Introducing the RAB Paywall

DirecTV's deal with YES Network expires today
The RAB Radio Show: April 1, 2011

Since late February in 2007, long before Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia were Yankees, long before we knew about Manuel Banuelos or the power of Kevin Long, Joe, Mike and I began RAB as an experiment in blogging. We had been writing for various other outlets and thought we could do a better job on our own site. Since then, we’ve followed four baseball seasons, penned over 11,200 posts, received 950,000 comments and see 1.2 million of you reload the site every month.

For years, RAB has been a labor of love. We earned some money off of advertising, but it’s not enough to run the site full time. Mike has worked as an engineer and writer for MLB Trade Rumors and FanGraphs; Joe has a day job as a tech/mobile phone writer and also contributes to FanGraphs; I’m in law school and recently picked up a gig at Baseball Prospectus. Still, we’d love to focus on River Ave. Blues as a full-time venture, and so we announce today a trailblazing path in baseball blogging: The RAB paywall.

Drawing inspiration from The New York Times’ recent foray into charging for web content, we’ll be doing the same. After all, while free content is a nice benefit of the Internet, those who produce the content need to be adequately compensated for their time and energy.

So how will this work? First, the good part: Some of our articles will be free. You can still enjoy game threads and open threads as well as the numerous asides we post. Those aren’t going anywhere. But long-form pieces and recaps will fall behind the paywall. Our readers too can access a certain number of free posts per month. Here’s how it works:

  • 27 free articles per month. After 27, you can buy a monthly subscription for $3.14.
  • 42 free comments per year. After exceeding that total, commenters can purchase an annual unlimited account for $19.23.

Of course, we’ll also offer some bonuses as The Times is doing. Those of you who find their way to RAB via our @RABFeed Twitter account or Facebook page won’t be docked for article views. We still want to make RAB as accessible as possible while working toward drawing in enough revenue to make the site sustainable.

We know many of you might not be happy about this news, but we hope it will lead to better and more thorough coverage. With the added revenue, we’re going to upgrade our offerings, post more frequently and provide more in depth coverage. Over the next few months, you’ll see some changes to the site that aren’t quite ready for prime time, and by next April Fools Day, the paywall will be live.

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DirecTV's deal with YES Network expires today
The RAB Radio Show: April 1, 2011
  • Meat Loaf

    God damnit you got me again.

    • V

      You gotta learn to be skeptical on 4/1 ;-)

  • Alex K.

    Awesome idea! I’ve been saying RAB needs to monitize for years now! Also that means I could maybe get mechanical royalties for the Podcast theme!

    (Good one.)

  • Alex S

    saw it coming

  • Esteban

    I knew right away.

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    I didn’t fall for it, but that’s pretty funny.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

    If we subscribe to home delivery, do we get free web content?

  • http://twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

    haha i literally saw this and was like, what the eff

    • http://channel0.tumblr.com Brendan

      Oh, you literally saw it? Not metaphorically or physically or theoretically? Impressive.

  • Poopy Pants

    LOL

  • VO

    It was a good attempt

  • Joey

    Jokes on you bitches, I would pay for it! Lol

    • Joey

      Also nice job on the 19.23 (year), it’s the small stuff like that that makes a joke good

      • RobinsonKanoWinsFatality

        Seconded.

  • http://www.twitter.com/vscafuto Vinny Scafuto

    In all seriousness, aside from the usual “every little bit helps” line, what’s a decent-sized donation to make to the PayPal account?

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      As cliched as it sounds, whatever you feel like donating. How much annual value do you get out of the site?

      • http://twitter.com/steveh_MandAura Steve H

        Can I find that answer on fangraphs?

      • http://www.twitter.com/vscafuto Vinny Scafuto

        8.5 Wins Above Replacement Blog.

      • ledavidisrael

        ahah I have a friend who started a blog reviewing PITCHFORK reviews. he got famous off of it.

        always thought it would be funny if someone put together a blogger/writers stats site.

  • http://intobolivian.com scrody

    Didn’t hit me until the ultra specific prices. Help me out… what’ the significance of 3.14?

    • http://www.twitter.com/vscafuto Vinny Scafuto

      Short porch wall.

      • Beamish

        I thought that too, not Jeter’s AVG

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Jeter’s career batting average.

      • http://www.twitter.com/vscafuto Vinny Scafuto

        Or that.

        • http://intobolivian.com scrody

          Ah, right.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Jeter’s career BA.

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      Pi.

