Inside TSL: Where's My TSL Extra?!?
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 11/6/02

First off, an apology, and secondly, an explanation.

It has been six weeks since the last TSL Extra was produced, and that is WAY too long. For that, I apologize, and I've been amazed that fewer of you have emailed to complain. I've only gotten about five emails about the lateness of the TSLX (hmm, I wonder what that says ), and the ones I've gotten have been understanding.

Now for the explanation: for literally months now, we have been working on revamping the TSL Extra format. We're going to add recruiting content (featuring an awesome new recruiting database) and subscriber boards to the TSL Extra format, as well as jettison the monthly content release and go to more of a "streaming" content release that brings you TSLX articles one or two at a time, instead of a bunch of them all at once.

This was all supposed to be done by now, which is why I never lined up an October TSL Extra.

That was dumb. As always happens, we got derailed, first by a server crash, then by problems experienced with launching a similar content package over on TheSabre.com. As you know, The Sabre is our "sister" web site and is hosted, programmed, etc. by the same company. The Sabre is, as always, serving as the guinea pig for the new format, and is going through its own growing pains right now.

The server crash that we experienced about two weeks ago REALLY caused big problems for us, because it required our admins and site programmers to drop what they were doing with the new content launch and bring a new server up and running for us. This didn't go smoothly, as you've no doubt noticed slow message boards and out-and-out crashes recently, even after switching to the new server. That stuff will get ironed out in due time, and as a matter of fact has already greatly improved.

So, we as a company have these things to deal with: continue bringing the new server up to speed; iron out the bugs with the Sabre's new premium material launch; "graft" the new premium format from the Sabre over to TSL.

Those are the reasons why your October TSL Extra, which never was supposed to exist anyway, is late.

But ultimately, I'm not interested in making apologies or explanations. I think both are necessary, but what I really want to do is set things right and get the content to you that you deserve and paid for.

So what I'm going to do is convert immediately to the "streaming" format. This means that you'll see TSL Extra articles showing up on the home page, one by one, in the next few days. And hopefully, you will soon see a News and Notes release kicking off the new format, including the new subscriber boards and the new recruiting database.

The New Format

I'm sure the fact that the TSL Extra is about to change its format and add some content brings up a million questions in your mind. I'll answer a few of them here.

Here are the changes that are going to occur:

1.) TSLX is going to drop the monthly format, and start "streaming" articles, one or two at a time.

This is already done, starting now.

2.) Subscriber message boards will be added.

Since we suffer from an abundance of message boards already, this has to be done carefully. We're planning on adding two boards: a Tech Sports Board that is viewable to everyone, but only subscribers may post; and a Recruiting Board where you must be a subscriber to read or post.

3.) Premium recruiting content, featuring a new recruiting database, will be added.

We're about to launch a new recruiting database (for a preview, see the Sabre's new recruiting database) that will be head and shoulders above our old database. Searching for prospects, viewing recruiting lists, and seeing the basic info about a recruit will all be free. But if you want to read recruiting updates (when we interview a player for his college choices, visit dates, etc.) or see a list of a prospect's college choices, you must be a TSLX subscriber.

4.) New payment options: monthly, quarterly, and yearly.

We will now provide payment options where you can sign up for a month at a time, three months at a time, or yearly.

I'm sure you may still have a lot of questions, but please hang tight, and when we launch things, I'll provide a lengthy question-and-answer piece that will address a lot of points not covered here.

What's This Going to Cost?

In order to afford all these programming changes and the services of our new recruiting writer (Chris Horne), we're raising the price of the TSLX to $34.95. The monthly options will be $4.95 and $10.95, respectively.

First of all, as TSL Extra subscribers, you're automatically "grandfathered" for the duration of your TSL Extra subscription. There is no prorating, and you won't have to pay anything extra. Just continue to use your old TSL Extra login info to get to the new material, and it will work until it's time for you to renew, at which time you'll pay $34.95 if you choose to renew.

Secondly, the crafty ones among you will realize that this is an opportunity to renew your subscription right now, at $24.95, and add another year at the lower rate. This is our way of making a special offer to you to compensate for the lateness -- heck, the non-existence -- of last month's TSL Extra. We're essentially offering you $10 off the next year of the TSL Extra, right now, to try to even the score.

If your subscription is about to expire, this is a no-brainer -- get in now, for the next year, at the lower rate. If, on the other hand, you've got ten months left on your subscription, it will be something you'll have to think about.

If you haven't received an expiration notice recently (we email them out), then you're not close to expiring. We start sending them out 6-8 weeks before expiration, if memory serves me correctly, so if you're close to expiring, then you would have heard from us.

If you have a question about when your subscription expires, please email me your full name, and I'll look it up for you. Just send me an email with the subject line "TSLX Renewal Date" that says, "Hey, Will, I'm (your name here), when does my subscription expire?" I'll get right back to you.

I will tell you this: if you choose to extend/renew your subscription now, you will not be disappointed. The changes we're going to make will make the TSLX a screaming value at $34.95, so getting that same value for $10 less will make it oh, I don't know, even more screamingly valuable.

To renew/extend your subscription, click here. When you renew, we'll add another year  to your current expiration date. When the store asks you to enter your Quick Shop info, be sure to enter your current TSL Extra email address and password.

To wrap things up: please forgive me for missing last month; look for TSLX articles to be coming your way, through the TechSideline.com home page, starting immediately; we know you'll like the new changes; and we have offered an opportunity to get on board the new format at a lower rate, as our way of making an apology.

Please Update Your Email Address

With all the changes going on, it's important that we be able to reach you via email, so please keep your TSL Extra email address up to date.

To do so, go here (have your current TechLocker.com/TSLX email address and password ready):

TechLocker.com Address Update Page

Note that there are two places to change your email address on that page -- please change them both.

As Always, Please Provide Feedback

With the new changes coming, I'm interested in hearing your thoughts before we launch. Please feel free to shoot me an email at will@techsideline.com with your questions, encouragement, misgivings, etc. I'm getting a lot of email these days (and I'm about to get more), but I will try and take time to answer each and every email that I get.

 

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