I’ve never been a huge Cyndi Lauper fan, but she was certainly right 35 years ago when she sang, “Money changes everything.”
That’s the biggest lesson of the past week, during which a great many of you have shared your thoughts about my plan, announced last week, to move Uni Watch to a paid subscription model.
Several hundred of you have expressed your thoughts on the matter — some in the site’s comments and some in private emails to me. Some of those responses were incredibly positive (seriously, I was blown away by all the people who basically said, “Ready to subscribe — where do I sign?”), and others were just as strongly negative. Many were lengthy and thoughtful. I appreciate all of them, really.
Some of the feedback reaffirmed things I already knew (such as the fact that a lot of people really, really don’t like paying for internet content). But I also learned a lot. For example:
• The pricing system I suggested in last month’s announcement — $5 to $10 a month, with a discount for an annual subscription — was too high. Honestly, I was just winging it when I suggested that price range, but it’s now clear to me that a better price would be something like $3.99/month, or $29.99/year.
• My timing was poor. As I mentioned in last week’s announcement, we’re planning a site redesign that will hopefully be an improvement over the current site, so it would have been better to launch the redesign and let you see the improvements before announcing the subscription plan.
• I heard from a surprising number of senior citizen readers who said they live on fixed incomes and can’t afford to pay. That was a humbling discovery — I didn’t realize we had so many readers in that category. (I also heard from a lot of teen-aged readers, but I expected that.)
• I already knew that we have a lot of readers who come to Uni Watch because of me (i.e., people who like my voice, agree with a lot of my positions, enjoy the non-uni content like “Culinary Corner” and the travelogues, etc.) and others who come here in spite of me (i.e., people who don’t much care for me but put up with me because they enjoy the uniform coverage, or who just hate-read the site for some perverse reason I’ll never fully understand). What I was really struck by, though, were the responses from the many people who fall in between — readers who don’t feel strongly about me one way or the other but enjoy Uni Watch as a place to hang out with other people Get It™. Most of those readers seemed really disappointed by the subscription announcement. They value the sense of community around Uni Watch, and they felt that the subscription plan amounted to an anti-communitarian move. One reader went so far as to say, “I feel like a piece of me died today.” Wow.
• The idea of a paywall seemed to shift lots of people into a transactional frame of mind: “If you want me to pay, I expect you to do this, you better stop doing this, and you’d better change this,” and so on. I found myself slipping into that transactional mode as well, and I really didn’t like that. I want Uni Watch to always be something I do because I want to, not because I have to or because someone expects something of me. Otherwise it isn’t worth it.
With all of these things in mind — and, quite frankly, after several sleepless nights (which were at least as hard on the Tugboat Captain as they were on me) — I’ve decided not to implement the subscription plan after all. The site will still get a makeover this spring, but it will remain freely available to all, at least for the foreseeable future.
This means, unfortunately, that the site will still have lots of ads. In fact, it will likely soon have more ads, because our current revenue model isn’t working (for reasons I spelled out last week), so we’ll need to embed more ad units to help pick up the slack. And as for my complicity in the journalism industry’s self-destructive content giveaway, well, I guess I won’t be single-handedly saving the industry after all, at least not today.
I’m not happy about any of that. But I also wasn’t happy about the idea of students and senior citizens not being able to afford the site, or about doing something that many readers perceived as being anti-communitarian, or about slipping into a transactional mindset. There’s no perfect solution, but I’ve decided that keeping the site freely available is the least imperfect option, or the option I’m least uncomfortable with, or something like that.
However: We will likely set up some sort of system in which readers can support the site monetarily if they choose. It might be via Patreon, or via some other method. Participation will be voluntary, but supporters will get some sort of bonus — an ad-free site experience, perhaps, or access to a new message board section of the site, or a newsletter, or something along those lines. Still figuring out that part. But I will definitely be asking for your support, because getting by entirely on ads isn’t going to cut it anymore.
This means people who are willing to provide that support will be subsidizing those who can’t or won’t. I’m not nuts about that either, but again, there’s no perfect solution here. In the meantime: Please consider ordering a custom-designed membership card, or buying a T-shirt or mug — the site could use your support.
Okay, now let’s shift into FAQ mode:
Ha — you caved!
I really hate the rise of the term “caved.” It implies that anyone who changes their mind is exhibiting weakness, which is a pathetic way of looking at the world. The reality is that changing your mind often entails a lot of thoughtful consideration, acknowledging and learning from mistakes, listening to opposing viewpoints, and looking at the bigger picture, all of which takes a lot of strength, not weakness.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying today’s announcement is an example of strength. But I assure you it isn’t “caving,” either.
In last week’s announcement, you said you were going to reduce the level of your activity on Twitter. Now that you’re not doing the paywall after all, what about Twitter?
I’ll stick with my usual degree of Twitter activity, although I may be a bit more selective about tweeting or retweeting items that are going to end up in the Ticker, because people have said that the redundancy can be a drag.
Will the site continue to have travelogues, “Culinary Corner,” and other non-uni content?
Yes. For better or worse (and I know there are plenty of you in each camp), the basic approach of the site’s content will not be changing.
Today’s entry mentioned the possibility of using Patreon. Didn’t you say last week that you had problems with Patreon?
I said I had problems with the idea of some people paying while others got a free ride. And yeah, that aspect of Patreon remains problematic. But like I said earlier, there’s no ideal solution, and this seems like the least imperfect solution for now. (As for Patreon itself, it seems like a fine platform, and I have no problem with it per se.)
When will the Patreon system, or other voluntary support system, be activated?
Soon after the redesigned site launches.
Will there be different levels of support, with different perks?
Probably. That sub-project is still in flux. One problem with running a daily site is that it’s really hard to plan and execute big changes or new enterprises because you never get a chance to stop and catch your breath. It would be a lot easier to plan everything if we just stopped publishing for a week or two.
Is there any chance you’ll do that?
I don’t think so. I certainly don’t want to do that. But it’s possible that we might be inactive for a day or two right around the time of the re-launch. Obviously, I’ll keep you posted.
You said today that you’ll probably have to add more ads to the site. Will they be annoying ads, like auto-play videos and pop-ups?
I’m still going to try to avoid those. I’m also going to avoid putting ads in the middle of an article. But we will probably start having ads in between sections of a post — like, between the lede and the Ticker, or between Collector’s Corner and Culinary Corner, or whatever.
