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Supporter Kit and Housekeeping News

Support Cap

With the Tour de France coming into view a monthly reminder that you can get supporter kit from Prendas. As well as getting some nice kit it helps keep the wheels turning here, paying from everything like website hosting and photo accounts to funding route recons to ensure insightful stage previews for the Tour de France rather than relying on the race roadbook and Google.

Take your pick from the summer jersey, a cap with a new design or comfortable Coolmax socks. all sold via the friendly British shop Prendas Ciclismo who ship around the world.

There’s also a house-keeping discussion below where your feedback would be appreciated.

One thing that’s under review and subject to technical design and most importantly reader feedback is the use of a paywall. Fear not, this blog is neither disappearing from sight nor inflated with self-importance. It will remain free to read for all so you can get all the usual content here just as normal, from race previews to the usual mix of views and comment. Half of the fun of this sight is the interaction and engagement from readers and riders around the world.

Instead the idea is a premium “supporter” article from time to time for subscribers. Think of it as a glorified tip jar where, rather than just drop money into a pot, you get something back in return. Also if there was a plain tip jar and you donated it’d probably be annoying to get asked to make another… and another; it’d feel bad asking too often as well. Instead a small quarterly subscription matches the ongoing costs and expenses to keep things going here.

There are two motivations behind the premium supporter content idea:

  • the difficulty of selling the banner ad. I’ve had some fantastic sponsors but finding new ones is hard and detracts from the time available to write pieces on here, sales and web metrics are not as fun as covering the races and topics in and around the sport. Recently a new sponsor agreed to sign up for the summer only to back out at the last minute
  • the regular model of generating income from a website relies on getting clicks and this can be a race to the bottom. It’s an incentive to pad the website with non-stories and surround them with sad things like Outbrain links which pay for clicks and page loads. This site will remain a tiny corner of the internet free from lists, clickbait headlines, Lance Armstrong, pop-ups, paid content, press releases copy-pastes and insulting Outbrain suggestions

That’s a plan anyway. Feedback would be welcome in the comments or email.

If none of this interests you, no worries, I’m grateful to all those who have bought supporter kit, it’s a genuine help but it’s not compulsory and there’s no hard sell either, a monthly reminder which people can take or leave.

 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • tonykingshill Thursday, 30 June 2016, 12:37 pm

    I for one would be very happy to subscribe for ‘premium content’.
    The knowledge, comment and general appreciation of all things cycling found here can’t be bettered.

    • bassetthndsbicycle Thursday, 30 June 2016, 4:30 pm

      Longtime listener, first-time caller. I’m also for the premium model. This is a great site, and I appreciate your vow to keep it free of crummy banner ads, but I understand that running costs exists. I don’t mind counterbalancing these costs now and then, and if I get a little kickback too, great.

  • Alex222 Thursday, 30 June 2016, 12:54 pm

    Sounds like a great plan to me. The Cycling Podcast do a similar thing and I am more than happy to subscribe to that (as I would be for the INRNG equivalent) in order to help fund ongoing operations.

  • k23435 Thursday, 30 June 2016, 12:59 pm

    I have followed this blog for 5+ years almost daily, but never written a comment. I thought this could be as good of an opportunity as any to change that. Come to think of it, I have visited this site more often than ridden a bike in the same time period ; )

    I find it simply startling that content in this quality, consistency, and volume is available free of charge. I have spent a not inconsiderable amount of money on buying bikes and related equipment, yet none for this blog that enhances my happiness and knowledge from cycling immensely.

    I suppose I am in the overwhelming majority that would contribute towards this with greatest of pleasure.

    I also appreciate the strong ethos and backbone on not to surrender for the commercial forces. Having said that, I think this has been visible between the lines all along.

    Tip of the cap to INRNG.

    • Jack Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:19 pm

      I would like to ditto all of the above. I would also prefer this model to purchasing kit. Count me in as a supporter.

      • Maglia Nera Thursday, 30 June 2016, 6:56 pm

        +1. I’d very much like to show my appreciation for years of great coverage. As someone said above, the model of mostly free content but some subscription content seems to have helped The Cycling Podcast grow.

        • MRJ Friday, 1 July 2016, 4:16 am

          Maglia Nera – great username! You must have beat One Man Grupetto to it. Back on topic, I would also be more than happy to pay up in exchange for the tremendous value that Inrng provides. This may be the first website I check in the morning 🙂 I would go a step further and say i wouldn’t mind terribly if Inrng were to turn a small profit. Only fair as payment for the hours put in.

          • Maglia Nera Friday, 1 July 2016, 9:05 am

            +1

          • One Man Grupetto Friday, 1 July 2016, 11:56 am

            +1. It’s clear that even if you do start to get some well-earned renumeration from the site, it will always be a labour of love. I’d be more than happy to pay for Premium Content or any other funding model that supports this excellent, excellent work.

            PS MRJ – you’re right, he beat me to it. Although in fairness, when it comes to cycling, most people beat me to most things. Except any dregs of leftover Chianti at the post-ride meal.

          • MRJ Saturday, 2 July 2016, 4:28 am

            +1 One Man Grupetto – I know the feeling! I came in 239th place in a KOM competition last weekend – and was thrilled for it. Progress! I may be giving you a run for your… um, chianti. And if I am drinking wine, chianti is indeed my drink of choice.

            Here’s to an exciting Tour, and to an INRNG who doesn’t have to pay money for the honor of providing us with free content and coverage. Vai Nairo!

    • L'Islandais Thursday, 30 June 2016, 4:03 pm

      Agree to this comment wholeheartedly and doff my (inrng) cap in gratitude.

