Happiness is mutual in any relationship: Either everyone is happy or no one is. In the world of internet writing, the most important (and ignored) relationship is between readers and writers.
Unfortunately, the relationship between advertiser and site owner is all that seems to matter right now. The advertisers want clicks, so the owner tries to get them. The objective is to keep the advertiser happy, not the reader.
Yet, those two things often become mutually exclusive. Disappointing click-bait stories draw in tons of page views, but very few contented readers. You can’t blame them: That’s the way they make money.
Thus, you’re paying for your “free” content, whether it’s in actual dollars or time, frustration, auto-start videos, substandard content, data selling, self-indulgent slideshows and basically everything that ever made you want to punch your smartphone.
And what’s the point if this was supposed to be about enjoying the game?
Re-imagining this relationship will change everything.
Happy Readers, Happy Writers
What if you had confidence that every article you clicked on was worth reading?
What if you could actually enjoy going online and reading about basketball instead of something you had to suffer through (or occasionally get lucky finding a diamond in the rough)? What if, because there was a higher standard in the articles and, because people aren’t going to pay to troll, the comments section and interactions between readers and writers were intelligent and productive?
What if—and I know this huge—the relationship between writer and reader wasn’t something we ignored but something we actually cultivated?
What if we flipped everything that’s wrong with the Internet upside down by concentrating on this most important relationship?
Happy Writers, Happy Readers
Guess what? Writers aren’t all that enthused about the current system either. We got into this business because we really enjoy watching the game, playing the game, talking about the game. Ball is life for us. Literally.
But most of us also got snared in the trap.
If you think having to read click-bait sucks, try writing it! But when that’s all there is, and you have to feed the kids and/or dogs, what are you going to do?
So our founders, Ray, Joel and I, got to thinking about all of that: What if we did something that changed the financial structure so that the relationship driving the economic model was the one that actually matters: the relationship between reader and writer?
What if the passion and love of the game that inspired us to do this for a living was evident in every article we wrote?
What if we didn’t have to write four or five articles a day at below minimum wage just to make ends meet?
If the writers can get reasonable compensation for their work, with the focus on how well they write instead of how much, they can put their passion in their work. That’s why we cap each writer at two articles per week, but we don’t put any cap on how much money they can make.
We want them to write what they want to write about, the things that made them love the game.
Happy writers, happy readers.
The Most Important Relationship
When you sign up for TBW, you choose to either support one writer or all of them. They get the biggest chunk of that subscription, with the rest going to imaging fees, paying for editors, etc.
Hence, the writers work for you, the readers, not the advertisers. (And you’re a much better boss!)
Your commitment to the writers is helping to support their hard work. Ours to you is: This will be worth your hard-earned money.
Everything we publish will be intelligent, insightful, interesting and informative. It’s the foundation set by co-founder Ray LeBov in creating his daily curation of Basketball-Intelligence. And it is our minimum standard. By creating such a bar, the conversations within the articles will have a higher standard and we all can learn more, enjoying the game as a hoops-head community.
“Elevate the Conversation. Elevate the Game.”
Kelly is a TBW co-Founder and frequent contributor. He spent 4.5 years in the USAF before attending University of Minnesota, Bible college in Anaheim and 15 years in youth ministry. Basketball blogger-turned-NBA Featured Columnist with Bleacher Report, BBallBreakdown, Fansided, The Step Back, Hoops Habit, SportsNet, Vantage Sports, Dime and FanRag, among others, his work has been read over 25 million times. The former NBA Assistant Editor at FanRag (2016-18), he is an NBA Twitter staple who is well-connected and respected among today’s finest basketball writers.