I think that’s it. Thanks for listening (again). I’m sure this back-and-forth on the paywall thing seems a bit ridiculous — sorry to have moved the goalposts. My apologies also to anyone who’s disappointed by today’s announcement. I assure you it wasn’t made lightly. Finally, thanks again to everyone who provided feedback. I realize that all of the responses, pro and con, were rooted in the fact that you care about Uni Watch, and that’s pretty special.
Report: NBA, Nike playing uniform puppet masters: The Boston Herald has published a faaaaascinating piece about the Celtics’ uniforms that includes some disturbing info about how NBA uniforms are chosen on a game-by-game basis. Here are some key quotes:
“The league gives us a master schedule,” said Celtics travel and equipment coordinator John Connor. “We put it on the wall and we just give out what’s on the wall. We get the schedule and what we’re supposed to wear from the league, and it’s for the whole year. …
“They changed the tight colors, too,” said Connor. “Nike will call out, like, they want green tights with the green uniforms or white tights with green uniforms, black tights on white. They actually script for like 50 percent of the games what everything has to be. It’s a lot more restrictive.”
Ugh — the thought of the league and/or Nike calling these shots is pretty gross, no? So much for spontaneity.
(My thanks to reader Darrell Hatfield for letting me know about this article.)
T-shirt reminder: Less than a week left to get our latest limited-edition Uni Watch T-shirt, designed by the great Todd Radom. It comes in a wide range of colors (including deep royal, as shown at right; click to enlarge) and is available from now through next Thursday, March 15. You can order it here. If you want a color that isn’t shown, get in touch and I can take care of you. My thanks, as always, for your consideration.
By Kris Gross
Baseball News: Yankees manager Aaron Boone wore a different hat than the rest of the team yesteray (from Reid Cure). … This Delta ad uses an outdated Braves jersey (from Austin Gillis). … Yankees slugger Aaron Judge and Under Armour couldn’t close a deal, so he now wears Adidas (thanks Phil). … This plumbing company logo looks very familiar (from @MatthewGreen73). … The Indianapolis Indians will pay tribute to their big league parent club with Pirates-themed jerseys three times this season (from Megan Brown). … Reader Mark Gonillo passed along a photo of this Hartford Yard Goats hat he bought. After doing some digging, he uncovered that it’s a tribute to the Hartford Senators, “a minor league club from early 1900s, whose most famous player was Lou Gehrig,” said Mark. … Game-Worn Guides author Bill Henderson is selling some reproductions of the San Diego bicentennial patch that the Padres wore in 1969. If you want one, you can order one here. … The Bowling Green Hot Rods will play as the Catfish, a name used before the team moved to Bowling Green (from Eric Leach). … According to info in the middle of this page, the Twins’ move to matte helmets was based on a suggestion by team owner Jim Pohlad’s wife (from Barry Brite). … Instead of having the scoreboard show standard head shots for each player who came to bat, the Reds used portraits drawn by Arizona elementary school students (from our own Alex Hider).
NFL News: Not surprisingly, the Browns’ uniform redesign is underway (from Bob Moon). … Speaking of, here’s a look at the Browns uniforms throughout the years (thanks Phil). … Very odd maker’s mark placement on Derrick Thomas’s jersey in this old-school photo (from Ben Nicholas). … An artist has redesigned all 32 NFL team logos (from Mike Tremblay). … Located in this story about a Maryland high school basketball player, Jordan Fischer spotted a Peyton Manning jersey with Marvin Harrison TV numbers.
College Football News: Alabama QB Jalen Hurts wore an Auburn jersey to pay off his Iron Bowl bet with Charles Barkley (thanks, Paul). … Some uni number changes for Oklahoma (from Sam McKinley). … A Gators fan at the SEC hoops tournament celebrated Florida’s 2006 championships in football and basketball (from Robert McClimans).
Hockey News: The Blue Jackets have a history display at their arena. It includes a jersey with a number font that the team has never used (from Darrell Dawson). … Pitt’s AHCA team wears throwback colors. Looking good! (From JJ.) … ECHL clubs Indy Fuel and Cincinnati Cyclones will team up for Nickelodeon Night this evening (from Jay Stancil). … Also from the ECHL, Alzheimer’s awareness jerseys on tap for the Tulsa Oilers tonight (from Mike Iles). … A jersey and stick from Canada’s 2018 women’s team at the Olympics are headed to the Hockey Hall of Fame (from @Mr_Furski). … Patrick O’Neill came across this old photo of a 1950s game between the Cincinnati Mohawks and Troy Bruins. Note the primitive-looking helmet — very cool! … Pink in the rink promotion this weekend for the Idaho Steelheads (from Brett Thomas). … Centennial High School in Minnesota wears large uni numbers on the front of the jersey (from TJ Gulenchyn).
Basketball News: Isaiah Thomas of the Lakers has switched his number from 7 to 3 (from Mike L). … Michael Porter Jr. made his return to Missouri, creating a Porter and Porter Jr. NOB situation (from Aaron Hill). … Uh, go LongHorned Frogs? (From Chris Howell.)… Cross-listed from the college football section: A Gators fan at the SEC tournament celebrated Florida’s 2006 championships in basketball and football (from Robert McClimans). … North Carolina head coach Roy Williams tried, but failed, to rip his suit coat in half on Wednesday night (from Kary Klismet). … Citrus-themed game last night, as USC and Oregon State went yellow vs. orange (from Josh Claywell). … The Erie BayHawks will become the Erie Pepperoni Balls for tonight’s game. … Stanford’s black numbers on red jerseys are really hard to read.
Soccer News: With the Columbus Crew potentially moving, a fan movement called Save the Crew has come out with its own “Community Kit” jersey, designed to show support for keeping the team in Columbus (from John Flory).
Grab Bag: New logo for the ski jumping World Cup in Slovenia. “Ever seen a 7 used as a P before?” Jim Vilk asks. … Roger Federer has a new shoe (thanks, Brinke). … Frankenjerseys from the Long Beach State/Mount Olive volleyball match this week (from Jeremy Brahm). … This bag manufacturer says you don’t need an expensive logo, all you need is your initials (from Jason Hillyer). … The Guinness Book of World Records created the world’s smallest ad in 2000, when they created their website (from James Gilbert). … News station WRTV in Indianapolis added a memorial band to their logo to honor a fallen officer (thanks Alex). … An iconic neon palm tree was taken by an Anchorage trash company, and now the government wants it back (from John Muir).
