(alternate title: Why some think I am a douche)
Last week, after receiving recommendations from several readers of this blog, ESPN.com reached out and asked us to join their new “Sweetspot Network.”
After reviewing the offer, we decided it was not in the best interest of this blog to join ESPN.com at this time. We made a very brief mention on Twitter and thought that was it. Since then, we have received at least a dozen inquiries asking why we turned down the offer.
After the jump, you will find the reasons for our decision…
TRAFFIC BOOST MAY NOT BE SIGNIFICANT: A boost in readership was the biggest benefit that would have been gained by joining ESPN.com’s network. Based on our research, the size of that bump varied from very small to something more significant. For a blog still trying to establish itself, the boost might be big enough. But the number of new daily readers we would find probably would be minimal.
A BUSINESS MODEL THAT IS LACKING: Ultimately, Rob Neyer wants the “Sweetspot Network” to be like “TrueHoop,” ESPN.com’s network of basketball blogs. But in the end, there was no clear plan on how Neyer hoped to achieve the same level of success. It is going to take more than just throwing a bunch of blogs together in a melting pot and hoping it makes something yummy. By all indications, Neyer is getting little or no help from the folks in Bristol. This is Neyer’s project, and we are sure he has the best intentions, but he is also a busy guy. If he is not going to get any help, the network will go nowhere. And this leads to the next reason…
LITTLE OR NO CREATIVE INPUT FROM THE BLOGGERS: If Neyer is not getting any help from the folks in Bristol, then he should take advantage of his next greatest resource, the bloggers. I might have been able to overlook some of the other deficiencies if I thought I had a chance to help shape “Sweetspot” into something great. But ESPN would never allow that. And this leads to the biggest reason for saying “no”…
IT’S ABOUT THE MONEY: I’m not going to lie, the biggest reason for turning down ESPN.com was that the monetary offer would have needed to be significantly bigger. If I would have agreed to join the “Sweetspot Network,” ESPN.com would get my traffic. This is important for ESPN.com because the traffic from all of these blogs will boost their ratings in a battle they are currently losing to Yahoo! Sports. And ESPN thinks I will give them my traffic just so that Rays Index can have the ESPN logo on the site. Ultimately, the “Sweetspot Network” and the associated blogs are there to benefit ESPN.com, not the other way around.
Now, we don’t want this to sound like we are bashing Rob Neyer or the “Sweetspot Network.” We have the utmost respect for Neyer and we have always appreciated the support he has shown for this site. And we do hope that “Sweetspot” is successful as we are big fans of many of the blogs that have already joined the network.
As of now, they are still looking for a Rays representative and joining the network may very well be a great move for somebody else. It just wouldn’t be for Rays Index.
So to those of you that took the time to recommend us to ESPN, thank you. It means a lot that you think this site is worthy of that recognition.