People, we need to talk. I apologize in advance for how long it’s going to take, but I have a lot of stuff to discuss with you about the future of Uni Watch.
Let’s start with this: Twenty-some years ago, some idiot got the idea that newspapers and magazines should give away their content for free on the internet. Ever since then, the journalism industry — the industry where I’ve made a career — has been in decline, and lately it’s been in free fall. Almost every week now brings news of layoffs at newspapers, magazines, and websites, along with grim revenue reports. Thanks to that idiot who decided that content should be given away, the old business models that supported journalism for many generations no longer work. That’s not just bad for those of us who work in journalism — it’s bad for everyone, because a vibrant journalism sector is essential for a free and open society.
For a long time I’ve felt like I’ve been contributing to that state of affairs. This website has been supported by ad revenue, which allows me to give away the content for free. That’s a nice deal for you folks, but it contributes to the devaluing of journalism (and of creative work in general). It sends the message that journalism is something you can have for free. With each round of layoffs in the industry — layoffs that have affected more of my friends and colleagues than I’d care to think about — I’ve felt increasingly guilty and conflicted, knowing that I’m essentially part of the problem.
In a related item, most of you know by now that I’m not a big fan of corporate advertising — but this website features a lot of corporate advertising. This has led some folks to accuse me of being a hypocrite. Those arguments are easy enough to refute, but I’m still uneasy about adding to the amount of corporate ad pollution out there, plus all the ads have made the site look too jumbled and chaotic.
Meanwhile, over the past couple of years, the economics of web advertising have been catching up with us here at Uni Watch. For those who don’t understand how web advertising works, here’s a very quick primer: Most of the ads on our site are delivered by ad networks that we subscribe to. Companies arrange with those networks to bid for spots on websites (the bidding takes place via software), and the resulting revenue is dictated by the bid levels and the site’s traffic. In recent years, companies have been bidding less and less for ads on traditional websites like ours and bidding more for ads on Google and Facebook, which they’ve found to be more effective. Meanwhile, lots of readers are now using ad-blockers. So even though our traffic has remained strong and we have plenty of ad units on the site, our revenue has steadily declined. If we had a real staff that was paid a real wage, we’d be having layoffs just like everyone else.
As our revenue has declined in recent years, I’ve tried to compensate for it with things like the T-Shirt Club and other merch projects. (I ruled out higher-revenue advertising options like video ads, banner ads in the middle of our text, pop-ups, and sponsored content, because I hate the idea of having any of those things on Uni Watch.) Lately, though, as the Google/Facebook factor has kicked in, our revenue decline has been too steep for me to keep up with it. The last straw came a few weeks ago, when NASCAR — one of our longtime anchor advertisers, with their “Hey, Uni Watch Readers!” banner at the top of the site — decided not to extend their relationship with us this year. That was a big blow. They provided more than 15% of our ad revenue last year.
The site has never been super-lucrative, even at its financial peak, but that’s always been okay, because ESPN pays me well. Still, while I don’t need the site to be a huge money maker, I do need it to generate enough income to justify the considerable amount of time I spend on it. Most people close to me tell me that I work too hard, and a lot of that work is devoted this site, usually quite literally from the moment I wake up each morning and often well after midnight before I go to bed. Obviously, nobody’s forcing me to do it, and for the most part I enjoy it, but the diminishing economics have reached the point where I have to ask myself if it makes sense to keep doing things this way. Also, I’d like to be able pay Phil, Brinke, Alex, Kris, Jamie, and Anthony more than the embarrassingly small amounts I currently (under)pay them.
All of which leads me to this: I’ve decided that Uni Watch will soon be changing to a paid content model.
Switching to paid content will address all of the concerns I’ve just spelled out. The site will no longer be complicit in the free-content giveaway that’s ruining the journalism industry; it will no longer contribute to the spread of corporate advertising; it will no longer be dependent on a broken web-advertising model; it will look much better, without all the ad-based clutter; and — I hope — it will start producing enough revenue to justify all the work that the Uni Watch team puts into it.
I’m sure you have many questions. Allow me to anticipate some of them:
When will you start charging for content?
I’m not sure yet. Webmaster John Ekdahl, who created this site with me almost 12 years ago, was already working on a site overhaul when we made this decision about switching to a paid model. We’re hoping the new version of the site will be ready to go by the end of April. That’s a goal, not a hard deadline. We’ll see how realistic it ends up being.
When you say “paid content,” do you mean a straightforward paywall?
Again, I’m not sure. We have a lot of options here. We could do a strict paywall, like The Wall Street Journal. Or we could do a “X number of articles for free, and then after that you have to pay” system, like The New York Times. Or we could make the daily lede freely accessible but put the Ticker and other stuff behind a paywall. Or we could have different subscription levels, with the higher levels unlocking access to a newsletter. Or any of several other options. (If you have suggestions, I’m all ears.)
One way or another, though, you’re going to have to pay for Uni Watch. That’s the reality.
How much will you charge?
Figure somewhere between $5 and $10 per month, with a discount for a full-year subscription.
Will ads disappear from the site?
I will continue to accept a few ads from independent operations that I like and respect, like the Pillbox Bat Co., Tokens & Icons, and so on. I will also continue to run house ads for our own product (Naming Wrongs, mini-helmets, etc.). But the vast majority of ads on the site, which come from those ad networks I mentioned before, will disappear.
Will the site be the same as before, only not for free?
As I mentioned, we’re working on a site overhaul. It will include a new feature that we’ve had waiting in the wings — a comprehensive NBA uniform database, which I’m very excited about. I’m hoping that will help soften the blow a bit.
What about including a podcast?
For a variety of reasons, I’m not in a position to do that at the moment. Down the road? We’ll see.
I love Uni Watch, but I can’t afford to pay for it.
I’m aware that some of our readers are students, or un- or underemployed, or low-income, and I feel very bad about moving to a system that they may present a hardship for them. Frankly, that’s the main reason I’ve held the line against paid content until now. But our current system just doesn’t work anymore. You might not be able to afford paying for Uni Watch, but I can’t afford to keep doing things the way we’ve been doing them. I’m sorry.
I can afford to pay for Uni Watch, but I don’t want to pay for it, and I’m not gonna do it.
That’s totally up to you. I can’t tell you how to spend your money. I can only make the best case for why I think Uni Watch is a good value, namely that we provide the best and most authoritative information on uniforms that you can find anywhere on the web, along with a great community of readers and contributors. I realize that won’t be enough to retain all of our current readers, but I’m hoping it will be enough for us to keep moving forward with the site.
On the plus side, I figure this move will weed out most of the trolls.
There are ways to get around a paywall, you know.
Yeah, I know. But I’m betting that the number of cheaters will be small, and that the number of honest people will be large.
Why should I pay for Uni Watch? I can just follow you on Twitter and get most of the same information!
Actually, that’s something I’ve been thinking about lately, because some readers have complained that a lot of stuff in the Ticker has already shown up the day before in my Twitter feed. So I’ve reduced my tweeting frequency, and I’ll probably reduce it more when we switch to the paid model. This will not only cut down on the duplication of content but will also let me spend less time on Twitter, which seems like a win-win.
I’m totally willing to pay, but my wife will flip out if she sees a charge to Uni Watch on our credit card statement.
Time to get a new wife. The payments will go to an LLC that we’re setting up. Not sure yet what it’ll be called, but it won’t be “Uni Watch.” Of course, your wife may still end up saying, “What’s this charge to [whatever the LLC ends up being called]?,” but maybe it’ll slip by without her noticing.
What if you don’t get enough paying readers to make it worth your while?
If people don’t want to pay, I might have to shut down the daily blog and restrict my uniform writing to ESPN. Then I’ll suddenly have a lot more free time, which I could then devote to other projects (or idle leisure, hmmm, there’s a thought). But I don’t expect that to happen. I think enough of you will be willing to pay for what you read here.
If I pay for the site’s content, will you throw in a membership card?
I’m not sure what all of this will mean for the membership program, but I do know that we’re likely to end up with far too many paying readers to create membership cards for all of them (the process is fairly labor-intensive). I still have to figure out the best approach for this.
Why not just do a Kickstarter or GoFundMe campaign? That way, the people who can afford to pay will do so, and the people who can’t afford it will still be able to read the site.
The reality is that crowdfunding and other fundraising campaigns tend to have fairly low response rates. That means lots of people who can afford to pay still choose not to pay. I mean, think about it: Do you chip in every time your local public radio station does a pledge drive? So even if we set and met a funding goal, there would be a lot of free riders, which means I’d still be perpetuating the mindset that journalism is something people can have for free — which, as I already explained, is a big problem that I’d rather not be part of. I prefer a system where you get what you pay for, which is a simple and sensible rule that most of us were taught when we were kids.
There are way more worthy charities for me to support than Uni Watch.
Oh, for sure. Uni Watch is not a charity, and I’m not pleading poverty or asking for a handout. If it comes down to paying for Uni Watch or donating to Doctors Without Borders, you should probably do the latter. But hey, maybe you can do both.
This is never gonna work. Everyone’s trained by now to read the web for free, and you can’t put that toothpaste back in the tube.
Maybe. But there are actually quite a few examples out there of successful subscription-based websites. Most of them offer either superior, world-class journalism or niche-driven coverage that can’t be found anywhere else. I’d like to think Uni Watch falls into that second category.
Many of you have told me over the years that Uni Watch has become a staple of your daily routine (which is very flattering — thank you!). If that’s the case, I hope you’ll consider supporting Uni Watch now that our old funding model is breaking down. And while I don’t want to go all NPR on you, it’s worth pointing out that the monthly subscription fee we’re talking about is about what you’d spend on two cups of coffee. Surely Uni Watch is worth that much to you, no?
I’m willing to pay a few bucks, but $5-$10 a month is too much. That’s what I pay for things like nytimes.com or Sirius XM Radio, and you don’t provide nearly as much content as they do.
Those bigger operations have advantages regarding economies of scale that we can’t leverage. If you want to say that Uni Watch will not be as good a value as those other things, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree. But that’s the reality of small, independent ventures — they tend to cost more to produce.
This is just a cash grab!
If you’re determined to think that, I can’t stop you from thinking it. But I can point out that we’ve been providing free content almost every single day for nearly a dozen years now. Asking the readership to start paying a modest and fair price for that content seems reasonable to me. If you still think that qualifies as a “cash grab,” we’ll have to agree to disagree.
So what happens next?
For the next couple of months, nothing — the site will be the same as it’s always been. But like I said, we’re aiming for the changes to go into effect by the end of April.
That’s it for now. Thanks for listening. If you have feedback, suggestions, questions, or even rants, I’m eager to hear them.
Click photos to enlarge
Non-uniform uniforms: You might think that the photos shown above are from an All-Star game. But they’re not — those players all play for Grambling State, which wore an assortment of Negro League throwbacks for last night’s game against LSU.
Have there ever been other regular season games, in any sport, with the players wearing non-matching uniforms? There probably have been, for some sort of wacky promotion, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head. Anyone..? In any case, It’s a really interesting approach — I like.
Here are some more photos showing the range of designs:
(My thanks to @valleyshook and our own Alex Hider for letting me know about this one.)
By Alex Hider (except ’Skins Watch, by Paul)
’Skins Watch: You can hear bigshot graphic designers Michael Beirut (who did some branding work for the Jets about a decade ago) and Jessica Helfand discussing the impending retirement of Chief Wahoo — and giving a nice shout-out to Uni Watch along the way — in this design podcast. That link should take you right to the proper spot; if it doesn’t skip ahead to the 13:30 mark (from Laura Forde). … Here’s what the D-League’s Agua Caliente Clippers wore for Native American Cultural Night on Monday. The pattern is a traditional tribal basketweave design.
Baseball News: Looks like new Red Sox signee J.D. Martinez will be going FNOB this season — even though he’s the only Martinez on the roster (from Ben and @aboutamoo). … A classic sign of spring: The Rockies, who train in Arizona, have changed their Twitter avatar to a logo with a desert motif (from Ryan Hess). … The Twins wore their regular season home whites during a spring training game last night (from Osterbuer Sellers). … Buried in this piece about Braves prospect Ronald Acuna: “The Braves want Acuna to wear his hat straight and maintain a professional appearance while in uniform” (from Mike Chamernik). … Giants OF Gregor Blanco was wearing a sock as a sleeve during yesterday’s game (from Josh Miller). … Padres OF and former Cub Matt Szczur made this painting as a gift to Cubs owner Tom Ricketts. Szczur played for the Cubs during the 2016 championship season, though he was not on the World Series roster (from Mike Chamernik). … New Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani will continue using an Asics bat in the majors (from Ted Schwerzler). … Good stuff in this video: The 1971 Pirates discuss their then revolutionary sansabelt uniforms (from Brad Eenhuis). … The Buffalo Bisons will wear Star Wars jerseys on June 2 (from Joseph Pitirri). … Lots of notes about the the Altoona Curve: The team unveiled a new alternate uniform (from Shane), announced they’ll wear camo/stars and stripes jerseys during Wednesday home games this season, and announced they’ll be wearing medical scrubs jerseys on May 16 (from Darian Somers). … In 1915, the White Sox took the Western Pacific railroad on one leg of their journey to spring training camp in Paso Robles, Cal. Here’s a menu of food that was available to them on the train (from Sara Schieve). … If you like bullpen carts, you’ll want this bullpen buggy T-shirt (from Dave Sikula).
