Should I even bother with making sure the SEO for this post is tight? If not, the Google gods might destroy my soul.
Alas, the lede has been buried. CBB Today is shutting its doors after nearly 13 months of run.
There’s a sob story in here somewhere, but it basically comes down to it being difficult to run an independent website while not being an actual businessman. Maybe it was poor business moves — though I’d like to think/pretend it was conviction — but we turned down sponsored-content opportunity after spon-con chance after spon-con chance. We had very little non-Adsense revenue, which obviously also made it difficult to not land in the red.
Not to mention my inability to lure traffic here in a way that wasn’t me begging friends with large followers to retweet work on Twitter (thanks Matt, Farmer, Kelly and so many others!).
I don’t want any of this to be too pretentious or long, but we did have a (surprisingly!) loyal readership, so some transparency here feels like it’s entitled to the readers. We’re not closing down because we think college basketball isn’t worth covering. We’re not closing down because we think there’s too small a market for college hoops.
Nope. Instead, we’re mostly shuttering because I — and I alone — am honestly unqualified to head such a massive overtaking without any legitimate resources other than dumping whatever monies I have left over back into the site. That’s not on anyone else, but me. I lacked the vision to see the large picture that this was such a marathon to build a sustainable model that my ideals and beliefs wouldn’t be enough to keep us going long enough to matter.
Also, truth be told, I hate branding. In 2019, if your network isn’t out on social media doing all the videos, tweets, whatevers, TikToks, whapslashes and snazzlefrogs, no one will care how good or bad the content on the website is. I’m not a brand. Never wanted to be a brand. I believe “the work is the work” and the writer shouldn’t ever be the story (I do believe a writer can be clever/interesting/whatever enough to have a following due to his/her style, but the actual content made by the person, and not the person him/herself, is what should matter).
A huge thanks obviously goes to EVERYONE who has ever read a post here. As does my gratitude toward my staff, who all came here from various backgrounds to help out in my naive quest to cover college hoops without someone yelling at us that “we need more Blue Blood Program-X coverage!”
We had younger writers just starting out, experienced dudes who came in to basically just help me stay afloat, and some others in the middle. I appreciate you all. I know we already said our “this stinks” in private, and while this was too brief a venture together, I enjoyed this time with you guys more than you’ll ever realize.
However, we’re not fully dead. I mean, the website is going to be dead. But the CBB Today staff is alive… and while we’re all still above ground, we’re going to be doing some writing about men’s and women’s college basketball; now it’s just elsewhere.
Here’s where I, someone who recently admitted on Twitter we did aggregation for CBB Today but actually despised it, will aggregate someone who made this announcement formally before I straightened out some logistics on my end.
Starting on Oct. 1, I’ll be covering SEC and national college basketball on a daily basis for ClutchPoints.
I’ll be partnering with my friend Joe Nardone (follow him) to build an entire college basketball section for ClutchPoints, which will eventually be available both online and on the ClutchPoints app (download it and also follow on Twitter).
We’re currently in the process of putting together a versatile writing staff that will cover a variety of topics in both men’s and women’s college basketball, and you could say the buzz is palpable.
There’s something I do want to make clear: We aren’t just two random people diving into a huge project without any goals or any experience.
I’ve covered college basketball in a freelance role for many years and have been fortunate to interview hundreds of coaches on the Marching to Madness podcast. I’m also a staff writer for the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook and Athlon Sports College Basketball Preview magazine – both invaluable resources each and every season.
Joe has been doing this as long as I have. He has written a gazillion features, played a hand in covering and breaking news on the NCAA paid-for-play startup HBL, and created his own site, which also developed a large audience.
This isn’t another side project for the two of us. Simply put, with the necessary resources in place, we’re all in.
So that’s really that. We’re moving over to ClutchPoints. Blake, who ran his SEC site, and I will be overseeing it, with the CBB Today staff (and others!) coming over to help out. We’ve already begun publishing over there. You can find our college basketball work and bookmark it right here.
There will be features, original analysis, podcasts, videos, news (yeah I know) and so much more. While I’m having sincere separation anxiety over my murdering of CBB Today, ClutchPoints offers us resources I simply can’t offer my staff or readers running this site myself. It would be a disservice to both groups to continue to try to do this while burnt out, fueled only by my ego and ideals.
We’re at the word vomit section of this post (which you can tell, I’ve not edited and am only writing steam of consciously). Nevertheless, while I want everyone to know how appreciative the entire CBB Today staff is of our your support, I’m going to ask for more of it moving forward.
I believe — to the point it has cost me money in my career — college basketball can be covered in a variety of ways that isn’t just whatever is the cool social media trend. That college basketball can cover unknowns by unknowns and that clever writing can exist in a medium that usually prefers blunt analysis (to be clear, they both have their place). Furthermore, that the reader shouldn’t really care if my byline is attached to a column or not, so long as the content leaves the reader feeling educated, enlightened, entertained and/or maybe a combination of all of those things or others.
Believe me, I know this isn’t the greatest selling point for what I’m about to ask you, the reader, to do next.
Don’t give up on the idea of us; the tiny little engine that couldn’t independently, but will keep chugging along at a place with better resources. My failure to properly run a site shouldn’t reflect poorly on the staff’s good work, or the work we plan on doing in the future (and have already begun doing at ClutchPoints).
If you’re reading this, asking yourself who in the bleeping mcbleep is Joseph Nardone, hey buddy! That’s the point. Everyone is a brand now. Some become one by accident. Others are out there purposely sending out tweets in a packaged way to make sure you buy in on whatever they’re selling. I won’t do that to you. Instead, I’m not selling a brand or a new network. I’m selling the content that will be on it.
Instead of saying how good or innovative it will be — and, let’s be honest, there’s no true reinventing the wheel here — I only ask you to give Blake, the CBB Today-turned-CP CBB Staff and myself an honest try. Day One is in the books with some greatest hits, podcasts and a hint of what’s to come. Give us a try. Give us a chance to show you that the line “content is king” doesn’t need to be considered a dirty word if you treat the content with some level of respect.
We might not end up being perfect, but I promise you we’ll try.