So yesterday I received an e-mail from CoverItLive, the folks that bring us that wonderful real-time chat service on game days, and at long last they are moving to a pay-based service that is going to squeeze out much of the internet that uses them.  For me to use their service, I’d be looking at a bill of anywhere from $50 to $150 per month, and even those price tiers have limitations on how many “clicks” (viewers) you can have.  I can’t justify paying that much per month to use their service out of my own pocket, and it’s not like the couple dollars in Google Ads I make is going to cover it.  I suspect many bloggers around the ‘net are feeling the same way this morning.

So I am seeking suggestions on how to best bring you live coverage on game day.  Options right now are:

  1. If anyone owns a business or knows of one that would like to advertise on the website/live chats, get in touch with me. This is definitely the preferred option. Based on the CiL pricing tiers, I think the $50/month package would cover most months, so if I could get one or two businesses to sponsor each month (ad space on website plus plugs during live chats), we could continue it.  Geoff Chiles is coming aboard this fall and planning to cover all home games for MHNet live from Yost.
  2. Go PBS and start a pledge drive so we can continue the CiL chats, though I’ve never asked for any financial contributions for the website and am not comfortable with that option, yet. If there’s enough interest I’ll consider starting up a Pay Pal tip jar specifically for all funds to be use towards CiL, though.
  3. Create a standard post on MHNet and just continually update it throughout the game.  Downside: You would have to refresh the page a lot. Fan interaction would be limited to the comments section.
  4. Create a Twitter account for game day coverage.  Put the Twitter feed in a post here (and you can also follow on Twitter, of course). Downside: Again, no fan interaction on a real-time basis.
  5. Find a free/cheap chat room like I used to use back in the day.  This would allow for fan interaction, I’m not sure how the experience would be. There’s a lot of crappy chat room software out there and I’d have to dig through the dirt. And some of these have limitations on the number of people that can be in the room.

I’ve done a few Google searches on alternatives, but there’s not much out there.  I’m open to any and all suggestions.  Post away in the comments.  Thanks!

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  • Geoff

    Hey Jason.

    This is just bad news all around.  

    MGoBlog got a ton of support for the release of HTTV; in fact, they exceeded their pledge goal ten-fold.  I know there are enough dedicated M hockey fans out there to make this happen.  Just look at the Children of Yost Twitter account and Aaron Ward.Though Twitter is necessary this day and age, I think it’s also a necessary evil.  Continually tweeting live during a game (rather than a live blog), would be crazy-hard to maintain.  Mentions, re-tweets, keeping track of all of that, etc.  I don’t think this would be the most ideal solution unless absolutely necessary.Chat rooms evoke archaic images for me of multi-faceted AIM chats or random rooms I stumbled upon in high school.  If we could find a clean, updated way to make this happen (that would simulate a LiveBlog), I’d be all for it.

    My thoughts for now.

  • Jason Paul

    I found an alternative to CiL that I’m going to download the free 30-day trial for to see how it functions.  Cost is $20/month for unlimited viewers.  I will probably still throw up a tip jar or something looking for some financial support to cover the cost, but it’s a LOT more reasonable than CiL.  I think the price CiL is asking is going to drive themselves out of business.  
    I can’t imagine what Brian at MGoBlog might have to pay per month to live blog football and basketball games.  It’s a great product, but not so great that individuals and businesses are going to pay $250+ dollars a month when there’s a $20 alternative out there that’s being used by many businesses, too (even CiL’s $250/mo plan doesn’t give you unlimited viewers).

    I’ll post the new chat to the website so we can all try it out and get some feedback.

  • gsnap

    My name is Ramsey Ksar and I’m the GM & VP of Product for G-Snap.  We have a free version of our liveblogging software available for up to 500 users per month.  We also offer a free 30 day trial of our premium account (giving you 5,000 users).  If anyone is interested in learning more, send us a tweet via @gsnap and we’d be happy to chat.