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BRFCS Relaunch


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8 minutes ago, Stuart said:

Sounds like something Boris would say! Take away what you had and then offer it back to you at a cost. 🤔

It won’t be a surprise when I say this but the ads were bad enough when you first switched them on, now they are so obtrusive it’s not funny. It’s a full page one at the top and about 2-3 at the bottom of every page, then about every fourth post, and also pop up every time you change thread. Impossible to ignore - and still nothing I would ever purchase. Is there no limit to how many? Will we have them after every post soon?

The fluff piece in the LT said the site is non-profit and the ads generate money to improve the site. Yet, at the same time they make the forum experience poorer. The functionality is worse than it has ever been over the last 12 years or so. Don’t ask me to list all the minor forum downgrades over recent years, there are a lot and they are little things but they all add up.

At least it mirrors the state of club though so that’s good.

What has changed since Ste and Glenn ran the site in terms of costs? Have server cost increased that much, relatively speaking?

Because, on the face of it, it seems that you are sacrificing the forums to fund the site becoming news-centric. There are zero ads on your home page or articles page - or even the articles - let alone the intrusive ones we have to leaf through.

So to turn your jibe to Rev on its head, are you going to start paying forum posters? After all they are content creators and wealth generators for the site (as the advertiser target audience that you have selected).

At the end of the day, it’s your site now and you can do whatever you like, and I can either put up with it or walk away. Very much like how Waggott has treated us all as fans: “Pay up or F off”

That aside, congratulations on becoming formal owners of the site.

We didn’t switch the ads on, they’ve been on for years. I don’t know how long but certainly before I got involved (when the site was down and no one was around to fix it)

The ads are off, for now, on the articles because google wanted to place them right at the top above the header in a very large format so I removed them. As soon as they work ok on those pages they will be switched back on.

the ads are not based on the content, they are based on what google knows about your interests.

the downgrades happened for technical reasons as the various plug ins and extras people had written over the years became incompatible with the forum software, and not having anyone to fix them.

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13 hours ago, J*B said:

You would be open to paying for a small monthly fee for an ad-free version, then?

Genuinely, if it were an option, yes. I have noticed over the last 12 months there has been a significant increase in ads and noticeably more as of the relaunch today. Its not a criticism, as I for one fully appreciate all the work that goes into this site and as has clearly been stated, the site is 'not for profit'. So in terms of the upkeep I know it's a necessary evil. 

As an end user though, I log onto this site virtually every day and the amount of them are annoying, so providing the monthly fee wasn't too high, if it were an option I'd be happy to pay it.

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12 hours ago, Glenn said:

Aye, today is the end of an era.

Josh, Ian, Stu and co have effectively been running the site for many years now, Ste and I long since vanished into the shadows and have had almost no input bar paying the odd bill. but today is the biggest and first publicly visible step towards it all being officially owned and managed by the new team.

I first got involved with BRFCS in 1998 and I think Ste and I formally took control (with Paul and Don) around 2001, in our time we did some amazing things (the events around the Genclerbirligi away game in Turkey being my personal highlight), we've streamed live from Ewood, had a dinner hosted by Tash McDermott with Simon Garner as a speaker, we're doing Podcasts a decade before they became commonplace, hosted Poker Tournaments, done site specific merch, hosted the Grooby Annual Awards Ceremonies, had a recognised rep on the clubs Fans Forum, had great projects like FLB & CN174s history, CN174s Jack Walker Tribute, Den's epic All Time Starting 11 and kept "raising the coffin" alive, to name but a few. We've done a lot, and had so much help doing it, but so much fun along the way.

But most of all I made friends, lots of friends. Trying to research the pre-Grooby era of the site for Josh I've been re-reading thread after thread, reading name after name of people I now consider real life friends that I met through the site, seeing the names hundreds of people who would come up to us at games and say Hi and Thank You.