Football News: Six NFL players tried their hand at working retail at the NBA merchandise store in New York yesterday (from Tom Turner). … Papa John’s is no longer the official pizza of the NFL after the company dipped its toe into the anthem protest controversy last season (from Brinke). … Here are the best logos in the Arena Football League, as conducted by an online poll (from Real Rovitz). … When you have too many letters for a vanity license plate, you have to get creative — like this LSU fan (from Benji King).
Hockey News: Despite now having two Nashes on the team, the Bruins are sticking with basic “Nash” NOBs (from Funhouse). … Vladislav Namestnikov, who wore No. 90 with the Lightning, was traded on Monday to the Rangers. Namestnikov will continue to wear No. 90, even though that number was already being used by backup G Alexandar Georgiev, who will now wear No. 31 (from Alan Kreit). … Speaking of No. 90, that’s what former Red Wing Tomas Tatar will wear with the Golden Knights (from Mike Chamernik). … The Preds’ sweaters usually feature a sublimated, twill NOB. But their newest acquisition, Ryan Hartman, had a sewn-on NOB for his first game with the team last night — probably because the team was on the road and had only a day to prepare a jersey for him (from Casey).
NBA News: Cross-listed from the football section: Six NFL players tried their hand at working retail at the NBA merchandise store in New York yesterday (from Tom Turner). … Here’s an old shot of a Jazz player wearing what appears to be a knee pad on his elbow (From Zach). … The Cavs wore navy leggings last night for the first time this season. … Yesterday’s Ticker had an item about a victim from the Florida shooting massacre being buried in a Dwyane Wade jersey. Last night Wade wrote the kid’s name on his sneakers. More info here (from @MaxMetalFriar).
College Hoops News: A bunch of SEC teams got all jumbled up in an ESPN graphic last night (from Corbin Ceeds). … Miami went BFBS last night against North Carolina (from James Gilbert).
Soccer News: New home kits for Grêmio, a team in Brazil’s Série A (from Ed Zelaski). … The Puma away kits that will be worn during the 2018 World Cup have reportedly leaked (from Rasheed Clarke). … From 1982-91, Barcelona used the same basic style for change (away) jerseys, first yellow and then alternating between blue and red depending on the opposition. … The Philadelphia Union’s front office personnel will now be outfitted on game days by Levi’s
Grab Bag: Yesterday, Nike defeated an appeal of a claim that the company stole the idea behind Jordan logo from a photographer (from Brinke). … Indie rock band O.A.R. had a few laughs during the Olympics about the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” moniker. Now, they’re selling a T-shirt declaring themselves “Original Artists from Rockville (Md.)” (from Robert Hayes). … Clint Boyer’s NASCAR and fire suit will have a Colorado State paint scheme this weekend in Las Vegas (from Blake Pass). … A school board in Delaware has rejected the proposed design for the high school’s new band uniforms because they felt the design was too BFBS (from Ben Penserga). … A turnbuckle at a recent WWE event had an upside-down logo. … New shiny gold helmets for Williams College lacrosse (from Paul Friedmann).
Emancipation Day: Twenty-two years ago today (well, it was actually Feb. 29, but that date doesn’t exist this year), I walked out of my office at Billboard Books for the final time and began life as a full-time freelance writer. I’d been freelancing on the side for a little over two years and decided it was time to take the plunge. Giving up a secure job was a bit scary, but I had to at least give it a try, because I wasn’t happy with my life or career up to that point and knew I needed to make changes or else I wouldn’t be able to keep facing myself in the mirror each morning.
I haven’t had a regular job since then. (Also haven’t had employer-provided health insurance or most other job-related perks, but of course I knew what I was getting into in that regard.) As I like to remind people each year on this date — and also remind myself — the moral of the story is this: If you want to change your life or reinvent yourself, don’t just sit around fantasizing about it. Make it happen. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you won’t spend the rest of your life wondering about what might have been.
When I’ve run this item in past years, some of you have gotten in touch with me and said something like, “That’s really inspiring. I’d like to reinvent myself too, but where do I start?” The biggest thing, I’d say, is to have a sense of direction. It’s one thing to know that you want to make changes to your life; it’s another to know what you want those changes to be. In my case, I had come to realize that I needed to be a writer. I wasn’t sure I could be successful at it, but I at least needed to try. Twenty-two years later, as today’s lede has made clear, I’m still trying.
Of course, maybe you already like your life just fine the way it is, in which case more power to ya. Either way, thanks for listening.
A real shame you’re making us pay… and even worse that you’re reducing Twitter posts to FORCE us to pay. I won’t support this, and will stop bringing traffic to your site immediately. Perhaps it’s time for this to close down if it isn’t sustainable as it currently is. #GoodbyeUniWatch
The degree of your response suggests that you rely on UniWatch more than anyone. Maybe you should be the first one to pay.
I’m not saying a paywall is the right or wrong move for Paul, but how about thanking him for years of free content and wishing him the best as he tries to figure out a sustainable new model, or even better, offering a constructive idea?
Yeah I agree Scott WW (Perhaps it’s the name LOL).
It may be frustrating for some, but being rude isn’t the right course of action. I don’t agree with Paul on everything but he’s a great guy who’s also been very straightforward and has never snowed us loyal fans on anything. Some have disposable income, some don’t.
I’m sure it was very difficult for Paul to write that letter today but he did it because he had no choice, and perhaps you should be a little more compassionate and say thanks instead of thinking about yourself first.
Thank you as always for your thoughtful way of communicating. I’m happy to pay #ThankYouUniWatch #ThankYouPaul
This may be random, but is this the scott from place2be? If so love your podcast (tho it’s been like a year or so since I’ve listened to podcasts in general) if not then oops lol.
It wouldn’t make much sense to offer the same content on Twitter for free, would it? Cut them some slack. It’s obviously not good news for readers, but I can appreciate the difficulty of the decision. I plan on assessing the viability of my paying once we have more information.
Good riddance to that guy.
And no one is MAKING you pay, jagov.
The previous #90 on the Rangers was Alexandar Georgiev, not Pavelec. Thanks
Georgiev will be wearing #40 :)
Paul, can you make Alan pay triple? Thanks.
I love Anthony Verna
Speaking of uni numbers, Michael Grabner was wearing #40 on the Devils, a number which was previously taken by Blake Coleman. Any idea what number Coleman changed to?
A goofy idea for you Paul: People who send in a link to the Daily Ticker get a credit for 1 free month/week/you pick the appropriate reward of access.
Absolutely understandable that you’d move to a pay model. I too know the annoyance/struggle of pouring tons of time into a labor of love and getting paid dirt (or sometimes nothing) for it. If the pricing is on the low end ($5ish) that’s right in my ballpark and I’d be happy to support. The overall issue of free vs paid content on the internet is almost surely a genie-out-of-the-bottle type situation, but I wish you the best of luck moving forward.
“Tomas Tartar” Tatar
“Original Rockers from Rockville (Md.)” Artists, not Rockers
I don’t drink coffee, but I’m in…
Ha — I don’t drink coffee either! But it seems to be a common metric.
This seems reasonable to me. Uni Watch is such a distinct entity, with an important voice that often extends beyond just sports.
I’d just say that $5-10 a month seems a little high, in comparison with other paid content. The Athletic, which has considerably more content by big name sports journalists, is charging $5-8 a month. The New York Times is $8-13 a month. Based on their suggestion, I give $120 a year to public radio, and that covers local, national, and international news (though maybe I should be giving more). I wouldn’t say Uni Watch isn’t worth it, but if we’re going to get used to the paid model, I think pricing needs to be such that we’re willing and able to pay for many content sources.
Have you thought about joining with another paid service, perhaps like The Athletic? I imagine that might run you afoul of ESPN, but it might provide the customer more value.
1) I can’t partner with anyone else like the Athletic, because of my ESPN connection.
2) Places like the Atlantic or NYT have advantages based on economies of scale that we don’t have here at Uni Watch. In terms of quantity of content for the money, I realize those other sites are a better value. But they also maintain lots of web advertising, keep in mind, which we will largely stop doing.
I pay 10 dollars a month for Netflix and 12 for Sirius. I look forward to reading your site everyday but your content is nowhere near theirs. 10 dollars a month for 5 minutes a day is not worth it. I’m sorry the economics don’t work for you. It was a fun run Goodbye Uni-watch.
10 dollars a month works out to about 33 cents per day. 33 cents for 5 minutes works out to about $4 per hour. That’s less than minimum wage.
thats a weird way of looking at it, but $4/hr is in the ball park of leisure costs. a $10 two hour movie is $5/hr is a baseline I often use.
Understandable but please find another way. I look forward to reading Uni-Watch everyday, but I won’t pay for it. Sorry. This turn of events is disappointing.
Good luck with the paywall, for ten years plus I’ve been an avid reader and fan. I support your sponsors and merchandise when it tickles my fancy. Though I love your ticker, I wouldn’t pay to read since most of your contents is sourced from other outlets that a readily available. If you’re losing sponsors perhaps it’s because of your constant editorialization on logos you deem racist or inappropriate and the small demographic you are trying to appeal. Though the merits of your opinions may be true and justified , we come to the site to be entertained not lectured. Same reason ESPN has been in decline for years.
As I have already explained, we are not “losing sponsors.” Rather, the economics of web advertising have changed.
February 28, 2018
As I have already explained, we are not “losing sponsors.” Rather, the economics of web advertising have changed.
“The last straw came a few weeks ago, when NASCAR — one of our longtime anchor advertisers, with their “Hey, Uni Watch Readers!” banner at the top of the site — decided not to extend their relationship with us this year. That was a big blow. They provided more than 15% of our ad revenue last year.”
Fair enough. But like I said, that was the last straw, not the larger issue, which is the changing economics of web advertising due to Facebook/Google.
cash grab 1000000%
Do you even read what he wrote?
ESPN is in decline because their content is mostly shit. At least as far as the TV programming. I can’t speak to the website because I don’t have time for it.
Geez. Well, Paul was right about one thing…a paywall will probably get rid of the trolls. Today’s comments demonstrate there are quite few more of you out there than I could have imagined there were. Good riddance, and might I suggest getting a life, or a hobby, or a girlfriend…or all three.
Whether you agree with this decision or not, the explanation as to why it has become necessary is well-spelled-out and explained. The way I see it, there’s no way this site would have stayed free as long as it has if this were simply a money grab, because these types of changes have been underfoot for a while. This, I suspect, was close to a last resort, and I appreciate Paul holding out as long as it was feasible to do so.
I will wait to see what the final verdict is in terms of cost/format/etc. before I make a final decision, but this has been the first site I pull up each morning for the last 10 years or so, and I’m thankful for it either way. I hope to remain on-board.
Obviously the final plan seems to be still somewhat fluid, but whenever the site overhaul goes live (and you may very well be planning this anyway), I’d suggest keeping everything free for the first ten days or so. Let everyone get a good look at the new version and make a better decision as to what they’re getting, and if they want to pay for it.
This change makes good sense and you have certainly thought it through thoroughly. Thank you for not just shocking us with the sudden change.
I personally can’t justify a monthly subscription. I’m in a “blink and two years go by” point in my life, and I shudder at all the little $5 and $10 monthly subscriptions I have that bleed out my bank accounts as the grass grows. Death by a thousand paper cuts as it were. I need to get rid of some of these and certainly not add more.
With that said, I’m glad you mentioned the yearly lump sum option. If that’s a good deal, I’ll pony up. I’m a daily reader and can’t imagine life without Uni-Watch.
I feel exactly the same way, AlMaFi. I have been a religious Uni Watch reader for 7 or 8 years now, and while I love the site, I’m just not at a place where I can make a recurring payment for something like that (goodbye, match.com, whose subscription finally ends today). If the lump-sum yearly subscription works out to be cheaper than about $5/month and still allows me to use my RSS feed reader (feedly), then I am all in.
I understand the economics and this move, but I will not be able to make the switch-over. I hope that there are enough people who will be able to and that Uni Watch will live on. Until that point, I’m looking forward to savoring the last few months of this content.
Thanks for all your hard work, Paul, Phil, and everyone else!
So true. Everywhere you turn on the internet, apps, whatever, it’s all $10-15/month.
With most people struggling to make rent, and stay current on bills, having all these “micro-subscriptions” can make life tough, my issue is they all seem to land on different days, unlike most normal bills. Which makes it hard to keep track sometimes.
Sure $10/month isn’t expensive. But when there’s a ton of other services all vying for that $10/month…. it gets pretty expensive.
Getting nickel and dimed…
Well folks, it was fun while it lasted. See y’all in heaven I guess…
A number of podcasts use Patreon.com to bring in paid subscribers. They generally offer some type of bonus material to subscribers.
that or get sponsored by Squarespace or Audible
Most podcasts I listen to have ads as well as a patreon option.
