I'm here to discuss the 800 pound gorilla on the right side of the Blog. We're several days into the kickstarter for HTTV 2014, and we're still sitting at around 70% funded. I don't recall the exact figures, but it seems to me that in years past, the kickstarter has been fully funded shortly after the link went up. So I'd like to ask the board, have you participated in the kickstarter in prior years and are holding back this year? If so, why? Is this just part of the general malaise that follows a 7-6 year? Is it too early in the year to be excited about football?
Meta: HTTV Kickstarter
Gorilla concerned me too. Albeit a minor donation, I think I've contributed the same amount the past three years. If we're down to the wire and still not 100% funded, I'll make an additional donation to help make sure this things is published. Love the HTTV!
I bought the magazine but didn't make a contribution last year, so I put in a little extra than what I would've when I saw the link go up.
I think the lack of a basketball/hockey preview has something to do with it. Last year still had a goal of $30,000, but it offered a basketball/hockey preview along with the football preview, and the $30 combo package was by far the most popular option. This year has only the football preview, and now the $15 package is the most popular option. That's going to cut into the contributions no matter how much malaise is going on. Add in the general malaise that follows a 7-6 year and a chunk of procrastinators waiting until the last second and you're going to get lower totals.
I don't know, but something is going on.
Last year raised almost $70K with almost 2,000 backers. Right now there are only 834 backers. So it is clearly a combination of the number of backers and as well as the cash level.
Obviously, some of that will be made up later with revenues for the separate e-book for hockey/basketball, but likely only a fraction of the difference.
That something going on is called apathy.
If you think its apathy regarding the prospects of the 2014 football team, then I think you have a small point.
If you think it is a broader-based apathy regarding the blog in general, then I think you have a very good point.
going to get into an argument about it.
Past incidents have caused me to emotionally distance myself from this blog.
I visit much less, raely post, and have stopped supporting this place financially.
Though I was (and still probably are) in the minority.
Banning a couple dozen of the most dedicated posters last fall probably isn't helping Brian either. Classic case of biting the hand that feeds him.
Well we know that at least one of them came back.
Ah...but who was I?
Back for the occasional discussion but certainly not ponying up any cash or clicking on links anymore.
Ah...but who was I?
Butterfield ... But I feel like you are quietly hoping people would remember you.
Clearly you enjoy the information and discussion here, so perhaps this time around, you can be a better participant.
It's a nice diversion on a slow workday. You may not agree with me but I don't think you'll find too many examples of where Butterfield stirred up trouble. A couple instances over three years where I was a jerk to someone other than Section 1 (that was a tad more frequent). In reality that account was banished because I tried to support MGoBrewMom and the other posters that had been unfairly skewered... If anyone was the poor participant in that instance, it wasn't me.
I figured after your scorched earth farewell you wouldn't be back.
the rampant negativity in almost all of the articles. I am not sure if it is just me , but I feel like the pieces written are becoming less and less interesting.
I dont care if football went 7-6 last year, I want to read football articles and not a 9th story on the fact Mitch mcgary isn't coming back at the end of may. I feel like this blog is turning into a "well the football team underachieved again" so lets try to talk about anything other than football as much as possible.
It's probably just me...but this is the way I feel,
Brian's most cited work or favorites of the readership is almost always pieces he wrote many years ago. Particularly Seven Swans, but there are many others; my favorite post as well as comments thread came in the wake of the Appalachian State loss entitled "Surrender" (I think).
There were also humorous posts by the readership back then as well (the whole TRex saga as well as a number of parodies).
There is a lot more information available on the blog now, and posted much quicker. But the blog has been progressive less entertaining and humorous, both in content as well in the comments.
I would like to think that the great banning spree last fall has played a role in this; that at least makes me feel a little vindictive happiness...
I know of two posters, one banned and one still on the site, who cited our friends banning as a reason not to contribute this year...
For my part I would rather wait till it comes out and purchase it then. That is what I have done before... The reason I won't pay in the kickstarter is that I find the money to be unaccountable (this is for all kickstarters mind you)...
Though the posters who were banned were very influential and almost ubiquitous, they represented a small segment of the readership. Neither their banning nor the negative effect on this blog brings may any satisfaction whatsoever.
Brian was incredibly visionary in his understanding, very early on, that the potential difference between a blog and print media was the nurturing of a virtual community. He was dead-on, and initially benefited from this insight.
The problem - over the years he has been less and less attentive to the community he worked so hard to develop. His also was less receptive to what his writing's impact on had on it.