Whilst it's easy to relive the sites former glories, over the last decade or so, Josh and his team have managed to steer the site through some of the toughest times for internet sites in general and in all that he's stayed true to our vision that the site remains a "free for everyone" community resource with a primary aim of it's own long term survival. Hopefully through me being tight with the purse strings, I've taught he him how to do so much with so little. I'm also proud that whilst the site it now under a new company, Ste and I are in the fortunate position to give them a chunk of starting capital. A world apart from when we took over when the lucrative advertising deal had just collapsed, there was nothing in the bank, we faced a massive hosting bill and had to walk around the stands at games asking for donations to keep the site alive!

It's not all been good times, but we survived people inside and outside the club attempting to destroy us, we outlasted them all! I'll always be proud of that.

It's fair to say in recent years I fell out of love, with BRFCS, with Rovers, with football in general and I don't know if it's correlation or causation that that love is starting to return at the very time the millstone of BRFCS is being lifted. Whichever, it feels great and I'm confident we've leaving the site in very capable hands.
 
Finally a massive Thank You to everyone who has contributed in all way, big or small, to keeping the site running the last 20+ years (25+ including the Grooby era), I'm not going to attempt to name you because I'll only miss people who made a significant contribution, but you are ALL heroes! 

Thank You! 
 

I for one would like to say a huge thank you. Having moved 'down south' aged 10 this site has been a huge part of me staying true to my roots and feeling involved as a Rovers fan. The club are part of me as a person and this site is part of me feeling connected to that part of me. As I've sod all other people to talk to about anything Rovers related. So a big thank you. I can't overstate what this site has meant to me over the years. Without it there would be a hole in my life, so I can say for me your graft has been genuinely appreciated.

Edit: 

I'd also like to extend that thanks to the new team taking over the reigns

Edited by ben_the_beast
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1 hour ago, Stuart said:

Don’t ask me to list all the minor forum downgrades over recent years, there are a lot and they are little things but they all add up.

We have a growing list of things we are keen to add to the site ASAP - some of these include replacing features which have had to be hidden away for reasons Stubbs has mentioned above.

Please let us know your thoughts and suggestions of what you would like to see (re)introduced as we are keen to keep improving our offering. 

As for the ads... unfortunately big plans cost money to achieve and we need to raise funds somehow if we're to reach the place we want to be. I hope you can appreciate we're not actively trying to do anything invasive to wring the proverbial cloth - it clearly wouldn't be in our interests to do that - but we're currently trying to find that happy medium of good user experience vs balancing the books. This will be an ongoing process for a short period of time while the new website and forum theme 'bed in' so please bear with us until we find it.

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12 hours ago, K-Hod said:

I wouldn’t be so sure that everyone would, but as long as people understand that the site being free without adverts isn’t happening, that’s the best we can hope for….

I have no issue with adverts, they are a necessary evil. How do you generate funds from them?

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9 hours ago, StubbsUK said:

We didn’t switch the ads on, they’ve been on for years. I don’t know how long but certainly before I got involved (when the site was down and no one was around to fix it)

The ads are off, for now, on the articles because google wanted to place them right at the top above the header in a very large format so I removed them. As soon as they work ok on those pages they will be switched back on.

the ads are not based on the content, they are based on what google knows about your interests.

the downgrades happened for technical reasons as the various plug ins and extras people had written over the years became incompatible with the forum software, and not having anyone to fix them.

So you removed them, presumably, because you didn’t like the aesthetics and it spoiled the reader experience by harder to get to the content?

I completely agree with you and this is precisely the problem. Clearly the forums don’t matter as much as the articles though. Ambition to become a Blackburn WSC and relegate the forums to “readers comments” in amongst the advertising, maybe?

Ads are a necessary evil for the site (notably over the last three years mainly) but they really have now reached spam level. The type of which appear on click bait sites.

The Citizen newspaper went down this road and people ended up chucking it straight in the bin - outdoor toilets no longer being a thing.

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  • Moderation Lead

Just for a bit of context- my Netflix subscription costs £9.99 a month and I know I use this site much more than I use that!

It is also the time taken by staff (not just me), the admin team behind the scenes put in far more time and effort than people realise.