  • Kit Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:00 pm

    Absolutely – like most people who comment, I’d guess – I’d be very happy to pay a sub. I’d put in a request for monthly over quarterly which works better with a salary, but very happy either way, especially when it means a banishment of Outbrain and Lance.

  • Chris Howard Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:04 pm

    A great concept I reckon.
    With the insight and analysis you display I would be happy to support it to keep it going. A simple podcast or the like would be the obvious solution.
    Anything to keep the site from being like other cycling sites that have gone down the clickbait path(cyclingnews). They were deleted off my favourites tab eons ago.
    I also enjoy getting about in your supporters caps, seems its time for a new one!

  • Paul Dobbie Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:11 pm

    Okay – where do I sign up?

  • Bill Hostile Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:12 pm

    Premium supporter content is something I’d sign up for (depending on price and what’s promised, of course). I happily pay for The Cycling Podcasts’ bonus Friends of TCP downloads because entertaining and informative road cycling content should be supported, applauded and rewarded… And I dig the new cap.

  • MattF Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:14 pm

    Happy to pay for quality, ad-free content.

    • MattF Saturday, 2 July 2016, 3:51 am

      An interesting dynamic has surfaced in the comments to your post. Your idea has brought many reluctant commentators out of the woodwork (which is great) and, yet, many of the usual talking heads are curiously silent.

  • Tom H Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:17 pm

    Premium content seems like a good idea to keep the inner ring spinning.

    I’d happily sign up. Thanks for your efforts to keep us posted on relevant topics and the insight you bring with it. I sincerely hope we can all pitch in a bit so the content keeps coming without flashing ads of clickbait.

  • Andrew Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:17 pm

    Long time reader, first time commentator.
    Thanks for the great site.

    I support a couple of podcasts and YouTube channels via patreon. My default is $1 per month off my credit card, but there are much bigger supporters than me out there (with stronger currencies!). I think their platform fee is 5%.

    The people I support do offer some premium content for supporters, but I (and I assume most other supporters) support to help keep the lights on, rather than to get a reward.

    I’ll be happy to support, however you choose to enable it, I just selfishly hope that it is a low admin endeavor so you can focus on writing more great content for me to read!

  • ocaz Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:21 pm

    Well I will be picking myself a cap up this month as thank you for all the hard work and for you continuing to deliver insightful articles which prompt excellent discussions.

    I’m not against paying for premium content (providing cost is not prohibitive) as I do the same for the cycling podcast which I think is a small price to pay (£10.00) which I see more as a thank you with added bonus of some additional content.

    My opinion would be follow their model; continue with news round ups, topical analysis, race previews/reviews as free content but your premium content should be focused non news related elements of cycling, historical events or overviews of particular periods in cycling. I know you do some of this within articles but would personally love more of this.

    Whatever you decide keep up the fantastic work.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:24 pm

      That’s the idea I had, the usual content stays the same but anything extra is maybe a little different or more reflective. No way will people wake up to find a crucial mountain stage preview requires a subscription etc

      • Elliot Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:33 pm

        Perfect. And as Gunslinger notes below – they could end up as a compendium (probably not what you are looking to do, but you write lovely stuff that’s way better than most cycling ‘literature’)

      • ocaz Thursday, 30 June 2016, 3:39 pm

        Excellent, well thumbs up from me

  • MikeD Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:22 pm

    Count me in. Inrng is the MasterCard of cycling blogs.

  • George Vest Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:22 pm

    Add me to the list of people who would sign up for the sort of thing you’re proposing (a la Cycling Podcast, I presume?)

  • Matt Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:24 pm

    More than happy to pay for premium content, and I’ll head over to Prendas now to pick up a new cap – the current one is looking a little tired.

  • Eskorrik Asko Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:31 pm

    I’m sort of sitting on a fence on this issue. I kind of belong to the generation for whom the Internet is synonymous with the idea that information should not only be freely available but that it should also be free.

    And my gut reaction to sites that keep even a small part of “premium” content behind a paywall, however low, for “first class” readers is that I absolutely detest it, albeit in a mild-mannered way. For instance, as much as I appreciate Steve Hogg’s views on bike fit I quit reading when I was supposed to become a “Prime Member”.

    But I understand your dilemma and I sympathize with your situation. I could make an exception in your case.

    I have an alternative suggestion, though: keep all content entirely free but allow only paying readers to comment! I am actually serious. But I must admit I have no idea what percentage of your readers actually post comments or how many would be willing to pay for the privilege. I know I would, in this case.

    • Tintinbike Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:52 pm

      We all like free, but ‘free’ on the internet means you are the commodity to be sold to.
      If we don’t want to be sold to (that is seeing loads of ads, annoying videos, pop ups and the like) then a small fee seems a price well worth paying.
      In UK we have the BBC with no ads (apart from those for their own programmes), but we have to pay £145.50 per annum.
      Actually everyone with a TV has to pay whether they watch the BBC or not, but that’s another debate :-).
      Not suggesting INRNG should charge that much but I would be happy to pay.

      • Eskorrik Asko Thursday, 30 June 2016, 4:11 pm

        I am familiar that “free” is not always as free as we may think and that without income there is often no (original and quality) content or it runs out if someone closes the purse strings. BTW in my country the annual fee has been replaced with a lump sum tax, payable whether you watch television, listen to the radio or do either of the two via a computer of some kind.
        I actually subscribe to two print newspapers and several magazines. It is the old-fashioned way of paying for content (and getting ad revenue for the publisher).
        Anyway, I’m good for anything between 10 and 20 dollars, pounds, or euros per annum.

        • Tintinbike Thursday, 30 June 2016, 8:59 pm

          Sounds fair to me

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 30 June 2016, 3:00 pm

      I understand what you mean and it’s why the idea is only to have a few pieces for subscribers, it’s not like stage previews and daily commentary will be for people to pay, that would be exclusive, greedy and probably dumb. Just a way to ask if readers want to make a contribution and in return they get a little extra back.