No one likes to pay more money for anything. If I was new to UniWatch, I would probably decline. However, as someone who has been a religious reader for over 10 years, I will gladly pay a small amount for the past enjoyment and insights you have given me.
This is my thinking as well. I’ve been reading this site since it launched in 2006, and that’s all been no charge. There has been outstanding content and little asked in return. A subscription seems worthwhile to me, especially given the changes ahead. Onward, Paul!
Good timing to juxtapose the big announcement with the anniversary.
I’ve paid for specialized content at dozens of other sites over the years and, unless something really odd happens, will pay for the new Uni-Watch from its first day.
That being said, right now I only pay for two sites. The most common reason for dropping a paysite is when political content overruns the stuff I signed up for.
“I’m totally willing to pay, but my wife will flip out if she sees a charge to Uni Watch on our credit card statement.”
Paypal transfers don’t show upon my credit card bill. :-)
I’d be okay with $5 or less a month. It would be commensurate with the daily interaction I have with the site. It’s along the lines of the subscriptions to newspapers I maintain. Those are justified by the reporting they support, even if I do not read all of the content.
Good luck with this, Paul. It sounds like you’re steeling yourself for the blowback, but there will be supporters.
To add – The limited number of free content posts a month has been effective on me. To wit: I ended up subscribing to the WaPo because I regularly hit the free content limit each month. That model allowed me to understand what it was I would be supporting with an online subscription. So I ponied up and feel good about it.
Without the limited number of full articles, I never would have subscribed.
WaPo’s recently cracked down on the paywall (I don’t believe it’s the limited free content model anymore, I could be wrong) and it definitely has shown me how often I was reading WaPo by how often I now hit the wall.
Their investigative reporting, especially that of David Fahrenthold, is what I wanted to support. I would do the same for the NYT, but instead subscribed to local papers doing similar work in my area.
Jumbled SEC teams in ESPN graphic: Yes, it happens, but I’m still amazed at how often it happens.
When I saw the Arena Football League link, I wondered if it was going to be a ranking of all logos from the original inception, or the four or five logos in the current edition. But this article is actually for the INDOOR Football League.
For 8 or so years this site has been the first thing that I read every morning. You will continue to have my support Paul.
If I could just say that I came to know this site in high school and it continued to entrance me through college, but I would never have been able to justify paying for it while a student. I hope that you consider discounting subscriptions to “.edu” email addresses.
I would highly suggest checking out Patreon as an option. Many content creators use it with great success. I would certainly toss a few bucks your way on Patreon and it would give people an opportunity to contribute without enforcing a paywall.
I am familiar with the Patreon model, but I have major misgivings about it. It basically allows some of the readers to subsidize all the others — which means most people will continue to think of journalism as something they can get for free, which is very problematic for me.
you’ll still be getting the ad revenue from the sponsors that you plan on keeping though.. so you’ll still be getting something from the people that choose not to be a patreon subscriber and somewhat double dipping on the people that did go through with it.
Curious on that last point: Is the business model of free alt weeklies also problematic?
Do you mean is it problematic to me, or to the alt-weeklies themselves?
I was interrogating your statement, “most people will continue to think of journalism as something they can get for free – which is very problematic for me.”
Whether it’s problematic for alt-weeklies themselves is not an easily answered question. Village Voice went to free distribution in 1996, and ceased print publication in 2017. But many other free alt-weeklies are thriving, whereas the last years of VV’s management and ownership have more in common with the path of many larger metro dailies than with most other alt-weeklies. Most of the supposedly sinking dailies are profitable but lack revenue growth sufficient to satisfy equity investors. Which suggests that corporate ownership is the wrong model for much of journalism. Partnerships or closely-held corporations can hold non-growing profit centers, whereas joint-stock corporations would generally prefer a loss-generating revenue growth center to a stable profit center. Which is insane, but that’s the way of the world, so it’s foolish to expect anything other than disaster when a publicly traded corporation tries to run a newspaper.
When I started writing for NYPress in the 1990s, the Voice cost $1.25. At NYPress, we were free, and we slowly put the squeeze on the Voice’s ad base and readership until we basically forced the Voice to go free as well. Now NYP no longer exists and the Voice is on life support. Looking back, I’m disappointed in NYP’s role in that.
I usually check out the ticker and from time to time articles interest me. I have been a reader for 10 years or so, but won’t be subscribing. I get tired of the soapbox grandstanding on things such as the Redskins and Indians. I come here for subjects tangent to sports- not politics and lectures on what I should think because I’m wrong. I do wish you well, however. On the issue of not wanting to give up part of your livelihood for free, (or subsidized by others because it perpetuates the thinking that journalism should be free) I would welcome you to the Republican Party. We happen to believe that same thing about healthcare as well as every other industry. Good for you and good luck.
Except some of us think healthcare is an essential public service and a human right, not just another consumer product to be left to the whims of the marketplace.
I freely acknowledge that Uni Watch does not fit that description.
So based on this comment – this isn’t as much about the cost of doing business as it is a crusade against the new expectations of journalism? I don’t blame you either way, but I’m afraid you won’t fare well with this.
I would not call it a “crusade,” but did you actually read the open letter? It’s about contemporary journalism *and* the cost of doing business. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.
I mean, really, just go back and read what I wrote.
So you’re entitled to part of a doctor’s life, but we aren’t entitled to part of a journalist’s life? Don’t I have a right to be entertained and informed by journalists?
I’ve been a Uni-Watch reader for over 10 years. I bought a membership and some frankly over-priced t-shirts that have already had the printing peel off after 3 washes. I don’t know that the 5 min a day I spend here can justify $10/month. Maybe if there was a membership discount on that too.
I understand where you’re coming from. You provide premium content that I’ve enjoyed for a long time. You have bills just like everyone else. I haven’t decided whether or not to subscribe. I guess I’ll burn that bridge when I get there.
Paul – I totally support the decision. I respect the time and effort you guys put into this. Not a bad thing to charge if it leads to an evolution of the site becoming better. I will always be all in. Keep us posted on plans.
I am 100% behind whatever you need to do. I’ve always appreciated the efforts you’ve made in terms of best delivery of content, and especially appreciated the minimization of auto-play ads (those things should be included on some kind of Geneva Convention of the Internet as an annoyance of the highest kind).
While change is always difficult, I look forward to supporting the site going forward. The one upside of paying for a quality service like this is the feeling of pride (or almost even some level of ownership) for the content being generated and understanding on some level that you, the individual, helped this get made. Looking forward to additional information as it comes out.
Welp. See you guys on the facebook forums haha.
i am surprised a reddit subforum never got made
I look for one at least once a week. It would easily replace the ticker.
The last new post there was 223 days ago
I’m with you on the reddit subforum! Great idea.
Paul, best of luck to you in your future endeavors.
I read every day, I wouldn’t mind paying the 5 dollars but it would definitely cool having a membership card for having a subscription
This is what I was thinking or buy a membership card and get a month or two free.
I’d be into that. Now to figure out what the back of my card will look like. I’ll have to wait until purple amnesty day I’m afraid.
I can’t afford to pay, and I’m not sure if I would if I had the money to. I understand your reasoning, so I’m trying not to be angry specifically at you. But I am angry, in a general sense. And saying you will reduce twitter posts, while I can see your reasoning for it, comes off entirely the wrong way.
I’ve been reading this site for over 10 years for FREE. I have no problem with the upcoming changes. Do what is necessary to keep Uni-Watch #1.
I’m sorry Paul, I have been an fairly regular reader for 10 years or so, but this content was always a bonus to me.
I fully support the thought you need to simply make ends meet. I’ve been feeling like the end was coming, and that you would move on to other areas.
I wont be able to pay. I can’t thank you enough for the content. It’s been a pleasure to read.
“But at the laste, as every thing hath ende,
She took hir leve, and nedes wolde wende.”
This is a good change. It’s been proven that people will pay for good content. I’m happy to support the site going forward.
If it keeps the price more in the $5 range, I’d be all for a blend of subscription and display advertising.
Uni Watch does have its share of ads, but I find them to be well/strategically placed (i.e. not appearing after every third paragraph like Peter King’s horribly designed MMQB site) and not interfering with the flow of content. Similarly, there are no auto-playing video ads anywhere to be found, for which we all thank you. I could live with a continuation of these ads if it kept my subscription price down.
I subscribe to a few sites ranging from $4 to $12 per month. And while I’m a religious reader of Uni Watch and have visited the site daily for years, I can say I get more out of all my other subscriptions than I would out of a Uni Watch subscription. The Washington Post is $4/month and I get 10+ pieces of content per day out of it. The same is true for my higher-end subscriptions.
I don’t doubt the amount of work that Paul and team put into the site. But, at the end of the day, I read the daily post (about 5-7 minutes of time) and that’s it. You can argue that “hey, isn’t a couple hours of content worth $10 per month?” and I’d agree that it’s a fair point to make. But when you compare it to the higher volume of content I get for less money from a lot of other places, it doesn’t seem like a good deal. Whether or not other folks clear that same mental hurdle will play out over time.
I fully agree that other types of sites may offer a better value. That’s the reality of a small, niche operation — no economies of scale.
It’s like a small craft beer costing more than Budweiser.
I’m happy to pay more for a craft beer because I prefer the taste of it to a Budweiser. (I’ve noticed in some of your Culinary Corner pics that you appear to be a Bud guy. So you may not share this stance.) I’ll pay $2 more for a six-pack of a craft beer because — at the end of the experience — I feel like I’ve gotten more out of it.
With Uni Watch (and, again, I love the site and the content; please don’t overlook that), I wouldn’t feel like I’m getting more for the higher price point. I’m getting something good and something different, sure. But I look at my online subscriptions in terms of content consumed. I am happy to pay. But if I’m going to pay more, I feel like I should be getting more out of the site. And, to me, I measure that in volume of content consumed. (I may the only person who measures this way, but I don’t think that I am.)
In looking at other sites I pay for, I made the determination that Uni Watch would fall into the $3-5/month spend range. (This is totally arbitrary, of course.) In reading that you were likely looking to (a) make it $5-10 and (b) remove most/all of ads in the process, my thought became, “Well, would keeping some of the ads keep the subscription price down?” So I tossed that idea out.
This may not work, but I wanted to suggest it. I know other sites that go to subscription models kill their ads to give some sort of “premium” experience. But many of those sites have ads embedded in the content and (ultra-annoying) video ads. I never found Uni Watch’s ads to detract from the experience, so I would be fine if they stuck around and helped to keep the subscription price down.
For me it’s a little different… I do enjoy the site, but for a different reason. I love sharing things I’ve painted, electric football figures I’ve created, and uniform anomalies I come across as I do research for paintings and stuff. It’s kind of an outlet for me… a link to other uniform geeks like myself. I love to see people’s reactions in the comments. I COMPLETELY understand though, Paul. I wish you nothing but the best…. and I can’t thank you and Phil enough for showcasing my work over the years. It was like having my own cheering section across the country, pushing me to create bigger and better things, and i loved you guys’ reactions when i would send in my emails.
Sad to hear about uni watch not remaining free. Like many other readers, uni watch has been a staple of my day-to-day life and I will be sad to see it go, as it will be harder for me to pay the money for uni watch.
Will Phil and other people who appear on this blog tone down their tweeting also or not?
Uni watch is really the only website that covers all sports uniforms in the way that you do. I follow blogs like Icethetics and Hockey by Design (as I view hockey uniforms superior to all other uniforms), but I love Uni Watch for its coverage of NFL, MLB, and NBA.
As I said above, I am a high school student who will have trouble convincing my parents to cough up money for a blog on uniforms, so it sounds more likely than not I will not pay.
Another question, will design contests still be available to those who do not pay for Uni Watch, as they are partially run through ESPN?
I don’t believe I’ll change my tweeting habits, but I don’t want to negatively affect Uni Watch either, so I’m going to take a wait and see approach in this regard. The more folks that sign up, the more likely I’ll keep tweeting away with all the latest uni news.
I only had to think about it for a minute to agree that $5-$10 a month for something that provides me so much enjoyment and stability makes sense. I’d love a mug or tote bag to show off but also want my money to have the largest impact possible.
Why not pay for your own UNIWATCH tattoo and put YOUR money where your mouth is?
You’re providing us with information that no one else is providing and deserve to be paid for it. I have no problem with what you’re doing.
You were the first to provide a forum for people who care about uniform aesthetics. Before Uni-Watch I never knew such like-minded people existed and cared about this as much as I do. I thank you for that.
You and the staff deserve more and I believe this model will work.
lets be honest, most of the content is available elsewhere, this site is a wonderful aggregator of that information though.
I have been a uni-watch reader almost since the start, and I can understand this. But $10, even $5 a month is absolutely far too much. Netflix is $10. Hulu is $8. The NEW YORK TIMES IS $8 per month. I love Uni Watch, but this website is not the New York Times. I don’t want to stop reading and supporting (proud t-shirt collector) this site after over 10 years, but depending on the price, I may have to.
Netflix is $10. Hulu is $8. The NEW YORK TIMES IS $8 per month. I love Uni Watch, but this website is not the New York Times.
