Earning the right to comment…

One of my commenters this morning had the quite brilliant idea which would increase the subscriber base for GrandPrix+ and reduce the number of people making daft comments that I have to read… The idea was to electronically refuse all comments unless they come from a GP+ subscriber. In other words, you get a wonderful (biased, I know) e-magazine for a year for £25.00 – and the opportunity to spout off at the world. What do you lot think?

It is a carrot and stick rolled into one…

222 thoughts on “Earning the right to comment…

  1. That would be a sure way of reducing the level of debate to the people who agreed with you, since the people who don’t would be less likely to subscribe. It would mean that people like me who could not afford to subscribe to GP+ would be excluded, but that doesn’t make anything that I might have to contribute less important/valuable.

    A better method might be to enable automatic approval for such members – it might mean that a greater percentage of what you have to review is rubbish but it leaves the capacity for valid external perspectives to be voiced.

  2. What about those who have bought your books or donate to the blog? 😉

    Interesting idea – is the aim to entice people to subscribe to GP+ or to reduce the amount commenting from those who drop in with a negative comment (or for want of a better phrase: trolling)?

  3. I have no problem with this. BTW why don’t you have e euro price for this as you live in france, I would have taught it would be easier for you.

  4. If you mean comment on your blog Joe, wont that just mean that you will get comments from a select few and not a representative sample of people’s opinions on your writings?

    If you have to make a purchase to have an opinion, surely that will just limit discussion to people who ultimately can afford or want to pay a subscription to have one?

    Wouldn’t it be better to track those guilty of stupid comments (by registration) and ban them from making new ones so that you don’t have to check them every time?

    Take for example the poster who said that they loved your GP+ content and format but would prefer to have it in hard copy because that’s how they enjoy reading about F1. You would have a fan who makes worthy comments who now has to buy something that doesn’t suit him just to be able to comment on your site.

    Also, £25 may be excellent value for money but aren’t you being exclusive to those that don’t have much right now?

  5. I agree – and would subscribe to the magazine for that price and it would be a selling point to be able to comment on your blog.


  6. Hmmm… my comments are always daft.

    I have already sent you 20 quid.

    I recommend not enacting this plan as for another 5 pounds you may (possibly) be moraly obliged to unblock me.

  7. Having re-examined the Paypal link for GP+ this morning, and having found out that you can pay without having to go through one of their horrendous account set-up jobs, I think the idea is not a bad one, as I will become a subscriber within the next day or two! 😉

    But it may reduce the hits your blog gets slightly, I dont know if you have any revenue through sponsors, obviously there is no need to share that kind of private information with your readers, but if that is less important than the GP+ then why not?

    Having said all that, as you may have gathered from my first sentence, I am an avid reader of your blog and have been, and have been commenting, for at least a year. But it has still taken me this long to make up my mind that as an impoverished university student I can afford this…my point being that your blog is the best way to entice readers in, but that you may scare them away?

    How about you test it out on a few articles, maybe your race reports or some specific posts, and see if you get any extra subscriptions? Definitely worth a go…

  8. Please say it ain’t so, Joe, (is there a correct way to spell “ain’t”?) I am an avid racing fan and follow many series. Since I live on the west coast of North America, I’m getting up at 4:00am to watch every F-1 race live.
    I realize I’m getting a great resource for free, minus what I pay for internet connection, but I already have subs to “F-1 Racing” and “Racer” magazine. My better half would think I was bonkers to sub to yet another publication (yes, in addition to the aforementioned publications, I also receive “Outside”, “Sea Kayaker”, “Bicycling”, “Nat Geo”, “Skiing” and “Ski” magazines) I rely on your blog for the latest info, and trust your unbiased and unfiltered view of the F-1 paddock. While electronic media is great, I like to have something to hold in my hands while I read. That’s why I’ll never get a “Kindle” or electronic book reader. Then again, I could probably slip this one under the radar. . . .

  9. oh in addition to my first comment, when you put it in place (if you do a trial) you should make sure that any reader can see/read the comments, but cannot post a reply unless they have a subscription! Then any hugely irritating comments that sprout hundreds of replies would lead to a massive windfall in subscriptions!

  10. I think this is something I suggested about a year ago. I have stopped reading comments on numerous sites now as the level of dross is just too high. So I suggest you go with it, as your website is free and from what I understand is non profit making I don’t see that you can really lose, (hence why I suggested in the first place).