      I think everyone is going to find the internet gets less and less free. Sometimes it can be free to read but behind it there are real costs. A lot of companies/agencies are reducing spend on banner ads for things like “paid content” as well as product placement and hidden links but none of this feels right.

      As for the comments, I welcome all the free feedback, it’s essential.

      • Alex222 Thursday, 30 June 2016, 3:29 pm

        I think you are right INRNG. I know that the newspaper industry is going through a crisis with the switch to online. Great in theory to have all information free to view but good journalism costs money. If good journalism can’t be made to pay then it will disappear and we will all be worse off.
        Private Eye magazine has covered a few times how studies show that online advertising is often ineffectual, once companies start to realise this then the situation above will only get worse as advertising revenues fall.

      • Tylarbohydrate Thursday, 30 June 2016, 7:07 pm

        As far as the “free” and cost of everything, a lot of new internet sales have been driven by a “pay what you want model”. You have to pay something to get full access, and a certain threshold may give you better access. See the humble bundle – usually any game purchase is entirely pay what you want, as long as it is greater than $1. More games are released once you beat the average donation, and finally t shirts or physical items are purchased at >$30 or some threshold. My collegiate club team is trying to move to a similar tiered structure – $15 for socks and a coupon book, $70 for jerseys, $150 for full kit, etc. This could tie in nicely with your prendas kit as well, making sure people who already supporte you by purchasing kit are rewarded by getting access to the website as well. You can even do super deluxe options, like $x_high_amount gets you a bike tour with Mr. Inrng covering the important climbs for a race,or $x_other_amount gets inrng to cover a “how it was won” for some otherwise non covered race of the submitters choice (masters nats? Masters worlds?). Our deluxe package for the collegiate Cycling team was “hang out with the team at nationals.”

  • Michael B Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:38 pm

    I’d be happy to subscribe to additional content and it’s much preferable to banner ads or pop ups. I think the tie up with Prendas makes sense – and I’m now a customer of theirs – but other than that I love the clean look and independent feel to inrng, if subscription helps maintain that I’m in. Keep up the great work.

  • Lyle S. Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:39 pm

    I’d be happy to contribute. Long time reader who doesn’t want the kit.

    • Gazelle CM Thursday, 30 June 2016, 5:16 pm

      +1
      I only ride in publicity free club kit, and traditional white socks ;-), I don’t mind paying in an other way.

  • LeftHandPath Thursday, 30 June 2016, 1:53 pm

    I have been reading for a few years now, and learned about Prendas via your site. I have since bought a bunch of stuff from them, so that advertising worked out well! For Inrng gear I now have 3 caps, 2 jerseys, arm warmers, and 2 pairs of socks. All excellent stuff that I enjoy using. The new caps are a significant improvement over the old ones in my opinion, both the look and the slightly different fit/size.

    I like the idea of premium content. I am happy to pay a web site that I enjoy. For example, I have so much fun with Strava that I was happy to pay to be a premium member, and the benefits are worth the nominal fee.

    So if there is a need to increase monetary support, and I am sure there is, then adding premium content strikes me as an excellent method. I would be interested to know what the possible price range will be for premium?

  • Toby Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:05 pm

    I read this blog several times a week and its my no. 1 source for information about my favorite sport. I’m sure many other readers feel the same. That kind of audience is highly valuable for advertisers. Hence I’m somewhat surprised to learn its a hassle selling the banners.

    Have you considered selling these spots trough a 3rd party? I know that a number of these takes the concerns you raise regarding the nature/intensity of the ads seriously and gives the “publisher” very detailed controls. At the same time they are platforms where a lot of the advertiser demand is already present.

    I happen to work for one of the worlds biggest online ad networks (although not on the partner/publisher side). If this is something that you are at all considering I would be very happy to sound out one of my colleagues to get an understanding of the potential this blog has.

    Feel free to fire me an email if you are at all interested in exploring this rute.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:32 pm

      Interesting, I explored it a bit but it’d be good to talk to an expert again. I’ll be in touch, thanks.

  • Gunslinger Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:09 pm

    I’d happily subscribe for some extra premium content- quarterly “long read” articles that explored topics in depth would be excellent. Eventually you could even compile them together and release an ebook as an additional revenue source (& advert for the site.)

  • Rob Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:10 pm

    Another long-time reader, first-time commenter.
    Not particularly interested in ‘premium content’ and don’t need the Prendas kit, but I would be very happy to pay something each year/month to be a supporter of this superb site and help keep it the way it is.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:31 pm

      Thanks, even easier to please.

    • Tintinbike Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:53 pm

      Likewise

  • Baad-boo-boo Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:14 pm

    I’m happy to subscribe plus continue using Prendas for the team kit. Must order more socks too

  • marcel Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:16 pm

    I’ve recently ordered 4 caps.
    May I suggest to offer a larger size, since I am very disappointed not being able to wear them without getting a headache…
    I would love to buy a new set to help this site!

    • Marc Thursday, 30 June 2016, 3:35 pm

      They do two sizes don’t they? I too have a large head and I have to make small cuts in the elastic part of my caps to make them fit normally, but my INRNG one is very large.

      • marcel Friday, 1 July 2016, 4:23 pm

        There’s only one size available now…
        «…this new version will only be available in “One Size” that typically suits a 54-59cm head.»
        My bad: 61… I’ll try the small cuts then.

  • TDog Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:24 pm

    Happy to contribute. And I bought the kit….because I think it is good looking. Adds a little color to my usual monochromatic cycling gear.