      • Beamish

        Now I’m hungry…

    • Corporate Scum

      I believe that’s pi. Otherwise, no idea.

  • Sam

    Very funny.

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    Hah! I saw it coming this year.

  • http://dosrevival.com/fantasy Rick Peterson

    Took me a minute…

  • Beamish

    $3.14 and $19.23 – nice references.

  • boogie down

    Of the numbers, the $3.14 was used because it’s Jeter’s lifetime average, right? Not some other reference?

    You definitely got me last year with the Dolan post (God, no!), but I’ve been far too skeptical today. I was just about to say that I’d disregard something legitimate that happens on an April Fool’s Day one of these years, but the Matt Holliday surgery situation has already created that scenario. I didn’t believe it at first, but it appears to be true. Glad I didn’t draft him.

    • boogie down

      Read above, got my answer. Thanks.

  • Chris0313

    This was awesome. I fell for it. Was unreasonably angry.

  • Matt Savino

    This was good. You got me. Great work.

  • Joseph Cecala

    RAB insider ™

  • pollo

    got me. not even going to front. Good one.

  • exiledintampa

    O.K. help an old man out? 19.23? year oys opened?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

      That’s it.

  • Soam

    You got me, and while I was a little upset, I would have been willing to pay.

    • ledavidisrael

      +1

    • http://twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

      +1

  • http://www.twitter.com/hulkheyman HulkHeyman

    I was already calculating my monthly budget with this included.
    But then I realized its April fools.

    Good Job.

  • Gonzo

    That was excellent! I was thinking there would be no April Fools’ Day joke. I read the title and gasped. Nice one.

  • jsbrendog

    nice try. saw the headline and immediately knew april fools.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Jokes on you, we’re really using this to gauge everyone’s willingness in a real paywall!

  • Johnny O

    Last year’s “Steinbrenner’s selling team to Dolan’s” was obvious. This one was good, I believed until the cost per comment, that just didn’t make sense.

  • Pat D

    Gotta admit, I knew this was the April Fool’s Day post, but it was still pretty funny.

  • teddy

    damm you got me good, nice job

  • Drew

    waka waka waka

  • OH HAI

    Almost had me.

    This: “With the added revenue, we’re going to upgrade our offerings, post more frequently and provide more in depth coverage.”

    I honestly can’t imagine more posts and in depth coverage for this sight. It’s already set the bar so high!

    • OH HAI

      *site not sight. April Fools.

  • Cuso

    Any chance the whole YES going dark is an April Fool’s gag?

    bastards

  • Mike C

    and I thought the Subway Race article form last night was the April Fools joke….

  • http://www.blogs.thetenthinningstretch.com the tenth inning stretch

    I was literally trying to figure out creative ways to convince my wife that paying for RAB is a necessity, until I read the first comments. Got me good.

    • Jimmy

      I don’t feel so used now, I was doing the exact same thing.

  • Greg G.

    I was completely suckered by this. Shame on me.

  • Mister Delaware

    Charlie Manuel’s bullpen management today was an April Fools joke.

  • brazilian fan

    wow, nice april´s fool.

    But i think the writers deserved that if they wanted.

    You guys are awesome and deserve to get paid.

    i was said for a minute because i´m from brazil so i would be banned from the site.

    But if you charged the content of the site it would be fair.

  • Ross

    Yep. Got me again. Touche, bastards.

  • cano is the bro

    hahaha i totally felt for this until i read the comments. I feel dumb now

  • mike_h

    27 articles? I bet if we won last year it would be 28 :)

  • Cam

    Been waiting for this since I woke up this morning. Always good at this, Ben, and it’s always on some really unexpected topic. Thanks for the laugh!

  • http://www.twitter.com/howienewville Howie

    I can proudly say you didn’t fool me this time. As I woke up and looked at my Yankees calendar with Teixeira representing March, it made me remember the April Fools joke of the Dolans buying the team.

    Fool me once, shame on… you…. You fool me can’t get fooled again.

    • Pat D

      Thank you, Mr. President.

      • Tank the Frank

        Our children is learning.

  • el malo

    “The New York Yankees announced today they have hired Isaiah Thomas as a consultant…”

  • 23553

    You had me until the last sentence. I’d be happy to pay 3 dollars a month, especially if you would be releasing even more great articles.

  • Yank the Frank

    I’m still distracted over the whole YES/DirecTV greediness, I’m an easy mark.

  • pat

    Great I LOLed but, not the best april fools joke. The Matt Cooke Mario Lemiuex on twitter with the fake article was the best.

