Great News About racingpost.com (not!)

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:

Where's Paul Merton when you need him? Fine Racing Post irony
Where's Paul Merton when you need him? Fine Racing Post irony

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

Spotlights

Postdata

Racing Post Ratings (RPR) tables

Topspeed tables

Selection boxes

Post-race analysis

Raceform Notebook

Analysis of winning times

Previous winners' tables

Horse statistics

RPR and Topspeed ratings on horse pages

Bloodstock

Horse sales

Horse relatives

Sales search

Information

Quotes from trainers

Racing business news

News archive

Tipping

Pricewise Extra

Trading Post

Trading Post Extra

Training Centres

Big-race Trends

In-running pointers

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!

Matt

29 replies
  1. kev haskell says:

    Looks like borrowing the father in laws printed version will be back on the cards again,

  2. Tom says:

    Lo Matt,
    They did have a questionaire about 2 weeks ago regarding
    what you thought of the RP website etc etc…..”Thrown in” was the
    question – would you think it ok to charge a monthly fee of £4.95
    for full access to the RP site YES/NO/DONT KNOW. At the end of the
    questioning there was space to comment.I suggested that they must have employed an ex accountant being chased by men in white coats
    to come up with a scheme to charge for “mostly everything” that we
    can get FREE from many other websites …S/Life, At the races, Horseracebase, GG.com to name but a few.
    Regards,
    Tom W.

  3. john says:

    just about everything I use is also going to be charged for. I think we should strike a balance here though. The information, if used properly, is exceptional and has helped me to find a lot of winners. I was amazed when it was relaunched that they didnt make a charge for this service as the depth of content is fantastic. There is nothing like it on the web at the moment and I will continue to use it, so I dont mind paying a little subscription. It may help fund even better services?

  4. Jim says:

    And this comes when Racing Uk want to charge me 20 quid a month to watch their coverage….no thanks !!!!

  5. bob marsden says:

    surely their revenue will suffer through companies not using thier paper for their advertisments .because less than 5% will pay for the service they now recieve for free just a thought all the best yours bobm

  6. jbzola says:

    Yr right;RP site has improved a lot in last 6 months. Advertising will have dropped so it’s clear that to avoid a Setanta moment , extra funds are needed.
    They should give away a weekly £1 off voucher to to buy the RP paper version eg when on course ie Saturdays . That way the loyalty aspect develops.
    Agree the fatuous great news is in fact a hit in
    Our wallets ! Who does their PR ? G Brown!!!

  7. bd says:

    Racingpost sucks. I stopped using them last year when they did that disastous update, and when I had a look the other day the site was still so slow as to be useless. About 5 years ago it was a terrific service, fast and informative. Every upgrade done since has made it slower and less relevant. Since last year I have been using sporting life, horseracebase (the best), at the races (also slow), gg.com, massey (daft that there isn’t a straightforward subscription). Horseracebase is excellent – works on donations but is fast and relevant with an outstanding systems builder. Bye bye racingpost – more staff who will be made unemployed when it sinks to add to the countries recession woes. It really was a far better service years ago – systematically being destroyed by the greed that is indemic to the UK.

  8. roy carter says:

    Hello, Re. Racing Post. I emailed the editor the other day after receiving an email telling me how the RP site was the best thing around. I pointed out that I can rarely access the live coverage of racing even though I paid money into a ‘wallet’ for the purpose. I click, double click, left and right on the so-called viewable races and most times nothing happens.
    I also pointed out the very poor updating of the going conditions on the site. The going is absolutely vital in deciding bets and the RP site never seems to update changes. I have now taken to using other sites or ringing the courses direct. Yet the RP is claiming to be the premier site for racing!
    The editor has not replied.

  9. Mike P says:

    The net effect is that if i do buy such information – and already the recent changes mean the stats are less useful to me than they used to be [with no replies from the RP to 5-6 emails Ihave sent them] -I will simpoly buy the RP less often in the shops thus my total RP bill pa will be considerably less than used to be.

    I dont know if i would regularly use their stats etc if it cost more than 50p a day max or even down to 10p/day max but suspect they will charge per download or view which wouldn’t interest me at all.

    Yep -clueless!

