Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hey, Fox, Was It Something I Said?

Got this in the mail today. This is, literally, the first time that Yardbarker has acknowledged the existence of this blog since March 2013.

No warning, explanation or class
Now, I've been terminated before. I'm a grown up, cost real money to hire, have worked in shaky places and have made some mistakes in my life. I don't really regret any gig that I no longer have, because I try very hard to have no regrets as a rule. Regrets are stupid, make everyone around you feel like you would rather not be in their presence, and are just aren't a good choice.

But man alive, was Yardbarker not a good choice.

Let's go back in time that no one cares about. Years and years ago, I was invited to write for Bleacher Report, and did it for the better part of a year. As the invitation was right up there with being invited to write for the Huffington Post (i.e., we'll get rich from your work, and pay you squadouche), I did it for a while, saw no gain for my traffic or take here, then bailed. Yardbarker's arrangement was better, in that they put your stuff in their widget, and you got traffic. In the heyday of this blog, because Web publishing became a sadder joke in terms of a per hour working wage, I'd bank checks from them and Google, and get four figures a year from my work.

Anyway, I wound up meeting some of YB's top people, tried to do a deal with them at the two start ups ago start up, and more or less put it out of mind when they sold out to Fox. Those people moved on after the sale to Fox, YardBarker stopped slotting my stuff, and Bleacher Report got Turner Bucks and an absurd amount of exposure from TNT and others. Yardbarker would send out these by the numbers inside sales nonsense newsletters about what hot contract they just did, but the take never got better, and I left them on the blog out of inertia, rather than any actual belief in their vision.

So today's letter just means that I could pull off pixels and ads that weren't worth the trouble anyway. I get to stop paying attention to their crapbait clickbait newsletter. I take some pride in knowing that, to whatever infinitesimal degree, I'm no longer helping Fox do any damn thing at all. And the blog loads faster for you, Dear Theoretical Reader, and with fewer ads that are a lot less relevant than the Google spots anyway.

As for Yardbarker's future prospects? Well, to be blunt, they have none, but that would be true whether they cut me loose or not. It's basically just another URL for Fox, and no one really goes to Fox, because the habit is ingrained for ESPN, the better content has always been at other places, and the fantasy traffic has mostly stayed with Yahoo. If you want gossip, you stay with Deadspin; analysis, nerdery sites that try to upsell to premium content. And with everyone in the biz having no earthly idea how to monetize this stuff in the first place, let alone when it's on a phone screen, we're all humped anyway.

So, toodles, Fox! Please, in the immortal words of the late great Sam Kinison, slide under a gas truck and taste your own blood. You are Satan's Little Helpers, and you can go take a flying f*** at a rolling doughnut.

*Now* it's over, you freaking mooks.

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