  11. It can be a good idea, if it’ll keep your blog running.


    I really appreciate your blog, and the chance I have to get in touch with you.

    But I developed an habit of picking and choosing from different sources and I like to build my own F1 coverage, so I don’t really feel the need to subscribe to the magazine, and I won’t like to face the choice between becoming a subscriber or a leecher.


    You could add to the commentator’s list those who make a direct donation to your blog, or allow the purchase of a single issue of your magazine (if i am not mistaken, it’s not possible now).

    Hope this is not my last chance to comment 🙂



  12. Would being a subscriber necessarily exclude someone from being a daft commenter anyway? If not you’ll have even less leeway to put them down in your replies because – after all – the customer is always right. Not playing sides there but just pointing out that there may be awkwardness in a possible GP+ only commenters club.

    To be honest, I assumed that you vetted all comments as a matter of course, Joe.

    Oh, and I should point out that I did subscribe to GP+ last year and it was well worth it – especially with the archive thrown in.

  13. Works for me – since I felt some sort of moral obligation to subscribe once I’d made a certain number of comments!

    I still pay for music too, so old fashioned of me…

  14. While I don’t think the idea is daft, I do think it would be a shame to lose out on some of the commenters from this site just because they are unwilling or unable to spend £25 on GrandPrix+, excellent though it is.

    I think it’s unlikely someone would choose to subscribe just to comment, but perhaps some kind of “Subscriber” button next to a person’s name when they do comment might be a nice tough, and a way of regularly promoting the magazine?

  15. Joe,

    That’s a good idea. Really you should be charging a separate subscription to read the blog – it is the best source of informed F1 comment on the web.


  16. Would I prefer to be able to comment from time to time without subscribing? Yes. Will I still read your blog subscription filtered commenting or no? Yes. I have read your work for a (very) long time and will continue to do so. Will I subscribe? Probably not.

  17. Consider me a subscriber. I’ve been meaning to join anyway, the package is great value.

    But now I feel I have earned the right to stir up trouble on here 😉

    1. Dilbert

      …join up. When you do you’ll wonder why on earth you did not do it before now…

      Yes, I am biased, but even I think it is a great product.

      Read the comments from the people who have signed up.

  18. Of course, as soon as I hit post comment, I did see one benefit for a subscriber – no need to wait for moderation to post your comment 🙂

  19. some of us are on very tight budgets!
    is there any evidence that subscriber’s comments will be of higher quality or more sensible? you’ll still have the opinionated ones who are more a fan of a particular driver of team than of racing in general, and you may lose some sensible comments.

  20. Good idea, but the “stick and carrot” has 2 ends. The second end is that you could miss some reasonable and smart ideas from people, who don’t feel any kind of need to pay £25 for the possibility of adding comments. But the first end of the “stick” seemed to be more massive to you, so it’s all up to you)

    Best Regards.

  21. Joe, having tried to balance a free vs. paid-for publishing model myself in the recent past, I understand the issues of clicks vs. revenue vs. quality, etc. Fact is that unless you’re making click-based advertising income, you should raise the barrier to entry and at least get qualified credentials from users of your free blog. The cranks simply won’t bother.

    I’m sure you’ve probably explored the idea already, but if you could somehow bundle your offering with the likes of F1Fanatic, ScarbsF1, BadgerGP, TheFlyingLap, JAonF1 etc and vend it through Google One Pass, I would certainly make use of it and pay willingly, to keep it all going.

    I signed up to GP+ recently and have yet to read one, but I wanted to support your efforts on this blog, at least. It’s too good to give away gratis, IMHO.


  22. Possibly, seems to make sense.

    The other option is to constuct some sort of forum or login so you can unleash the ban hammer. Maybe work on some sort of invite system or the forum can be run by admin and they control what happens but thats a bit programming intensive really.

    I do have to ask is there an example magazine of GP+ (just an old one would do fine – a typical magazine), because I follow quite a few bits and pieces of internet coverage and all the TV coverage so im not so sure what Im missing out on.

  23. The only reason I don’t subscribe to GrandPrix+ is that I have too much to read already and I can’t face any more. I’m sure it’s excellent.

    If that meant that I couldn’t post comments on your blog, so be it. I guess I would be less inclined to visit here, as it’s natural to want express an opinion if somebody’s writing inspires you to have one.