Lots of people are making these types of comparisons. I completely agree that if you look at it strictly from a quantitative value standpoint, what I’m proposing here is a worse deal than Netflix or NYT.com. Those are big operations that can take advantage of economies of scale that we simply cannot leverage. THat’s how it always is with a small niche operation — it’s why a small craft brewery charges more than Budweiser.
(Also: NYT still has tons of ads.)
I agree that this site is not the New York Times. This is better, the New York Times is trash.
You have time Paul to really work it out, perhaps upping the membership discount on Naming Wrongs or the other Uni Watch merchandise. I’d be game for that. Or cooler contests for paying members. Sweetening the pot for charter members could bring people in.
Regardless Paul, you will have my money. You’ve earned a lot of our respect for putting out a great product. I would recommend PayPal as a payment option. Less legwork than having to type credit card #’s in. :)
I love the site, and I hope to continue doing so. Just try to keep it on the lower end.
Thanks you for everything.
As both an avid reader of this site for over a decade and as someone who’s been featured on here a couple times, I fully support this move and will defiantly be a paying member. There’s simply no other website with this amount of specific sports information. My father in law has been a publisher for a local newspaper for nearly 20 years and has seen the decline in subscriptions reach a point where he’s not sure if they’ll be able to continue either. Also, my brother happens to be finishing up his sophomore year in college as a journalism student and I worry about the future of his profession. Best of luck with this transition and thank you for your honesty about this matter.
I love this site so much. I think a site overhaul is much needed. It might inject some excitement into what has been a pretty steady,but albeit stale form factor. It isn’t easy being independent digital these days and kudos to you for making it work for free so long. But you gotta get your money.
And I wish you the best and much good fortune. You gotta do what you gotta do. And so do we. So long and all the best to you. I’ll miss the site. I’m stretched too thin on subscriptions and have a kid headed to college.
Thanks for the fun
I completely understand the need for this to be a paysite, Paul. I’m honestly shocked this wasn’t posted 2-3 years ago. $5/month is, as you said, a literal drop in the bucket for most people.
I’m amazed at the comments (though I really shouldn’t be, in this age of ‘give me everything I like for free!!!!’) of anger from some people. I guess they don’t realize everything that comes with maintaining a professional web page. Sure, no one wants to lose visitors to a page, but if they can’t understand simple economics, so be it, I guess.
I’m amazed at the comments (though I really shouldn’t be, in this age of ‘give me everything I like for free!!!!’
Hit the nail on the head Terry. I am in my mid-20s and I find this hands-out victim mentality to be sickening.
I’m rather shocked at the comments as well – $5 a month is $.16-.17/per day give or take a few decibels. This seems like a lot of crabby people. I’ve been a Uni-Watch reader for years, and while I don’t agree with Paul’s take on everything (nor do I subscribe to the level of tradition adherence that some do in the comments), I do really love having a sports site that focuses on the aesthetic and design element of all of this while staying away from some of the corporate nonsense speak that tends to take up too much space in other places on the internet. And like Paul said, he’s doing a lot of work on this site that is not really benefiting him financially. This new model, especially given the expanded content that he mentioned makes perfect sense.
It seems to me like the choices are have zero website, or have a website that costs a little money. And I’m happy to support that if it means we get to keep hearing about this stuff in a way that I appreciate. I also feel a lot better about throwing $5 a month Paul’s way versus paying a huge conglomerate a similar amount for content I enjoy less than this.
I agree completely with Terry. I would have paid from the start. $10 a month is fine. Heck, I would pay $20. I don’t know why so many people want everything for free. Anyone who has ever tried to make daily content for a site will understand how much work goes into it.
You read it here Paul: put Brendon down for a $240 annual subscription!
Cyan? There’s no reason to be blue.
COTD, pretty easily.
I’m happy to pay, and grateful for being able to get it for free as long as we have.
If you need extra design help on membership cards, I would be glad chip in pro bono.
I understand your position and your decision. I am willing to pay, but your estimated price does seem high. The low end seems about right, but the high end seems quite steep.
Either way, I hope that the shift to a paid model really does come with a site overhaul. There has always been a bit of charm that this daily blog feels like it’s straight out of the early 2000s, but I’ve always attributed that to inertia and the fact that the content was free. With a shift to a paid model, I would hope that both aesthetics and UI are updated in a way that makes the site even more fun to read and interact with.
As a daily reader for more than a decade and someone that would likely pay for the content, I’d love to have some input in the future of the site as well. I know you hold this site pretty close to the vest as it is very much “yours” but I would hope you can see I have come to feel a small sense of ownership in it as well through financial support, membership, referrals, and content recommendations.
A major thank you for everything you’ve provided so far. It has been an enjoyable way to start my day for a very long time.
What a piece of shit you are Lukas. I’m tempted to sign up just to repost your content everywhere for free just to spite you and cost you big time $. Eat shit, hayseed.
This guy’s been reading (and calling me a hayseed) for soooooo many years. I know he’s gonna pay, for sure, because his life won’t be complete without a good hate-read. Good to have you on board!
Hayseed? Just to read that has me all in, free or paying!
Hahaha I just covered a co-worker with partially chewed blueberry donut because of this! Having that image in my memory for life makes making a small monthly monetary contribution to something I enjoy completely worth it. People either enjoy something enough to pay, or they don’t. I think most of the people upset about this change are people who don’t like change in general, especially when they’ll have to pay for something that’s always been free. It almost seems like people have a sense of entitlement about this.
Out of curiosity, would what (s)he’s proposing constitute IP fraud, and subject to litigation, in the same way the RIAA & MPAA have gone after file-sharers for going on two decades now? I’ve never really heard as much with regards to digital piracy of former print-only media, but maybe that’s just because it’s not as headline-y. And maybe the book industry just isn’t as litigious.
Well, only if he doesn’t credit the source…
There’s a lot of bad stuff that goes on in the world each and everyday, yet people get ticked about having to pay for something. It is quite amazing. Maybe instead of telling someone to “Eat Shit” we could just say, “Hey Paul, thanks for all that you’ve already given us” and just end it. If you don’t want to pay, don’t. Why be a asshat about it?
“Why be a asshat about it?”
Some people just can’t NOT be. It’s the world we live in.
Fortunately I have a thick filter for those folks.
Does Brooklyn have a huge population of hayseeds? I’m from Indianapolis and can attest to the huge number of hayseeds in my city.
I too am surprised this change took so long to make. I would imagine I’ll be all in when the change goes live. Even $10 a month is $0.30 a day.
There are hayseeds everywhere, sadly.
You get pissed off at having to pay for books, too? You don’t deserve any content for free. It’s Paul’s to do with as he pleases. Don’t be a schmuck.
Pay for books? Ever hear of a library?
Actually, we all pay for library books via our taxes. That’s where library budgets come from.
Decaf dude, decaf…
Also, having “hayseed” and “asshat” in the same group of messages made my day.
Paul, one question I have about all of this is when the site goes to a paid model will it continue to have, in addition to the uni related content, the appearance of a passion project which is at times as much about the non-uni related and sometimes rather idiosyncratic interests and worldview of Paul Lukas?
My gut reaction is to feel that the extent to which this blog is not just about uniforms but also about more unexpected thoughts and ideas from the mind of Lukas is definitely one of its charms but also one of the things that gives me extra pause about paying for this content. Because it seems to me that we as consumers are being asked not primarily to pay for access to uni news (which can be found elsewhere even if it might not be quite as well done); we’re being asked to pay for Lukas. And Lukas has some very strong opinions about certain things that don’t align with my own; I don’t relate to your strong antipathy for the concept of merchandise, which has always struck me as surprising for a blog that at the end of the day is about a dimension of clothes/fashion; on the more superficial end of the spectrum I vigorously disagree with your hatred of purple. I respect your right to express your opinions and I would never want you not to do so and I appreciate reading your perspectives just as much when I don’t agree with them; but it does make me wonder if I really feel that it’s worth $50+ a year to experience.
There are some great, really well researched and reported uni-related stories on this site, but I have to say that its bread and butter – uni news with a bit of analysis thrown in – at the end of the day seems to me pretty much based on aggregation from public sources. When considering that it feels kind of like the main marginal benefit I’m being asked to pay for is Paul Lukas ruminating on the greatness of fried hot dogs and duckpin bowling, and how much purple sucks, and I don’t know how I feel about that.
The site is and always has been an extension of my mind. Usually that means writing about uniforms, but sometimes it means writing about fried hot dogs. I know some people like the non-uni content a lot, and others don’t. Impossible to please everyone so I do my best to follow my instincts and let the chips fall where they may.
I think the larger question is whether I’ll be more responsive to reader input and requests under the paid model, and I’d say the answer to that is a qualified yes. I understand that you will feel more like a stakeholder, and that does matter.
I’m fully aligned with Martina’s thought pattern on the content of the paid subscription model. If the content structure remains about the same with occasional diversions for travelogues, culinary achievements, “what Paul did last night,” and so on, then count me out. However, if the content mirrors the weekend Uni-Watch, which is more expansive and generally devoid of personal interest side excursions, then my interest in a paid subscription increases.
One of the things I love about Uni Watch is the little personal interludes, from trip reports to culinary corner and everything in between. I’d hate them to end.
I’ll definitely be subscribing. I’ve got almost 12 years of enjoyment out of this site, and I don’t really see a difference between a subscription and buying a membership, t-shirt or any of the other merch.
As someone who worked in online journalism 20 years ago, I can attest that the higher-ups constantly rejected ideas to charge for content on websites despite the fact that it ended up eroding the newsrooms that clamored to make it happen.
I will gladly support a paid model for UniWatch – maybe you provide a discount for current members and allow new ones to get the same in the first year?
I would recommend a system like TinyPass, with which one can set up a system like the New York Times uses where visitors get N free views per time period (10 per month for NYTimes, but the values of the numerator and denominator are arbitrary) and where links from various outside sources can be set to be visible either in full or behind the paywall. Also, the payment processing and permission cookie-caching systems for TinyPass are terrific.
It’s interesting how TV and radio journalists have always offered something for free and we’ve never felt less of them as journalists — nor regarding what they offer. Rather than forcing readers to hold on to the way things used to be and how the industry used to operate, perhaps it’s time for print material to meet the rest of us in today’s modern world. Free content is largely how it works whether we like it or not.
However, at the same time, I think we all wish you the best and hope it works out for you.
It’s interesting how TV and radio journalists have always offered something for free and we’ve never felt less of them as journalists…
That’s because they are on television, which has traditionally been an advertising-supported model (not just for news but for all content). Broadcast advertising still produces reliable revenue; print and online advertising do not. Apples and oranges.
Always? Uhh, CNN. MSNBC. Fox News. None of them are free. Neither is ESPN or any of the cable sports channels.
Good luck and Godspeed Paul. I’m unable (not unwilling) to subscribe, but I’ll still follow you and Phil Hecken for the occasional news or ESPN column, contest, etc. Hope you’ll still take submissions from non-subscribers.
I don’t blame you for going to a pay model. The content is great so I will definitely consider paying for access.
I sent a lengthy email to Paul about it, but I want to support this publicly here. I’m a journalist, and I’ve lost colleagues due to layoffs in no small part because Google and Facebook are vacuuming up ad revenue like crazy. I subscribe to a handful of publications because I support good journalism, and good journalism is vital to hold those in positions of power—whether industry or government—accountable.
Based on my experience at Ars Technica, people will pay for good content. I know some won’t pay for it, and that’s their right, but if you believe in what Paul does (and what your hometown paper is doing), it’s time to show that in a tangible way.
Paul – like many others, I have read Uni-Watch for roughly a decade, and it has become a welcome part of my daily routine. I’m sorry to hear you are being squeezed out of your current business model, but I understand that you have to do what is best for you.
From a purely anecdotal perspective, I do know that I would be highly unlikely to pay close to $10/month for a subscription Uni-Watch. Even though I visit the site every morning, that number simply doesn’t make sense for me given what I pay for other subscription services (Washington Post, Netflix, etc.) and the fact that there are free uniform news outlets out there (albeit less satisfying ones).
Again, I recognize that you have put lots of thought into this decision and I do not raise new points. I do hope however that you will strongly consider keeping the price point at something more reasonable. If this is the end of my run reading Uni-Watch, I want to thank you for the years of entertainment, and more importantly for creating a corner of the internet where caring about (often) miniscule details was always acceptable and even celebrated.
I thought you may have been getting ready to pull the plug. I’m with you. I know that you will charge a reasonable price and I’ll pay whatever that price is. I get so much joy from Uni Watch
Pull the plug? More like make the leap.
February 28, 2018
As I have already explained, we are not “losing sponsors.” Rather, the economics of web advertising have changed.
“The last straw came a few weeks ago, when NASCAR — one of our longtime anchor advertisers, with their “Hey, Uni Watch Readers!” banner at the top of the site — decided not to extend their relationship with us this year. That was a big blow. They provided more than 15% of our ad revenue last year.”
Rick, it’s a both-and, not an either or. Sucks when you lose an advertiser that is responsible for 15% of your revenue. That might be survivable, except the other 85% of your revenue has also dropped by half because advertisers are paying less.