…of course Cyndi Lauper got “Money Changes Everything” from the Brains…
On a personal note, I was prepared to pay for access as long as I can. Absent that, I need to step up and buy more t-shirt and stuff. I am always appreciative, but that doesn’t pay the bills…
I forget sometimes that those items help to support the site. I’ll definitely be getting some magnets and the latest t-shirt here in the next few days. My wife Gets It, so I’m a little luckier than some.
I’d buy a shirt, but there are none in my size. I’m also waiting for that”I Miss the Siverdome” shirt.
I too am not a huge Cyndi Lauper fan, but the other night I heard “money Changes Everything”, and actually felt like I underappreciated that song. It’s pretty good!
Yeehaw! I was hoping there would be no paywall; I’m on a fixed income.
Thank you for your site.
P.S. What’s the chance of changing your mind about the color of royalty? I am a K-State alum ;)
Paul, maybe make a PayPal voluntary donation button to assist with the costs incurred. Donate whatever one feels they should or not donate at all. I read a couple of blogs that do this. Seems more donate than I would have thought. Just an idea. I would donate. I can imagine you’ve agonized over the paywall. What’s 25 bucks a year in a voluntary donation and still keep site as open as it is? Not much of a cost. Would hope many readers would feel compelled to do that.
I can’t use PayPal (a long, incredibly annoying story), but there are other methods — Venmo, Square Cash, Amazon, etc. So yeah, we may do that.
Whatever way you choose, I think it would be worth doing. I would hope many would voluntarily donate to assist this site and those who work so diligently on it. Count me as one who would donate.
I like the idea of the Venmo and (especially) Square Cash options. I’ll see what I can do.
I appreciate the thoughtfulness you put into this decision. I also appreciate the courage to change your mind. Great explanation on how the term “cave” is abused.
I like this idea. Too bad about PayPal though, I was going to shoot you some money today because you can only get, what? maybe $10 off a shirt?
You’re too kind, Susan. You can always use Venmo, Square Cash, or Zelle (which pretty much all banks now offer), using link as the payee. Thanks!
A crypto link (litecoin has a low transaction fee) would be pretty easy as well.
I would donate for sure.
Paul – Long time fan here. I’ve picked up plenty of tee’s since you rolled out the merch a few years back and am happy to support the cause. I like the idea of pay-for-ad-free-play and would be willing to support it if you make that an option. With so many monthly recurring fees that fall within the discretionary spending realm (eg, Apple Music, entertainment apps like Hulu, etc.) many people avoid recurring fees at all costs. With that in mind, what about a “lifetime ad-free” subscription concept? You’d have to crunch the numbers and find the sweet spot – maybe $149.99 – or something like that. Just another idea for you to contemplate. Thanks for keeping this one of a kind website up and running.
I’m probably in the minority but I’m getting really sick of teams masquerading as a food or a piece of pottery.
Paul, I’m very happy that you’re not going to be directly charging for the site. Though I agree with a lot of the opinions you posted — your proposed price is high; some of us love your travel and culinary stuff but wouldn’t pay to read it — count me in first and foremost with the “communitarians” who like making contributions to the site and to the community. You, Phil, and the other writers might be insulted if any of us commmenters considered ourselves to be “contributors” as we don’t do one percent the work you do, but we are certainly more than consumers. This is how I want to keep contributing to Uni-Watch in the future.
And here’s something I spotted today (and came to post about, before reading the headline), the latest Thing That Drives Me Nuts: baseball jerseys with overlapping kerned numbers, which I don’t think ever happened until recently, when they started putting digits much closer together than they used to be. (There’s also the fact that you never saw jerseys with numbers like 74, the number where kerning is ugliest and most visible, until recently.)
Is this in some kind of style guide? It’s not a manufacturer shift, because you didn’t see this when Majestic first started making baseball jerseys about 15 years ago (and practice jerseys before that). I’ve never seen anyone mention it anywhere.
Majestic seems to have a penchant for tight number kerning on their baseball jerseys. It’s very noticeable too on Brett Gardner’s #11, where the numbers are much closer together than they were when Doc Gooden wore that number for the Yankees.
I have seen game issued/game worn #74 Yankees jerseys previously and they didn’t have overlapping kerning. The digits were far apart, however. this may be a new thing dating back to last season, presumably by someone at Majestic who thought it would look better.
You’re right; caving is not the right word. You received feedback and it’s okay to change your thought process. Not enough people do that these days. I’ve been reading your blog for years–you even did a feature on my dad’s company branding back in like 07-08! It’s one of my morning sites I look at before starting my day. You mentioned a ‘patreon’ style while saying, ‘some will get a free ride’, which to me, is okay. Look at wikipedia. they have their big donation period. and the ability to contribute throughout the year. Do the same. Have a link set up daily to patreon and then, one time a year, (maybe even during your annual hiatus) have a large banner to contribute to uni-watch to help keep the engines running.
I’ve learned throughout my internet days that people will surprise you in terms of when they’re voluntarily doing something vs. being ‘forced’ to do something. Setting up a model this way could be a great way for some supplemental income for the site.
I know you mentioned you’re SUPER busy and probably cant take on more work…however, one thing I will mention is a youtube channel…you’re culinary corner, your trips, even some awesome uni-specific videos could generate some ad revenue as well.
You’ve mentioned it time and time again, this is such a niche interest, that we don’t have many places to go. This is the mothership and we need to keep her afloat!
however, one thing I will mention is a youtube channel…
I’d Call It UniTube.
Ha! It would almost be worth doing just for the chance to use that name!
I’d watch! UniTube…that’s amazing…Good teamwork. Disregard my ‘you’re’ for ‘your’ substitute. Yikes. My middle school english teacher would not be happy. I would watch 5-10min videos of your vacations (I know they’re a break from reality, but some small clips of these amazing diners and duck pin you hit up would be great!). A cool cooking segment like binging with babish has (he doesn’t even show his face, lol). when you receive a cool, rare, piece of uni history, podcasts/interviews…I’m sure the possibilities are endless within whatever your espn contract looks like lol.
I would like a voice over, at least, for the travellogs and culinary corner. It would be a nice addition once per month, if you have time.