  • http://theevilsquare.com handtius

    come on guys….way to obvious with the whole new york times paywall. i expect better!!!! like, hey, i’m leaving rab. got offered a job to write for the boston globe.

  • mustang

    The funny thing is I was just in the car thinking of how you guys weren’t going to get me this year.

    ONCE AGAIN I FAILED!

    Good job!

  • Tank the Frank

    Fuck you guys I was already looking for my credit card when I finally got it.

  • A.D.

    Nice work, are the stats to start off with real?

  • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S.

    I’m quite disappointed in the comments so far. Where’s the ignorant outrage?

    • Preston

      Grumble, Grumble, Grumble!!! Sorry I’d be able to muster more fake outrage if we hadn’t won yesterday.

  • ADam

    Well Done… Got me… Not as good as last year which made me buy new underwear… but very good…

  • Yo! I’m Chris

    Got me! I forgot it’s April. I was well as least it’s really cheap! I feel like an ass.

  • http://notanevilempire.com Steve O.

    IF ITS NOT FREE ITS NOT FOR ME

    • http://notanevilempire.com Steve O.

      Kidding.

      (Mostly)

  • http://twitter.com/#!/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

    Yes fell for it yet once again.

  • Claudell

    An article about how the Yankees are going to add last names to players’ jerseys… Now THAT would have gotten some people.

  • Mike R

    … I was about to be very very angry. You fooled me :P

  • http://RAB Nuke LaDoosh

    Got me. Call me Naive LaDoosh.

    • http://RAB Nuke LaDoosh

      Sweeeet. Mike Napoli. I’m proud my ancestors come from the town for which you were named! Texas 5 Sux 4

  • MannyGeee

    Well Played Mauer…. I smellt something funny when 3.14 and the “pay to comment” lines came up (yeah, like I would pay money to tell gay jokes about the Red Sox… oh, wait…) but overall the effort put across was much better than the Dolan article from last season.

    Not gonna lie to you though, I fell harder for the Pettitte to TX one from TYA this morning…

  • Xstar7

    Holy crap, you guys had me going for a while.

  • hlrjr

    you jerks!

  • CMP

    Nice joke.
    For a second, i thought i wasn’t going to see this site anymore like what happened with Newsday when they went subscription. This is a great site and all but in all due respect, nothing worth paying for.

  • Pasqua

    Brilliant. Absolutely great. I must be over-tired. This got me hook, line and sinker. Yes, even sinker.

  • Ray the Anti-Handle

    Damnit, fell for it…

  • oh hell

    I will pay handsomely for more whismy….name your price

  • http://yanksgoyard.com Andy_C_23

    Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap. You had me until the “and by next April Fools Day, the paywall will be live” line. Touche good sirs.

  • http://facebook.com Eric

    WOW haha first saw this and got pretty angry, actually took me a couple of hours to realize that this was a damn good April Fool’s joke.

  • Virginia Yank

    I was so disappointed I didn’t even finish reading after the first paragraph. I only came back to the article to read the comments to find the outrage I thought it must’ve caused. Having had an April Fool’s joke already today, my gaurd was totally down.

  • adeelmd

    the yearly pricing for posting on here is not a bad idea (despite April fools)… maybe like $5 a year or something like that (to get rid of trolls).

    a long time ago in a kingdom that was far away that didnt charge anything to post, but required phone verification of all their users. it was awesome because you knew who everyone was (age/sex) wise.

    There is a lot of money to be made in yearly pricing schemes…imho…=)

  • Mark from Washington

    Bastards. Got me. I soiled myself with about .122 ounces of shite.

    /(Gus Molina’s MLB BA)/

  • Mickey Scheister

    Damn, I suck at life. Two years in a row, I was even looking for it this morning.

  • Sai

    You guys are great and all but you guys arent NYT putting out 50 articles a day on various topics per day. I really hope this was an april fools joke otherwise it is an awful idea. To think you can charge as much as even espn insider for a yankee blog. guesss i can un bookmark this blog now. sad part is you guys have become the best yankee blog. so netflix charges 7.99/month for like 20,000 movies and stuff and you guys wanna charge 3/month for a yankee blog…

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      How did you manage to leave the 101st comment in this thread and entirely miss the fact that this was an April Fools joke?

  • AC

    I admit, I fell for this until I got to the last line. Well done, RAB.

  • Dan

    Well done. But would actually pay for the site.

    • Jw

      I would pay for this site too. In a heartbeat. Keep up the good work guys!