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BlogABull is moving out on its own
cut in the middle of our 18th season on SBNation, the blog soldiers on
Greetings to all the BlogABull readers out there from Matt, your friendly BullsBlogger. Today is a huge day for the blog: we are moving platforms from SBNation to Substack, and moving ownership from Vox Media to being independent.
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In many ways this is significant, and calling this a small change in a series of them would be disingenuous: while ultimately BlogABull started independent and is now independent again, we were with SBNation for 18 NBA seasons.
A couple months ago there was a big (and unannounced) expenses cutting at Vox, where not only many corporate full time employees were let go but dozens of team sites were outright shuttered. That included 11 NBA team sites, including BlogABull.
I'm less saddened by my own site’s inclusion in those cuts, mostly because I’m very excited about this future on Substack. But I do mourn the death of SBNation NBA. I have a lot more to say about that, but don’t want to focus too much on ‘blog history’ in this first post.
(Also, it should be mentioned that Vox let me own the domain, logos, and archive. I don’t have the legal expertise to say whether this was 100% altruistic, but it was nice not to have to fight about it. I would’ve GREATLY preferred that the domain was set up day-one, but hopefully that’s rectified within days.)
So we’re out of ‘the network’, and back to just da blog! Again, this is a big deal, but from a reader perspective I hope it will be a relatively seamless transition.
When considering options for the future of the site, I enlisted you all in a survey for your reading habits and preferences. I know that in general more=better, but realistically I have to choose my spots. And since the money’s no good in this business, a motivation factor for me is the freedom to never make the posting compulsory.
Essentially: write whenever I feel the need to say something about the Bulls.
You may have noticed that I’m conveying this as a solitary effort. There’s tradeoffs to this. On the one hand, this site is free of charge and will have no ads or ‘sponsored posts’. I appreciate any donations to help cover the maintenance, but I am not looking to run a business, just a blog. I haven’t decided yet what ‘extra’ things will be provided to those who donate, but I will try to balance it to make it something ‘nice’ while not too exclusionary of the unpaid folks. Everyone who signs up gets the posts, delivered to your inbox if you want them there.
So on the other hand, that means I can’t pay any writers. This is tough, because this site has had many excellent members on staff throughout its history. A special shout-out today to the 2022-23 season staff of Vijay Vemu (his 7th year!) and Alex Kirshenbaum, both of whom also won’t be moving with me to the new independent BlogABull. I also never gave a proper sendoff to Jason Patt earlier this season, who had to stop this side gig here for his day-job. Jason was a prolific poster, but also a true right-hand man for so many years behind the scenes. These guys were paid by Vox, but I assure you it was not very much money, and they’d tell you it was more for the love of y’all as readers.
I’m going to balance that desire to only blog when necessary with the need to feed the content beast. Since there are only a few more games left this year, I can take 100% of that. And then I will reassess over the offseason that tradeoff between more writing (and staff, and money) versus a scaled-back solo coverage.
[I suppose that would be an intrinsic benefit to donating: it’ll signify interest in paying for this crap, you won’t get sticker shock if eventually I do introduce some pay-for tiers.]
BlogABull.com is free if you want it
In short: game threads for the rest of this season, but no guarantee in posting quota beyond that. Bulls news and results will be deemed important by virtue of my willingness to write about it.
That covers the content. Another big part of the blog is the interaction with readers. In many ways, this site started out in alignment of spirit to Substack’s original newsletter model, where I would write a couple times a week and project it out with mostly little expectation. But as fan sites got bigger and more social, and part of SBNation’s growth being emphasized around cultivating the ‘community’ around these sites, I recognize BlogABull is far removed from being just a bullhorn for yours truly, and also serves as a forum for Bulls fans (of a certain sensibility).
So BlogABull will keep a comments section! And that will be free too. Sign up, and try to claim your old usernames. I learned the hard way that Vox’s commenting upgrade a couple years ago really ruined the experience for many, to where they stopped commenting entirely. Hopefully this new platform will have us seeing some old faces and an overall activity uptick. The murder of Bulls Twitter by the coward Elon Musk hopefully brings some old heads back on this site too, especially during games.
Altogether, this move is going back to basics, but also opens up new possibilities. You can even say we have flexibility going forward.
I hope this opening statement accurately reflects how I’m feeling about this altogether: I am bummed for the death of SBNationNBA, but excited for the future of BlogABull. This summer will mark 20 years of doing this nonsense, and that benchmark, plus this change, signaled a time to reflect on if I wanted to even continue this at all.
But it was a quick reflection: I do!
So, I ask with sincere thanks in advance: subscribe with your email, sign up for comments, donate if you wish, and get yourself familiar with the new BlogABull. You can read it all via email, website, or app.
We got a play-in race to blog.
-your friendly BullsBlogger
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