your site for many years now, and have not only gotten great
        information from it, but an awesome entertainment value also. Now is not
        a time to be cheap.
        1. Buy 1 less pack of cigarettes a month
        2. Buy 1 less burger at McDonald’s
        3. Buy 1 less cup of coffee at Starbucks (heck that is probably worth 3 months)

        4. Buy 2 less cans of beer a month (1 if not the cheap stuff)

        5. Buy 1 less candy bar a month

        I am sure that if given some thought I can think of some more ways!!!
        Count me in!

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