    However I don’t regard it as either a carrot or a stick. Only a monumental jerk would pay money in return for the right to make comments on a blog. On the other hand, if you don’t want me to make comments, you only need to say …

    1. Peter Nygaard,

      You’re biased! – Hey for once I get to say that!!!

      Back to the dark room (Do they still have them?)

  24. Bad idea Joe, I love your blog as it is, read it everyday, have not left comments so far – this is the first one – and like the idea that it is open and equal to any of the visitors. Allowing comments only from people that have paid for it goes against the spirit of open and free journalism. And you are an example of that spirit. Maybe I feel sorry for you to read all the daft comments, that is the risk you take when you write on the open web. If you do not like that then you should ask people to subscribe to read your blog, paid or not, that will reduce your visitors numbers. And you don’t want that I suppose. Keep up the good work on your blog and maybe one day I will take subscription on your GP+ magazine.

  25. Hmm… Pay Commentators. Does Sakon Yamamoto get an honorary pass?

    Seems reasonable, Joe. I don’t come here for other people’s comments, but occasionally there are some good ones. So whatever makes you happy.

    P.s Do I get points for being the first brave soul to comment on this?

  26. I suggest you would cut off a rich vein of comment if you implemented that idea, the majority of your commentators seeming to be very knowledgeable.

    And how do you know there are not daft commentators among GP+ subscribers ? 😉

  27. Go for it.

    Commenting is a funny thing, and really rather pointless. But the urge to do it exists, particularly for us hardcore anoraks.

    So you may find it quite an effective stick.

  28. Joe

    Yes, them wot comments should be prepared by buy the on-line magazine if they are serious about listening to your point of view rather than waft in as they wish. So lets strike a blow for the cause of “human rights” require a measure of “human responsibilities.

    I have received my entry codes for this year’s GPplus and am hugely impressed!

  29. It does come across as somewhat elitest. Maybe that is what you want, an exclusive club.

    I doubt you will have that much affect on subscriptions but by restricting comments so you limit the breadth of comment and interest in comments in general. Far from improving the overall quality of contributions the opposite may occur.

    There are other ways to moderate comments if that is what you want to do. For example, simply having people register to the site will prevent random anonymous comments.

    There is every chance that being unable to comment will simply alienate some readers.

    My first impression is that it comes across as a mixture of desperation and laziness.

    1. John Kilmartin,

      Elitist, desperate and lazy…
      And that is supposed to be a constructive remark about an idea that is being floated.
      My pal was right… some people just need to be told to @#@!*!$@ off…

  30. As someone who isn’t a GP+ subscriber, I think it’s fair. It’s your blog so you get to make the rules.

    The other advantage of course is that those that subscribe to the GP+ magazine may be more informed and thus have more insightful comments.

  31. Sorry Joe, while I find your blog often enjoyable and I understand you need to make a living, I have no intention of subscribing GP+, you’d just lose a commenter. Then again I doubt you care, last time you answered one of my comments I got a very long rant about how we were being annoying about Liuzzi lol.

    I suspect the same applies to lots of people here. Perhaps a better idea would be to register for free on the blog itself to be able to comment? Would make it easier to track abusive commenters, even if it probably wouldn’t fix the problem completely. But hey, this is the internet… abuse and stupidity is to be expected.

  32. excellent idea to keep my blood pressure down from reading the ill informed asinine comments!

    doubt that you’ll get too many extra subscribers though but definitely worth it as you won’t lose any for sure!

  33. I haven’t paid for this years yet, so according to my own opinion you should really delete this, but… yea I think it’s a great idea.

  34. I think paying to comment is possibly the stupidest idea I have ever heard. I also don’t follow the logic that people who subscribe to a particular publication are incapable or unlikely to make stupid comments.

    I think if you turn this blog into the private blog of GP+ you will slash your audience and take away a valuable sales generation tool since there is little point in reading a blog if you cannot comment and ask questions.

    Has any research been done on previous comments to verify this fascinating correlation between subscription and wisdom or is it just assumed to be the case in the standard F1 manner that no-one has presented any evidence to say it is wrong?

    I am not sure if this is a serious suggestion or just something that has been posted as a shot across the bows of those posting comments that are unacceptable. My experience of the internet is warning shots are a waste of time and only by blocking access to such individuals has any effect on them.

  35. Also, do you have to have a current subscription to comment or does one subscription give you perpetual commenting rights?

  36. My wife bought me a subscription (she’s a great wife), it would be a good idea if I could comment and not her.

    Although I would probably increase my output of daft posts.

