F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

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thecubsfan
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by thecubsfan » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:30 am

I'm trying to exit this conversation ASAP, but I want to first say I empathize with the server issues having experienced similar ones (on a much smaller scale) and understand how frustrating it must be to deal with.

If my point was "nothing seems to ever be fixed" and the counter point is "we are fixing stuff that no one notices", then it's kind of on you to either start fixing things people notice or making a bigger deal of what you are fixing. It's not on me to have blind faith something is being done in a place I can't see or to dig so deep that I can find it. Just saying we're hoping to get done with fixing all the site critical issues by [X] and our plan is to get add [requested feature] by [Y] would engender some good will. The site search feature seems like the perfect example - it was something requested, it was something earnestly being worked on, and people would've been happy even just to hear it was being done. There's a lot of "things are being done, but we can't tell you about them" and I'm not sure why.

(Though - It's strange that the Tony's inbox is overflowing with service requests, and it's the thing that was asked for on WOL took precedence over all the other very important issues. I dunno, maybe there was already a ticket in for it.)

I will say that, in the business I work at, if we fail to produce our (let's say) widgets for 10 days, our customers are definitely going to get a detailed explanation of what went wrong and what we did to try an ensure it's not going to happen again, because we know our customer can take their business to the widget factory across town and we've got to make it up with service when we can't with product. The difference here is there's not really a WON widget across town to move to - but there's plenty of other hosting companies around, and I hope WON/F4W has moved or will move to one of them if they screwed you over this badly and didn't do anything to make it up to you. If you didn't, then I guess it couldn't have been too bad. If you did, then maybe you can emphasize with the plight on the other side of user account.

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JonnyBart
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by JonnyBart » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:33 am

supersonic wrote:That's actually a great question. He's not a sports fanatic nor does he get addicted to TV series, so it's difficult to imagine what keeps him so busy. A side job and family is no excuse, as Dave is a dad and stays far more in tune with pop and sports culture.
Dave is also intensely dedicated to his work, almost to an obsessive level. Not that there is anything particularly wrong with that, to each his own. But to hold anyone else to that standard is insane, and Bryan sees it all up close. Would you rather work as obsessively hard as Dave, or be able to follow your other passions and maybe take vacations?

I know people say Bryan does too little (and I don't subscribe there anymore so maybe he does); but Bryan runs the site like a business owner, he built the thing, recruited good people, and now has everybody fill their role.

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JonnyBart
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by JonnyBart » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:41 am

JML wrote:I used to like Coughlin's fight breakdowns but I saw that he's gone from the site and does Tough Talk still run on the site?
FYI, Coughlin has his own site now: http://halfguarded.com/

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mlev76
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by mlev76 » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:44 am

joshnason wrote:Hey guys -- a few of you may know me and a few may not, but I'm a part-timer for the Observer site that does a lot of random stuff in public view and behind the scenes. I saw this post, finally registered, and wanted to drop a few unsolicited lines. I have no idea where to start, so here goes.

-- There have definitely been some issues over the past month, especially with the surprise site launch forced on us by a tech provider. We didn't have a site launch date planned, so all of the testing server stuff you usually have with prior to launch? Yeah, we didn't get that luxury.

-- Tony has been busting his ass non-stop to get things working back in order. He gets a lot of scorn on our board for some reason, but he's doing yeoman work. Some may not buy it, but all I can say is believe me when I say that he's doing all he can to make our site a better place.

-- I hear your concerns, and think it's completely rational to discuss value with a paid content site. I pay for content on other sites and services, and if I don't feel like I'm getting the value, I reconsider or cancel. If someone doesn't feel like they are getting the value, it's perfectly ok if they cancel. I'd rather have that than have someone miserable, but there are people that pay for the right complain. I guess that's ok too, but is an odd way to spend money.

-- Content-wise, I think we're getting better. We are transitioning out of the 'all in on the front page!' approach to more of a staff approach where only solicited writers get that opportunity. It doesn't happen overnight, but change is happening there. On the radio side, we are forcing change with recording standards that should hopefully bring everyone up to, literally, the same level. We still have a long way to go to where I'd like to see us, and am jealous of some of the great work done on this site with op/ed pieces. You can tell there's passion here, and that's what we need more of.

-- I do think a lot of the general criticism we get is because people don't like Dave, Bryan, or both. There's not much we can do about that because they do own the site, but I think you'll get that in any form of media these days. Everything's niche and with the amount of free content out there, it's not too hard to find what you need to get you by. That's why sites like ours need to be better, and that feels like what ultimately people want.

So that's that. I appreciate that people have their opinions, and that there are places where people can talk about it. For those that have left, I can only hope we do work that entices you to come back. For those still with us, thanks for the support. We need to ensure we keep it.