Ah, another change, life always throws out there. I’ve always been amazed at the content provided in this column, and have enjoyed it greatly but in the words of Neil Sedaka: Breaking up is hard to do” – I think the challenge will be most of your absolute “must read” stuff is on ESPN. I thoroughly understand the decision though – so wish you well with it.
What do you call a Liberal after he’s been mugged. A new Conservative. Market economics change models…uniform advertising was a reaction to changing market models in sports leagues. Cable TV used to be commercial free, but markets changed that. Now Uniwatch has to change to paid model because of the internet market.
I may pay for your Uniwatch articles and features, but paying for The Ticker is ludicrous…it’s just a collection of crowdsourced links. You’re not paying the contributors, so why should we pay you to see them.
I’ve been a daily reader for 12 years. It’s been great following the passion and hobby, and read it as such. A purist, running enough ads to keep the lights on and website running, but not commercializing his hobby and interest. A blog to share with other devotees out of pure love of the subject.
I pay to support Wikipedia because I USE it and I support its mission, but nothing along the lines of $5-10/month. A fully monetized Uniwatch won’t be delivering anymore value than it does today and doesn’t justify a subscription. Perhaps a supporters’ donation, but not a subscription.
Order the cake and plan the farewell party.
Hmm…I’ve been mugged, had my apartment burglarized, AND had a stalker, yet I remain a liberal. It is said that adversity brings out one’s true colors, so that may explain your cynical conservatism. I choose to remain hopeful. Good luck to you.
Repeated behaviors get repeated results I guess. Carry on.
I personally feel that we owe it to Paul.
We have been reading this blog for YEARS. We have facebook groups, meet ups, i personally enjoy Meeting other uni-watch readers. Where else in the world is some 30 something ska / punk enthusiast gonna sit down with a Ops Manager to muse about the various shades of silver on the cowboys pants.
I guess i see it as simple decision to pay Paul and all the Uni-watch staff ( cats included ) So suck it up , pay the money and help keep our little community….
We’ve always been the “Those who get it”, its time to be “Those who give it”
I would recommend you not do that.
Will old content still be freely available? I like going through and reading stuff like the travelogues. I’m undecided on whether or not I would subscribe; if not, I’d still like to enjoy what is already available.
Pretty sure the archives will also be behind the paywall.
Just a thought – and feel free to shoot this down immediately – but what about a model where just the daily entry (or even the entry minus the ticker) was available for free, but the ticker and archive was for subscribers only?
Right now, much of the Ticker is readily available on Twitter. With a paid model, I’d love to see more content from Paul, Phil, et. al. Paying for original articles has more value, in my opinion, than paying for crowdsourced links in the Ticker.
You’re right, Mary Lynn – maybe the opposite approach would make more sense. Make the ticker available for free for a day or two, with everything else behind the paywall.
I’ve been reading this site for shockingly close to half my life, and I’ll happily support it into the future. Good luck, Paul.
Dumb Guy hasn’t decided if he is also Cheap Guy in regard to U-W.
He is in many things, that’s for sure. He’ll just have see how this progresses.
As someone who was always fascinated by this subject, I was thrilled several years ago to have found Uni Watch. At the risk of sounding overly fanboy-ish, I’ve had an awful lot of fun reading your site, and I’m fortunate enough to do what I can to support your way into the paid access era. Much rather that than have you pull the plug entirely.
Fair winds and following seas, Paul.
Thanks so much for providing a fantastic service to everyone in the uni-verse. As a current college student, it’s hard for me to find a way to come up with an extra $5-10 a month, but I wish you the best of luck in the future with this site. You have a lot to be proud of!
Well, I guess this is the end of my daily morning ritual of uniwatch. I refuse to pay $5-10 a month to read a blog about what keyring you have or where you spent your vacation (sure those are fun reads when it’s free, but not for $5 a month). The pricing just doesn’t make sense for the content you are delivering.
Perhaps it’s best for you to shut down Uniwatch and leave the memory of it as is and not tarnish it with the pay wall.
I’ll continue to read your articles on ESPN (FOR FREE).
I’ve been a card-carrying member since 2009 (holy crap!), and a daily reader since about 2007. I will continue to be a daily reader for as long as I possibly can. Other blogs have held my interest at times, but none can even approach the 10+ years I’ve been reading your blog. Heck, I can’t even believe it, to be honest. There’s something endearing and genuine about your work, and I admire the way you approach your craft, and your overall outlook on life, etc. As much as I enjoy the uni watching, I really enjoy the trip reports, and What Paul did Last Night reports, Culinary Corner and stuff like that also. Thanks for keeping the ship afloat all this time on your own.
Just curious how you came up with the $5-$10 per month price point? Wouldn’t it be a better idea to at least start at the lowest number you can justify, so no one can claim it’s “too much”. If you can get three times as many people to subscribe for $4 per month as for $10, it’s to everyone’s advantage.
Honestly, came up with the number by winging it. It’s all a work in progress.
I can honestly say that I am not surprised that you have to make changes, considering how the market it evolving. One thing that I think maybe you should look into is becoming THE repository for all things uniform in all major sports. The idea about being a resource for the history of NBA uniforms is a start, you should expand this to all major sports including both college and pro. This way there would be a huge value to the subscriber that goes beyond a daily blog. It would also fill a void that needs to exist. Plus it’s historical and we love history.
I have been reading the site for long enough that I have no idea when I started, but I remember it being a big deal when the blog post went up an hour later. Reading it has become part of my daily routine, and I enjoy it very much. It’s a nice mix of good journalism about a vert specific issue and passion projects offered by guest editors.
I have long thought that the site is too much work and the ads too small and specific to achieve economic viability. As much as I like free stuff, nothing in life is free. I have tried to show support by clicking on the links and buying the occasional t-shirt, but I would rather support the site through a subscription model. My guess is that with a little conversation and trial and error, you will come up with the right offer.
As I have enjoyed seeing the site evolve and grow, I look forward to the next chapter. Anyway, this seems like a good time to acknowledge everyone’s contributions. Thanks!
Totally understand decision. On fence about paying only because my attention has been drawn away from Uni-Watch by other life stuff, but not having headlines on Twitter to glance at might draw me back in. I’d like to ask if you see the content changing at all? I most enjoy the posts that are essayistic in nature: reflections on the critics role, Uni Watch’s role in branding, etc. I suspect that 1) those types of projects happen when they happen based on other events and 2) are a little more labor intensive, so I suspect you can’t promise regular schedule of those. I like your writing (style, voice, sarcasm) and think you use these essays as an effective tool to dig deeper into either nuanced issues or issues needing more nuance. So, if you want to know what would push me toward paying, more of those entries would be it.
Appreciate your work. Been around since the beginning.
I don’t foresee major changes to the content, Matt, but will try to take people’s preferences into some consideration to whatever extent is practical and possible.
I have not been as long of a fan, only jumping on board in the recent years when found one of your ESPN articles. I have enjoyed a great deal of the articles this website has produced and learned so much about the niche community of uni-watching that i am on board for a paid subscription. i look forward to reading the articles each day and would not mind supporting the function of this website. I hope the subscription model allows the site to grow and prosper, and will be there to see it shine.
Your craft beer analogy doesn’t hold water for me. Sure craft beer is tasty, but when I can get 30 BuD Lights for the price of six beers, I’m drinking Bud Light most hot Texas weekends. I may splurge once a month for a tasty craft beer from Austin, or I may have a couple if I’m going out, but for a more regular drink, It’s not practical.
Tap water’s pretty much free, you know.
I’ve never experienced Texas heat but even if I was on the sunny side of Mercury I would have a hard time swallowing that canned piss, let alone 30 of them ; )
It is interesting to me Paul has finally decided to charge for his content… disguising his ego as “good for the journalism sector” is disingenuous.
I have certainly been very dissapointed of his hypocrisy over criticism of NBA jersey ads; while doing the EXACT same thing on his website… he doesn’t buy overpriced polyester tees, but expects you to do the same. 20$ magnet with his face on it?! why not!
Many, many more readers will not follow Paul (though he is delusional and can’t be convinced to see another side of any argument, he can’t be swayed otherwise).
Paul, if you read this, I feel bad for the people who read your blog as a way to brighten their day, as I used to… Just don’t disguise it as doing good for society; this is doing good for Paul, and no-one else.
I’m sorry you feel that way, Brian. Thanks for your readership and feedback.
Yep, Paul wants to become a Brand.
This is really disappointing. This post was a daily ritual for years but I’d noticed in the last couple of years I’ve been to it less and less. I’ve never been a big fan or even understood the lecturing about certain topics so that was turning me off more and more. I know it’s your site and your opinions so I never complained and honestly I started following UNISWAG on instagram and Twitter more because of it. I still liked some of the back stories on here and I appreciated that. I think everyone should be paid for their services but it’s a risky move because of the amount of other places to get uni-related info online. It was a nice run but I guess this was the final death blow for me. I can’t see paying for something I can just get somewhere else. It was nice having everything in one place but not nice enough to pay for it. Good luck and I hope this works out for you.
I guess the biggest issue I’ll have will be with the inability to share a post that’s particularly interesting. Like, if I want to spread the word about #NoUniAds, the paywall will limit how much that movement can grow. I support the paywall idea, but I imagine it will limit your influence.
I support the paywall idea, but I imagine it will limit your influence.
Excellent point. But did we ever really have that much “influence,” outside of our core audience? I’m not so sure. But it’s worthwhile consideration.
Shame it had to come to this, but I will not be subscribing. Just echoing a few reasons others have posted; ticker is a collection of items sourced from the web; view points on some subjects; do I want to pay to read about vacations, Beefsteaks and what you did last night. I’ve always been in the camp of this is your site and you post/write/opine on whatever you want as we are just visitors. Except paying for all the un-uni related content I think is a bit much. The economics are what they are. Good luck, hope it all works out for you.
Thanks for the heads up Paul – I’ve been a daily reader for years and will continue to be until the paywall is implemented and will hold off on deciding if I’m willing to become a paid member until that day. I know this is just the first post about what is coming but I do not see myself paying for Uni-Watch based on what it currently is or the description about what it will become. Not because I consume journalism for free. For what it’s worth, I signed up for a year of The Athletic because they showed me the value in their reporting and content. Uni-Watch has been very valuable and informative in the past, however right now the Ticker isn’t really doing that for me. I appreciate the work and commitment that goes into preparing and delivering it, however there’s just not enough there for me to give $5-10/month even if it is just the same as not getting a couple of cups of coffee. I hope you can change my mind over the next few months because I’ve always enjoyed your work (even though I often disagree with your takes on social issues)
This is disappointing news, but it’s completely understandable. I’m not sure I’ll be able to justify paying for Uni Watch in my current stage of life with a new baby and other subscriptions to pay for, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it in April.
In case the end is indeed near for me, many thanks to you Paul. Uni Watch has been my favorite way to start the day for years and at the very least, I’ll definitely continue reading your ESPN content.
Paul, thanks for this article. I appreciate the transparency. I always love the Uni Watching, the travel chronicles, the Culinary Corner, and the couple of times I’ve met you. I will almost assuredly pay for one of my favorite writers, websites, and communities—especially if an annual rate lets me save a bit.
“Transparency”–That sums it up for me, too. Thanks for being honest and open and allowing us all to make an informed decision.
Maybe you should change the name of your site to UW-Economies of Scale Version 1.0
I’m probably what one would consider an “average'” reader – I visit the site three or four times per week, see if the lede story is of interest to me (I’d say it’s a 50/50 split), then peruse the ticker for any tidbits I want to check out. I love the in-depth reported pieces, your opinions, and the easy access to an aggregation of uni-related content. Never particularly cared for all the non-uni stuff.
As much as I’d like to support a paid model, it just wouldn’t work for me. I give monthly to orgs like the ACLU, NPR, PP, Longreads (which is perhaps the most similar to this situation, though they do still provide free content), etc. and there’s only so much I can afford to give, so it’s sort of a case of weighing Uni-Watch versus others, and it unfortunately just doesn’t come out on top in any of those bouts. I think it’d be really awesome to try to provide at least some free content, maybe a monthly recap post or something like that, but totally understand if that isn’t in the cards.
All that said, thanks very much for all the fantastic work over the years, and best of luck with this pivot.
While I understand and respect your decision, I feel like it’s a decision that will kill Uni-Watch. If you’re fine with that, this is your show, and you have the right to do what you want with it. With that said, I’d like to respectfully disagree with some of your premises.
As I may have mentioned over email, I’ve been a loyal Uni-Watch reader for 8+ years. I worked at Google for 6 years where I worked in ad sales and product strategy for small & medium businesses. I’m currently a grad student (meaning I probably can’t pay for Uni-Watch for a couple of years) and soon-to-be-strategy consultant. All of this is to say that I know what I’m talking about.