My impression is that there has been increasingly is less loyalty and less devotion to this blog over the years, and that is unfortunate.
Even in the darkest days, there was humor and hope. He wrote a lot of thought-provoking articles that inspired many long threads in the comment section (given the relative readership, his earlier articles provoked a much greater response than those of the past few years, and the comments were much, much more interesting).
In short, there has been a lot of more information on the blog, but a lot less inspiration, entertainment and insight. And all of this is, in part, reflected in the declining response to HTTV.
When you blog for a living (and I don't), I think it's a very tough line to toe. You can let the commenters/participants run amok and do whatever the heck they want, or you can pipe in and stand up for some of your readers and require a modicum of respect. It all depends on what you're looking to get out of it. Brian's the one who has to deal with the results of the banhammers, and I'm sure he thought about the effects of banning people beforehand. He must have considered the bannings to be worth it.
I do think the overall tenor of the blog has changed over the years, but that's inevitable when you hire more and more writers. There's also a ton more diary information on softball, lacrosse, etc. which I never visit at all. I originally gravitated toward this blog because of the football content, so all this other stuff just kind of gets in the way.
At some point I think it would behoove Brian to have a sports message board (or perhaps just a football or football/basketball message board) and an off topic message board. Sometimes I'm interested in one or the other, but if I visit the board and see no news about football, I typically visit elsewhere. Or I do something lame like read a book or go to the gym.
although you don't "blog for a living" you do put forth the effort to have a pretty damn good idea what it is like. And I had little doubt that when the blog grew (which is a GOOD THING) it inevitably had to appeal to a wider, more general audience.
The problem there is the more general you become in any industry/business/whatever the more you lose your core audience. Additionally, the more successful you become, the less attentive you are to what made you successful. Unfortunately, I think both of these have slowly been happening on this blog.
Towards a different point that you allude to, there is little doubt that Brian's blog revenues will ebb and flow with the success of the Michigan football and basketball teams. I would think that this is incredible pressure for him that is way out of his control. For him (and all of the other writers), I would think that a lot more rides on each football game than any or, hell, all of us combined. That inevitably has to affect the tenor of the blog, and I am not unsympathetic.
I just think they would be better off if they try to make the blog more humorous, fun and relevant to the readership at large. But perhaps they are just fine the way things are, I don't know.
Regarding your last point, I can think about just about most anything is more lame than reading a book or going to the gym.
I agree with just about everything here. And I was just kidding about the lameness of reading books, going to the gym, etc. I should do those more often instead of visiting the MGoBoard.
Magnus- I would think your blog would have steady readership even in trying times, if even just for the "extracurriculars" you offer to those who click through...
I'm satisfied with the blog traffic. It's more than I thought I would ever get. But it has ebbed a little bit. I'm not sure what extracurriculars you're talking about, though. Are you talking about the synchronized swimming club that I started?
I do think there is a general malaise about the football team right now. Basketball has taken over, and all the talk about McGary, Stauskas, and GRIII in the upcoming draft is a "distraction" from football. I have also noticed a plateau in blog traffic, which I attribute at least partly to the Malaise.
FWIW, I already contributed to HTTV so hopefully it gets funded.
Agree on all counts Magnus. I too contributed but I thought the funding was basically locked in due to one of his advertisers offering to back-stop any financing gaps.
I forgot, so thanks OP for the reminder to fund...but for all of you who think the gaps will be filled in if you don't donate, that is not the case. Kickstarter works on an all-or-nothing premise, so if we do not collectively meet the goal by the deadline then Brian and co. get zilch.
I bought one copy two years ago and two copies last year. I would buy two copies again if I could afford it. Sadly, I am broke.
It sounds like you shouldn't have splurged on that extra copy last year.
I got the first edition, because it was a new and interesting idea.
To be honest, the content of the book got stale really quickly. I'd rather spend my dollars on mgoshirts, as they are still useful 2 months after I receive them. This website is always updated with new and well-written articles, so I don't have a burning desire for that incremental content.
Also, I bought the 1st year's HTTV and liked it, but didn't feel like I learned anything new from the book as opposed to just reading MGo everyday. That's why I didn't buy it this year.
I understand the sentiment. I view it as the "Beveled Guilt" thing so I bought both years.
I haven't gotten it this year because there are 7 days left.
And you don't just get that by perusing MGoBlog. So there's that!
