MileStat.com has now served the Virginia high school cross country and track & field community for nearly 13 years. The site was founded as the casual hobby of a high school sophomore back in 2000; it has now grown to become the primary information source for cross country and track & field in the state of Virginia. Half a dozen years ago, we decided to put up a “freemium” model on this site. The hybrid approach offers a substantial amount of freely available content, but also a pay wall for certain features. Anybody who has watched the site grow and evolve over those years can surely attest that the quality and depth of coverage has improved every single year during that time. The difference between then and now is night and day, and we will continually work hard to improve our service to you in the years ahead.
Bearing that in mind, we will be altering our subscription cost structure for MileSplit sites nationwide starting on August 22, 2013. Beginning on that date, we will offer monthly subscriptions for the first time at a rate of $4.99 per month. This plan will automatically renew each month, though you will be able to easily cancel it at any time. For those wanting access for the full year, we will offer annual subscriptions at $48 per year, a savings of $1 per month versus the month-to-month plan. The auto-renewal will eliminate gaps in access to the site, and our new system will allow for instant processing of all subscriptions. Our previous system required manual processing of each order, which resulted in a delay until the subscription took effect--much to the dismay or confusion of many users.
Between today (August 7) and August 22, we will allow users to purchase or extend their subscription under the current annual rate of $36 for up to three years. We extend this grace period out of loyalty to those users who have been so amazing to support us all of these years. After that date, all new subscriptions and renewals will fall under the new rate plans. The new plans will be an increase for our annual subscribers; however, hopefully you still see great value in what amounts to one drink at Starbucks per month. For those who are only with us for part of the year or who have a hard time paying the double-digit annual rate, we hope the monthly plan will be a nice and affordable alternative. Today only slightly more than 4-5% of our visitors decide to subscribe, a challenging figure to overcome. We hope a combination of better communication of the subscription benefits on our part, along with the more approachable monthly rate will help us increase that percentage substantially.
We will use these additional funds to re-invest right back into our coverage to bring more timely, informative, and comprehensive coverage of the sport in every corner of the state we can! We also have plans to add new features and capabilities on the site to the benefit of our subscribers. Just two weeks ago we released some new cross country team scoring features. Look for a consistent roll out of more ways to mash up the statistics, rankings, graphs, and tools for you stat junkies over the coming weeks and months. These features will be available only for subscribers!
In addition, starting this fall subscribers will notice our photo albums will feature photos that are higher quality and 55% larger resolution than before. The advertisement on the right column will be removed to make room for the larger photos. Non-subscribers will continue to see the lower resolution photos. Later this school year, we will also likely be increasing the resolution and quality of our videos. Look for improved ways to consume those videos on your portable devices and even your WiFi-connected televisions.
Most importantly, we thank you all for your continued support. I hope you will be part of our community for many years to come. The support of your subscriptions will propel us forward to serve you better and hopefully encourage the growth of the sport for a new generation in the process!