I fundamentally disagree with the idea that people aren’t “paying” for good journalism. Instead of paying with their wallet, many people are paying with their time and attention. Over time, advertisers have realized that more “engaging” (or as I suspect you’ll describe as “obtrusive”) formats like video work better than traditional ads. As such, I don’t believe that the economics have changed such that you can’t be sustainable. But I do think the economics have changed that it won’t be sustainable if you don’t adjust to include newer ad formats as those are the ones advertisers pay more for. While I have certainly appreciated your ad approach thus far, I would much rather have the option to click thru annoying ads than pay (especially as a student).
I got hooked on Uni-Watch when I was an undergrad student, when I couldn’t afford to pay for Uni-Watch. I love that when I meet other people who thinks they’re weird for obsessing over uniform and logo details, I can introduce them to a community of people just like them that’s free to view. While I know a strong portion of Uni-Watch nation will continue to support you in a paid model, I don’t believe it will continue to grow. It will be a matter of time before your community dwindles, and Uni-Watch as we know it disappears. I think we all agree that would be a sad day.
My suggestion would be a dual model: free for viewers to deal with annoying ads, pay for ad-free. If you’re willing to discuss, I would be willing to offer whatever time I have to give. I think this model would mean you could continue to post/write whatever personal rants (e.g., hot dogs, offensive logos) you feel like as well.
I hope you don’t mind me making this offer/disagreement public, as I think Uni-Watch nation deserves the opportunity to see the other side of things. Regardless, thanks for you consideration, and I appreciate your commitment to Uni-Watch.
P.S. I could try to talk a couple of former/current Googlers into consulting for you too, including one of the guys who wrote a guest post this past summer.
Over time, advertisers have realized that more “engaging” (or as I suspect you’ll describe as “obtrusive”) formats like video work better than traditional ads.
I wouldn’t “describe” them as obtrusive; they *are* obtrusive. I prefer not to go that route.
I respect your experience in the field and appreciate your feedback and advice. Thank you!
True. “Engaging” is in quotes for a reason :-)
I listen to Pandora, read Forbes, and watch YouTube videos which all have obtrusive ads. They all have paid versions that I can’t afford, but I can afford to be annoyed for a bit. And on the flip side, there’s crap out there (e.g., USA Today) that isn’t worth the ads. That’s all to say this online content is not “free”: my attention is worth something, and quality content producers can often support themselves with it.
I don’t mind short video ads as much when I’m watching videos (YouTube).
I hate pop up videos and other videos occurring when I’m looking for text content (with or without pictures).
I completely understand why you have to do this, but I too am extremely disappointed, and once the paywall goes up will stop my daily visit(s) to Uni-Watch. I’m a long time website visitor and fan of Uni-Watch since it was just a column on ESPN, so this is a deep cut for me. I plan on unfollowing the twitter account as well, since you pretty much admit that you wont be putting as much on there.
I simply cannot justify spending $5 to $10 for access to the site, especially when the information on here is mainly a summary of what is freely available all over the web. I think all these websites that are putting up a paywall will eventually reverse course. In todays day and age, I think those willing to pay for access to sites whos content (or similar content) is freely available across the web are slim to none. Although I enjoy the non-uni related content, it’s not something I’m willing to pay for.
I understand there has to be enough income to pay bills and justify running the site, but the proposed price point is too high. I’m not going to spend more or close to the same price that I do for Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, Spotify,…. the list goes on and on. I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but reading the comments above, I’m not the only one who feels that way.
Thanks for all the great content over the years. Although I don’t always agree with your opinion, I appreciate your passion and love for “Uni’s”. I suggest that if there is a site overhaul and more content is added, a free trial is offered. I would love to give the updated site a chance to prove me wrong and show me that the price is worth the product.
I don’t post this reply with any venom or vitriol, I will always be a fan. I just wanted to post my opinion on the news and as a thank you for your hard work over the years. My daily routine will never be the same.
Paywalls are probably NOT going away. Those who have done it successfully have been smart and pragmatic about it. I would say your analysis is flawed.
SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!
No, but really, I actively welcome the opportunity to support quality writeups and content I am passionate about. As intrusive advertisements and auto-play video RUIN the sports communications/journalism industry (and reduce our collective intelligence and capacity for critical thinking), I am more than happy to support providers doing it the RIGHT way. I choose to read, react, question, research… not have my opinions pre-formulated and spoon fed for me by some talking head. I like to think this outlook on life serves me well.
With this in mind, I am a proud subscriber of The Athletic. For $4/mo I am delivered excellent coverage, longform/features, and a safe haven from any advertisements or video whatsoever (save for FILM breakdown; remember when that was a thing on ESPN?). This type of thoughtful environment also fosters a very well-informed, engaging, and respectful online community. The writers themselves also contribute to the conversation, as you do here currently, which is always a joy. You just don’t see this dynamic anywhere else.
I realize this is a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison given scope and reach, but you would be well served to model your new endeavor after their approach, wherever you can. I’ll be along for the ride every step of the way!
Thank you for 12 years and all the years to come.
I stumbled across this great site over 10 years ago as well. The details of logos, uniforms, and such have always grabbed my interest. Unfortunately, I will be one of those that will no longer visit UniWatch. While there have been some articles, statements, or ads (no guns) over the years that I didn’t agree with, they were opinions and I respect that. On that note, I can’t bring myself to support this site, and the opinions, monetarily. Keep up the great work and good luck to you.
Some of us have been censured (censored?) for posting content/comments that Paul doesn’t agree with. If I pay, am I allowed to disagree and post contradictory content?
I mean, when a good chunk of this site is really just a compilation of links to twitter posts that are submitted by readers, it does seem a little silly to start charging to view that content. I’ll be honest, most days I skip right over the main article and go to the ticker, and since work has blocked Twitter, I’ve noticed I really can’t even view 75% of the links in there.
As long as you have twitter, you can still get all the ‘news’ in this site for free. It was a nice place to see this information compiled in one spot but its not worth paying to see it in one place. I guess if you’re a reader who reads the article every day, it might still be worth it, and I wish you well in the future, but I suspect you’re overestimating how many are visiting this site for the articles rather than the ticker. Once you go paywall, those people are just going to get that info elsewhere, for free. For better and (mostly) worse, that’s just the nature of the flood gates that opened when online journalism went freeware, because there will always be someone out there legally providing that information for free.
Uni Watch is part of my morning routine, and I will gladly pay $5-$10/month to keep it running. Thank you for years of free content. I look forward to Uni Watch continuing for years to come.
I have been reading your content for a good 4 years, however I believe 5-10 dollars is way too much for a 15 year old to pay monthly. Best of luck with this model, you had a good run.
As a PS to my comment above and to piggy back off a previous commenter, yes I know you are hesitant to adopt Patreon, but I think that would make a lot of sense. Patreon could gain access to things like Question Time, raffles including but not limited to the annual Xmas thank you raffle, invitations to meet ups, coupon codes, etc…you’re lucky that you have a lot to offer, but ultimately it’s your call.
As an artist that rarely, if ever, gets paid for my work who knows tons of other ridiculously talented people who rarely get paid their worth, I will gladly and proudly pay for a yearly subscription. Thank you for providing the sort of content that I am eager to read every day.
I don’t want to put you on alert and maybe ruin a potentially good thing but are you/is Phil going to neuter his Twitter as well? His is nearly identical (maybe more?) to yours with the amount of stuff he posts
I have no problem with going to paid content. I agree it was insane when media began giving content away and the journalism world now sucks because of it. Will I subscribe? I’m not sure yet, but kudos to you Paul for betting on yourself and realizing that no matter how much you love your work, you should be paid for it!
Finally, I’m now a Bruins fan. Finally a team realizes that same name on back is not a problem. That’s why we have numbers on jerseys.
You know, with that reasoning, you could be a Habs fan instead! ;-)
No really, even the teammate Kostitsyn brothers had just the last NOB, and we currently have Andrew and Logan Shaw (no relation) with just Shaw as NOB.
Actually, we’re terrible this year. You probably picked wisely, haha.
Count me in the “understanding but unwilling” boat.
I have a couple of questions about this that will hopefully be helpful. Do you have a sense of how many paying members to expect? Perhaps based on sales numbers of membership cards and other items. Also, have you considered any other solutions? Is ESPN interested in hosting all of your content on their site? Have you considered moving away from daily posts (every other day? Weekly?)? Very little of the content on here is time sensitive.
Echo the comment above. Uni Watch is part of my daily routine. Thank you for the years of work and free content. Uni Watch has made me a more observant viewer of sports, and I have to appreciate small nuances in uni design. this has impacted not just how I view professional sports, but my local kid/high school sports as well. Phenomenal work!
I totally understand the evolution towards a paid subscription. Several of my daily routine internet sites are moving to this model. I will gladly pay for premium content I can’t get other places. I would simply caution not to move too fast. Be sure to dangle some free content to attract new subscribers.
Keep up the awesome work!
Totally understand why you’re doing this and I’ll be glad to pay. I just want to hear you say this isn’t any different than NBA teams selling a 2 inch patch on their jerseys first lol. ;) Cause when it all boils down….it ain’t.
Actually, it’s very different, because the NBA already has lots of other revenue streams: ticket sales, broadcast rights, parking, concessions, etc. They don’t *need* uniform advertising patches in order to be viable.
Figured this stance was coming, and I understand. But in a vacuum, jersey ads are there to bring in money for the business. A paywall or ads are on your site for what? To bring in money for your business. The only difference, as you pointed out, is that one business is extremely lucrative through other avenues, as if that’s a fault of theirs. Or that they’re greedy to pursue more….I’d just call that a good business decision.
I don’t think there is any shame in advertisements, especially on blog websites. I even think you should have more! Personally, I would prefer more ads (even videos and popups) than a subscription model. I wish you luck though, seriously. Love the site.
in a vacuum, jersey ads are there to bring in money for the business. A paywall or ads are on your site for what? To bring in money for your business.
But the world does not exist in a vacuum. If you truly think all business transactions are equal, well, you can think that. I respectfully disagree.
Hey, I’ll pay. I’m one of those people that has their morning coffee with a side of Uni-Watch each day.
I’m opening this up to be told I’m wrong, but please tell me why I am:
“We could make the daily lede freely accessible but put the Ticker and other stuff behind a paywall.”
Would it not make more sense to have your own personal words and original content behind the paywall, than the accumulated links that are available around the web? Is that not opening the door for whatever source to claim (despite the free clicks) you’re charging for access to their content?
Like I said, we have lots of options. Still figuring out the best approach. Thanks for the feedback!
Long time reader, first time commenter: So long, uni-watch. I enjoyed it while it lasted, but I will not be paying for it.
I’ve been reading Uni Watch since Village Voice, its part of my daily routine.
This isn’t reddit or a twitter hashtag where we’re reading a bunch of random content posted by randoms. This is curated content with analysis, interviews, and perspective. That’s worth something.
I subscribe to a bunch of things. I support my favourite podcasts. I understand that the world has changed, I’m happy to pay for good content that I enjoy. Its not 1990 or 2005 anymore, if we want good content we have to support it and I’m happy to do so.
Uni-Watch has long been one of the first sites I open up in the morning, usually the second or third tab I read after world news and so forth.
I understand the move completely, but still, although I’ve been coming here since almost the beginning, that’s gonna be a hard no from me.
There are so many things I already have to pay for that I just can’t justify it. Sorry and thanks for the many years of enjoyment.
If I chose to pay, can I get the option to change the color scheme to a more purple-based model? ;)
Maybe there can be a tiered payment system.
Is there any thought to giving those who invested in a membership card a break on the rate? Just spit-balling here.
Lol I’ve dug out so much content for you guys over the years and now I have to pay? So the tweets of mine you’ve linked in your ESPN articles are free for you to use, but now I have to pay to see your site that I’ve helped with over the years? Ya no thanks. So you wanna monetize your baby that has grown with the help of others who get nothing for it? Seems fair. Definitely glad I’ve cut back on the content search.
This right here is what I don’t get. Not saying Paul doesn’t do a hell of a lot of work, but a lot of the site is user contributed, no one will want to contribute or write features and the like for a paid site that they have no incentive for.
As an avid Reader from Australia with a Lifetime love of Baseball who only reads it for baseball related news and tidbits I can’t justify paying for a subscription. The thing that worked for Uni-Watch is the community working together to find interesting Uni tidbits. With a pay wall/subscription the user base will dramatically dwindle, reducing people who contribute hence lowering the quality.
I would rather be blasted with a truck load of ads then have this bastion be walled off.
I do have one question though, will people who contribute to the site, either through written features or small hat tips be financially remunerated under this new system?
I enjoyed reading Uni Watch for the past 2 years when I discovered it, so as a high school student it’s disappointing I won’t be able to read this anymore. Good luck, Paul. Guess I’ll have to find my uniform updates somewhere else. Perhaps I’ll have to start a website myself.
I support the pay model and will happily subscribe.
Well, categorize me under the “can pay but not going to pay” category. Simply put, I’ve lost interest in the last 2-3 years anyways–I have probably commented maybe three times in the last year. I once commented every day almost.
Nothing personal Paul but even you yourself have said in the past that you want to move on from covering sports uniforms at some point. You got what you’ve wanted–mainstream media covers uniform changes now. Might be time, in the words of Emperor Chaz, “to move on to your life’s work.” Might be time to focus on other projects, like your meats blog or the permanent records files. I wish you nothing but the best, and I hope you can find some form of sustainable income while remaining an independent contractor.
