The hardest part is still the hard part
July 28, 2020 6:18 AM   Subscribe

“If you’re going to take a moonshot, you may as well do it exactly the way you want to” After Quitting Deadspin in Protest, They’re Starting a New Site (SLNYT)
posted by everybody had matching towels (40 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
Link to Defector.com, which will start formally in September.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:27 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]


So it's a pay site (bless their hearts & principles) for unlimited reads, and pay a little more to comment (bless their hearts & principles again!).

I don't think the site will ever grow to be 'UUUUGE, but I bet it will be self-sustaining like MetaFilter is: sports people seem happier to pay for their hobby/passion than many fandoms.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:51 AM on July 28 [7 favorites]


I don't really follow sports but I think I may subscribe just to prove the finance weasels wrong.

(And also because their non-sports stuff is pretty good.)
posted by suetanvil at 6:55 AM on July 28 [9 favorites]


If they get Drew, they get my subscription
posted by Ber at 7:09 AM on July 28 [14 favorites]


The quality and depth of the reporting/writing at The Athletic changed my mind forever on paying for online sports content. I'll probably sign on for this too.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:12 AM on July 28 [6 favorites]


I'm not the target audience, since I'm not a big sports fan, but I'm really interested to see how this goes from a business-of-media standpoint. I think a lot of places have realized that long-form and more thoughtful writing just doesn't have the sort of viral mass audience that you need to support yourself purely through advertising, and if you want to run a site like this, it's a lot easier to find 10,000 people to pay $10 a month than to get the tens of millions of page-views it would need to make that sort of money through advertising alone.
posted by firechicago at 7:12 AM on July 28 [6 favorites]


This is probably going to be the thing that gets me to accept that the “free” era of the internet is pretty much done, and makes me get out my credit card. Now, if they’d only do some sort of tie-up with Discourse Blog (the ex Splinter staff) where there was some sort of back and forth (and possibly a discount for subscribing to both?), they’d be well on their way to starting a new media empire!

After looking at their prices, I checked on the Athletic, and I guess I hadn’t realized how inexpensive they are, and more than likely, I’ll sign up there too.

If this is the way things are going, creators running subscription sites, what happens here when the best of the web is behind paywalls?
posted by Ghidorah at 7:28 AM on July 28 [5 favorites]


It looks more like fanfare, where all the discussed content is already paywalled.
posted by phooky at 7:37 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]


take my money! this is so great.
posted by The Ted at 7:40 AM on July 28


Excited about this! Love their tagline: "All of our bullshit, none of theirs." That is the bullshit I want!
posted by ferret branca at 7:41 AM on July 28 [24 favorites]


I needed some good news today, these idiots have come through.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 7:43 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]


Social media did a great job of killing the free web; it turns out most people don’t want their own website and don’t know what to do with one when they have it. I think we were probably always going to end up somewhere like here - even in the 90s there was talk that eventually we’d have to work out how to pay people for good content. There’s a sliding door where the web never professionalised, where the internet was for sharing fanfic and companies wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, not even for advertising, but I’m not sure how likely that world is, or how it evolved in 2020.

There is something extremely good about promising, as a super-premium subscription reward, a birthday video that is intentionally late
posted by Merus at 7:45 AM on July 28 [5 favorites]


This is a bit of a derail, but I don't think quality content on the internet was ever "free." It always cost someone something. For a while there it cost the creators tons of time, talent and energy to produce and publish content with no remuneration. Then it was various kinds of internet advertising, which has been reduced due to a combination of ad-blockers and internet advertising not really working anyway. So what we're left with is (a) paid access to quality content, and (b) "if you're not the customer, you're the product" data-mining. Back in ye oldyne thymes it wasn't that unusual to subscribe to several magazines as well as a newspaper or two. Maybe we're heading back in that direction. In any event, I'll happily cough up the cost of a cup of schmancy coffee once a month to support quality content that interests me. I hope they make a go of it.
posted by slkinsey at 8:15 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]


As the proprietor of another special-interest subscription service, the truth is that if you want to make something that's:
  • High quality
  • Sustainable
  • Able to pay people fairly
  • Not likely to have millions of users/readers (i.e. somewhat niche)
then subscription funding is one of the few ways to go. Even podcasts are moving toward subscription-funding as ad rates drop.

If there's something in your life that you enjoy, that you'd miss if it went away, that has a more limited audience than, say, Netflix or the NYT or Disney, then please consider supporting it – because if you don't, it will go away.
posted by adrianhon at 8:17 AM on July 28 [25 favorites]


I'm ok with the "everything is free" era going away, so long as free platforms don't all go away.

