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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Site Updates: Pirates Prospects is Back Behind a Paywall and Here is All You Need to Know

At the end of August last year, I started on a series of projects to basically rebuild everything on the site. The first step was switching to a new server that provided the same resources at a much cheaper cost. The next step was new subscription software, which would give us the capability to do a lot of things that the old software couldn’t do.

Unfortunately, one of the things our old subscription software couldn’t do, or wouldn’t do, was export users. And with thousands of records to go through, plus a book to write, articles to write, and everything else I had to do with the site since then, the process got extremely delayed, leaving the site in a lengthy free preview.

I do want to take a moment to thank everyone who kept their subscriptions going during this time. The site was free for some time, but we definitely wouldn’t be around right now if everyone had waited to subscribe again when it went back up.

Yesterday the site went back under a paywall with the new software, which definitely caused some issues. Some of those issues were due to the import process, and setting up the new content restrictions. Those were fixed very late last night/early this morning. Barring any other issues, the site is now back under a paywall for good.

I’m excited by this, because now that my part of rebuilding the site is complete, I can focus on a few projects to expand the site. But first, here’s a guide for the new subscription software, in case anyone is having any remaining issues.

If you aren’t a subscriber, you can join us here. We’ve got a lot of great benefits coming up for subscribers, aside from access to our articles.

Step One: Make Sure You Are Logged In

It sounds simple, but you probably haven’t been logged in to the site for a while, maybe even since the end of August. And if you haven’t, you’ll need to change your password in order to access your account again.

If for some reason you can’t reset your password, send me an email at help@piratesprospects.com. Any information you can provide on the error (screen shot, browser you are using, phone or desktop, etc) would help me out.¬†Just a quick note: my brother is graduating from med school today (proud older brother brag right there), so I won’t be able to give immediate responses at times this weekend.

If you’re trying to log in via the app, it won’t work. The app is basically dead right now. When we switched servers, we also switched to a different type of server, meaning the old app will no longer work on the new server, and needs to be rebuilt. That needed to wait until the membership software was completed. The good news is that eventually the membership software will work much better with the app. I’ll have more on that later.

Step Two: Check That You Have an Active Membership

There were a lot of memberships that did expire during the time the site was under construction, but you might not have noticed, since you were still able to access the site. Once you’re logged in, check the “My Subscription” tab. You’ll see a screen like this, with your subscription information.

If you don’t have an active membership, you can sign up for one here. If you believe there is an error (definitely a possibility when importing a few thousand subscriptions manually), please send me an email at help@piratesprospects.com.

While you’re in the My Account section, you can explore other tabs, including the “My Membership” tab, which offers a cool way to see all of the latest articles that you have access to, along with any products you purchased from the site. More on that in a bit.

You can also use the My Account page to update your payment and personal information. If you go to the Account Details screen, you can change your display name, which should allow you to change your user name in the comments (anyone want to test that out to confirm it works for more than just me?).

New Member Benefits

I mentioned earlier that the new software will allow for some cool new stuff on the site. One of the biggest things is that this process merged our previous two shopping cart apps into one.

We previously had a store for products, such as the Prospect Guide, and another store for subscriptions. That created some problems. For example, the subscription side didn’t allow for gift certificates, and because the gift certificates were sold on another software system, I had to manually create a code and email it out each time.

More importantly, the Prospect Guide was sold on the other software, and when you went to your old “My Account” page, you were accessing the subscription software, leaving you with no access to the books you purchased.

You’ll now be able to access all of that in one place, including download links to get your book again when there is an update.

I’m still exploring the new software, but there are two things that stand out right now. The first is the ability to provide subscriber-only discounts on the site. I’ve already uploaded one deal, giving all current subscribers (and future subscribers) 20% off the 2019 Prospect Guide. You can access that directly from the store page, with no codes to worry about. We’ll be able to offer discounts on other items in the future as well.

Even better, we now have the capability to offer more than just articles with your subscription. We can offer downloadable products, and the first implementation for that (probably next week sometime, since I need to catch up on sleep now, and prepare for a trip down to Bradenton) is going to be uploading previous editions of the Prospect Guide for members to access for free. This should date back all the way to the first book in 2011.

So now your membership includes everything on the site, plus a discount on our most recent book, and will include free access to previous editions of the book, all from one easily accessible place. Oh, and now that I’m done building up the site, it’s time to focus on adding to the site.

The Next Steps For the Site

I’ve got some exciting ideas coming up for the site, but I’m going to focus on fixing any remaining issues with the subscriptions first. We’ll start to reveal some of the changes next week.

For now, if you have any issues, email help@piratesprospects.com.

And if you aren’t a subscriber, you can join us today and get access to all of our articles, and more to come soon.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.


Pirates Prospects has been independently owned and operated since 2009, entirely due to the support of our readers. The site is now completely free, funded entirely by user support. By supporting the site, you are supporting independent writers, one of the best Pittsburgh Pirates communities online, and our mission for the most complete Pirates coverage available.

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