RW+ gone mad

Expecting people to pay just *view* an event listing?!?!

8 messages
11/11/2003 at 02:22
Hey, I'm not one to complain (well, apart from here :) but putting certain RACE LISTINGS in the RW+ subscriber section is a bit much isn't it??! After all the information is freely available elsewhere (unlike your other valuable subscriber content such as reviews) - so all you achieve is to do do a disservice to the people trying hard to advertise their races!!

Can't quite believe you're done this!
11/11/2003 at 02:25
And another thing!

Race organisers give out their race info freely (of course they do!) and do not charge Runner's World for it - so how, exactly, can you possibly justify CHARGING people to access it??!!!
12/11/2003 at 12:16
Why can't I just subscribe to the on-line version?

I don't really want the magazine, but I wouldn't mind paying a bit to be able to view the on-line stuff.
12/11/2003 at 14:44
Hi BR

I'm afraid we do have to keep giving people a reason to buy the magazine (whether by subscription or on the newsstand). The race diary is one of the most-read parts of the magazine, and if we freely published its contents on the web, we'd run a very real risk of losing sales.

The online race diary is certainly a very good reason to subscribe to the magazine, as it goes a lot further ahead than space in the magazine permits.

(You say that the information is easily available elsewhere on the net, but I'm not sure I agree - surely if it was, there would be no cause for complaint? It's not an exact parallel for sure, but people pay hundreds of pounds to subscribe to the Financial Times's databases, for instance. It's all information that's in the public domain, but the key is in collating it in one searchable place)

TMAP: that's something we'd definitely like to offer in the future. Out of interest, how much would you say an annual online subscription be?

Sean, RW
13/11/2003 at 00:18
try runners web
18/11/2003 at 08:48
Sean

Fair comments about needing people to buy the mag and potential loss of custom if you didn't restrict some of the race info. The only thing that confuses me is that your criteria for doing so are not clear.

If, for example, I search for events in the north during February, as a non-subscriber I cannot see details of many but can for some. Why the difference?

In terms of an online subscription cost, I'd suggest about half to two thirds the annual magazine subscription.
18/11/2003 at 09:15
This has been a long-running irritant to me, and I think RW have it wrong. A couple of points:

1) I can think of very few examples I've come across (in fact, I'm struggling to think of one) of where a RW race listing exists but there is no further info on the web. Apart from there being a number of race listing sites out there, each individual race tends to have it's own web presence these days, either as an independent entity, or as a page on a running club site.

If I'm thinking of entering a race, I would never just look at the RW listing then send off a cheque or email the organiser or whatever. I would ALWAYS seek the full info about the race from the dedicated website. The RW listings are useful just to get the bare bones of the race, but no one would rely on the info solely. In other words, even the full listing is no big deal, and certainly isn't worth subscribing for. It's just irritating, and gives a bad impression of the magazine.

And incidentally, the same goes for the listings in the mag itself. They are only ever used as a pointer to websites for further info if necessary.

What WOULD be useful, and what MIGHT justify closing off the listings to non-subscribers, is if the listing contained a detailed appraisal of the race, and the chance for users to comment (a bit like on www.marathonguide.com). Not just a pointer to the forum, which is the lazy way of doing it. Let's face it, most forum threads about a race are just long chats about arrangements rather than meaty stuff about the race. This would be a facility worth paying for. Now that the search facility has been withdrawn, the forums are pretty useless as a source of research in any case.

I don't understand why subscribers are lionised the way they are. When I wasn't a subscriber I used to pay much more for the magazine in WH Smith than it now costs me as a subscriber. I decided to subscribe, partly because it was the best way of protesting!

The online content ie old articles and other info is an excellent resource, and well woth subscribing for. But the listings policy is a farce, and makes little commercial sense. Either make it worth paying for, or just open it up, and give the punters what they can easily get elsewhere.

Andy
19/11/2003 at 10:32
Some good points, RC.

I'd maintain that we still don't want to make the race listings in the magazine redundant by providing more for nothing on the web. And I do think there's a value in having the information collated - certainly better than looking on Google.

But I do agree that we're just at the start of what we could (and should) be doing with online listings.

As you say, what we should have is a 'rate this race' section along with the forum stitch at the bottom of each listing. They'd be self-contained appraisals rather than debates and arrangements. Clear and useful - and easy to carry over to the next year's listing, too.

I totted up a typical page in last month's magazine listing - out of 38 races, 12 didn't have any web presence of their own. So they're an (increasing) rarity, but not extinct yet.

CumbriAndy, I'd guess that it's just the online-entry races that you can access - they get unlocked for everyone. And thanks for the thought about online-only subs

Sean, RW


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