  37. Well it’s good if you want only to read something along those lines :

    “by Transferer,

    Great article Joe, keep up the good work”

    How about little IQ test at the bottom of the post edit dialog?

  38. The only downside to that plan is that you’ll have to check every commenter against the list of GP+ subscribers (of which I am one, and a very happy one at that). Unless you want to do some custom coding for your blog?

    Surely daft comments aren’t limited to those who are not subscribers?

  39. Not a bad idea, until WordPress come up with some sort of sentient idiot filter.

    However, my fear is that we’d end up in a position similar to the Times web blog (aside from the fact that it’s not as good now that Kevin Eason has taken over). There used to be good and vibrant debate from largely knowledgeable fans. However, now that the Times paywall is up, the comments have dwindled to less than a trickle.

    On a similar basis, maybe you could include some of the more interesting blog comments into relevant pieces in GP+.

    Now, must remember to renew my GP+ sub for this season. Is one going to be produced (minus the qualy and race report, obv) for the weekend that was scheduled for Bahrain?

  40. Hi Joe

    Whilst I appreciate you must have to wade through a river of brainless comments to pick out the decent contributions, I think it would be a sad day when visitors to your blog have to effectively pay to add their thoughts.

    I don’t personally subscribe to GP+, but having followed your blog for a long time I’m sure its a high quality product and worth the fee. But the great thing about the Formula 1 community (fans and media alike) is the enthusiasm and knowledge we bring to discussion and debate. Limiting the comments to subscribers only would stifle this interaction and be to the detriment of the community.

    Brainless comments and criticism are – sadly – part and parcel of running a website or blog.

    Ironically enough I have never once commented on this blog before seeing this post – I suppose the knowledge that I can do if I wish to has value in itself. It would be a great shame to take that away.

  41. Great idea, currently I am reading Grand Prix saboteurs and I like it so much that I consider à subscription to gp . This system Will Also bring à lot of peace for you because There Will be à lot less commenta and they Will be nicer! I Would do it, for you Its à win-win situation!

  42. Since I never (or rarely) comment, I could not resist making this (daft) comment.

    “… and the opportunity to spout off at the world” appear to suggest that you think your comment writers are piggybacking on your blog to satisfy their secret yearnings for one second internet fame. (I am laying it thick here, I know :).

    Perhaps another way of thinking about comments is that they add value to the original story. Reader comments may be an additional incentive for people to come here and read this blog. I certainly enjoy some of those comments.

    Also how do you know that GP+ readers are the articulate ones?

  43. I think you’ll kill your blog community.

    I don’t read all the comments, but the more bizarre comments are quite entertaining. And the truly stupid or entitled comments say a lot too.

    Experiments at charging $19 to post your CV/resume over at StackOverflow failed miserably. They are now switching to an invite-only system, which works for many and fails for a few (like me, I got my first gmail invite 2 months ago, many years after launch).

  44. I quite like the idea. Of course I´ve been subscribing for a while 😉

    Keep up the great work, Joe. Your voice is definitely required.

  45. this is a free world Joe, do what you like 😉
    You have a blog and an e-magazine why would you link them ? You gain visibility with your “open to comments” blog and that might attract some people to your e-magazine. Open comments always attract some weird people that’s a fact of life… You can -quite easily- block ip’s or ask people to “subscribe” to your blog by checling their email addresses first… that might limit the number of “mauvais coucheurs” as we say in France.
    I’ll continue to read your blog anyway because the most important person here is you !

  46. I don’t know about “earning the right”, as if you open a public forum and invite responses, you have to accept that not everyone will agree with you and some people might post nonsense. But in general I’m not fussed, it won’t induce me to sign up for GP+ and I guess some of the interest I have in visiting this blog will diminish but there we go – plenty of other F1 blogs out there.

  47. I doubt it would get you more subscribers to be honest, possibly less traffic on this site though (and therefore fewer opportunities to promote GP+). I don’t envy the comment moderation job though! While I’m at it, just wanted to say I really enjoy all your posts and look forward to your take on the new season.

  48. It’s a wonderful way to do something private behind closed doors. Pornographers have been operating this way for a long time. I think that feedback from the general racing public should be more valuable than being hailed by people who are in your corner anyway.

  49. Love the magazine and am a subscriber. I understand that you can’t afford the time, but many of those stupid comments may have been about the results of democracy for the elite.
    What you need is staff.

