The new MLBlogs Network (and why now)
Updated 12:11 p.m. ET Sunday:
Welcome to your new MLBlogs Network. For anyone just joining us, this is the community blog, and you will be able to find updates on network features and the people who blog here. For everyone else, *thanks* for your patience in our cutover from the first iteration. We at Major League Baseball Advanced Media are excited to start a new regular season with a new blogging environment just as we have relaunched MLB.com, team sites and more.
Some of the most common responses so far include: WHY NOW?#@$&*%@. You know, Bucky Dent spelling. Well, here’s why, for all of you who asked. Because WELCOME TO OUR WORLD. You want to be a baseball writer? Welcome to how this works. At MLB.com, we have relaunched one of the world’s biggest websites every year at Opening Day, and this year we decided to do it at the same time as 30 MLB team site relaunches. We spend the offseason working on it through all of the trades and signings and everything else. We roll out a brand-new look every year, a tradition, and we go a little crazy inside but we just know it’s ****-it-up time because it’s showtime. As a fan, with MLB.com or with your favorite team site, all you have to do is be a site visitor and enjoy everything without operating the publishing system and doing programming and sizing and posting images and multimedia and…you get the picture. With a blogging network such as this very one, YOU are the proprietor, too. You get to enjoy the relaunch joy and the Opening Day craziness that comes with it. That’s the best I can tell you, having been through relaunches every Opening Day week this decade and now seeing bloggers jump on board. It’s Opening Day or never.
We’re working through any bugs/known issues and want to be able to help you all as much as possible, and ask that you hang in there through Opening Day. Good to see that some of you are also helping each other, a big plus. Photos, or “assets”, will take some getting used to. So will Link Lists (formerly “Typelists”). I have turned off the default “approve comments” on this community blog so that you can immediately see your comments and have that exchange with each other in this community. It’s also important to note that this relaunch is just the start in a gradual series of feature rollouts for the overal MLB.com community, and some of what’s ahead this season is going to rock The Show.
Here are some details about our relaunch you will need to know, so here goes…
IT’S FREE!!! No more subscription. (Refund info below.) For the record, the last person in history to pay for an MLBlog was Yes The Cubs Wont Win. Just sayin’.
The old Typepad app we’ve used since the April 2005 launch of MLBlogs is now replaced by a robust Movable Type software app. You’ll like MT much better. It will take some getting used to, but you’re a blogger just like you are a baseball fan, and we have faith that you will find your way around and make yourself at home with the MT features. There will be tips/helpful info here, but you are a bunch of high-tech fans.
Templates: There is more variety of style, ranging from minimalist/clean to a more gaudy “Fan” template. There is also a “Retro” version with an old logo. You will also notice around the network that some blogs have an “MLB PRO BLOG” star shield on them. That is a template available for use by the MLB family, so you will know when someone from Major League baseball is blogging right alongside you. Like CJ Wilson, Tommy Lasorda, Scott Reifert, Joe Blanton, Youk, Steve Stewart, Matthew Leach, Josh Rawitch, the Phillies Ballgirls, Raymond, Big Pupi, etc. Yes, that’s right, we gave a dog one of those things. Big Pupi probably will want to change templates. The main thing is that there are a lot of templates and a lot of bloggers and we’re all in the same place and blogging for free.
Did we mention free yet?
This will be the first phase in gradual rollouts of cool enhancements to the overall MLB community. You’ll see a lot of things you’ve waited for, and there will be some other things you’d like and chances are they are on deck for coming days/weeks. We’ll be making a lot more noise about the new MLBlogs Network once that has happened.
There will be some glitches and bugs and headaches as with any other relaunch. We’ll be working with you on it. The more input the better, as we will make gradual refinements in subsequent updates to the software.
Going from pay-to-free is a good thing. It is the opposite of how it usually works on the Internet. Still, there may be some questions about refunding. There will be a link within your new MT to email our Customer Service, where someone will help you, and especially “Yes The Cubs Wont Win.” But here is what you need to know:
- Any annual subscription is nonrefundable if it was placed before 2008. Any annual subscription placed on or after Jan. 1, 2008, will be fully refunded by Customer Service.
- Any Blog created in the month leading up to the relaunch would be fully refunded, whether monthly ($4.95) or annual ($49.95).
- If you are owed a refund, then just email Customer Service here. (Do not ask me for it, because I am broke from buying lots of triple-shot Starbucks for our great partners who helped us relaunch this network.)
The MLBlogs.com landing page also has been redesigned. New features will include:
Most Recent posts — more listings than we had before;
Tag Cloud — tagging is going to be a huge part of the new MLBlogs Network. It’s also on the side panel of blogs. This feature is undergoing some last-minute tweaking, so pardon a little construction. Be sure to add tags to the bottom of every entry before you save it. That’s how most people are going to find their way around here going forward. If you are a Yankees fan, click the Yankees link in that cloud on the mlblogs.com homepage and you will get a results page of all MLBlogs entries with “Yankees” as a tag.
Featured Blog — in addition to frequently changing main panel on the mlblogs.com homepage, we will spotlight bloggers. This is not automated and we’ll try to keep rotating in as many people as we can.
Drop-down Indexes — For now, there is a drop-down list of the aforementioned blogs maintained by MLB personnel. Sometime in the next month, we plan to return the Browse by Team capability, so that blogs are indexed by club template choice. This has to be automated for it to happen, because going to free means there are going to be way more bloggers than we can keep up with for manual additions to that page. So bear with us on that, and don’t ask if you can be added to the MLBlogs Active Roster by team in the meantime. It’ll be back.
(Note: We just relaunched the MLB.com homepage, and as you know by now, MLBloggers are being highlighted EVERY DAY right there on a page visited by about 10 million fans a day. No baseball blogging network is found by baseball fans like MLBlogs.)
There will be a customer support email link (as listed above) if you are at wit’s end. It’s Opening Day weekend and just expect some time for response on this end. You also can post comments here, and your fellow users may be able to reply swiftly in answer t
o your questions about functionality. There will be a lot to get used to, and we hope you will enjoy the new season and new blog network.
There also will be a link on MLBlog pages to report/flag any bloggers/commenters for abuse/spam. There will be a more sophisticated method for this in a subsequent phase, but in the meantime, feel free use that email link and we’ll monitor it. That is only for abuse/spam reporting.
Get ready for better, more fun templates…lots of tagging…preapproval of comments…lots of things you expect and some more excitement at the start of a Major League season.
Any constructive feedback (email preferred) about the new MLBlogs Network after the relaunch will be appreciated, added to any known issues. Thanks to everyone who has helped grow this community over the last three years, and here’s to a great season.
Hot dogs still cost you. So will the tickets, parking and stuff. But blogging is free.