Josh

P.S. Rob and TheCubs fan -- email me directly for anything specific you want to address. I can clear up the questions about the survey, etc.
Josh, with all due respect, what I have seen from those affiliated with the site since the revamp has been a series of excuses, defenses of those responsible and scorn for those who raise valid points. There are a lot of trolls out there on the board no doubt, but I think you guys are treating legitimate critiques and complaints as all coming from trolls.

I think you're way off base about people disliking Bryan and Dave. If it was purely dislike, then why would anyone bother? Bryan and Dave were part of my enhanced appreciation of wrestling between the podcasts and newsletters. But, sorry, things are regressing, not improving. Hearing Bryan bitch and moan about the same thing OVER AND OVER EVERY SHOW is boring and borderline annoying. The site used to be better.

I started this thread because as a paying customer for seven years, it has become a part of wrestling fandom and now, with more options providing better content, I'm not sure it will continue be a part of it. I did end up resubscribing on a monthly basis mostly to read this week's Observer, but can't say I will keep going without pause. Not something I would have said even six months ago.

And when you consider how much grief Bryan and Dave give companies when they don't deliver to their customers, it's only fair that they be held equally accountable when their product isn't delivering what it once was.

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Hobbes
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by Hobbes » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:52 am

joshnason wrote:-- There have definitely been some issues over the past month, especially with the surprise site launch forced on us by a tech provider. We didn't have a site launch date planned, so all of the testing server stuff you usually have with prior to launch? Yeah, we didn't get that luxury.
Tony just posted on the board talking about how it's not customer's place to know the inner workings of a website. It seems like the site tries to have it's cake and eat it too. It leaks vague information about providers catching people off guard and people working hard behind the scenes to garner sympathy, but when people want any more details they're told it's none of their business. You can't have it both ways and at some point, it really doesn't matter on the customer's end why service is failing.
-- Tony has been busting his ass non-stop to get things working back in order. He gets a lot of scorn on our board for some reason, but he's doing yeoman work. Some may not buy it, but all I can say is believe me when I say that he's doing all he can to make our site a better place.
I think why Tony gets a lot of scorn is that years ago Bryan sold a permanent dollar a month price increase solely on the back of it being used to hire Tony full time and bring a lot of new features and improvements in the site. Not many new features and improvements ever arrived and when they did they came at a glacial pace. Combine that with a massive failure of a redesign launch that I don't think The Torch or PWInsider have ever had, and I think people sometimes wonder what they're paying extra for and what the talent level of the people behind the scenes is.

People look at Tony being Bryan's brother-in-law and just assume nepotism. I have no idea if any of that is true or not. I know many people involved with the site say Tony works very hard. Tony might be incredibly talented, he might not be. He might be understaffed. He might be subject to things beyond his control. All we can do is judge what we're seeing and make assumptions, which may be unfair.

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Rob McCarron
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by Rob McCarron » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:54 am

Hi Josh, thanks for coming aboard? Sorry it is under the circumstances of having to defend website issues and so forth.

Hope the issues go away and the revamp brings further success.
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Hobbes
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by Hobbes » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:56 am

mlev76 wrote:And when you consider how much grief Bryan and Dave give companies when they don't deliver to their customers, it's only fair that they be held equally accountable when their product isn't delivering what it once was.
I think this is the other big point. I'll admit that sometimes I like to post things just to stir things up, but that's the atmosphere Bryan encouraged for years. WO.com is hyper critical of businesses and performers within the wrestling and MMA industries. Would any of them get any better treatment from Bryan if they have over promised and under delivered as much as this site?

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LesMoore
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by LesMoore » Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:37 am

That's the same idea I've been talking about for months. And when you actually compare it to other values available for less, or free, it's a stark contrast. F4w/WO are the WWE of the newsletter scene, and have seemed for a while now, just as complacent and dismissive of their customers. Odd, odd irony to me.

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supersonic
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by supersonic » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:01 am

Bryan Alvarez wrote:Hobbes, you seem to be a smart guy but why you cannot wrap your head around the idea that your vision of the site and what the majority want to listen to/read/etc. may not, in fact, match up, really boggles my mind.

Whenever I hear someone say "nobody listens to this" or "everyone wants this", all I can wonder is where they developed this opinion outside of the usual, "Well, I like this, so clearly everyone else must as well, and I don't like this so clearly nobody else would."

Someone in this thread already stated we are ignoring the results of the last survey. Meaning, I guess, he thinks he knows what everyone said in the last survey. He doesn't. I do. Tony does. And on top of that, we know what everyone is listening to, what they are reading, what stories they click on, and what they do not.

We are doing everything we can to focus on what THE MASSES want. Our focus is not on content that someone on the board claims is what everyone else wants, and certainly not what people "in corners of the Internet" think everyone else wants.