Not everyone wants to make a blog or specialty site, but if they do, I want them to be able to make one for free or very little. Even if it's not at all good or interesting.

I'm happy to pay the people who make the good stuff! They need to eat.
posted by emjaybee at 8:54 AM on July 28 [8 favorites]


Oh, yay! This sounds like it will be a delight.
posted by capricorn at 9:24 AM on July 28


YES! YES! I have never paid $100 for something so quickly in my life. And the Magary/Roth podcast is back!

As someone on twitter noted, this is a kind of good news that my brain has forgotten how to process.
posted by ominous_paws at 9:39 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]


Hot damn! Get out the good silver!
posted by East14thTaco at 10:08 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]


The fact that the site name starts with the same 2 letters I've only just now stopped absent-mindedly typing into a browser sometime is probably not an accident, or if it was, it's a happy one I'm sure they are pleased with.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:09 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]


The subscription button is not working for me, for some reason. But I am also extremely glad these guys is back.

I already subscribe to a couple of local news subscription services, and I really feel that this is the future.
posted by indianbadger1 at 11:14 AM on July 28


but I’m not sure how likely that world is

0% likely.

People either weren't around back then, or have just forgot, but Youtube's biggest innovation, pre-Google, was convincing investors to willing set their money on fire. The actual video hosting part wasn't that novel, but allowing the users to upload/host their videos for free definitely was.

"If you aren't paying, you are the product" has its negatives to be sure. But before then, "The Internet™" either required lots of technical know how, was relatively expensive, or often both.

There really isn't a place where stuff is cheap/free and easy to use, but also doesn't require corporations shoveling money into to furnace to make it happen.
posted by sideshow at 11:16 AM on July 28


I'm so happy and excited for them. I signed up. Everybody on the masthead took a huge risk to stand on principal, I want this to work so badly.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 11:20 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]


Great news, I definitely felt the loss of Deadspin pretty hard back when it happened. The mix of sports and holding people accountable, essentially speaking truth to power in an industry so focused on access was a great site. Glad it's back and yeah smash that subscribe button so hard.
posted by Carillon at 11:30 AM on July 28


Subscribed for 1 year. I had no idea how much I valued Old Deadspin until it was finally muzzled; the brief resurgence of Unnamed Temporary Sports Blog made me vow to support them with a subscription if given the chance so here I am. Lets. Fucking. Go.
posted by the painkiller at 11:52 AM on July 28 [6 favorites]


I am seen:
“A lot of us felt adrift,” Mr. Ley said. “If we felt that way, it’s likely there are pretty significant numbers of former readers who felt that way and would be willing to pay money to have that kind of publication come back.”
very excited for this with extremely unreasonable expectations that its presence will fix at least some of what's felt emotionally broken in me this year. take the money, all of it, the money that is mine, it's yours
posted by Kybard at 12:42 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


Luke O’Neil of Hell World interviews some of the Deadspin gang:

Will Roth be able to write about Trump as much as he wants, which I happen to know he takes great pleasure from and loves doing.

MAGARY: I sure as hell won't stop him.

MCKINNEY: I cannot and will not try to control David Roth.

posted by Bella Donna at 12:58 PM on July 28 [8 favorites]


It’s a really great interview and I wasn’t even a fan because I didn’t know about Deadspin’s existence until after it died because I am not a sports person.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:59 PM on July 28


The quality and depth of the reporting/writing at The Athletic changed my mind forever on paying for online sports content. I'll probably sign on for this too.

BTW - If you have T-mobile you can get a one year subscription to the Athletic right now as part of T-mobile's current T-mobile Tuesday give away. (Also MLB.TV if that will be worth anything)
posted by srboisvert at 1:42 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


If you actually want to give us this much money, email us – we should talk

From the "Mysterious Benefactor/Sicko Lawyer" level subscription ($25,000).

I tell ya, I had it, that would be money well spent.
posted by chavenet at 2:18 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


Drew will indeed return. On Twitter he's talking about the return of "Why Your Team Sucks" and "Haters Guide to Williams-Sonoma Catalog". Yep, I'm subscribing. This beats Medium all to hell.
posted by Ber at 3:16 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


I loved old Deadspin and am very pleased they launched this.
posted by mogget at 4:33 PM on July 28


Please let this work. Please let this work.
posted by capnsue at 10:53 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


There’s a sliding door where the web never professionalised, where the internet was for sharing fanfic and companies wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, not even for advertising, but I’m not sure how likely that world is, or how it evolved in 2020.
---
There really isn't a place where stuff is cheap/free and easy to use, but also doesn't require corporations shoveling money into to furnace to make it happen.
---

Youtube was created in 2005. I think that's already well past the inflection point for that sort of thing.

