July 3, 2012 at 8:30 AM
As you know, we’ve kept SoxProspects.com 100% free to the public for about nine years now, and we hope to do so for the foreseeable future. As you may have also noticed, we continue to branch out in terms of content, new features, everyday coverage, and first-hand analysis. But with some of these new features have come increased costs. As we’ve done over the past four seasons, we're reaching out to the community for donations to help keep the site free for everyone. Donations help cover site costs in two primary areas: (1) first-hand coverage costs (for scouting and player articles); and (2) web hosting fees (including forum hosting costs).
In the first area, your donations from the 2011 season helped send Chris Mellen to Ft. Myers last Fall to scout the Instructional League, helped cover the costs of our week-long "Southern Swing" to scout Salem and Greenville last month, helped Senior Columnist Jon Meoli travel to numerous Salem and Greenville games this season, and helped us maintain a regular presence in Pawtucket, Portland, and Lowell this year. We anticipate that most donations will go to this area.
In the second area, the site resides on four servers, each with their own set of annual fees. Regarding forum hosting costs, we have to pay substantial fees to Yuku to host the message board without having them place advertisements in the actual posts of the board. Has Yuku been unreliable? Yes, and you have our sincerest apologies for that. As I've mentioned elsewhere, we are about to begin the process of searching for an alternative host for a possible switch in the off-season. If we ultimately go that route, that new host may or may not be more expensive than Yuku. All that being said, several readers have made donations in recent years ranging from $6 to $200 to help defray the forum hosting costs and to keep ads out of the message board posts. Thanks so much to everyone who chipped in!
One thing I’d like to note is that while we’ve remained free, other similar baseball sites charge for content. For example, Scout.com costs $90 per year, Baseball America charges $66 per year, and Baseball Prospectus costs $39.95 per year. I think those sites are great in their own right, and worthy of subscriptions. I’d also like to think we’d be worthy of comparable rates if we ever decide to go that route, but we’ve decided that we want to keep the site free for as long as we can. Donations from regular readers go a long way towards making that happen.
Ultimately, over the next two weeks, we are asking our readers to donate what they can to help keep SoxProspects.com free to the public. If you want to donate, first, we would like to thank you profusely – it’s truly appreciated. To donate, visit our DONATIONS PAGE. All payments are secured through PayPal, although you don’t need a PayPal account to contribute. All of the donations will go directly to our costs – none of the owners have taken out a dollar of profit out of the site's tills over the last five years (obviously we’re not doing this to get rich!).
Last, to any of our regular readers that are not members of the SoxProspects Forum, please sign up! We’d love to get some new members in on the discussion and some new ideas floated around during our peak season! And to all of our current forum members out there, don’t be afraid to start new discussion threads – especially threads on specific players. It would be great to get more player-centric discussion going on the board in addition to the other topics already being discussed.
As always, thanks to all of our readers for visiting the site and all of our forum members for posting!