    Mike

  10. patrick says:

    these are the people who are sayt saying come racing , they are big arseholes, they own the weekender, which as gone down hill racing and football which as gone down hill channel 4 web site which is rubbish what dont the own they are spoiling racing whith there greed put the papers at proper prices and stop the waffel

  11. Mike Brennan says:

    Hi Matt
    Looks like a phone call to my newsagent to get the paper delivered every day. Problem is, i will have to spend at least 4 times as long looking at the paper as opposed to the web-site. The Sporting life is good, but lacks video and more detail. The atteraces site is excellent however, it cannot show video of the 30 tracks currently available to racing UK and the RP. Raciong UK, now there’s a problem, i wonder if, now we don’t get Setanta as well, whether my subs will be less??????? (i doubt it very much) Have you tried Turftrax.com, they have decent stats, but no video, and very little in the way of comments. Anyway NEVISON is King tipper at moment, as is Alistair Down his number 2. Good luck, and i can see the FRP is starting to get busy.
    Regards
    Mike Brennan

  12. donkers says:

    I agree that the e-mail is an insult to anyone with a brain. Ebay are prone to do the same type of thing. ‘Great news! We’re doubling the listing fees and taking more commission from your sales. Isn’t that wonderful?’ It’s crass and foolish. Ebay have a monopoly though so can get away with it. As you say there are other websites that do most of what the RP does, or it can be found over a few websites, but are free. As you say the so called 10% that won’t be available free anymore is the stuff that people use to study form etc. Without that the site is useless. Who needs a ‘tipping section’ if they are ‘serious about racing’ ? The whole point of using the RP is to find angles on races that others haven’t and thus find value. Anyone who is serious about racing doesn’t need some gormless guesser telling us what to bet on and poisoning the value! It could be good for layers though who oppose these ‘experts’!

    Whether it is worth paying for the ‘premium content’ depends on what their notion of a ‘nominal charge’ is, but based on their appallingly stupid e-mail I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be a couple of £100 a year, which is far more than say a TV licence, the cost of taxing a car, home insurance etc.

    If it is a fiver a month then I’ll probably go along with it, but if they get greedy then they will end up in a similar position to the Setanta debacle with insufficient subscribers to pay for their staff Porsche 911’s.

  13. mattgiffin says:

    people are charging to join there blogs now…i think the monthly charge may reflect the price of the paper if brought daily

  14. john wooders says:

    I sent them feed back yesterday as soon as I had a look at the “enhancements”. Some are good but they have taken away a great function tool in my opinion. (My email & reply at bottom)
    The paying for use of the site in future is another retrograde step, but I think that because of the increased numbers that use the net nowadays for their betting the sales of printed versions must have dropped so they are trying to recover from us and see an untapped source of revenue. (Only buy when attending meetings myself).
    Great blog Matt.
    Regards
    John
    My email to RP. After a quick look at the “enhancements” I feel that you have gone backwards in one area.
    Previously you could click on the time of a race on the Cards section and up would pop a box with all the courses and times of the races. If you hovered over the time it would tell you the name of the race etc. This was a very good tool for going back and for between courses and races and looking for specifically named /type of race.
    This facility has now disappeared and the drop down box on the right does not name the race when you hover over it and also you can only go up or down the card with the arrows next to the time. Also in the previous version you could swap between single races to the whole list and so forth.
    It was a much better tool and gave greater functionability (made up word) than this new set up.
    Gone backwards I would say.

    RP Reply. We are sorry to read that you feel that in one area of our enhancements we have taken a backward step. Ironically, we received a fair bit of feedback from users who felt that the calendar/time tool previously available was of limited functionability (this word could catch on!).
    Inevitably we cannot please all of our users all of the time, but we trust that given time you will come to appreciate the latest changes.

  15. sandoz says:

    Hi,
    Since the RP started his new site some months ago, I have been scraping his data after a hard work of Excel Visual Basic code and web queries.
    I don’t object to have to pay a fee for these valuable data which
    let me build some fruitful systems, but what I can’t stand is that I ‘ll have to rewrite most of my code, because the RP changed the way to access these data.
    Why on earth did they do that ?
    sandoz

  16. Kevin says:

    I use the RP site a fair bit,so agree with most of the comments about it being slow and not updated through out the day,on going. How ever You have to pay for certain things now,ike the PDF’s at 20p a time,which is fine by me.Another thing I use on RP is the video, to watch races off RUK which at 20p is a steal,better than paying for fees they charge.
    I still use ATR which is good and free to boot also Adrian Massey.
    Had never heard of Horseracsbase before so I’m off over there now to check it out.

