Posted by sean on October 8, 2014
Since we've launched the various Play Index tools on our sites, we've struggled with the best way to monetize what we feel is the deepest and most powerful set of sports data tools anywhere. We know they are useful, our users, the teams, broadcast networks, and newspaper reporters tell us so.
On baseball, we charge an annual fee of $36, but our best guess is that the traffic and audience of the other sites would not be sufficient to make a subscription model worth our while. We have been running traditional banner ads on those pages, but they pay so little and the play index content is niche content (valuable, but niche content) so the traffic will never rise that high on the play index pages. So we have decided to remove all banner advertising and instead run Google consumer surveys on the non-baseball play index pages.
Here's how it works. The first time you run a report each day your results will be obscured and you will be asked to answer a 1-5 question survey. After you answer the survey, your requested report will be shown to you and you won't see another survey for that site on that browser for 24 hours (multi-question surveys are good for 48 hours). These surveys pay us around 5 cents per survey which, while it doesn't sound like much, is about 15 times what we would get from banner ads on those pages. Here is an FAQ if you are wondering how Google uses this information.
Also, if you find these gateway surveys a step too far, consider subscribing to our Ad-Free Access. Starting at $20/year you can surf every Sports Reference page ad and survey free.
If you are wondering what our play index tools are, give them a try. We think you'll enjoy them.
Play Index at Basketball-Reference.com
Play Index at Pro-Football-Reference.com
Play Index at Hockey-Reference.com
Play Index at Sports-Reference.com/cbb
Play Index at Sports-Reference.com/cfb