Simply put, I’ve lost interest in the last 2-3 years anyways…
I notice that you’re still here today. ;)
Kidding. Thanks for reading, Joseph.
Ok, I’m going to just say it. I can totally understand some of you being disappointed that this is going to become a pay site, but bashing Paul’s principles and honesty here is downright disgusting. Obviously I like everybody here has read the blog for years and I’ve never heard anybody say anything bad about Paul or his views/opinions. Sure there’s been some fun debate about the “Washington Football Team” or Chief Wahoo or anything else but again it’s always been clean, honest debate. We shake hands and move on. No grudges. Anybody who held grudges walked away a long time ago.
Suddenly money comes into the picture and everybody’s favorite uni-blogger is greedy and hypocritical. Anybody who has bashed him today when they never said bad things about him BEFORE today obviously never really respected him or the hard work he and the staff have done into keeping this site going and just trolled around here.
As I’ve said above Paul, think about special perks for paid members like a deeper store discount or some swankier contests. You have time, this is your site and you know best.
Been reading since 2005, not planning on stopping today.
I’d pay $5/month. I recently signed up for my local newspaper since they switched. I recognize the need for journalism to exist and I’m ok with paying for a service I use.
Paul, I love this site. I’ve been coming here regularly for a decade (perhaps since the very beginning), and I don’t mind paying, but it mst be said that the prices you are considering are really far too high.
At your higher number, reading this site for ten years would cost twelve hundred dollars, which is more than I (and probably most of your readers) earn for a week’s labor.
And I’m not alone in hating the everything-as-a-service monthly subscription model that is being foisted on the public seemingly everywhere. People drift in and out of their hobbies and paying monthly for something that I might be really into in March (when baseball teams are revealing new uniforms) and July (when we see what garishness is on display at the All-Star Game) and not in other months.
Any other system would be better. If there were a way to pay you 15¢ or 30¢ each time I visit, I’d very gladly do that. (Maybe even more than that.) I’d gladly make a one-time contribution of $50 or more to be a member in perpetuity. But a monthly subscription, at a high price, to something you might or might not make use of really ruis the mood. As things are now, I feel like a member of a community — a contributing member who loves finding stuff out in the wild (a rare jersey on eBay; a goofy three-digit number on a Japanese minor leaguer’s back) to link back to here on the site, and who spends time crafting posts full of links to share with everybody. We commenter “contributors” aren’t doing one percent of what you (Paul and the other writers) do, but I much prefer to feel like a contributor than a paying consumer.
Also, a suggestion for when you go the pay route: it would make paying members happy if you re-hosted the images you link to in the ticker (credited appropriately, of course) so that everyone can see them. Seemingly half of everything is a direct link to twitter, twimg, or other image sites that are blocked at a lot of workplaces (and let’s be honest, people browse sites like this one at work). And as the years pass, these things disappear. Visit a Uni Watch column from 2010 or 2013 and seemingly half the links are dead. If I’m paying to see stuff, I want to see the stuff.
I’m curious as to why you’ve teased the number out this way. You could also look at the same number the opposite way and say that a daily visit to Uni-Watch will cost no more than $.33 cents a day going forward. That’s less than a bag of chips from the vending machine. While I imagine what we’re ultimately going to see with the pay model at the end of April is something more nuanced than what Paul has announced today, but at the end of the day, content is something that has been created by someone, in this case, someone who many of us have followed for more than a decade, and content creators deserve to be paid.
That said, I do support your idea about an image hosting site for the ticker items. It can be a little cumbersome trying to follow the ticker, especially on my phone.
Uni-Watch has long been one of my daily reads. I don’t read my local paper every day nor do I visit more than a handful of websites each day but each morning I look forward to seeing Uni-Watch. I like supporting creative people–I have nothing but local art in my house and I pay going rates for everything. I love Uni-Watch and I love Paul’s sense of community and depth of his commitment to doing the right thing. We shouldn’t expect creativity and hard work to be free. Count me in as a supporter today and tomorrow.
I’m not invested in this site enough to pay as I only check it from time to time (and mostly for either favorite team stuff or general soccer stuff), but I respect your right to make it worth your time. You provide a lot of interesting information on uniforms/history.
I would caution you though that unless you offer enough unique content, there is always a possibility of someone else out there doing it just as good if not better for cheaper. I know that’s probably obvious, but something to think about. I don’t see the value as it stands now for that kind of money a month.
Either way good luck!
I’ve been a daily reader for a long time (probably 5 years, at least), but have never commented before, and thought that I would add my thoughts to this discussion. Most have been discussed in some shape or form above, but I just thought I would add to the chorus, if it helps in any way?
$5 a month is a lot to pay, IMHO. I understand why; I understand the economies of scale that this site simply does not have, since we’re a small bunch. But compared to the $12 or so I spend on Netflix, which gives me hours upon hours of entertainment compared to the 5 minutes or so spent each day here, it’s a tough pill to swallow. So I sat here and thought, what, exactly, would get me to pay that for Uni-Watch? And I came up with the following:
1. A site overhaul: Already mentioned to be in the works, but I’d have to SEE it and LIKE it before committing. Currently, Uni-Watch crashes on a regular basis, especially in Chrome, or has odd ad pop-ups that make the site unusable. I know this is not Paul’s intention, and for free, I wouldn’t complain…it’s in a pay model that I, well…would.
2. More content. The daily writeup is oftentimes delightful, but both the ticker and column combine to take up, as said, about 5 minutes of time to read in most cases. You mentioned a NBA uniform tracker; that’s a great start, though I’m not a fan of basketball in general. Not sure what else you could add that’d tickle my fancy, to be honest – most everything is readily available from SportsLogos that I can think of for us uni-nerds…
3. Keep it focused. While I have no problem with using the site as it is as a personal blog, I rarely read anything about “what I did last night” or “this weekend” or “on my vacation” because it just isn’t interesting to my taste (everyone’s is different, of course, and I’d never badmouth it – it’s just not for me). If you took a vacation and visited different stadiums, or sports landmarks, then that’d be another thing. If I pay and come here to see an interesting content piece – like the recent one on Lou Gherig’s pin, for example, and see something about a duckpin bowling outing instead, I’d be a bit miffed. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation for a paid site?
4. Editorialize less. Opinions are part of the game, I think, and often time, I like reading yours, Paul. What I don’t like is when you veer into political discussions. Again, I’ve never mentioned it before (because I’m not paying), but I’m a Redskins fan, and it bothers me that they are constantly the butt of a really old and washed up joke. Put Chief Wahoo (at least, until the end of the season) or the Braves tomahawk up instead of a Skins logo from time to time at least. Or get rid of the Native American section all together. People have VERY intense feelings about Sports teams and logos, and badmouthing them (however justified) is harsh, and I wouldn’t pay to see my team constantly ridiculed. You have an anti-gun message in the upper-right at the moment, one I completely, 100% agree with, but nonetheless, it doesn’t belong on a uniform/sports site I’m paying for.
That’s all I can think of for now. Just my opinions, of course, and they are like water, right? :) But thought I’d add to the discussion and help if I could.
On a side note, I actually really like the specialty ads here that you’re talking about keeping. Tokens & Icons and Ebbetts Field Flannels, just to speak of a couple, are companies I would never have heard of other wise, and their products are fantastic. So keep at it with these!
Interestingly, and I’m not trying to put you down Jason just more looking at the dilemma Paul has, I would be much less willing to describe if Paul went through with your #s 3 and 4.
It’s a definite conundrum, because people come here for different reasons!
Perhaps, for #3 at least, when there’s a “what I did on my vacation” post, there’s at least one other sports-related post for that day. That way, you’re still getting the content you like while I get the content I like?
As far as #4, when I say “editorialize less,” I don’t mean to stop sharing opinions on uniforms – if they’re ugly, call them ugly. If they’re corporate sponsored and it looks horrible, call it out. I don’t have a problem with that. I suppose a better way to put it would be to “politicize less,” since I was specifically thinking about the Native American and guns issues while I was writing.
I can see that with #3, though honestly to me the trip reports/etc are usually more interesting to me than a lot of the ledes.
As for #4, I understood what you meant. I would be disappointed and might be less willing to subscribe if Paul politicized less/gave less non-sports opinions, even though I don’t 100% agree with all of them.
Great points Jason!! I agree with you 100% that I have not commented on certain views that Paul has, as it is his site and it is free. However, I would definitely NOT pay to view a site that I have MANY differing views with, good or bad. A perfect example is the Redskins and his refusal to use the word Redskins. I am not a fan of them in general, but I do hate the way they are portrayed on this website. Thanks for bringing this up in the discussion.
I don’t remember how I came across uni-watch (perhaps ESPN), but I must say it has become a part of my daily ritual for past several years.
Paul – I think you work incredibly hard to produce this content (shocked at times really) and I respect your conviction on ads. Ultimately I think I’ll pay, or at least give it a shot. I’m personally excited to see your new NBA uniform content. I hope you get the subscription model correct and things work out for you.
The woe-is-me bullshit drama posted by, shockingly, more folks than I anticipated in response to Paul’s news is coming across to me as sour grapes, plain and simple. You’d be hard-pressed to find an honest explanation from the heart by anyone who is concerned about their customers. If you can’t pony up $5-10 a month for something you consume on a daily basis, then don’t bitch about it going away.
Well said. Paul has always been one of the most honest blogger/writers that I follow. I really can’t believe so many people are so cynical about this.
Will the quality of the content be increasing since we have to pay for it? Will the constant grammatical errors and typos be a thing of the past?
I think many of us enjoy your travelogues. If I have to pay for UniWatch I’d like at least one travelogue per week, for a trip that’s been at least three days duration.
Also, would you consider compensating folks for ticker submissions? I think that might help take a little strain off this unanticipated financial blow.
Also one more thing, no more taking the entire month of August off. If I’m paying I want your content at least 4 weekdays per week.
Will there be a free trial period, say 6 months after you re-launch the site to see if it is in fact something I will want to pay for?
One more thing, since I don’t read on weekends, will there be a discount for that?
Also, I want to know exactly which companies are sponsoring each team, no more of this Mr. Yuck stuff.
Fifthly, I want the names of each college football bowl named correctly when it is mentioned. No more chicken sandwich bowl antics.
Sixthly, I know on occasion you’ve posted a story that you’ve had to backtrack on because it was false information, will there be an increase in fact checking once there is a paywall in place?
Tom, I think this new system is not going to work for you. I’m sorry.
You haven’t gotten rid of the trolls yet. I really hope Tom was trying to be funny.
I loooove the Mr. Yuk stuff. ; )
I love this site and have for years. I am not going to spread on the hate, because I understand why Paul has to do this, the economics of the internet is changing and I actually thank Paul for being honest and upfront with the audience. But I am an historical researcher and not exactly rich, I don’t know if I can justify paying for even a cool website like this. My news and media sources are paid for by my work, I cannot convince them to foot the bill for something I read with my morning coffee (and has nothing to do with my work). I wish Paul and the site all the best and hope the pay model works out. But I cannot take part and I am sorry that I cannot contribute to the excellent work here. I will continue to follow on Twitter, FB group and whatever I can on here. I have no bad feelings, I understand all too well what the marketplace is like and thank Paul for his generosity for all of these years. Thanks, man.
I’m behind you Paul and I’m looking forward to the changes.
Oh and my wife will approve the credit card charges.
First, I want to add to the chorus of people thanking Paul for this site. It launched the first year I started teaching (I found it from a Slate article that I was reading during a planning period, or at least that’s my recollection). It has been a part of my life for that entire time.
I don’t subscribe to any other websites. But no other website provides this much of a niche outlet for me. If jalopnik put up a paywall, I’d head to The Drive. Sure, I could go to Creamer’s site (which is also very good), but it isn’t the same. It’s uniforms, but this site is the Grand-daddy of uni watching. Hell, it’s the damn namesake of the thing so many of us do. This site has a distinct voice and that voice has shaped how I look at the world. Without this site, and Paul’s outlook especially, I know that I would not look at the world around me nearly as critically.
I used this site to help teach critical evaluation and design when I taught yearbook. It was a near daily trip for my students so that they could learn how to evaluate design.
More than that, though, I feel like this site is written by a person who is true to what he believes. Paul is his own editor. That’s awesome in an era of increasing corporate domination.
That said, I’m in. I couldn’t have been when I started reading. But I can be now, so I will be. My only suggestion would be to find a way to offer a discount to students. I would hate for young people to not be exposed to independent critical thought like Paul’s simply because they don’t have a stream of disposable income. Maybe a reduced price or even a scholarship program.
And to everyone saying “but Netflix, but the WaPo, but the NYT”: even if the economies of scale weren’t at play here, are those outlets going to cover this beat? They aren’t. ESPN comes closest, by employing Paul to write about uniforms, but those articles are always just a teaser for the deeper dives that happen here. Just MONDAY we got to follow a flag-pin mystery that wasn’t going to get covered anywhere else.
Don’t even get me started on the travelogs, Culinary Corner, and Get Out More features (and featurettes). Those alone would be worth a buck a month.