That is actually a terrific idea (especially as someone on the “yes” side of the Culinary Corner and the travel entries, which would really lend itself to video). I’d watch. Only so many hours in the day, I know…but it’s still a great idea. :)
But I echo what many have said…while not looking forward to paying, this is the first page I visit most every day, and I want to keep it that way. So if paying is what it took, I probably would have. I’ve bought a few shirts over the last couple of years, and will continue to support the site however I can. Looking forward to the redesign.
Id subscribe to Unitube. Maybe just major news to start, like the jags new unis?
“Just to be clear, I’m not saying today’s announcement is an example of strength.”
If you won’t say it, I will! Kudos for you to have the flexibility to listen to your customers and change. I definitely see that as an example of strength. Many people would be stubborn and not listen to feedback. With all of that being said, I wasn’t planning on subscribing, but with this announcement I feel like I will be contributing to whatever platform you choose. I know that sounds weird, but after reading your feedback from people that CAN’T pay (students, seniors), I feel like I can throw in a few bucks so that they can continue to enjoy Uni Watch for free.
Paul, I applaud you for having the confidence to change your decision. It is, in no way, caving.
I was undecided as to whether I’d be subscribing under the old proposal, but supported your decision either way. However I’m now VERY interested in seeing the Patreon details. That model has it’s flaws, but I’ve seen it work enough times that it seems like a shrewd move.
Paul, very humble and kind of you to walk back the paywall. Especially for the reasons you noted. Now that you mentioned it, yes it would be a shame to lose the little community you have here. And also, very kind to consider the young and old who really would be more impacted than the working age stiffs like you and me!
I was on the fence about a subscription, but after this act I fully intend to throw some money your way via the donation option. It is well deserved in my opinion. As someone who truly enjoys his work, and the community it has created, I’m happy to contribute to help keep you doing what you do, especially since you have chosen to do it for free!
I don’t know if a part of me died, but I certainly felt a sense of loss if the site went to a pay model because I’d be unable to subscribe. Keep up the good work.
That news item about Nike dictating the Celtics uniform schedule is downright disgusting. Not surprising since the nonsense rollout of new Nike uniforms for the whole NBA this year. Just confirms that NBA uniforms are no longer about the teams’ brands, but simply a merchandising arm for Nike and the NBA.
The N in the NBA no longer stands for “National”…
I would’ve paid for a membership and I’m happy to support this updated model. Beyond the athletic aesthetic content that originally brought me to the blog from Page Two back when the blog launched, I really value the fact that the content here is entirely generated by what’s interesting to Paul and the others who work on it. There is no #brandedcontent, and none of the stories are written to pump the tires of a corporation that’s already swimming in cash. The only motive is finding something that’s interesting, and usually note widely covered in the sports world, and talking about it. Onward!
Looking at the piece on the Cleveland Browns jerseys over the years. The 1984 Uniforms which were changed for that one season always seems to be forgotten. It is hardly used in any displays of the Browns uniform lore. Today if a team is unhappy with a new uniform they have to wait 4-5 seasons to change it or go back to original which the Browns rightfully did in 1985.
Anyone else think the two 1983 pictures make the jerseys look black? The only place I can actually detect brown is on the end of #68’s sleeve in the first picture. The helmet and pants stripes, the parts not in shadow, anyway, do appear brown, and I can clearly see it in every other picture.
Also, in that first picture, it’s mainly because of some motion blur, but it looks as though #68’s hand is clipping through #43’s shoulder like a poor render in Madden. Plus, I just noticed 68’s neck roll.
If the Browns are looking into new uniforms for 2020, why can’t they make some small changes similar to what the Rams did? They can’t change the jersey right now, but why not swap out the pants to have striping from the hip to knee instead of the BROWNS word mark and replace the solid color socks with the striped socks?
They could also consistently wear white pants with the white and brown jerseys and mothball the orange jerseys. Wouldn’t this alone be an aesthetic improvement they could implement for the next two seasons?
I’m all in with throwing some love through Patreon for the site to keep it running as is!
…are tights considered a standard part of the NBA uniform now?
As in, when they do uniform announcements, will tights be included as part of the announcement package?
I sad now…
The article about Nike dictating what uniforms are worn is troubling. The only logical rationale I can think of is that because the home teams can now wear any color (or, Nike can request they wear any color), they want to eliminate situations where the road team didn’t bring a set with enough contrast. It’s also interesting that the Heat have worn their “City” uniforms so many times, while teams like the Timberwolves and Clippers have barely worn them at all. Previously assuming that the teams were making these decisions it made sense, but it’s very odd that Nike would do that. You’d think they’d want to give all of their uniforms equal exposure to move more merchandise?
It’s fairly common in soccer for the league office to communicate tobteamscwhich uniforms they wear on a particular day. Usually, the league office finds out what the home team is wearing (based on the designs registered before the start of the season), contrasts it with the visiting team, and then communicates to both teams what the uniforms will be.
But that’s at least the league doing it, to avoid clashing colors. For the manufacturer to decide, based on advertising principles…?
Thank You so much!
hi paul –
thanks for being so open to your readers. it’s appreciated.
i like the idea of a patreon or something. or just putting up a paypal button somewhere to donate, if people have some extra change kicking around.
your work here is appreciated and very much enjoyed.
Paul, for the record, I’ve never had a problem with the ads on Uni Watch – do what you need to do in order to keep the site going!
I’m ready to become a patron at your convenience. Thoughtful post today.
Coca Cola once thought “New Coke” was a great thing. It wasn’t. So Coke axed it. They listened to their customer base, and so did you. Also appreciate the transparency into your decision-making.
The conspiracy theory, of course, is that New Coke was a red herring that Coke used to either drum up interest in the original recipe and get ahead of Pepsi, or to replace cane sugar with high fructose corn syrup in the original recipe and tell people it still tasted the same.
Absolute truth, no theory about it. My dad never drank another Coke.
The Padres would not have worn a Bicentennial patch in 1969. It would have been a baseball centennial patch
But they did wear that patch in 1969 — on their road uniforms.
The great baseball Game Worn Guide by Bill Henderson shows that the Padres wore the 200th patch on their tan road jerseys. The home whites had the MLB 100th patch only.
I’ll support the site regardless, but a subscription baseball cap series (Ebbets? American Needle?) of odd/historic/interesting teams curated by Paul/UW readers would be pretty boss.
