Perhaps it was irony, dear reader, or perhaps further demonstration that the team behind the Racing Post are ABSOLUTELY CLUELESS when it comes to taking the pulse of the racing public. Either way, sending an email saying 'Great News' in the title, and then spending the entire email content explaining that currently free materials at racingpost.com will cost us money from next month seems.... well, let's just say, it seems a tad miscalculated.
Way back in December, when the new site was unveiled, I suspected that this was what would happen next - see this post - http://www.geegeez.co.uk/170/sneaky-not-surprising-but-very-disappointing/ - but it still smarts a bit at the ham-fisted way that Racing Post conduct their business.
As I said then, most people who enjoy an excellent product likely wouldn't object to a nominal fee. (Of course, at this stage we don't know how 'nominal' that will be!). But it truly beggars belief that I (and I imagine you too) would receive an email telling me I'm going to have to stump up some cash, with a title that says, 'Great News'.
In case you don't receive notes from racingpost.com, here is the missive in full:
Interestingly, the statement that over 90% of the website will still be free is open to huge interpretation, as - if you're anything like me as a RP.com user, the premium content pretty much contains everything I use. Here's the lowdown on what will now be 'paid for stuff':
From July the following content will be accessible to members only:
Analysis and data
Racing Post Ratings (RPR) tables
Analysis of winning times
Previous winners' tables
RPR and Topspeed ratings on horse pages
Quotes from trainers
Racing business news
Trading Post Extra
Erm, anything there that you don't use?! What, in the other 90% of content is regularly used?
So now it remains to be seen what charge RP.com decide to levy and what impact that has on the number of users who frequent the site. Moreover, it also remains to be seen whether other sites, like sportinglife.com or attheraces.com, who use advertising to fund their content, will follow suit or make a big play to get former RP.com visitors to their sites.
I hope that the cost is minimal - less than a fiver a month. I fear it will be at least double that and perhaps more. I wonder if the RP guys are thinking of giving people a subsidised period prior to full cost. Or if they've thought of an annual subscription discount (I expect they have, but who knows?!)
In fairness to RP.com, they have seriously responded to the criticisms that were leveled at them - not least by me on this blog (I even started a Facebook group!) - and have created an enviable site full of excellent content. They have also included, in my opinion, a ton of stuff that's not very good (for example, most of their blogs are crappy, though I do look at James Willoughby's and Dave Edwards'), and its this in the main that will continue to be available gratis.
Ho hum - let's see what happens next. I suspect we probably haven't heard the last of this...
Why not leave a comment below as to what you think will happen next?! Your guess is as good as (probably better than) mine!