  • Elliot Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:30 pm

    Yep, happy with that, as others have said it seems to work for The Cycling Podcast. I’m sure you’ve been through loads of options, but if this is one you like that is good enough for me.

  • JJ Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:34 pm

    It is a difficult decision to make, however if you do decide to go down the route of a paywall, I would like to see a “purchase kit” option as a possible payment (i.e. £($)20/30/50 of kit per year gives free access).

  • ninja Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:34 pm

    a sub model is a great idea, will be worth every cent! love your work inrng 🙂

  • Canocola Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:39 pm

    Just another voice to suggest looking at Patreon, and also to suggest you have a look at Mark Witton’s website as he uses a similar model to that which you’re suggesting. This seems to work pretty well, without the premium content giving the casual reader the idea that they’re being excluded from anything. Also, I notice he’s published a book via print on demand – any chance of an INRNG ‘Roads to Ride’ book?

    http://markwitton-com.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Dan Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:57 pm

      Alright Ross Geller…

  • Nick M Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:42 pm

    Sounds like a great plan to me. I would be as happy to contribute to your great work as I am for the Cycling Podcast’s Friends scheme.

    How many people would you need to sign up so that you can quit your day job and finally tell us who you are? 😉

  • Nigel Mathias Thursday, 30 June 2016, 2:43 pm

    This site is my lunchtime reading, nothing comes close to sitting down with free WiFi drinking a nice hot mocha, a real highlight of the day.
    I have the socks, the only other site I subscribe to is veloviewer this would be next. Plus I have pointed many friends this way.

  • JT Thursday, 30 June 2016, 3:06 pm

    I love this blog and will always come and read it. I like the idea of premium content but being a (very) poor student, I don’t think it would be in my budget to pay a subscription. Maybe it would be possible to allow somebody to pay a subscription or to pay per article ? (Subscription of course being better value for money). This would mean that if there was an article which I think I would find very interesting I could stay pay to access it without having to regularly pay.
    This may be a bit selfish to want that but it is just an idea.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 30 June 2016, 3:35 pm

      The idea is that the extra stuff is just that, if you read a lot here now for free you will be able to read a lot here tomorrow for free too.

      • Graham Thursday, 30 June 2016, 4:12 pm

        I will be a contributor for sure and plan to read the usual excellent free content with an extra feeling of smug superiority if this is allowed?

  • MultiplexRant Thursday, 30 June 2016, 3:20 pm

    Hmmm. As with Toby above I’m surprised you have trouble selling the ad space. I’m on the client side of digital advertising and would’ve thought you’d find it fairly straightforward to arrange a publisher-partner type deal for display ads. I suppose it depends on the level of traffic you receive (and from where).

    I feel moderately enthusiastic about the idea of paying for bonus content – I’ve done similar for other sites (the author of cyclingbetting.co.uk does excellent Grand Tour previews, obviously with a betting focus) – though of course it depends on what it is.

    I am DELIGHTED though that Outbrain et al is not on the cards! Race to the bottom is right; I cannot stand that crap and think its days are numbered TBH – so many of the links are dishonest and poor quality, and in some cases put your device at risk of malware [full disclosure – I’ve actually used it as a marketing tactic in the past; I found it didn’t work and I also didn’t respect myself the morning after]. In fact, if you threaten us with Outbrain/Taboola, I’ll put my hand in my pocket!

  • Harry Flashman Thursday, 30 June 2016, 3:21 pm

    I owe essentially all of my knowledge about and enjoyment of cycling to INRNG. A complete newcomer, I got great advice and support from commenters when I took a trip to the Ronde. So, I value the content immensely, and would happily contribute to a premium/subscription model. Plus, I don’t have much use for cycling kit, so this would feel a more reasonable way to support INRNG than buying (very good-looking) merchandise.

    Thanks for all of your great work – it’s really a rare pleasure on the internet to have a site like this.

  • Richard Thursday, 30 June 2016, 3:24 pm

    Happy to pay a sub – how much are we talking?

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 30 June 2016, 3:35 pm

      Not much but I really don’t know, first there’s the tech to explore but that seems possible, then some thought on the rate and whether people want it by month/quarter/whole year or the option for all.

  • betabug Thursday, 30 June 2016, 3:32 pm

    Hmmm, a simple tip jar is technically much simpler than having to implement premium content and a paywall. It might generate less money coming in, but the cost is lower too. I don’t think you’ll have to “ask” for contributions very often. There might even be a way to make a tip jar with recurring donations, but even that I’d suggest to put in a 2nd round implementation.

    A subscription with premium content also means a commitment. If there is a bit, but not enough interest, you could end up in your own version of a chasse patate.

    I’d suggest doing the simplest thing first and see how far a tip jar gets you.

    From what I’ve seen in the comments over time, there are a bunch of people waiting with their cards in hand already.

    • cherrypicked Thursday, 30 June 2016, 4:31 pm

      I agree. I think you should just try a tip jar – it has been suggested many times.

      Having said that I don’t have any real problems with the model you are proposing either

    • Francisco Thursday, 30 June 2016, 4:44 pm

      +1

    • Ahmed Iminatipjar Friday, 1 July 2016, 12:39 am

      +2

    • John Irvine Friday, 1 July 2016, 6:47 pm

      I agree. And even if you do to a subscription route, there’s no harm in adding a simple pay-what-you-feel paypal tip jar on the Support page.

  • Matt Thursday, 30 June 2016, 3:35 pm

    I’m in whichever way you deem best. You have always kept your audience as your priority, delivering the best and most unique content in cycling. I am happy to pay for content and actually would be honored to.