I work in a Nature Center where I have to charge people in order to stay afloat. Much like uniwatch, goodwill doesn’t keep the lights on and families fed. From a psychological approach, telling people what to pay limits the amount of money you will bring in. You will alienate more people than you will help. When you tell people that generous donations are what keeps you going and you never put a price with what you are hoping to get, I have found that people will feel compelled to give and they will give far more than you originally hoped. Today’s post was a great psychological tool. It builds empathy with the base. We were all angry after the last post because you told what to think. Today, we are relieved but melancholy because we all have had a time a big idea out of deseperation fell flat or we have had a humbling experience in our work place. This show of empathy makes all more likely to give.
I am thankful that the site will remain open. Confession time: I was hoping and praying that today’s announcement would have been posted on April 1st and that this whole thing was a Uni-April fools joke. I do understand that you need to fund this site somehow. I am not trying to make a joke out of your financial needs. I am just thankful I wasn’t going to be shut out. I was planning to pay the fee, but I would have had to wait until I complete my masters’ degree. That would have been another 20 months.
Paul, I am happy you chose to remain free, despite me sometimes critisizing you in the comments (I like to think of it as contructive). I still enjoy reading your blog for the most part, and respect you above all. Even with your quirky interests. Keep up the great work.
Patreon, in my mind at least, is a way for me to support people and things I appreciate — the whole subsidizing others doesn’t play a factor at all and I’m generally not looking for anything in return in terms of rewards. Thanks Paul.
I think a lot of us are just used to Patreon by now especially considering that’s how most on YouTube handle it (beyond the ad revenue that is). If you value the content and can help the producers, then do, if not then don’t. The more money that comes in the better content has the potential to be.
Thank you. Sincerely.
Asking for voluntary contributions a la Wikipedia, Mozilla, etc is an excellent idea and a way to satisfy (nearly) everyone. The yearly “pledge drive” suggested early also works. Thanks, Paul for listening to your readers.
Here’s one thing we can all agree on — there’s no media site (of any size) that remains as open, honest and transparent as UniWatch. Paul has always been so forthcoming and genuine about his feelings, how the site is run, his intentions, etc., and for that we are all grateful. If every other newspaper and publisher could be as truthful and candid, the journalism world would be a better place.
I haven’t read through all the comments from the first posting about the pay site, but if it wasn’t talked about already, I’d suggest looking into a model like Fark uses. They have effectively two sites, one free and one with bonus content for paid subscribers (I believe they recently added a third tier too). You could post detailed or investigative pieces early to paid subscribers, then to the free site a couple days later. Yes people may talk about it on social media, but that works as a tease to those who aren’t getting the content early and incentive to become a paid member.
Many thanks, Paul! Your announcement made my day!
I was never going to subscribe. But your honesty and forthright wrestling through all of this has made me very likely at least to contribute something into the pot. Thank you for being straight with us all.
Changing one’s mind after thoughtful consideration is a sign of growth and strength. Often stubbornness is a sign of weakness. Thanks for listening to your fans.
That said, I love the site but hate the pictures of food, especially those huge chunks of meat.
I like the quirky design-related topics like vertical signs.
The apostrophe issues? Fun!
And thanks for Purple Amnesty Day—I’m a Northwestern Wildcats fan.
Roy Williams happened Wednesday, not last night.
Hey Paul, I was certainly prepared to subscribe, but I do appreciate the voluntary nature it will be now. Seems the best of both worlds, more revenue, but less demands than you’d get from “customers”.
Quick question, are there any negative effects on your end from readers using an adblocker? If that’s hurting your bottom line, I’d happily turn it off on here.
Thanks for all of your hard work over the years, it’s greatly appreciated.
Yes, Sean, ad blockers significantly affect our bottom line. Thanks for the offer to turn yours off — appreciated.
Hell I’d have paid…the homemade Bailey’s recipe has me indebted to you for life.
I never heard of Derby Pie until I read about it here. My wife and I made one the very next day and loved it! I know there are critics of the Culinary Corner, travelogues, etc, but from my point of view, these pieces have created a little bit of a personal connection with “the man behind the blog,” which goes along with communitarian point that was raised previously.
Every year I figure I’m going to make a derby Pie and just never get around to it.
And I agree 100% on the non-uniform content. I enjoy the travelogues and have a couple bookmarked because I get back east from time to time and I love visiting good local spots.
The culinary entries and music things are usually sub-ledes (is that a word?) anyway and don’t take away from uni-related content.
Although I was ready to pony up (within reason) I’m glad Paul is keeping this a free site. I don’t know how he could have grown readership behind a paywall.
Long time reader/admirer, and will remain one regardless of your go-forward model. Most importantly, really appreciate the thought and consideration you’re giving the Uniwatch community. Couldn’t agree more on your reaction to the sentiment of caving. We need far more, not less; listening is a skill…
We all need to support independent sites like this, either through some kind of financial method or accepting ads, or we won’t have them forever.
Paul, I’m very thankful for this thoughtful discussion about it. Don’t sweat about the ethics of Patreon. I’d like to contribute to the site on Patreon and would be pleased if it helps subsidize the site content for someone who isn’t in a position to do the same.
Love the kids’drawings on the scoreboard!
Paul, you could have fund drives like PBS/NPR every now and then.
I was willing to pay a fair subscription price, but I do think something like Patreon will end up working really well. I’m excited to see the new site roll out, and really do love all of the merch options. Thanks again for all your dedicated work Paul and crew!
Terrific news – thanks
Appreciate it, since I probably wasn’t going to pay but I was definitely going to miss it.
Another of my favorite sites, arseblog.com (for supporters of Arsenal FC), is facing similar revenue issues. Its creator’s solution was to join Patreon, keep providing former features (daily blog, news updates, 2 podcasts/week) for free, but provide paying subscribers EXTRA content (long-form reads, more podcasts, exclusive early access to live events, etc.). If you’re interested you can read about it here.
Sorry to hear about the sleepless nights and things being heavy on your mind. I was one of the people bailing out but at the same time very open on how I wanted it to work out for you. Life is crazy sometimes.
I will now be ordering shirts on the regular. Maybe even trying to give them as gifts and sharing this site with others.
30 bucks! Sign me up. I don’t even need an AARP discount. I pay over 600 bucks a year to have a newspaper thrown into the bushes.
Man, got quite a chuckle out of that one.
Do you think Nike will ever design the 4 nba uniforms where we will start to see mix and match uniforms? They didn’t hesitate to go monocolor for the nfl, so maybe multi color for the nba would be a next step.
