The Good and Bad of Subject: Poker
This past Saturday, poker news site Subject: Poker announced it would discontinue publishing new articles.
Over its 10-month run, Subject:Poker garnered a strong following due to its reporting on matters related to Black Friday and the indicted US online poker sites.
In light of its announcement, Poker Junkie looks at some of the good and bad the poker community can take away from Subject: Poker's brief run.
Solid and Thorough, if Biased, Reporting of the Issues
One of Subject: Poker's strong points in many people's eyes was that when it did publish an article, it was very comprehensive and thorough.
Most online poker news sites, including this one, give you mostly the highlights of the story and skip over more of the mundane details.
Subject:Poker excelled in giving a comprehensive view on the big stories related to Black Friday and were often quoted as a lead source on many stories.
Subject: Poker also never reported of so-called "fluff" - or stories with little or no real relevance to poker.
No press releases, no reports on dancing Isildur GIFs and no reports about a pro's latest prop bet that nobody will remember 2 weeks from now.
Instead, you received information and news on relevant topics without the fluff.
Subject: Poker chose not to plaster its site with advertisements like some other poker news sources.
The result was an information source that was just an information source not a billboard.
This was great for users wanting to avoid having to wait for 1/2 or 2/3 of a page to load with ads before getting to the content.
Failing to Monetize
While on one side no advertising is a good thing, failing to monetize the site seemed a bit silly.
Yes, Subject: Poker refused advertising revenue and ways of monetizing the site, and while we applaud it sticking to its guns on the matter, it seemed a decision that was going to doom the site to shut down eventually.
Granted, the site never claimed to want to be as big as other poker media outlets, but it seemed it could have monetized in some fashion, even if wasnt through the traditional fashion of online poker sites.
The one big knock on Subject:Poker, mainly starting with the story about the Merge Network being indicted, was whether its "sources" were legit.
The Merge story started a bit of upheaval over whether S:P's sources were legit or whether the reporting was based on speculation or false sources.
Granted, the site that created the most noise initially over sources did have connections with the Merge network.
However, with its previous track record and the goodwill it had built up, many have taken S:P at its word.
Readers believe the information provided is factual or given with the belief that it is factual, when that clearly wasn't the case.
Subject: Poker's recent story on Chris Ferguson's secret bank accounts cite no real source for the information, which prompted some in the media to question the validity of the story.
Some media sources chose not to report on certain stories broken by Subject: Poker because of this question.
Or if they did refer to it they would point out the vague sources and caution readers to take the information as rumor.
Key Takeaway: Substance Over Fluff?
If there is anything that media sites can take away from the Subject: Poker, it is that readers do want quality stories over fluff.
The occasional fluff bit is great, but readers want more substance to their poker news stories.
Whether anyone wants to pay for the amount of time and effort it takes to produce that quality is another question.
And stories of substance beyond "where did my money" go, which have a built-in readership obviously, are also a tougher sell.
Subject:Poker may be gone, but hopefully media owners will take what worked for S:P and incorporate it into their own site to improve overall poker media quality.