  • Matt D Thursday, 30 June 2016, 3:40 pm

    I would definitely pay. Cheers

  • Dylan Thursday, 30 June 2016, 3:48 pm

    ..hardly worth adding another voice to the already overwhelming chorus but yes, I’d be happy to pay. I’d probably prefer to pay per annum/via a monthly DD, just so it’s less hassle. But really I love reading the blog so will probably go along with more or less whatever you put in place assuming it’s not bonkers, which I know it won’t be.

    • Colin Friday, 1 July 2016, 1:24 am

      +1. I must check in ten times per week anxiously waiting for the next article

  • Jan Thursday, 30 June 2016, 4:05 pm

    Count me in. I’m happy to pay an annual fee to be a friend of the Cycling Podcast and would be delighted to be your friend as well. I’ll go buy a pair of socks just to prove my intentions are honorable.

  • adam Thursday, 30 June 2016, 4:07 pm

    just give me the details, happy to pay.

  • The Inner Ring Thursday, 30 June 2016, 4:09 pm

    Thanks for all the supportive comments so far. I wondered what the reaction might be, very welcoming so far.

    Interested to hear counterpoints and other thoughts too.

    • Panda Friday, 1 July 2016, 1:08 pm

      Slight variation, what about allowing buyers of kit to access (some) premium content as well?

  • BigSigh Thursday, 30 June 2016, 4:13 pm

    No question, I’d happily pay up.

  • Monsieur_G Thursday, 30 June 2016, 4:15 pm

    Thanks for consulting the readers! It’s a great idea to provide us with an extra way to support the site with minimal disruption. I’m in. Keep up the good work!

  • Andrew Thursday, 30 June 2016, 4:26 pm

    This is a fantastic blog. I just ordered a jersey.

  • Aldo Cella Thursday, 30 June 2016, 4:32 pm

    Thumbs up on paying extra for premium content, I would gladly pay for extra, echoing comments above about not taking away any of the free content. Also like the supporter kit, though only purchased a hat and socks so far, will likely buy more for friends to help spread the word.

  • Steppings Thursday, 30 June 2016, 4:41 pm

    Happy to “tip” in when required, rather than you having to go “Cap in Hand” each time for a new banner sponsor. Though Prendas and others in the past have obviously shown support over the years.

  • Ryan Davies Thursday, 30 June 2016, 5:07 pm

    I’m in. My preference is that you put the value on what you need rather than rely on a tip jar. Considering you publish 350 plus free articles per year I think £10 – £20 per year for a monthly premium article is more than fair. Quite frankly considering the integrity and quality of your output you should be being paid!

  • Bemused Thursday, 30 June 2016, 5:09 pm

    Premium content you say?
    Shut up and take my money I say!

  • noel Thursday, 30 June 2016, 5:14 pm

    very happy to pay to keep LA and outbrain off the site, and Inrng on the road…
    Love the idea of a ‘roads to ride’ book
    inrng bib shorts next pls…. (black ones obvs!)

  • Jim Smith Thursday, 30 June 2016, 5:15 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for several years now. It’s not the first site I turn to because sometimes I want news. However, I do look at it every day without fail.

    I’ve been on the net for about 20 years. I watched sites like cyclingnews.com grow and recently deteriorate into ad fests. It really bothers me to open a link and see the same ad running that I saw on the last link and the one last week and the week before. I’m actually reducing the number of sites I look at because the ads are so overpowering in some sites.

    Now that I’ve set the scene, I sympathize with you. How do you make money or even recover your costs without going the way we’re seeing other sites go? If you have to charge, so be it. I’ll pay since I’d rather give you a few bucks than see all those recurring ads. I’d rather a flat fee than a tip jar because with tip jars I forget when I last contributed (such as wikipedia). If you want to add some “premium” content, that’s OK with me, but I suspect you’ll have trouble figuring out what should be premium.

  • seake Thursday, 30 June 2016, 6:23 pm

    Sign me up for premium content subscription.

    £5 / $5 per month would be a fair starting point i think? For those of us with disposable income anyway. But some might pay more into a tip jar too, so perhaps a combination?

  • Shearman Thursday, 30 June 2016, 6:30 pm

    I stumbled across this site about four years ago and it is what turned me from a Tour de France watcher into someone who is passionate about the full season (and bike rider), particularly through the previews etc of other races especially the one-day races. I’d be happy to support for extra ‘non-essential’ content as the writing is so good – the idea of these articles being focused on historical events or trends sounds wonderful to me.

  • Flogger Thursday, 30 June 2016, 7:18 pm

    My daily cycling blogroll consists of velonews, cycling news, bike snob, podium cafe, and here. Inner Ring is by far the best quality site for content and the banner ads are unobtrusive. I would sign up in a minute to whatever paywall you decided on – pretty much goes without saying that the price would be reasonable. I’m pretty much Prendased out anyway. You should be able to cover your costs and get compensation for your good work which deepens and enhances my enjoyment and understanding of my favorite sport.

  • Conor Thursday, 30 June 2016, 7:22 pm

    Would be more than happy to sign up for a subscription – quality content is worth supporting and I gain far more enjoyment and knowledge from this blog than pretty much anywhere else

  • jeremy Thursday, 30 June 2016, 7:25 pm

    Totally support the idea of monthly/quarterly fee for premium content. I subscribe to EuroSport player and have a monthly set payment via PayPal, works seamlessly.
    I would imagine a fee of 2 – 3 EUR/GBP/USD per month would be supported by many.
    Love the site and the content, keep up the good work.

  • hoh Thursday, 30 June 2016, 7:33 pm

    Premium article sounds like a good idea. All in.

    By the way, Kind of like the old cap better though. Is that still available?

  • skiddley Thursday, 30 June 2016, 8:00 pm

    I will try to contribute whatever way you decide.