Forgive me if this was mentioned (I have too short a lunch break to read all the comments at this time and don’t want to miss the content), but I know there are occasional raffle/give-away’s throughout the year, maybe a perk of contributing to the site could be certain prizes exclusively for paying customers, the more sought-after prizes perhaps? I don’t intend to pay for the content, for a couple reasons not worth mentioning. But I completely understand the need to generate some revenue. I personally have no problem with ads, as I’ve come to expect them with internet content. I’m just hopeful that enough revenue can be generated to keep the content free, I’ve been a daily reader since 2007
Linking giveaways to monetary contributions starts to run afoul of gambling laws. I believe this has come up in the past when Paul wanted to give more raffle chances to Uni Watch card holders (aka “paying” customers)
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration and deciding to keep the site open and free. I appreciate that, and I think I would be more likely to support the site monetarily through Patreon or another method now when I’m able rather than paying a monthly subscription.
Also, I wanted to say that today’s membership card/t-shirt pitch (“Please consider ordering a custom-designed membership card, or buying a T-shirt or mug — the site could use your support.”) was the best one I’ve seen on the site. Not an attack on how it was previously pitched, but I do think that the specific phrasing used today really made it seem like membership cards and shirt sales are going to a worthy cause – supporting the site.
Seconded. I’d never considered a membership card before but I certainly am now. Now to figure out what I might want on it.
On topic of today’s post: The N(ike)BA post is more than a little disturbing and yet another example of the apparel manufacturer tail wagging the school/sports franchise dog. I’ve bought several caps and sweatshirts with my undergraduate alma mater (now a “Nike school”) or favorite MLB team’s name or logo on them in the recent past because, hey, I’ve lived long enough that I’ve worn out a lot of them. I find the presence and increasing size of the maker’s logo an annoyance at best and a dilution of the school’s or team’s own brand. I’m didn’t graduate from the Nike University of [your school name here] nor am I a fan of the New Era [your team name here]! I’ve become well versed in the use of a seam ripper in recent years as a result of this phenomenon.
*I didn’t graduate from…
With a typo like that you’d wonder whether I graduated from a university at all. My apologies.
A uni-watch membership is happening for me as well, though I’m wavering on whether or not to wait until purple amnesty day at this point.
Now, if there were only a way to identify and roll back the trolls. – WAIT A MINUTE! they’ve already identified themselves on 2/28!
Trolls can rename themselves and put out a fake email address to match. But you’re right.
I stayed out of the discussion last week because quite frankly, even with my financial situation, $5 a month is a literal drop in the bucket. I can skip buying a gallon of milk once a month to keep reading this awesome content. But my 2 issues I’ve ever had while being a daily reader for over 8 years were these: The now removed pop-unders. I will gladly trade 3 pop-ups for 1 pop-under. Must be an OCD thing but I hate having multiple windows open and one that appears on my screen is far easier to exit than having to first open the window. My 2nd issue was the comments section. Being able to delete, edit etc…would be a great feature. Something along the lines of Facebook. And maybe some kind of notification system? It sucks not being able to hold an actual conversation on here without constantly refreshing and scanning the comments.
Also, what the hell do most of you people do for work? How can you literally sit on a computer all day and comment on here? It’s something I’ve wondered for years and was always afraid to ask for fear of backlash. Speaking of, I’m off to work. Catch up tonight when everyone is done commenting :/
From the Grab Bag, the story about Bottega Veneta’s new monogrammed bags…yeah, I think I’ll pass, thank you kindly.
Come to think of it, the Delta’s jet bridges in Detroit also use an outdated Tigers jersey. I’ll snag a picture of it when I’m at DTW next week.
I’ll be reading if I have to pay or not. The content you provide is truly unique and I’m been loving it since you started the site.
You work your ass off for us, so asking for a small payment is not too much.
I’ll be happy to contribute on Patreon…
I would recommend looking at what Jason Kottke did at kottke.org. It seems to be working for him. His content is still available to everyone, but he added memberships to collect money from supporters.
You could also look at how Jon Gruber runs daringfireball.net. He has a weekly sponsor and it is the only ad he runs.
I assume you get a decent amount of traffic at this site. So maybe relevant companies would want to sponsor and have exclusive ads on your site.
Good luck. If you add memberships I will buy one.
Thanks. daringfireball.net appears to have *no* advertiser, at least this week.
I see the sponsor on the left of his page. He has details on the sponsors and how it works here: link
This is a different viewpoint but my favorite thing about Uni Watch is how it binds people together who otherwise would have every reason in these troubled times to think they have nothing in common with each other. There is so little of that in America these days but Uni Watch readers come from across the political spectrum and love details and history and nostalgic signage and old-barn arenas and one of a kind local taverns and eateries and classic bowling alleys and curling and the like, and love it when a modern classic uniform emerges and hate uniform ads. And the politics of unis are interesting and generally civil. Thank you to all involved for your efforts!
So I posted on the first announcement that I was disappointed in the paywall and would probably not pay.
But now that you’re talking about the possibility of lowering it to something more like 3.99 or 29 for the year and creating a message board for members only, you have me a bit more intrigued. I love the message board idea sort of like the sportslogo board or the NEw Era Cap Talk board. I find the blog comments hard to follow at times and I think a message forum (with usernames, Avatars and other features on the popular boards) would be a great Idea.
If that all happens, you have me sold.
Comment above just beat me to the ball. Paul, you publicize a lot of businesses, mostly in the NYC metro area, that I’d be surprised wouldn’t mind paying a quid or 2 for the pleasure of the mention …
I wouldn’t ever want anyone to pay for a mention in the text. That’s a mixing of church and state that I find completely unethical.
(my bad) … or a bonafide ad …
I know a way to help make money Paul…SELL TEAM COLORED BRADDOCKS!
Just kidding…seriously I think stuff like the T-Shirt club (which I did in 2015) should come back. That was an awesome idea and I still wear my shirts often.
I think having “perks” for those that donate is a great idea. Only reward those who care enough and are loyal enough to support. I have no problem doing that and I think those who care enough to want to “get it” will as well.
The 2015 T-Shirt Club was a very satisfying project. And the 2016 follow-up wasn’t bad (although definitely not as good as 2015). But I haven’t been able to come up with another long-term “collect ’em all” concept. Ideas welcome!
TEAM COLORED BRADDOCKS – Here’s the Buffalo Bills version
Come to think of it, the ads on Delta’s jet bridges in Detroit use an outdated Tigers jersey. I’ll snag a picture when I’m at DTW next week.