  50. Wonderful idea, it all depends on the amount of subscribers you have. The next question would be whether or not you want a stagnant (although i’m sure you’ll pick up new customers along the way) pool of commenters on your blog. I would have thought that it is a better advertisement if you have an interactive blog, with people from a wide range in terms of age and sporting knowledge/fanship. I myself am a student hoping to be able to subscribe to your service later in the year, because afterall being a student is almost as financially difficult as being a free-lance F1 journalist. If I weren’t able to comment on your blog, besides not being able to learn more about the sport, I would not be able to judge whether your services are worth depleting my pockets for. Your replys to people’s comments have often been more informative and clearer than your original piece of writing. As you’ve pointed out time and again, it is all about engaging the fan, sharing an inside view. Another fellow F1 blogger enjoys a number of commenters, and although many comments are inane, they do serve a useful purpose in the grand scheme of things.

  51. As an enthusiastic reader I would be disappointed if there was not so much discussion to read. The comments and opinions are very entertaining, most but not all.

    However, I would like to be a GP+ subscriber but found it very difficult to enjoy the sample copy on my iPhone, which would be the device I would most likely use to view it on. I shouldn’t read magazines at work on their machines and time.

    I do enjoy reading this wordpress blog and to a lesser extent a few other F1 sources. But I cannot foresee me paying for a service that I cannot use and enjoy.

    I have just found out that the new McLaren MP4-12C is going to be as fuel efficient as my RX8 and with petrol prices going up and up I really have to watch the pennies at the moment.

  52. Yeah, it is a good idea. You do provide the blog for free so it could increase your subscriber number.

    Would a text only version that just contains the text be possible, so I could read it easier on my iphone.

    I did subscribe and the writing is outstanding in GP+, but I might not subscribe in 2011. If a text only version existed I would subscribe no problem. Even if you emailed out the text to the subscribers.

    But full marks, as it is great!!

  53. Personally I am not to thrilled by the Idea, although it has a certain merit to it.
    The comments might be better, or at least made by better informed people, but I have seen enough people on the internet who would just buy the subscription to have a better chance at making stupid comments (well at least they pay for the luxury, eh).

    Then again, why not. After all, It is your blog and you can do or don’t what you want with it.

  54. As an afterthought: It would take mean that the different minded will be less likely to give their opinion. Now that can be an advantage, but I would believe everyone sometimes needs feedback from outside of a closed circle.

  55. pay 25 quid for the privilege of being insulted by Joe Saward….

    No but seriously, I’ll be subscribing to GP+ this year for the magazine content rather than anything else.

  56. As a recent subscriber and having just got access to all the magazines I’d argue it’s a great idea. The writing is top notch and frankly the sheer amount of free content you provide here on your own blog Joe, with the only advertising being links to your own books and GrandPrix+, seems like a great deal to me.

  57. A few points, Joe.
    1/ I’m sure there are people in the pitlane and in the F1 business who read your blog and who are not subscribers. How would they do? You’d provide them with a free access?
    2/ Philisophy of the internet, is also freedom. You’re free to write what you want, people are free to read or not, people are free to post comments or not. Considering the bullshit comments you sometimes have, you should perhaps just not reply to them. Just forget about them. You’re not doing this blog for these few ones, but for you and for the others.
    3/ I’m not a subscriber, and I would be sad not to have access to your blog if you’d choose to go that way.
    4/ I considered subscribing to your emagazine last year. Did not do it for a simple reason. As a graphic design and marketing people, I HATE all these low resolution pictures in GP+ (see the sample available for free). Second, I dare to tell you the layout is not very attractive.
    Why don’t you, for example, generate two pdf files and let the subscriber download what he wants? One 72dpi (I even wonder if your current compression rate is not even lower) and a beautiful 300dpi one? I don’t care if I have to download a 30MB file. Because a/ my Free connection works perfectly (!) and b/ this would absolutely increase the value of your work and the one of your photographer. There are beautiful shots in GP+, but we cannot appreciate them. Generating a 300dpi file would not change your workflow neither would it take you more time.
    Turn it to 300dpi, and I’ll subscribe.

  58. It would be more like a club, I guess, like “Joe Sawards Grand Prix Society”, the membership fee including an interesting, bimonthly magazine…

    I have seen what can happen when a forum changes from open membership to members only.

    The good thing was, you got rid of the trolls and it is therefore easier to administrate.