The internet that didn't develop a commercial presence looks more like the internet (and other computer networks) from the 80s and 90s. To spin a counterfactual:

Corporations go all in on the internet, as a communications network and infrastructure. You can't beat it for data transfer, and every one busily wires up all their offices together, and starts planning services they can sell, if they can only convince people to get a home internet connection, which remains a tough sell for most people.

The web, on the other hand, nobody ever really knows what to do with, commercially. There's hardly any people on it, because no one's got a connection. it's significantly slower to develop much market penetration, and it's pretty obvious that the people who are there are a whole lot of wierdos, the same people who were into BBSes and usenet. They're actively hostile to corporate presence, and nobody with an interest in spending any money shows up for long enough that it gets written off and the cultural focus never crystalizes.

Serious work on the internet stays in walled gardens and custom software that uses the internet but isn't part of a larger whole. It looks... well, not that different from the dominance of Facebook and every company having their own app on the App Store.

Meanwhile, the web's still there, still full of wierdos and hobbyists, and the occasional academic. Google never happened, and search engines never actually got any good, so navigation is still word of mouth, happenstance, and web rings. It looks mostly like geocities and bulletin boards and weird art projects, and like a lot of the non-corporate parts of the web look today. There's probably less of it, because there's a lot less people who pay it any mind.

The only real difference is that there's a bigger gulf between the hobbyist web and the corporate internet; they don't happen via the same protocols.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:07 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


Good for them - I hope this works out. This sort of thing makes me wish the microtransactions model of paying for content had taken off. While Deadspin is the only sports publication I've ever been interested in reading, I'm just not interested enough in sports to subscribe to a site like this, no matter how high quality. But that's a problem for me, not for them - lots of sports fans out there.
posted by Ragged Richard at 6:50 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


As much as I enjoy the output of the Deadspin expats, David Roth skewering our "Big Wet President" as much as he wants was all I needed to hear.

Shut up and take my money!
posted by bawanaal at 10:35 AM on July 29


10k subscribers in the first 24h and over 11k now!
posted by ominous_paws at 11:22 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


This sort of thing makes me wish the microtransactions model of paying for content had taken off. While Deadspin is the only sports publication I've ever been interested in reading, I'm just not interested enough in sports to subscribe to a site like this, no matter how high quality.

Yeah, I agree. To pay to subscribe to a site requires high personal investment (and presumably, no desire to share any articles you read with others) and I don't have that much investment with most places that paywall. They're going for diehards, not dabblers.

Well, good luck to them. I'm not really a sports person, but hopefully they find enough diehards.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:27 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


This is great news and I want to join the chorus singing the “this is great news” song.
posted by Kemma80 at 12:15 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


I'm just not interested enough in sports to subscribe to a site like this, no matter how high quality

If it’s at all any help, they essentially lost their jobs (well, resigned en mass when the writing on the wall got blatant enough) for literally not writing about sports. There were days where they didn’t publish any sort of a direct sports story (as defined by, say, highlights of a game, or trade news, etc). The old Concourse subsite was specifically about not-sports, and stories from that were often more popular than stories published under the main Deadspin site.

I’m going to subscribe for a couple of different reasons: one, since this group of writers left Deadspin last fall, I’ve keenly felt the absence of their voices. Trying to find any sort of replacement on the web has led to nearly a year of pretty dissatisfying scrolling.

The other, and connected to the dissatisfaction, is that in addition to Deadspin, a lot of sports writing on the net has been absolutely gutted over the last year, with SBNation’s ugly reaction to the labor law passed in California (firing everyone involved in pretty much every California based blog so as not to have to hire them full time) and the ridiculous level of talent they’ve just set fire to.

The Ringer seems to be trying to shift towards covering some of the topics deadspin used to cover, but it all just feels so bland and toothless. I’m excited for this site, which, if it’s anything like Deadspin was, it’ll literally be all teeth, with some occasional sports thrown in the mix.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:13 PM on July 29 [6 favorites]


Signed up for a year, too.

I have to confess I've visited Deadspin a couple of times in the last month or three months or six months or whatever. It was not the same.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:47 PM on July 29


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