  • Alvaro Thursday, 30 June 2016, 8:05 pm

    As a regular reader I a really appreciatte the inrng site and I would gladly sign up.
    Just an idea, maybe the premium content you are thinking of (special articles, etc.) can me delivered by e-mail to a list of subscribers who have paid the fee instead of putting it in the website with a paywall.
    In that way the website stays “clean” for all readers, and those who have subscribed receive the content in their mailbox.

  • AK Thursday, 30 June 2016, 8:46 pm

    Those who make good content deserve to get paid for it. It’s as simple as that. We need good content, and though it’s possible to make that for free if you are motivated, it’s not a very sustainable way of doing things. The way things are going on the internet these days, with sites and social media portals that offer free content and functionality in exchange for being fed advertorials and well-disguised ads, worries me. I am very glad that you decide not to go that way but instead choose to have a very transparent model for getting your costs back.

  • Kieran Thursday, 30 June 2016, 8:55 pm

    Fine with me, as long as the premium content will work on old systems (reading this on my iPhone 4s). I buy monthly magazines for about £5 per month, so I guess something similar costwise? Anyway keep up the good work!

  • Chris Dyke Thursday, 30 June 2016, 9:22 pm

    Where do I sign? Particularly keen to patronise if it gives liberty for wandering further off piste

  • Tom C Thursday, 30 June 2016, 9:30 pm

    I’d pay for extra content.

  • Paul Jakma Thursday, 30 June 2016, 10:24 pm

    Hi,

    +1 on direct payment. I havn’t ever tipped you (yet), but I do pay for a number of websites (even to GOOG) and I would pay for INRGN. I much prefer to be the customer than the product!

    Another website I use, LWN.net, uses the model that some content is paywalled for a limited period of time. The paying subscribers basically get to see the premium content a week early. It also offers 3 or 4 different levels of payment so you can choose your level of ‘support’ from “maniacal support” ($50pm) to “starving hacker” ($3.50 pm) – that seems to work well for them I think. Some ancillary features vary according to level (e.g. ability to set kill lists to hide comments by certain people; colouring comments you’ve already read; etc).

    Anyway. Yes, definitely!

    • Paul Jakma Saturday, 2 July 2016, 12:09 am

      Oh, I bought a cap! The jersey is a nice design, but… made from oil. A pure wool version, I’d consider it. (CimaCoppi.cc?).

  • Chris J Thursday, 30 June 2016, 10:45 pm

    I’m already the proud owner of an INRNG jersey, cap and socks, but I would gladly also pay for premium access.

  • Patrick Thursday, 30 June 2016, 10:46 pm

    I would be happy to pay for”premium content” if it helped support the site/you. It certainly worked well for The Cycling Podcast.

  • The real j hutch Thursday, 30 June 2016, 10:47 pm

    Inrng, I love you! I would very much hope that your core content can remain free to view but would be happy to pay towards extra/added content.Thank you for doing what you do, I’ve been following cycling since Robert Millar won the KOM Jersey in the TdeF but I’ve learnt do much from Inrng over the last (?) years.

  • Helsinki Jim Thursday, 30 June 2016, 10:48 pm

    I totally agree with your desire to avoid the usual webpage business model, and will be happy to put my money where my principles are. Bring on the premium content and I’ll sign that dotted line.

  • Othersteve Friday, 1 July 2016, 12:19 am

    We all seem to be in for supporting you in any form you choose, I’m in…

    This serious a reply rate to a post is usually about doping, glad its about making us better educated cycle fans. ?

  • Guilherme Friday, 1 July 2016, 1:40 am

    Hi, I’d gladdly subscribe. Thanks for the site: it is wonderful. Best regards!

  • Somers Friday, 1 July 2016, 1:45 am

    I’m happy to contribute but I come to read what appears to be described as what will remain free. It might be worthwhile determining how many people will seek to access the premium content or you might not pull in as much as you expected.

    Happy to support either way.

  • Cormac O'B Friday, 1 July 2016, 2:14 am

    A subscription sounds good once it stays within a students budget.

    Love the site, and am delighted to see that you’re against clickbait. I’ve seen a few good websites ruined by publishing garbage.

    A random button might help with the amount of ‘clicks’. (I know it mightn’t be feasible, but just including the suggestion for old time’s sake.)

    Thanks,
    Cormac

  • Emlyn Friday, 1 July 2016, 6:14 am

    Apologies for not reading all of the comments above, and no doubt someone has made the same point…but, the model employed by the cycling podcast (very similar to the one you suggest) is one I feel I would support.

    A known annual cost, with guaranteed content for premium users is something I would buy into. The issue you may have here is that your articles are often of a ‘premium’ type quality and that one off’s would be hard to distinguish from usual ‘one off’ type posts. For example doing an in-depth look at say the finances of the UCI could be a premium thing, but is something you do anyway. The premium might reduce the average quality on the site somewhat, which whilst I am fine with, this site isn’t just race pre/reviews.

    Keep up the good work anyway and I would happily contribute if the amount was right.

  • Dimitri Friday, 1 July 2016, 7:52 am

    happy to contribute too. I gladly support your insightful, creative and objective and/or well argued pieces (including some great discussion threads)

  • Zach Friday, 1 July 2016, 9:17 am

    This is my first comment only to say that yes–this would join the NYT as the only content I pay for. The trust you built by through making such an amazing site and resisting the trends that have messed up other sites earns my (limited grad student) $$$. Even the comments on your site are better than 99% of the other cycling sites out there.

  • Ross L Friday, 1 July 2016, 10:19 am

    I have been following your site everyday for ages. Great work. More than happy to contribute. The Cycling Podcast’s friend system work well. Thanks very much.

  • Paul Webb Friday, 1 July 2016, 10:29 am

    Happy to pay for such great content – please please get a white inrng Jersey!