There is no site that everyone loves everything about. Anywhere. And I am not building a site based around the loudest shouters on the board, and certainly not the loudest shouters off-site. The site will be built on metrics. Survey results, clicks, downloads, timing of sign-ups, traffic to specific areas, etc. I can have 10 guys post in a dozen threads in 120 different posts that everyone wants a certain show and that doesn't mean anyone actually listens to it in any real numbers. Just like if you only go on the board you would believe that the Lance Storm show is a terrible show with a bitter guy that nobody listens to, and meanwhile he's the most-listened-to guy on the site outside Dave or I.

And it's a nice fantasy that I have given up on the site to focus on a paranormal radio show that I do once a week on the same day that I do three other wrestling/MMA shows for the site, or that I got the timeline wrong on the date a guy left on a show recorded at 2 AM, or that, I guess, I consciously choose to do one-hour shows nobody listens to in favor of one-hour shows that tons of people would listen to. I spend more time working on this site than ever before, and trust me, I have no interest in wasting my time. Everyone here, Tony, Dave Barrack, EVERYONE is trying to make this the best site in the world for the largest number of people, and everyone is doing the best they can.


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Bryan Alvarez wrote:The board will be better.

I love the bafflement about old Raws and Nitros. One of the biggest requests of the entire survey was MORE RETRO TV REVIEWS from the Network. In fact, if I can get away with it Tuesday will become retro Raw and Nitro on B&V instead of doing current Raw two nights in a row. But the MASSES may rebel because, in fact, tons of our readers don't watch Raw and rely on us to recap it, and enjoy Vinny's angst.

PWG is awesome. But guess what. The VAST majority of our members don't get the DVDs. But they watch the Network. So they would prefer to follow along with something they can easily watch. Like old Raws and Nitros.

And God bless whoever said it, but if you think Dave and I skipping news and the Raw recap on Tuesday morning in favor of an hour of mailbag on WCCW is actually a good idea, I've got news for you. It's not. Not that I will never do it on a different day if it tied into an issue or something, but that is a perfect example of a great hardcore idea that would die to the masses.


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kcstlchi
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by kcstlchi » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:21 am

It's alarming how little audio I listen to these days. I do enjoy the Alan shows and occasionally I'll throw on a B&V if I think there might be a rant. I'm to the point where I rarely read the observer. I basically pay to be on the board (sorry). This site pretty much blows theirs out of the water when it comes to audio, columns and reviews.

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cheapshot
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by cheapshot » Fri Oct 16, 2015 10:37 am

Rich Kraetsch wrote: At this point it's post-Raw and post-PPV Wrestling Observer Radios and the Newsletter. Is that worth $11? Eh, maybe not but like Joe, I can't imagine missing an issue. I'm also an avid reader of the WO Back Issues and I would hate to lose those too.
Me basically too.
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Wiretaup
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by Wiretaup » Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:27 pm

Just about anyone else covering Raw and PPVs with Dave would be a massive improvement.

I get that it won't happen except during Bryan's bi-weekly vacations. But Dave's name carries so much weight, it just seems like he should be discussing wrestling with someone who has a clue.

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rovert
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by rovert » Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:38 pm

Wow the same old shit from Bryan. All this hard work doesn't show up in his audios or in his product knowledge.

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Hobbes
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by Hobbes » Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:47 pm

Well, Bryan and Dave say the site is doing very well, so at the end of the day I guess we're more of a fringe group. You'd think a site that is doing so well could throw more resources at things like say, a redesign that apparently was worked on for over a year and still was not close to being ready, or solving this long ever growing list of bugs Tony mentioned, but hey, it's not my business.

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el zeek
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by el zeek » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:00 pm

LesMoore wrote:That's the same idea I've been talking about for months. And when you actually compare it to other values available for less, or free, it's a stark contrast. F4w/WO are the WWE of the newsletter scene, and have seemed for a while now, just as complacent and dismissive of their customers. Odd, odd irony to me.
To piggyback on Les's thoughts, Bryan's handling of the site upgrade was just poor customer service. I work in IT and I'm fully aware of the complexities of a new product roll-out, especially when your timeline changes. Most end-users/customers are fairly understanding of changes IF they are kept informed and they feel like their issues are being addressed. What all customers/end users hate is when their issue is treated as an outlier and not critical. A good IT shop will make every user, especially paying customers, feel that their technical issues are important and will be resolved.

Bryan came across like Baghdad Bob on his Twitter and the radio shows as day after day he proclaimed that the issues were almost fully resolved and that the site was up and running without issue for most users. Based on the Board and Twitter feedback, that was clearly not the case. Bryan's twitter responses to those that were having issues was always contact [email protected], distancing himself from the situation. In my opinion, Bryan did not demonstrate to his customers that he was concerned and that he was taking ownership of the problem. Several days into the upgrade at the end of an episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave finally apologized for the upgrade issue and thanked his customers for their patience. This is the message that should have been proclaimed from Bryan from day 1.

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