Whilst I can understand that ads are annoying and the idea of something potentially not being free any more that has been free for years isn’t ideal, we are doing the best we can to please everyone. In an ideal world, everything would be free for eternity and have no adverts, but that simply isn’t feasible any more, unfortunately.

I’d hope people would appreciate that. 
 

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24 minutes ago, Gav said:

@Moderators

Can you please increase my subscription for £3 (less than the price of a pint) to £5 (Less than the price of a pint in many places) to not only cut out the ads, but also cut out posters who think running a website is free and accessing such a site is a god given right and I've not even mentioned the 15yrs of continued moaning......

Thanks

You just keep on reading what you want to read Gav, don’t worry about what others are actually saying. 🤔

Keeps things simple for yourself. 👍🏻

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1 hour ago, Stuart said:

So you removed them, presumably, because you didn’t like the aesthetics and it spoiled the reader experience by harder to get to the content?

I suspect it's much much more that the forum software has really nice ad-management functionality built in but it would need to be added to the "magazine" framework Roth had built.

Sometimes you simply have to get you "minimum viable product" out of the door really quickly, to show some value and then iterate over that work to improve it and add those missing features. 

BTW It's not the running costs that have gone up as much as the value of each impression (view of an ad) and click that's gone down, coupled with the social acceptance of ad-blockers (so those who don't block subsidise those who do). You'll notice over the years how mainstream news sites have gone no-ads -> a few ads -> a lot of ads -> really intrusive ads -> paywalls. It's a testament to Josh and co that they are aiming to keep it between the first two.

 

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As a relative newcomer to this site...

Compared to most internet discussion boards/forums etc, it's obvious that there are people behind the scenes putting in time and effort to maintain the integrity of the site from which we all benefit. Here, we're not exposed to vitriol, we only see a modicum of poor language or agressiveness, messages are moderated, and debate is generally enjoyable. I appreciate that.

I'd gladly hand over a beer token each month if that helps to maintain the experience. If people want 'free', I suggest they look first at comparable sites to see what 'free' gets you. Maybe try the LT reader comments sections first.

 

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3 hours ago, Glenn said:

I suspect it's much much more that the forum software has really nice ad-management functionality built in but it would need to be added to the "magazine" framework Roth had built.

Sometimes you simply have to get you "minimum viable product" out of the door really quickly, to show some value and then iterate over that work to improve it and add those missing features. 

BTW It's not the running costs that have gone up as much as the value of each impression (view of an ad) and click that's gone down, coupled with the social acceptance of ad-blockers (so those who don't block subsidise those who do). You'll notice over the years how mainstream news sites have gone no-ads -> a few ads -> a lot of ads -> really intrusive ads -> paywalls. It's a testament to Josh and co that they are aiming to keep it between the first two.

 

Hi Glenn, hope you are well.

Interesting points. However, I feel that we have reached the point where is is not between 1 and 2 but between 3.5 and 4.

Everyone’s perception will be different.

Interesting you mention paywalls though. It was deemed important not to enforce members only to avoid serial screenshotters from getting their kicks on Twitter but the response from the site owners/admin to ads is we could go to membership only (paid, of course). And somehow, paying to post (create content - which people currently do for free) is somehow comparable with a Netflix subscription! 

Anyway, it’s pretty academic as it’s their site to do as they wish. I just preferred how you and Ste ran it. Maybe it’s all wrapped up in a nostalgic want for simpler times when I used to enjoy being a Rovers fan rather that it being a duty, and now a form of psychological torture.

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16 minutes ago, Stuart said:

Hi Glenn, hope you are well.

Interesting points. However, I feel that we have reached the point where is is not between 1 and 2 but between 3.5 and 4.

Everyone’s perception will be different.

Interesting you mention paywalls though. It was deemed important not to enforce members only to avoid serial screenshotters from getting their kicks on Twitter but the response from the site owners/admin to ads is we could go to membership only (paid, of course). And somehow, paying to post (create content - which people currently do for free) is somehow comparable with a Netflix subscription! 