    • The Tashkent Error Sunday, 3 July 2016, 9:28 pm

      +1

  • sifter Friday, 1 July 2016, 11:07 am

    This site is one of the first I access every morning while I eat my breakfast. I’ve always enjoyed your writing, including the tone, wit and content.

    I’d be happy to subscribe, simply to acknowledge the years of quality. But, I think it would be a shame to see some of the core business of the site.

    Putting myself in the shoes of a new reader oblivious to the rich history of this blog, I’d quickly wonder about its author. What I’d pay to read would be about inrng himself. A history of the blog, your connection to cycling before it all began, and how you manage to generate such amazing content day after day. That might not appeal to you, but worth a thought maybe, and it would be clear what belongs behind the wall…

    Cheers, and all the best with your decisions

  • Chris H Friday, 1 July 2016, 11:15 am

    Have you thought about using Patreon or something similar? A few of my favourite content providers use it (including Sarah Connolly over at prowomenscycling.com)

  • Oskar van Rijswijk Friday, 1 July 2016, 11:16 am

    Maybe this membership model of the blog ‘The Brooks Review’ is a premium model you might use. Early access makes one feel ‘premium’ almost every day of your subscription.

  • Adam Friday, 1 July 2016, 11:37 am

    I read the blog more than I ride my bike (owing to injury) hence not purchasing any INRNG items through Prendas. If the INRNG items were expanded to t-shirts/casual clothing I’d definitely purchase them and I imagine a lot of other ‘casual’ readers would be more interested in them, than caps/jerseys etc.

    Saying that, I’d also happily pay for the premium content, similar to the Cycling Podcast model which, I think works very well ( known annual cost, one-off payments for a specific number of posts). My suggestion, make sure a student can afford it… I would welcome the premium content delivered in a newsletter if that is possible? In terms of content, some long-read interviews would be great… Sign me up!

  • Ian Friday, 1 July 2016, 11:51 am

    I love this blog, it’s my favourite website on any subject and something I check everyday. I’m not a racer just someone who bumbles around on my bikes but have always had an interest in the pro racing side of things and INRNG brings this to life and adds so much to my knowledge and enjoyment of watching the sport (as well as an honourable mention to the generally civilized and well informed below the line contributors).

    If you go down the subscription route I will happily subscribe, my preference would be an annual fee. However I would support whatever method you decide will work best for you.

  • Remi Friday, 1 July 2016, 12:05 pm

    Long time reader, first time commenter.

    Adding my voice to the (already) long list of supporters: would happily pay for premium content. This is my primary source of cycling related news and would happily support.

  • Jorge Friday, 1 July 2016, 1:31 pm

    This site is on par with the best cycling journals and I like the comments and discussions on the forum. Would not have a problem to pay a premium subscription and buy the gear 🙂

  • Ken Friday, 1 July 2016, 3:03 pm

    Looking at my bookmarks, I note this blog is a daily read for me. Maybe not as intense as the NY Times, but a regular read nonetheless. I appreciate the quality of commentary and the lack of junk. I’d have no problem with an annual subscription.

  • Cormac Friday, 1 July 2016, 3:37 pm

    +1 on annual subscription. Would not be an issue. I don’t think money can buy analysis and commentary like this anywhere else on the web (or off it).

  • Cyclemaine Friday, 1 July 2016, 3:58 pm

    I have to admit I strongly prefer free access to content. My aversions to paywalls is not that I myself don’t want to pay, it’s that I think there is true value to the widest possible access when it comes to content.

    Not to rehash much of the praise heaped on you, but your voice is unique in the cycling world. You identify and address issues in a way that is engaging and brings fresh perspective. I have to assume the few posts you would put behind a pay wall would be “special” pieces, whether more in depth, requiring additional research, etc. Unless I am overestimating your skills, those articles are likely to be precisely the ones that a broader audience should have access to since they will likely reveal a side of this great sport that is being overlook or outright ignored everywhere else.

    I appreciate the difficulties of making ends meet and I also appreciate the fact that your writing is your product. If you made a widget, nobody would cry if you asked a fair price and the last thing I want is to see you fade away because income couldn’t justify the expenses you incur. In truth, I actually feel frustrated at times that I can’t support the site more easily. I don’t have any need for new kit and I’m not in the market for anything from the sponsors I’ve seen on the site.

    Bottom line is that I’d likely support a subscription service, but I would lament the fact that your premium pieces were being enjoyed by the true believers and not getting to the wider readership who most need to hear your voice.

    • Ecky Thumps Saturday, 2 July 2016, 10:20 am

      Good points which I agree with.

      One of the strong points of this site which I value is reading posts from fans all over the world.
      It is cool that Inner Ring’s articles can do that. They can be read by anyone, anywhere!
      Who knows if some enterprising kid, in some corner of the world, cycles 40km to an internet cafe and is able to get the site?
      Who knows if someone lying in hospital, or confined in some manner, enjoys the site and that little piece of enjoyment brightens their life?
      The internet can be both a curse and a blessing, and this site is part of the latter.
      It would be a great pity to deny that to some readers.

      Having said all that, I’m ok to pay myself.
      Subscriptions, for the reasons above, I’m less keen on.
      Why not put modesty aside and just set up a target figure; there’s lots of ways that kind souls can donate on and you’d most likely be humbled at the response?
      That way, at least, this site stays universal.

  • John Irvine Friday, 1 July 2016, 6:47 pm

    Readers should whitelist Inrng from their ad-blocker software. I do that for sites I support so they can get credit for page views from their sponsors.

  • Marc Friday, 1 July 2016, 7:35 pm

    Your good work is easily the best in the biz. I will be happy to support whatever you decide to do. Premium supporter, tip jar, annual subscription, all good.
    Just don’t go changing …(too much).

