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Where Does DBR Go From Here?

We've puttered along here at Duke Basketball Report now for seven years as of
July, which is hard to believe, mostly because we've done it on a day-to-day
basis and so we don't think of it in terms of years. The only days we've
missed publishing are hurricane days and ice storm days. Otherwise, we're
here every day, and a lot of you are as well. Seven years is a time for reflection,
though, and a time to ask: do we want to keep on doing this? A lot
has changed since we started way back when, and it's not as easy to do as it
used to be. So we want to talk to you guys about that and ask for your
input (at the bottom). To be honest, we really need it.

When we started this site, it was really simple to do, and it was cheap -
free, actually, for a long time. Our lives were simpler, too. Since then,
marriages and children have entered the equation for some of us, and what was
once as easy as breathing now takes some effort. Why do we do it?

The answer, of course, is that we still enjoy it, even when we're feeling
burned out, and we've made adjustments to keep our freshness. But it isn't
always easy, and with our added responsibilities, we find ourselves increasingly
questioning our long-held tradition of having a free site. It's free to
you - we've given you several gigs of data over the years. But to us, it means updating at 3 in the morning, going without sleep, and
various other costs.

The passion of course is for Duke basketball, which is pretty much like being
a Colts fan in the old days, or a Dodgers fan, or whatever pocket of the
athletic world where the team, the venue, and the fans meld together in a
perfect passion. So a big part of it is being around an ever-expanding
group of people who grok what we grok - it's so incredibly unique and
fascinating what goes on inside of Cameron.

But still, the work is getting harder to keep up with, and so we have to
consider where we go from here. Do we keep a totally free site? The
odds of it keeping the same intensity are not good, frankly. You
try updating at 3 when a five-month-old wakes up an hour later.

So here's our questions for you, as we move forward:

  • do we maintain the free structure as-is, and hope that we can somehow keep it going?
  • Do we go to a PBS-type fund raising drive? That's appealing in many
    ways but unpredictable, too. It works well for some sites, though.
  • Do we just go to a subscription basis? If so, anyone who subscribed when
    we tried to do our deal with the Insiders, as long as we have your e-mail
    address on record, we'll grandfather you in.
  • Do we introduce a recruiting feature? This could be either web-based or
    mailed to you. If so, what do you think it would be worth to
    you? $5 per month? $10? $20? We've been approached by three people
    who deal with recruiting who would be interested in doing something with us like
    that. It would be fee-based because they wouldn't do it for free.
  • Should we consider a sponsor for the site? By that we mean an individual
    sponsor, almost certainly a corporate sponsor, should anyone be interested.
    We know who the big shots are who read this site! Seriously. If
    any of you bigshot corporate honchos would be interested in sponsoring the
    site, we'd certainly be interested in talking to you. Our demographics
    are unusually good.

And here's an idea of where we'd like to be: we'd like to obviously cover our
budget, which is about 20,000 per year, which includes maintenance expenses, the
periodic new server (you guys keep on thrashing our servers), gas to get to the
co-lo site, and so forth. A couple of months recently we didn't even make that minimal standard.

We'd also like to pay at least one person on a
full-time basis, preferably two. Not huge salaries, mind you, but livable
certainly. And actually having a budget and planning ahead would be an
interesting novelty. Our goal would be $70,000 per annum. If we can do these things, then we can actually start planning improvements, rather than just doing everything on the fly, which gets stressful at times.

We'll be making a decision on this in the coming days, and the more responses
we get from you guys, the more we'll know what we should do. So please,
<!font size="3">drop
us an e-mail
and tell us what you think. If it takes a few days
to wade through the e-mail, that's cool. Bring it on.

And also, we'd be extremely interested to hear any
proposals/insights/revelations you might have about how we should proceed from
here. We're totally open to whatever you might come up with. And as
always, thanks for everything. You guys are great!