Anyway, TL;DR: the site is awesome, I feel like I know Paul as a person, and I want to support that. Don’t want to? Can’t? I get it. I feel bad that you’re leaving. Angry? That seems misplaced.
As someone who writes in the web journalism field, and has seen first hand how advertising is collapsing, I completely understand and support why you’re doing this. I will *most likely* happily be surbscribing (perhaps not at first as planning a wedding is expremenly expensive, but as asoon as possible).
Also, while I completely understand why the paywall discussion has overtaken the comments today, I just want to acknowledge the anniversary. I may have commented this last year as well, but I changed careers in 2015 to pursue writing after a few years doing something else after graduating college with a degree in Cinema and Cultural Studies and dreams of a writing career. You’re story and work was then and continues to be an inspiration to me, and I just wanted to note that and say thanks.
Change is hard, and obviously you must do what is best for you and your contributors. Just recently I have decided to cut the cord with cable and get everything a la carte. As I add this up along with other web-based monthly expenses, I will be prioritizing to determine which ones I keep and which I discard. I would put Uni-Watch in the category of the two USC Trojan sites, my alma mater. I frequent those sites many times during the day versus here usually once in the morning for 5 minutes. I might check back if I make a comment to see if there is a response from you or others. Sadly I’m not sure I see the value in paying for this. One thing you might consider is to have a comment section for each catagory/article. This way someone could comment on a particular post, and have interaction with others concerning this. Say you run a feature on the new Titans uniform. Readers could comment and debate this without having to read through all the other comments that are unrelated. I know some really enjoy pointing out spelling errors, but maybe have a separate place for these comments. Or if you post on what you did last night, this would keep those comments contained. When you come out with the price, I’ll evaluate the annual amount and determine if this makes sense for me. I prefer paying the annual. Besides getting an annual discount, it makes it very clear if I value it enough to subscribe. Right now I’d guess that amount is $50. One of the USC blogs offers free months for annual subscriptions. Maybe have $5.00 a month, and if you pay upfront for the year you get two months free. Lastly, I hope when you come out with your new format/improvements you offer a free period to try it.
As a long time reader & contributor (over 10 years), I’ll just say that I really hope Paul can figure out a way to keep the site going that makes sense for him as well as the readership. Paul has always been a fair & open-minded person, so I’m sure he’ll take any reasonable suggestion under consideration.
I’m sorry that life and circumstances have brought this day about, and that Paul feels this has to be done. I am not bashing any motives, and I do understand both the reasons behind it and the angst this all caused. I am not going to overreact either way. I am admittedly torn and there are good arguments on both sides, if you dig beneath some of the hyperbole and vitriol. I will see how I feel when it comes time to decide. Either way, best of luck Paul. You have given this community of people who Get It a place to convene and hang out.
So long, farewell, Auf Weidersehen, goodbye….
Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbyeeeeee.
I can understand the rationale for paywalling original content, but most of the site is aggregated from other providers that are also increasingly paywalled. I would have a hard time justifying a monthly fee to be redirected to content that I have to pay again to actually read.
Well this is unfortunate. I think the hard part of all this is it’s likely to hurt Paul more than help him. It’s delaying the inevitable unless you can come up with some non-traditional way to handling this.
I’ll hang around as long as I can. … But maybe it’s time for someone new to start blogging about it all.
I honestly hope this is what happens. I have read this ever since it began and his espn pieces before. And no, I won’t be paying cause honestly my opinion has went down about uniwatch, the crossed out names of stadiums, the anti-corporate views, that are a bit much (overpriced polyester shirts). I hope other bloggers surface, as yes I still read this every day, but mainly the ticker. I do still wish Paul the best and understand why he is doing this, and no doubt he’ll get people (hell, he has people literally proofreading he never asked to). So best of luck Paul
Been a reader since the early days, will continue to be. Gothamist and Gawker shut down last year and I haven’t found adequate replacements for either so for those that feel they can get their uni news elsewhere, good luck…..
Gothamist is apparently coming back, but I don’t know how similar it’ll be to what it was…
As for Gawker, good lord do I miss them.
Best of luck, Paul.
I enjoy Uni Watch and I agree that web advertising is annoying and intrusive. Incidentally, that’s also the way I feel about your political commentary. If I’m gonna pay to read a blog about uniforms you gotta agree to keep your white guilt to yourself. Or find a different outlet for it. I don’t need a lecture on how the San Diego Padres alienate baseball fans that don’t believe in Christianity.
It’s incredible that, 20 years ago, nobody would have thought twice about plunking down 10 bucks a month for a couple niche-interest magazines that most likely end up in the recycle bin a few weeks later. Put the same thing on the internet and ask for compensation and people freak out. What’s the difference?
I’ve been checking this site out on a daily basis since I was a freshman in college. That was thirteen years ago. That’s a lot of free entertainment. How in the holy hell could I possibly complain about the content’s creator and curator asking for payment for that entertainment, especially when I’m well aware of the financial difficulties that content-creators face on the internet these days?
That said, I certainly understand the initial reluctance to adding another subscription to my mounting monthly auto-renews.
physical things are always easier to pay for, and if you toss them in a week that’s your choice. Many people have boxes of those old magazines around. paying for the electrons with no tangible asset in return is much harder.
Seeing these comments, it seems that your readership will become a lot less mean-spirited post-paywall.
Also, maybe there can be a lesson for commenters on paragraph breaks, and how to use them.
At least the fanboys will remain.
I understand the reasons and it kinda makes me sad. Sadder is some of the vitriol in the responses. I only read the articles and havnt looked at the ticker in years. If I had to pick my favorite content it would be hard to pick between travelogues or culinary corner.
Curious if you explored Patreon. It allows content creators to still have some free content, but make other content exclusive to paying Patreon at different $ levels
I enjoy Uni-Watch very much. I’ve been a regular here for at least 8 or 9 year. Maybe more. As much as I love the site I don’t think I’d want to pay for it. The content is great but it’s just a fun way to spend 10 or 15 minutes. Reminds me of Howard Stern. I used to really enjoy Stern in the 1980s/90s but when he went to pay radio I left him behind and didn’t go back. It’s interesting. Sometimes in life we have these things we think we reallly need or enjoy but when we lose them they are not missed and easily replaced. Paul will still appear on ESPN and has a Twitter account. The Chris Creamer site is also a really good way to keep up with uniform content. I’ll definitely miss Uni-Watch but I doubt I’ll miss it enough to pay for it. As for pricing I drink coffee. I pay $1.65 a day when I buy a cup on my way to work. Far less than $5. Anyway I completely understand where Paul is coming from. By working as hard as he does on the site it’s completely reasonable to expect a decent salary. I’ll miss this site and I wish Paul a lot of success. As for the free journalism I think most would agree the cats out of the bag. As long as there are free news sites, nobody will pay.
I know this was a hard decision. Even if I didn’t work here I’d support this place, because it’s an important voice in the sports world.
Much respect for having the balls to go through with this even though you knew it wouldn’t be popular.
The endless virtue-signaling in these replies is enough to make me sign up to pay for content.
“Virtue signalling” is the conspicuous expression of moral values done primarily with the intent of enhancing standing within a social group.
This is a GODSEND for me as I teach Economics at local college and will use these next couple months as real breathing example of “Completely Free Market vs. Pricing Properly in the market” discussions.
Much like CableTV that charges 100 bucks a month for everything even though I only want ESPN, CBS and History channel and can’t buy them ala carte, I only like certain sections of Uni_Watch. I would love to see stats on what gets read versus what is skipped over.
Personally, I can’t fathom paying for soccer, hockey, the Native American section, the what I cooked on my grill section, or the guess what I did last night but I suspect Paul has the stats to know what his readers look at.
And my oh my! What if a new site pops-up that offers the same timesuck/kill that Uni-watch did but for free? I used to read NYDN every day but now that they charge I am on the NYPost.
Kudos to Paul for this landmark decision and kudos to all of you for paying for subscription since this will be going on my Instituion’s credit card and we all know who picks up the tab for our universities!
Keep up the great work Paul and this has to end better than the decision to split up UniWatch into two sections per day.
Read Uni-Watch religiously. Love it.
However, as a senior on a fixed income it will be a stretch.
Any possibility for a discount for us Golden Agers?
I’ve been reading the uni-watch blog nearly daily (except weekends, sorry Phil) since it’s inception. I’m debating if it would be worth it to me to pay. I skip some of the content and certain features I just don’t have interest in, while others I find fascinating.
My biggest question for you would be, how do you expect to get new readers?
If you have a paywall, yes, existing readers will stay but no one is going to pay if they’ve never seen your content. I really don’t get going full paywall. Why wouldn’t you consider something like Patreon?
also a fascinating option one of my students did for his blog last year
Fully support the plan to go to a paid model in whatever form it ends up taking. Thank you.
If it’s in the $30/year range I’d be good with it. If you can’t make it work for that I’d understand, too. Not sure how much over that $30 I could go, though.
Yeah, the more I think about it $30 a year is my ceiling. I will say if he had this amount it would probably make sense to only offer an annual subscription, and not have a monthly fee. One site I belong to did this to make it easier for their bookkeeping.
First-time, long time. I know this is difficult and this might not work for you considering you’re a one-man operation, but would you consider the following pricing model (borrowed from talkingpointsmemo.com)
$50/year or $5/month for PRIME content. Limited adds for longer pieces and your personal stuff (e.g. road trips) Maybe a podcast, exclusive event invitations, ebay roundup etc. This would also include the ability to post comments.
and a free basic account for daily uniform rundowns that include links to twitter but have more adds and no ability to comment.
Just a thought.
I applaud you for making the hard decision to go pay-based and, like others above, find it odd how strongly some people are reacting against it. But something has to be done about this race to the bottom that exists not only in online journalism but other areas of society (like huge corporate tax breaks). I’ve been coming here just about every morning since you launched and enjoy just about every bit of content you produce.
All the snarky people chiming in to say goodbye clearly have no idea how hard it is to produce content almost every single day. Obviously they seem ok with the idea of just being given stuff, wonder what they would say if someone asked them to give away their work. Every time I think of doing something like blogging or youtubing in relation to my interests, I realize that maintaining the energy to do a) do it everyday and b) come up with fresh content consistently is so incredibly difficult.
Best of luck on the decision and I hope fans stick with it, it’s not only a great site but great community
Open Letter to Uni Watch:
Completely understand and agree that content folks pay for everywhere else never should have been provided free of charge on the internet. Not sure how to fix it at this late stage but some system of payment is the only logical solution. I am willing and do pay for content on other sites. However, as this site will soon learn, once folks begin paying for content, the dynamic and expectation will change.
As a daily reader since the site’s inception (and before), the tone on the site has unfortunately evolved over time. What was once a reporting on uniforms and history and slowly shifted to more editorialized comments based on personal preference. In an era when uniform changes, alternate uniforms etc. are at their peak (seemingly a high cotton moment for this site), the site continues to knock, ridicule, and demean any change or alternate uniform that does not adhere to his strict aesthetic preferences (just look at how many acronyms exist on this time for that purpose). While not ideal, the content provided is still interesting even with this backdrop. However, it’s not worth paying to learn the editor doesn’t like black so the back uniforms are going to be mocked, especially in a era when uniform information is more freely available.
Meanwhile, political correctness and social issues have bled into the daily dialogue and somehow been juxtaposed with uniforms. Everyone is free to believe as they wish, but I am afraid you will soon discover that a lot of folks are OK skipping content, but not OK sending money to support content/views with which they disagree.
All this is to say, a change to pay for content structure will be the last straw for me, as I will not be paying to be lectured on what I should or shouldn’t like uniform wise, nor will I be subsidizing political and social propaganda.
My best advice would be to thoughtfully consider modifying some of the content/general structure on the site before launching a pay program. Revert back to more organic reporting on uniforms, with less editorialized and condescending viewpoints, especially involving politics or social issues.
It will devolve into a Cult of Paul website. That’s where it has been going for a while now. It’s all about him and his twee hipster lifestyle.
buck up or fuck off, people.
Paul, you’ll always have a fan and customer here
COTD right here:
“buck up or fuck off”
goddam that is so great i might register that as a website
Love the transparency. Love the site. Not sure if I will pay for the content, but I don’t begrudge the decision.
Here is a thought: One free month of content with every $20 spent on Uni merch. I’ve often been tempted to buy the shirts, but only have done so once (BFBS). If I knew it enabled me to the content, I would be swayed to buy more.
Paul, I want to further comment on what several students have mentioned.
I will pay full price. But, as a long-time software developer that has also been battling the race to $0, I can tell you that students and teachers never want to and will not pay full price. I have found that giving everyone with an .edu email a 50% discount goes a long way. Very few people try to scam the system (at least in my experience) and you’ll have some dedicated fans that will transition to full price once their student days are over.
As someone who has gone back to school and obtained a .edu address again, I can attest that because I can afford to pay for a full subscription I will. And, I absolutely would have taken advantage of any discount offered to a .edu address when I was a student the first time in 2007 (which, coincidentally, is when I started reading Uni Watch daily).