And so it is, dear reader, that the feared and much dreaded paid subscription model arrives at racingpost.com. Of course, we’ve had it good for so long that we almost take it for granted that we have a right to continue to get free stuff from that site. And of course it is the right of the owners of RP to charge for the excellent content therein (even if they have buggered up a perfectly good user interface / experience with their new-fangled site).
But it’s the approach that rankles the most (at least for now that is the case: I haven’t yet seen the charges involved!).
I mean, I don’t know about you, but I would have been disappointed but not objectionable if the old racingpost.co.uk site suddenly had a nominal fee associated with its use. It had excellent content, far superior than it’s free rivals, and it would have been a natural commercial progression to ask for some sort of return.
But to use the new site as a reason for charging people feels somehow wrong. It’s got all these bells and whistles that nobody – so far as I can tell – asked for, and now we’re being told they will cost us.
It’s akin to getting free use of a car, with a CD player, sat nav and kiddie seats; having no need of the ‘extras’ and yet being told you have to pay for them whether you use them or not.
In short, the new and mostly / entirely unwanted ‘features’ have become the reason for the cost of using the site. This, in my view, is plain wrong, and presumptuous – again – on a massive scale by the marketing brains at RP.
If they’d decided to charge for a much loved existing service, I would have grumbled and paid. To charge for guff that nobody wants is careless, I think.
Ultimately, if half the users now seek an alternative means of studying race form, via gg.com or sportinglife.com or wherever, RP will still have much more cash in the satchel than before, because nobody paid anything before.
This much, the commercial wizards clearly realise. Personally, I find it irritating in the extreme that I have to pay for stuff I don’t want and, if I didn’t have very good reasons for continuing to use RP, I would be off to gg or sportinglife or somewhere else.
Enough for now. Currently, it’s free. But soon it won’t be. And when it’s not, I wonder at what cost – to both us users and RP itself – that decision will be.
I’m writing this from the rattler, en route to Southwell, where my honest plodder, Night Orbit, will bid for some just reward for his valiant travails all season, in the 1.30 race.
There’s only seven runners over a mile and a half and so I have some fears of a dawdle then a sprint doing for our noble but one-paced quadruped. However, Three Strings is a habitual front runner and, as long as he doesn't get too soft a lead and kick on from the front, we might be ok. There are one or two others who might pester him from just in behind too, including Night Orbit himself, so fingers are tightly crossed.
Southwell is a galloping circuit, with horses rarely showing a change of gear to win, which'll suit our boy, as he hasn't got a gearbox! I'm hopeful and have wagered accordingly.