I was one of those who posted my disagreement and disappointment with the idea of a paywall, and I have to say that I admire the way you’ve handled this entire situation. You knew their would be explosive comments and extreme opinions on both sides, and I think you found the happy medium with your decision. I was not one that would have signed up for a subscription, but I am happy to support in other ways. I find myself more likely to purchase a shirt, membership card, etc. with the way you handled this situation. I may not agree with many of your stances on politics, certain aspects of uniforms, but I respect you and your right to your own opinion. I’ve been a fan since the page 2 days, and look forward to continuing to have Uni-Watch as a daily visited site for me. God bless.
I am happy you won’t be charging (I wasn’t going to subscribe). I also respected your original decision and I think highly of your ability to rethink things and change your mind.
I also think it’s important for you to make sure that you continue to enjoy doing the site and enjoy your own life. If the site is starting to be a burden, try to find ways to reduce the load.
PS Whatever you do, keep your voice. It is part of what makes the site special, rather than corporate.
This may be more of a webmaster thing… But is there a way to partition off different “sites” based on the subscription a patron signs up for?
For instance, someone doesn’t pay you at all: They get the content, but there are ads, pop-ups, banners (etc…)
For the customer that pays: No/minimal ads, enhanced/bonus (somehow) content, customizable modules, etc.
Basically when anyone navigates to uni-watch.com, based on how much money they give you, their site experience is different.
Seems to me if there are people who actively want to give you money should be able to, and get something in return.
I under Patreon in that those folks get ‘perks’, but I am talking about a different web experience.
Yes, BoardGameGeek does it. If you give them a certain amount you get no ads when you logon for that year. I’m sure there are others also. UniWatch doesn’t have an account system though and Paul may not want to go that route either.
This is a strange thing to use as a compliment, but Uni-Watch is white-listed on my ad blocker. Continue the great journalism!
I was a little unsure about what I would do if the site was changed to a pay site. I love this site. I read it every morning. I really enjoy culinary corner that has actually given me inspiration for my weekend grilling menu a couple times. So I was on the fence about the whole thing. I don’t comment very often about posts or ticker topics. I just read them and enjoy, disagree or agree with what’s been said. But I feel like I’m part of something. I really like that. I also like the fact that when people disagree with something they don’t fabricate posts to try to get them read on mean tweets. This is not a vicious unfriendly place on the internet. That’s kinda hard to find now days with most people seemingly wanting to be the baddest internet troll possiable. People here are not that way. I really like that. I’m glad you chose to keep it open and free. That actually makes me want to become a member with my own fancy little membership card, as backward as that sounds. The thought of having to pay for the site turned me off. But the thought of getting content for free makes me want to pay for it….your reverse physiology is working! I do want to say thank you to everyone who makes this site work every day. I look foreword to seeing the future plans. Again thank you.
Any chance you continue doing the Stripe Rite socks with American Trench or elsewhere? Seemed like they were pretty popular (I’ve got almost all of them). The tees have never been my style – but I’d love to see more of the socks or a sock of the month club? I know the logistics are different and it’s not like printing off some shirts, perhaps wishful thinking.
American Trench has been iffy about doing another round of socks, but this would be a good time to revisit that idea with them — thanks for the poke. I’ll email them now.
Smaller size for women, please? I covet those socks.
The American Trench socks ARE awesome. Let them know I’ve bought a dozen pairs for myself and family, and would have never heard of their company if it wasn’t for your site.
Between the uni ads and Nike dictating what unis are worn in games, the NBA freaking sucks right now.
I started to really regularly follow the NBA by the late 1980s. Was thinking back to a card set I had back in the late 1980s, just after the expansion when Charlotte, Miami, Minnesota and Orlando joined.
Realized that for a lot of the teams to me, their uniforms back then were nicer than what they wear now.
Did the Columbus Catfish ever wear the full logo on the jerseys as the Hot Rods’ Twitter feed shows they will do? The team certainly used that logo while in Columbus, but I can’t find any images of its presence on the jersey.
Paul I’m glad the site will remain free. I was really scared that I would lose a staple of my everyday routine. Thank you for listening to our complaints and changing your mind.
An interesting thing I noticed: I was watching last night’s Devils-Jets game, and a fan sitting behind the Devils bench had an MLB Colorado Rockies baseball cap on. Not sure if that was intentional given the history of the Devils franchise, or if the fan was just wearing whatever sport gear he had (probably the latter). It was still interesting though.
One other interesting thing about that USC vs Oregon State matchup is that neither of those uniforms feature any white. It’s one of my favorite aesthetics when any team in any sport wears uniforms sans white, but especially in basketball…and you might be surprised how rarely it happens. Everyone feels like they need to trim in white.
Hi Paul, never posted a comment before but just wanted to say: I really appreciate what you do, I love uniform (I say “kits” as I’m a Brit!) and there really is no other site like yours. This site is in my daily list of tabs and I really do visit every day. I would happily pay $5 or so a month if you chose to charge, or I would happily view more ads, as long as it keeps you doing what you do.
Thanks for doing what you do, long may it continue.
Let it never be said that you don’t listen to your audience, Paul. Thanks for all you do.
Today’s musing: those redesigned NFL logos in the Ticker are godawful.
Did you notice that the Washington redesign also changed the name of the team to Redtails, the nickname for the Tuskeegee Airmen?
The only thing that would make it better is to adopt the Iowa Barnstormers goggles on the front.
Erie Pepperoni Balls? SMH
A few ideas to generate some revenue.
Continue to capitalize on the Uni Watch “brand” partnering with some other small businesses with a similar aesthetic mind. An exclusive Uni Watch pennant from the guys at Oxford Pennant comes to mind. There seems to be a growing market of small businesses with a similar eye as yours.
A little retro but a podcast I listen to does a quarterly printed newsletter for subscribers. While it wouldn’t capture late breaking news maybe use it as an opportunity for a deep dive on a Uni related project and give readers something to look forward to in the mail. In an increasingly digital world having something tangible goes a long way.
I just have a hard time understanding people who won’t (as opposed to can’t afford) pay for quality content. While there is a certain community around this site, it exists because of the time, expertise and energy you put into it. I look forward to when your donation system is in place so I can contribute.
Thanks so much for letting me continue to read Uni Watch. Really enjoy these 5 minutes a day.