You will get an in-depth look at Nussmeier's offensive schemes, from running to passing, the theory behind them, and how they'll work at attacking defenses. I haven't seen that in-depth analysis yet, and to a certain degree, you're unlikely to get an all-encompassing primer like that anywhere else. Just an FYI besides the excitement of SPACE COYOTE ARTICLE!
wait... this is our fault, isn't it?
...Space Coyote's article is nothing more than a listing of his all-time top ten favorite Michigan meteor "storms". Some of which sorta fizzled out.
Well, I'd never purchased an HTTV, but now I gotta find my checkbook.
I got it the first 2 years, but ended up just skimming them at most. There is comparable (and more up-to-date) content on this blog and elsewhere as the season approaches, which is when my interest increases anyway.
I still hope it gets funded though -- it's a good product.
My experience is the same as what you described. I looked at it and skimmed through various parts with the intention of going back later, but later never came. Once the season started, I was into current information and found that HTTV didn't get looked at the rest of the season.
I will probably buy a copy to support Mgoblog.
I was going to ask Brian if, in place of the basketball and hockey preview (which was a nice bonus last year for the stretch goal), we could perhaps make up for it and have the "Mod Dunk Tank" for the preview party, if we have one for this year's edition. Yes, I would do my shift in the tank and I would simply work for beer.
As for this year, I have done my bit and hopefully we do get this thing funded as it is a publication that other publications actually use to gauge the state of Michigan football, or so I have heard.
My son's Chinese school just had their annual carnival. It's a low-budget affair, so instead of renting a dunk tank, they took pieces of cardboard, cut out holes in the middle, and had kids stick their heads through the holes. Other kids were given water balloons to throw at the cardboard-kids. Call me a mean dad, but I did not let my son participate.
I've been dragging my feet but plan to get in before the deadline. I imagine there have to be a few more like me out there.
I was about to make a contribution yesterday when it occurred to me that some pure Beveled Guilt must result in a higher return for the blog*. I always like a new MGoShirt, but aside from a few HTTV articles I may or may not have much interest in (if I want to read Craig Ross I'll just buy his book), some variation of the information will pop up on here anyway.
Also might have been a bad idea to announce the Draft Street sponsorship, especially since it didn't come with specifics other than whatever they are providing "won't show up on Kickstarter.
* Rest assured it will be one or both. Given the amount of time I spend on here while at the office, I consider it employer-subsidized funding.
If HTTV doesn't get funded then they don't get any of the money pledged meaning the return on a pledge (assuming you're on the margin) is much higher than any beveled guilt. You have to think about that as well.
Differences seem to be (to me):
(1) This year's shirt is not popular,
(2) No personalized autographed copy, just regular autograph copy, and
(3) Timing of the kickstarter - in previous years it started at the end of basketball season and I'd imagine it thus got more pageviews, and maybe it lasted a week longer once posted.
This won't be a popular stance among the Loyalists, but here's my reason (which may be other's as well):
I have purchased HTTV every year it has existed, and in recent years I've purchased multiple copies for family and friends, partly because I liked the book and partly because I wanted to support the blog. In the last year, however, the Blog has made a habit of alienating its readers for various reasons, culminating with the "Look how dumb my readers are" post Brian made a few months back. So although I still read and comment here (albeit less than before) I've cut off all of my monetary contributions to the blog and have been getting my M news from a variety of places, as opposed to exclusively here like I was before.
I would echo this, coupled with the fact the overall quality of the staff is not such I care to support a large print publication. As opposed to being mostly great, the writing has been more hit or miss recently. I'm not going to put down money for a book where I think a number of the contributers are poor sports writers. In a digital format of course I can just skim or not read their articles and I can consume via the purchase of other items from the MGoStore. I just have little interest in a publication that I'll only enjoy a portion of and given how the entire MGoBrewmom saga when down my willingless to buy purely for the sake of support is gone. I'll buy and donate but only when I consider the product as good. I've bought multiple copies the last few years, but this year I'll just get a shirt or something from the store at some point.
Perfectly put LA.
You are well within your right to feel that way and support the blog how you feel. I will only argue that calling people who do still like the content and didn't take offense to some of the content "Loyalists" is a bit disingenuous.
But yeah, the blog has its own take, and I think it has come to reflect, to an extent, the general malaise surrounding the fanbase as it relates to football. Also, the novelty has probably worn off a bit; it's a magazine with some nice content but it probably won't contain something earth-shattering that most haven't learned from elsewhere.