  • Peter Friday, 1 July 2016, 11:36 pm

    Count me in. I’m happy to support the site in any way I can but there is only so much kit you can buy. Paying for premium content would be a great solution.

  • Olmo Saturday, 2 July 2016, 12:54 am

    I’m in in whatever format you choose.

    I choose to pay good money to get access to the newspapers I want to read and I don’t see supporting you as any different. You’ve taught me enormous amounts about pro cycling and with multi-lingual puns thrown in – why should I expect to be able to read work of this quality if I don’t pay for it? But that it is free is fantastic.

    As many have mentioned the premium content idea works well for TCP and I’d be in favour. As someone else suggested emailing out the premium content would make the tech side of the ‘paywall’ pretty simple. And for me it would mean I read it; it took me about 9 months to work out how to download TCP’s premium stuff.

    • Olmo Saturday, 2 July 2016, 12:57 am

      Just to clarify, I meant things that are good generally need to be paid for in some format. I’ve no beef with the readers who want free content.

  • Flashing Pedals Saturday, 2 July 2016, 7:12 am

    I’ve been, and remain, a long term fan of the website.
    Always enjoy the banter, detail and interaction, without the usual bombarding ads, elsewhere.
    I always respect the presence that Matt’s has, in selecting who and when, any partner/banner ads, are used.
    I’m glad the site retains integrity, which in turn, ensures quality and accuracy, above promotional rubbish, which other sites, follow.
    Happily pay for the site.

  • Simon Saturday, 2 July 2016, 8:23 am

    Just to add that I’d be very happy to pay for premium content or even just a quarterly subscription. I very much appreciate your writing.

  • SPR Saturday, 2 July 2016, 7:02 pm

    Not really been interested in kit as I don’t cycle much although may get some socks as they could work for the gym, basketball, etc.

    I’d be interested in an annual subscription, how much are we looking at?

  • Julie Fast Saturday, 2 July 2016, 7:42 pm

    I would pay. The content is excellent. Julie

  • Kristian Saturday, 2 July 2016, 9:16 pm

    No to pay wall – yes to donations (potentially structured as monthly payments and possibly also with a “target” to incentivize people).

    There are a lot of arguments for the above – I think it would work as well, it is easier to set up and people buying clothes as their donation would still have full access – however essentially it comes down to this for me:

    I like to think of this site as a special corner of the internet and believe that people visiting it are aware of this. Thus I both hope and think that people would be willing to “pay” not only for their own enjoyment but to ensure access for people that are not able/willing to pay as well, people just learning about the sport etc. That in my mind is more true to what I understand as the spirit of this blog.

    The paywall can always be implemented later if neccesary.

  • Jørn Haanæs Saturday, 2 July 2016, 10:51 pm

    I’ll happily pay.

    I’ve been a loyal fan for about as long as the blog has been going. Your writing is consistently enjoyable. This remains my #1 resource for cycling reading, including Rouleur which I pay for.

  • Maurice Sunday, 3 July 2016, 1:11 am

    Seriously need the white socks and cap though…

  • Alan Mc Sunday, 3 July 2016, 1:25 am

    I’d be happy to be a “premium” subscriber for one of the best little corners of the internet, and my first port of call in the morning.

  • Colin Steele Sunday, 3 July 2016, 2:02 am

    I’d again recommend the use of patreon for subscribers. Works really well for YouTube and podcasts.

  • GB Sunday, 3 July 2016, 5:53 am

    Apologies for the late comment.

    I have no problem with a premium content or a tip jar (even if it’ll be a while before I can throw some coin in) and can vouch for Patreon; many people I know use it in my other fields of interest.

    There’s some advantages to using Patreon as it’s an established service, has flexibility in how people can donate, and automates things such as email notifications when new content is uploaded.

    If you decide to use Patreon specifically, it comes with some issues. There has been at least one security breach so you should use a different password to your other online accounts, or at least not a password you use for your email or online banking (you should do this all the time anyway!)
    Also, some “patrons” can be extremely ungracious (e.g. sharing locked content immediately without creator’s consent; signing up to give a huge amount of money so they can snag all the bonuses then revoking their donation before they even pay anything). I like to think your target audience is more well-behaved than this of course 🙂 For your purposes, these don’t seem like catastrophic risks at this stage.

    One alternative to having content ‘locked away’ if this is a concern for you is that you could release the paid articles on your main site months later, so people are paying to read it sooner. Another thing I have seen Patreon uses do is post all their articles for free, then post a message on certain articles saying ‘this was sponsored by my followers on Patreon’ or similar. Most people I know are smart enough to read this as ‘I am able to write this because I received some money to cover my website costs/time’ rather than ‘This is totally an advert’

    I would also be happy with you running a simple donation fund/tip jar instead, as some people have suggested, and this is becoming more normalised across the internet. But I realise that you may not be comfortable with ‘just’ taking donations, which I can understand.

    Thanks for your blog and good luck with whatever direction you decide to go in (even if it is… ugh… Outbrain………)

  • Augustas Pablo Sunday, 3 July 2016, 10:49 am

    late to the party, but yeah, sign me up!

  • Daniel Sunday, 3 July 2016, 12:12 pm

    Do it.

  • Ned Monday, 4 July 2016, 6:49 pm

    I would definitely support this. The FOTP model works well from a consumer perspective and it sounds like it does for them as a business. I have wondered if the inrng behind the moniker is one of the presenters but decided not in the end…

  • Greg Tuesday, 5 July 2016, 7:56 pm

    I’m absolutely up for keeping one small, and very deserving, corner of the internet free of outbrain and the like. Absolutely in!