ESPN Insider columnist Jason Churchill also runs a site called Prospect Insider. Like most of the baseball prospect sites online, Prospect Insider is subscription based, to the tune of $36 per year or $3 per month. It's a lower per year cost than both Baseball America ($66 per year for online access) and Baseball Prospectus ($39.95 per year for online access), but the overall quantity and quality of the content falls short of the aforementioned sites.
Anyway, a subscriber to Prospect Insider got into a tiff with Churchill on Twitter on Wednesday about the necessity of creating a mobile version of the site and informed us of what went down. The conversation is quite long, and you can click here to give it a read. Instead of just taking the constructive criticism to heart and thanking the reader (who is also his customer, mind you), Churchill instead decided to go on a rant towards the reader, saying that if they don't like the clunky, ad-flooded, non-mobile optimized version of the site, they should just not read it. Keep in mind, this reader is *paying* to read Prospect Insider.
Long story short, the reader (Brett Miller, of the West Coast Bias blog) wasn't nasty towards Churchill and was merely offering feedback. Churchill's response was to cancel Miller's subscription to his site and call him a complete ass.
When other people tried to reason with Churchill and ask him what exactly Miller did that was rude, they were told they could unfollow Churchill if they didn't like his opinion. Churchill then called another unfollower "weak", said that Miller's constructive criticism was "bitching", and said that he wasn't Wal-Mart and didn't have to provide good customer service. Remember: this is someone that runs a subscription based website. If you were paying for a subscription to a website (be it BA, BP, Scout, Rivals, 24/7, Insider, or any of the dozens of other sub-based sites out there) and there was a technical support issue, don't you think the administrator would love to hear your concerns and rectify the issue so that other people might not have the same thing happen to them?
Of course, after receiving a flood of comments in support of Miller, Churchill backpedaled. Miller told us Churchill e-mailed him an apology, offering him a free subscription to the site and claiming that the idea of a mobile site that Miller tossed out to him is something that was in the works. It was the right thing to do, but a lot of trouble could havev been saved giving that reasonable response in the first place.
A note to any aspiring writers out there: be nice to your customers and don't be overly sensitive about constructive criticism regarding the technical aspects of your site. Especially if you're charging for your work.