IBI making a big move to Scout.com
Some big changes are coming to IBI in the coming weeks as effective January 1st the Indians Baseball Insider will officially be joining the Scout.com network.
First and foremost, I want to ensure all of our readers that nothing will change as far as content and how you get to the site. Also, for those with premium memberships they will carry over to the new site. And I also still 100% control IBI. Nothing is changing on any of those fronts. The site will *look* different as it fits into the new network, but this is a change that brings about a great opportunity for growth not only for the IBI but for the many people involved with it and a better overall experience for those who read it on a daily basis.
In a nutshell, we are essentially just moving our little small town street corner coffee shop operation into a giant mall where foot traffic is going to increase enormously and we have a strong backing from a big company.
Scout had actually reached out to me back in 2011 when I was first deciding on making a change to what was then Indians Prospect Insider (IPI), but it just was not the right fit at the time. I wanted to see how IBI could grow on its own and what possibilities could develop. Well, three years later, Scout reached out again and this time it was a perfect match.
Some may be familiar with Scout as they were sold eight years ago by founder Jim Heckman to Fox Sports. When it went to Fox Sports the MLB product was largely ignored; however, Heckman has since bought Scout.com back and with a significant amount of investment capital there is a strong backing to developing a full-fledged MLB network in addition to a network that covers all sports.
Scout contacted me about two months ago about joining their new MLB network they are building. Having had several meetings on the phone and in person with them, needless to say I am beyond excited about the commitment they are making to their MLB network and the IBI will be a spearhead at the front of it.
So how does all of this help you the reader/subscriber?
- Significant bandwidth increase for online content, images, videos, chat and forums
- Full support for desktop, tablet and mobile platforms
- User access to broader network (a member of one site receives the benefit of free and premium content from hundreds of sites).
- A significant drop in ads on the site which will allow for better loading.
- Premium members gain access to premium content, insider information, members-only forums, exclusive videos, exclusive shop offers (including 10% off all purchases at shop.scout.com), ticket discounts (including 10% off all purchases at tickets.scout.com) and even members-only events!
- And lots more coverage!
There are also a lot of cool site enhancements coming for things I have been trying to implement without any success the past three years. Things like player pages, player cards and so much more.
Another cool thing is premium members now have memberships and no longer subscriptions. What this means is with a membership you get access to premium material but you also get discounts on things which essentially end up paying for the membership. There are cool things where you can get 10% off tickets to Indians games (or just about any pro sports team) and there are also fan gear discounts and a lot of other things in the works to give discounts at some popular stores and maybe even some restaurants.
One of the things I am most excited about is a lot of the great talent here at the IBI will now get a greater chance to get more exposure with their work to a much wider audience. The backing of a network will also add to the credibility of the site among other things.
Over the next two-plus weeks I am going to be working on a migration of the site to Scout.com’s server. All of that will happen behind the scenes and the changeover should be seamless on January 1st where you will go to the same URL as you always have just you’ll notice we have officially gone under the Scout umbrella.
This was a tough decision for me to make. Part of me liked the freedom that comes from being an independent entity. I’m also not big on change. But when I looked at all of the possibilities, all of the enhancements and the endless capabilities with the site as a result of this change, it was a no brainer decision to make.
I understand some will not approve of this change. I would welcome you to share your feedback and thoughts with me using the contact form above or using the comments section below. My feeling is most will be for this change, and once we move over to Scout.com and settle in that everyone will be 100% on board once they see everything it has to offer.
Thanks for your support!
Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.
I will send an email to subscribers soon to explain things in more detail....but in a nutshell the move should (hopefully) be transparent. Access will continue based on subscription level even after the changeover. I do know the monthly amount is going down and the annual amount is going up but I still can't say what they are exactly since they are not firm. I know Scout has a $99 or so annual subscription fee when you sign up through most other networks, but I can tell you we will NOT be that price. It will at least be half that. If you are a current Scout member and not an IBI member you will get full access to IBI. (As a sidenote, you should be able to sign up for my site and get full Scout access to NFL, NCAA and everything else for my price.) As for those who currently have both an IBI and Scout membership, that will be figured out. There will also continue to be regular free content.
As for the message boards and the community....that is very important to me. I will do everything I can to ensure that the community here continues there. Any such issues on the Scout Indians site before will be handled by me and we will work to change them so that they adhere to the practices we have set here.
Thanks again for the well wishes. It is a crazy transition and lots going on behind the scenes....and things may be a little goofy at first as well all get accustomed to it (the way articles post is much different there so a whole new process for me to learn). Like I said before.....with a little patience and time things will be running smoothly by spring training and even better than before.
When you make the move officially January 1st, will Scout.com members need to pay an additional premium to read the premium material of yours when it is incorporated?
I am sure it will be well worth an additional charge. I am just one of many who tend to procrastinate and never have signed in for premium content.
I really enjoy this site. Your and your fellow writers do a terrific job.
I really hope Tony maintains control of the product. This site is at the top of my favorites list & the first site I visit whenever I turn on my laptop.
A suggestion: any information about membership prices, availability of content, etc., would be appreciated ASAP. There have been several inquiries along that line already. Folks are anxious to learn the details. C'mon guys, let's hear something!
Does this mean no membership = no board access? Is any kind of free material a thing of the past with this?
Are you replacing IndiansInk?..or working in conjunction with them.......(replacing I hope)
You guys (and gals) do a fantastic job of covering the Tribe and I am excited for you to be able to share your insights, talents and passions on a larger stage.
As mentioned by others, I hope the friendly nature of the site doesn't change. I used to participate in the old scout forums and they were notorious for their personal attacks, bickering and name-calling habits. All of which happen infrequently here I am happy to say. I give Tony the credit for that, and trust that his generous spirit will continue to create a welcoming environment for all Tribe fans.
I am thrilled to continue to support the new site, I celebrate the well-deserved acknowledgement of IBI writers, and look forward to the evolution of Indians coverage in 2015. Happy New Year indeed!
I hope by spearhead they mean they will have others focused on the remaining 29 teams like your focused on theTribe.. It would be nice to have other in depth resources on other organizations to refer to when trade discussions are happening.
Does this ensure there will be or officially kill a 2015 book and podcasts shows???
But growth and change seem to work together.
You have put your heart and soul in this website so best wishes for smashing success!
This is a very friendly & welcoming site with very little of the sneering & scolding a la cleve.com and, I must say, the old Scout boards. I hope it stays that way. I've been "acquainted" with Tony online through a couple of incarnations & I know him well enough to say that this site reflects his personality. As long as that stays the same any other changes are inconsequential.