Those of you who have been around for a while know we have done a lot of
things to keep this site running. We went from being absolutely free to a
reader-sponsored system to being ad-sponsored to accepting reader
contributions as we do currently. Throughout we've always tried to keep a
few things in mind: make it a friendly place, stay true to our ideals, and
do the best job we can do with what we have to work with. For the most part,
we think we have done a pretty good job, and most of the things that haven't
worked we can blame on ourselves. Nonetheless, we come to a fork in the road every so
often and have to make decisions, and we are at such a fork now.
have been reasonably successful in raising funds by appealing to you guys (and
thank those of you who have donated - we can't tell you how much it touched us),
the income is
erratic. The last several payment transfer periods from Amazon have been
less than 100 dollars (Pay Pal, which we also use, consistently runs
behind Amazon). Though we have tended to receive more support via check,
nonetheless, we have become convinced that despite a lot of wonderful support,
it can't be a long-term solution. For one thing, our site continues to
grow and expand - not too long ago, as we mentioned recently, our server
almost maxed out a T-1 line - and that was before a single game had been played.
that suggests is that come January - much less March and April - our ability to
serve pages to you may well grind to a halt. On one level, that's exhilarating -
it means that we're continuing to grow, and that's what we want. On another, of
course, it means various pains in the butt, as we will have to figure out ways
around this problem, and all of them cost money.
In short, there are two
curves which will soon intersect. One is the growth in this site's popularity,
and the other is the expense of maintaining the site. We can either find
ways to generate more income, or we can decide that there is no room on the web
for sites like ours, that the popularity can never be matched by revenues.
we will not accept. For one thing, we're stubborn. For another, you guys
have been so tremendously supportive of this site and tell us repeatedly that
it's important to you. We really believe that, and we really want you to keep
feeling that way about this. We have a lot of fun with it - doing things
like poll skewing, or running Coach K's book up Amazon's best seller list, or
meeting people at games and other places - well, it's just one of the coolest
things we've ever done, and we'd miss it - and you guys - too.
So with our
future not as secure as we'd like it to be, we have decided to accept an offer
from The Insiders group to become a member of their organization. This will
involve adding some features which are subscriber-based. We do this with some
mixed feelings, as we're sure you'll understand, but we have worked hard to set
up an arrangement which keeps this site much like it is today.
First of all,
and most importantly, what you are used to getting here will not change.
The things you are used to getting here will remain. Anything which
requires a subscription (mostly more detailed recruiting news, as we'll be
working closely with Dave Telep) will be something new. So please rest assured,
what you get today, you will get tomorrow. We have seen several sites
which have alienated their fan base by putting what they were used to getting
off limits. We won't do that. Before the Internet bubble burst, we got
some pretty outrageous offers for this site - either to join networks or to sell
outright. You'd be shocked if you knew how much money we turned down, but
if we had accepted any of them we would have betrayed our relationship with you
guys. We wouldn't do it then and we won't do that now.
Having said that, we really want
you to subscribe. For one thing, there are UNC and Kentucky sites on the
network, and the people who run the place tell us that they don't think a Duke
site can keep up with them. We'd love it if you would help us to prove
them wrong. Think of it as the ultimate poll-skewing.
Beyond that, we have a lingering desire to really push the envelope and see
what we can do with this site. There are things we can't do now because we
can't afford to, but we have a wish list - visits to summer camps is very high
on the list, for instance. We'd love to go to Nike and really study
players. We think we have a reasonable eye for talent, and it's also a
great opportunity to network and talk to people, and we haven't been able to do
that as much as we'd like. We'd also love to be prosperous enough to send
the remarkable Stickdog out on the trail.
One other important thing: we expect that the system we are currently using, where we solicit donations, will
eventually come to an end. Our hope is
that it will allow us enough of a cushion to make a transition, but who knows. In the long run, we don't really want to use both,
and it's not right to do both if we don't have to. But in the short run,
the chance to support DBR that way will remain.
We may also be accepting some limited advertising. Ads have completely
changed on the Internet in the last couple of years, and so we expect any ad
revenue will be minimal.
So our expectation is that we will have a hybrid sort of system, one where we
get some income from subscriptions, some from ads, some from t-shirts, hats, and
the like, and some, we hope, from using Amazon's affiliate system. In other
words, if you use our page to go to Amazon to order, Amazon gives us a cut of
that. So for all you Amazon fans, please use our jumping-off point for
The bottom line is we have increasing costs and unpredictable income.
There is absolutely no guarantee that this site will be here a year, or 18
months from now. We hope it is, but we can't promise you that it will
be. The best way you can help us to guarantee that is to continue to
Again, we approach this change with mixed feelings, but having made the
decision, we are going to bust our asses to make it not only work, but to make
it work better than anyone else can. We wish we could thank everyone
individually and tell you how grateful we are for your support. We can't
do that, of course (for one thing, most of the contributions through Amazon are
anonymous), but we can tell you we are incredibly touched by the support
we've received, both financially and spiritually, and that we look forward to
justifying your passion for this site by consistently pursuing excellence.