    Happy punting.

    Kevin

  17. john walsh says:

    I understand the R.P. is owned by Sheik Mohammed (correct me if I am wrong). We all know he is going through a rough patch at the moment and mahy need the extra cash. Perhaps he should seek advice from a top class trainer like A. O’Brian instead of trying to extract money from the public. To conclude we can get all information free from a number of other good sites (i.e. gg.com; pjmracing.com, etc)

  18. Beckers says:

    I suspect that the reson for the charge is the way that Pricewise Extra has been performing. It’s already £1.50 a text to receive the tips and free access to them via the website will have made them think. Pricewise Extra only needs to have a bad run and people will leave in droves – most people (unlike us!) are in it for the short term and have short term memories!

  19. Gordon Mills says:

    Surely only the dumbest of the dumb would not have suspected Racing Post to eventually cross the line that they so clearly marked in the sand for us when they –er-=-hem—upgraded their racing pages some time ago:

    All of this was planned long ago with a timetable set to cause as little irk as possible from their readers and subscribers:

    Please dont be fooled into thinking this is the last of the increases that will take place: Racing Post is reeling us in step by step untill we are all in the net, or so they hope:

    They will of course make blunders on the way not unlike the one just made with their EMail Headlines informing us of the good news contained within, only to be told that we are to be asked to cough up more money for sevices which were once free: Some good news eh:

    I could accept it if they just came right out in the beginning and mapped out their future plans, but to come sneaking in through the rear door drip feeding the increases hoping everyone is (ass)leep tells me a lot about them which has a tainted odour:

    Oh well, now that we have digested their GOOD NEWS they may as well come right out and give us the BAD NEWS: It does not bear thinking about:
    Cheers
    Gordon

  20. Jon says:

    They will not get even a reasonable fraction of the subscriptions they are hoping for. They are trying to buck the general trend on the net, which is increasingly free content, and they won’t be able to do it.

    -Jon D.

  21. Brian says:

    Like Betfair………..Hero to Zero.
    After July get familiar with the other websites mentioned – in truth, how much information do you need to select a horse to win/lose.
    Vote with your feet !

  22. David Bowles says:

    First of all I think the new racing post site is extreemly poorly laid out and nowhere near as good as the original site.

    But it is fair to say that it does contain large amount of infomation when you can find it.

    I do use the site to comprare bookmakers odds and place bets with a number of bookies and in addition buy books ,electronic copies of the actual post and photographs etc.

    It might be a good idea that poeple buying products from the RP or using the services of third party companies be given a discount.

    You could go further and sign the bookies up to a contract that they pay RP a percentage of all bets placed through RP.

    That way the RP could for instance give free membership of the new scheme if a person bets a certain amount through the site per week or month

    There is no such thing as a free lunch.

  23. Richard says:

    RP have totally misjudged their readership – IMO. Firstly they change their website from the best info site to the most ludicrously over pretentious site they could have built, and now they’re going to be asking money to access an inferior product!!!!!

    At a time when we’re in a so-called economic crisis they decide to pull this stunt. I’ve found over the last year the RP paper and site has become full of meaningless content, especially the paper in the first 20 pages. For me they pay too many ‘columnists’ to write absolute drivel – the shite James Willoughby writes is a waste of paper, despite how highly voluted he thinks he’s being.

    No one in their right mind would pay to access the site!

    There is definite room in the industry for a competitor to the RP in both printed and web versions.

  24. eddie reid says:

    Hello. well they can charge all they like i for one wont be useing it anymore. Yes your right good news they say good news for them not the punter. greed greed greed. That the world we live in i supose. thank you for letting me have my say. eddie take care

  25. Joyce says:

    I will be sad to see them start pricing things, as I like the post data on the RP site………..but being a very small punter, even if it was a nominal fee, which I very much doubt it will be….

    I will start using other sites….thanks bd didn’t know about
    horseracebase..will be looking into that one!

  26. Paul says:

    Irish owners paid £170m for the whole operation a few years ago. 83% of the financing came from a now nearly nationalised Irish Bank and if the loan needs to be re-financed they could be in the sticky stuff.

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