Anyway, it’s pretty academic as it’s their site to do as they wish. I just preferred how you and Ste ran it. Maybe it’s all wrapped up in a nostalgic want for simpler times when I used to enjoy being a Rovers fan rather that it being a duty, and now a form of psychological torture.

We’ll take everything you’ve said on board, thanks for the feedback. Ultimately, nobody has a gun to your head… if you don’t enjoy the site, or the experience, there’s other options out there. 

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For those complaining about the adds,here's an idea,use your finger and scroll past them,it only takes a second to scroll.If you don't like the way the site looks now don't log on and find a new one,

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3 hours ago, Stuart said:

I just preferred how you and Ste ran it. 

It's decades since we "ran" it, "did the bare minimum to stop it closing" is nearer the mark and for years now it's continued despite us, not because of us. It's just taken us a long time to be sure we're handing it over to the right people, people who shared our original aims, but now we're sure. We gave them creative control years ago years ago and they did well with it, but more importantly didn't give up when times were tough (which was always my biggest fear if we let it go), but now it's all theirs and I'm sure they'll do a brilliant job of it! 

I kinda feel like a father who has just watched their daughter walk down the aisle. Very happy, knowing it's absolutely the right thing to do, but also a little sad that things will never been the same again. 

 

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4 hours ago, J*B said:

Ultimately, nobody has a gun to your head… if you don’t enjoy the site, or the experience, there’s other options out there. 

A point I’ve already made for you. But thanks for reinforcing “F.O.” as the alternative.

“If you don’t enjoy the experience, there’s other options out there”.

Sounds like you’ve been in Waggott’s company recently. I imagine he has that framed on the wall in his office.

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2 hours ago, Glenn said:

It's decades since we "ran" it, "did the bare minimum to stop it closing" is nearer the mark and for years now it's continued despite us, not because of us. It's just taken us a long time to be sure we're handing it over to the right people, people who shared our original aims, but now we're sure. We gave them creative control years ago years ago and they did well with it, but more importantly didn't give up when times were tough (which was always my biggest fear if we let it go), but now it's all theirs and I'm sure they'll do a brilliant job of it! 

I kinda feel like a father who has just watched their daughter walk down the aisle. Very happy, knowing it's absolutely the right thing to do, but also a little sad that things will never been the same again. 

 

Great to hear from you Glenn. Great memories, too many too mention. Met loads of people through BRFCS.COM. Thanks for all your hard work. Hope to see soon pal!

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1 hour ago, Stuart said:

A point I’ve already made for you. But thanks for reinforcing “F.O.” as the alternative.

“If you don’t enjoy the experience, there’s other options out there”.

Sounds like you’ve been in Waggott’s company recently. I imagine he has that framed on the wall in his office.

Chill out 

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18 minutes ago, MCMC1875 said:

Harsh post at this time, remembering the work that's been done for nothing keeping this site going 

Harsh? What are you on about?

I was politely reminded if I don’t like the spam ad era I could piss off. I think my reply was quite light-hearted in response.

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Personally I prefer the adverts as they are now, rather than a small monthly fee. It's not that I can't afford it but I enjoy new posters coming on here for a short time like ffan, that nobbender bloke, longsiders and others from other clubs. People like that and Rovers fans who read but don't post are not likely to pay and therefore we miss out on contribution and lose members of BRFCS.

Keep it as it is for me.

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  • Backroom

I could be wrong but I don't think the idea is to put the site/forum behind a paywall. I think it's just if you want to pay to remove adverts the option is there, otherwise crack on as is.

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Just now, DE. said:

I could be wrong but I don't think the idea is to put the site/forum behind a paywall. I think it's just if you want to pay to remove adverts the option is there, otherwise crack on as is.

Yeah to be absolutely clear, it is and will always be free to everyone. There’s no plans to make it members only or have a joining fee. To make this viable, we need adverts. But we realise some people don’t want the adverts, so we will eventually make an ad free version, where members can donate to the site to avoid seeing adverts. 

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