Count me in as a future Patreon/subscriber. I have not problem with other people getting for free what I pay for because I want that thing to exist.
(Holder of probably the only PRO Rugby membership card)
You’re a good person, Paul Lukas.
I was prepared to pay and got the go ahead from the wife to do so. I was looking forward to it because I figured paying for it would weed out the ones that don’t actually get it. Seems to be more of them than us. But I support uniwatch regardless. Thanks Paul (and your entire staff)for years of reading enjoyment.
Everything I came to say about the decision and the revisitin of the decision has already been said. Thanks for all that you do here, PL. And thanks for giving the uni-geeks who Get It a place to hang out. Need to increase my T-shirt budget now…
If no one ha recommended it, you might check out Fangraphs’ membership model. $3 a month or $20 a year as what amounts, I think, to a goodwill gesture. $50 annually for ad-free.
And, maybe there’s an argument to be made that can pay should and those that can’t shouldn’t be kicked to the curb. We hear so much about personal responsibility and cutting out excess if you can’t afford excess. But there’s no entry fee to “getting it.” That said, those of us who can contribute to the sustainability of the community should.
Hey Buddy you just figure out what you’re going to do and let me know. I’m in regardless. I’ve even set my adblocker to not run on your site. Good stuff here.
I hope Nike never lands a deal to outfit MLB. I prefer having the pitchers choose what uniform & cap are being worn over some corporate marketing bozo.
Paul, I enjoy the site but wouldn’t have subscribed. That said, I support your right to charge the readers and to change your mind. It’s your sandbox. Thanks for letting us play in it.
I think it’s relatively safe to say that MLB would be mostly unscathed by a hypothetical Nike takeover. The number of teams that are on the traditional side of things in baseball are far greater than the number of traditional teams in the NBA. Even teams with alternates like the Red Sox, Cardinals, Giants, etc… have stayed loyal to their home whites and road grays during this age of alts. The NBA has always been more willing to think outside the box, for better or worse, than the other pro leagues.
I’m fine with more site ads but please… PLEASE, no pop ups! I absolutely hate going to a site that gives me a pop up ad. Especially on mobile.
As someone who believes that I should pay creators for good content that I consume and enjoy, I will definitely contribute when the time comes.
Sorry that you had those sleepless nights, Paul. I hope you find a solution that makes the work you put in feel like a just compensation. Best of luck.
Thanks Paul for your thoughtful consideration on this. I will plan to order the new LA Coliseum shirt in the next or so.
Thank you Paul… I am definitely prepared to contribute. My reasoning for not wanting to subscribe was more of a “I can’t afford to do something on a recurring basis” thing, but I am happy to contribute every so often when I am able to. Thank you for listening to your readers, and it sucks that you had so many very negative responses, although I’m sure you expected it. I am looking forward to being a part of this community for the foreseeable future and contributing more.
have been reading almost daily for 8-10 years, never have bothered to get a membership. you’ve provided me with far more hours of entertainment than i’ve made worth your while. Count me in among those who are willing to pay. thanks for all the good reads over the years!
You work too hard on this site Paul. Seriously, “uniform news” seems like subject matter that could be covered in one or two posts a week, which is generally how many times I read Uni-Watch. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the site but I use it like I use Chris Creamer’s site, to learn about the major announcements from the NFL, NBA, MLB & NHL – which doesn’t happen all that often.
Tony, if you only care about “major announcements,” that’s fine. But many people, myself included, like to go a bit deeper than that. So I’ll keep providing that type of coverage.
Thank you, Paul for your measured response. I am so glad you listened to all sides and then weren’t afraid to adjust your approach. I had been planning on getting a membership card and had even started researching the design I wanted, but changed my mind when you made the announcement. I now plan to submit the membership and I have a feeling that you will receive a bump in supplemental orders from all of this. I’m glad uni-watch is sticking around for everyone to enjoy. I know it felt/feels like a lose-lose situation but this all shows your integrity.
I didn’t chime in after the first open letter but let me say that I am grateful that you are not putting content behind a paywall. While I may not be able to afford a subscription I would be able to make a donation here and there when I get some mad money burning a hole in my pocket. With this model I can still do that and not be locked out. I already have a membership card and like to pull it out on occasion and help people who don’t Get It. I may not visit the site every day, but I do absolutely love the content and in the past have contributed to the ticker and have on occasion gone back and forth with you guys on email. Every time has been wonderful. I look forward to being able to continue catching up and binge reading on the site when I have some free time (which is not often). Thanks for providing so many years of enjoyable reading. I look forward to many more and hope to be able to support this endeavor at some point with some hard earned dollars. Until then.
Just another reason to hate Nike.
I said originally to do whatever you feel is right, but I said to look at something like Patreon as well. Honestly, I’m glad you did. I think this the closest to making everybody happy. More ads, who cares? Bring ’em on. In appreciation of your decision, here are some Mets desktop wallpapers for you or anyone else that wants it:
I didn’t comment or email you, but I’m delighted to read about your change of mind. I was half expecting to click on the Uni Watch icon this morning, only to be met with a paywall pop-up, forcing me to regretfully remove the site from my bookmarks.
I’d happily donate a small amount voluntarily from time to time, so think you should absolutely create a facility that enables readers to do that.
I recently bought a membership card and will buy some merchandise to contribute to the site. Thanks for everything.
This is great news! I’ve enjoyed coming here for about 10 years now to catch the mlb uni preview and NFL preview. Plus more. I didn’t want it to end because of a subscription. This made my day.
The thing I like about this site, and visiting it daily, is being around other people who “Get it” ™. I missed the post on the 28th and didn’t know that you were planning on doing a subscription, so I read that just now, and circled back to read this post right after.
I will say this:
I have been provided very good content for a very long time.For about 5 mins I was realizing I’d prob never go on this site again if it was a subscription, but, I feel like I should contribute something to keep this running smooth and delivering something I visit daily.
I can say with 100% honesty, if you set up some sort of Patreon or other payment place to accept contributions, I have no problem throwing in some money on that.
I really think this group of Uni-Watchers would do it too. Just let us know if that’s something you’d do, I’d be more than happy to help pay some bills around here.
First, I enjoy the site and can’t wait for the redesign, but here is an idea: what about making Uni-Watch part of The Athletic? I don’t know how many of your readers subscribe to the Athletic, but if it’s a good amount, that might help them avoid paying for another site.
Keep up the great work.