    The downside was, the overall activity, even from members, decreased and the forum stopped to attract new people to the club.

  59. You assume your subscribers won’t make those sort of comments but at least you will know they have paid for the privilege. Wonderful Idea!. Go for it. I’ve just subscribed.

  60. I don’t particularly care one way or the other but you may want to be careful. It may simply drive people to other blogs and reduce your audience. A better way might to keep commenting privileges for everyone but host an exclusive community forum for subscribers (or something like that). You could use that for a variety of things, including getting reader feedback or suggestions for upcoming features, content. format, etc., that readers may wish to see in your paid publication without having to do it in “public”.

  61. Hi Joe, funny no comments on this one yet? From a (your) business point of view probably a good idea. I’ve followed your blog for a while and have signed up a subscription for this years GP+ and looking forward to the 2011 reports. Subscriber or not, would’nt make any difference if I could comment or not.

  62. It’s your blog Joe, I think it’s great that you provide so much quality journalism freely with infrequent plugs for GrandPrix+ and your other projects. The comments often made interesting reading, it’s nice to see different views on issues – it’s like a big F1 pub, it’s just you can’t tell who’s had too much and is about to fall off their stool… lol I think it’d be quite clever to limit your commenters to your subscribers, wonder if there’d be anyone daft enogh to subscribe just to post insults and ignore the excellent magazine? Need to improve my finances a little before I can subscribe, but it’s on the to do list as I really enjoyed last year’s coverage.

  63. interesting… it might come across a bit Rupert Murdock-esque, mind, lol… I think a better option might make people feel like they’re getting a bargain for visiting your blog, say a 5 quid discount for blog readers might work somewhat better – people always react better when they feel they’ve won something… It’s your decision though, I guess…

    One thing I would say about this, is that it could remove the possibility of worthwhile comments from people outside your readership… say – some of the comments from people on the ground in Bahrain, for example?

    The other thing you could maybe look at is the autosport.com model, where they clearly publish the first paragraph or synopsis of each Autosport+ article in with the normal news, with a “read-more” link leading to the subscription page. Posting something like this: https://joesaward.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/coming-soon-the-fastest-e-mag-in-f1/ just isn’t really enough to entrap people – give people a taste of what they’re missing out on! 😉


  64. to paraphrase what Bernie always says – if its free to air everyone has access – the minute you charge for it you’re cutting your nose off to spite your face.

    I’ve never commented before but enjoy reading your blog.

    It strikes me as a daft comment incorporating a daft idea which would reduce your readership, perhaps reduce the number of subscribers you currently have, and ultimately require that you stop giving your opinion and only spout soundbites and spin in the blog as a way to sell your e-mag.

  65. Already a GP+ subscriber, so… Will be a pity to lose otherwise interesting and informed viewpoints if they happen not to be able afford to subscribe, though… Perhaps some kind of grandfathering accreditation for existing sensible commenters?

  66. Yes. Do it. The blog is worth it alone, never mind GP+ as well. I notice that your blog comments are regularly picked up by the BBC website in its “F1 Gossip” section every day.

    Will it keep out the less well balanced – it would help Joe.

    I’d go for it, even though I am not a subscriber – yet

  67. Hooters, hooters, yum yum yum!
    Hooters, hooters, on a girl that’s dumb.

    Just doing my bit to add to the daft comments…

    Oh yeah. I think you should try it for a month and watch your site hits drop like a rock…

  68. I like hearing people spouting off some of that rubbish!
    Sorry but it’s not going to make me subscribe. Times are tough and as nice as the e-magazine is, it’s not a necessity for me.

    Open forums are always going to spark lively debate, with people disagreeing. It’s the democratic way!

    Joe, you have the power to delete people’s postings and ranting. It’s your website.

    This may increase your subscriber base but at the same time will dull down the debates.

    Whatever you decide, I respect.

  69. Not sure it constitutes earning the right. Paying for something is entirely different to earning something. There are many people who can afford to buy things that they have really never earned the right to have. Certain F1 pay-drivers spring to mind here!

    One should earn the right to post by making sensible comments which contribute positively to any discussion. The problem is how to ascertain this without your having to read lots of foolish comments! Sorry, no answer for that.

    So, paying for the privilege of commenting it is then! I’m not currently a subscriber to GP+ but like to think my comments are reasonably worthwhile so on that basis I’d vote no. That said, I’m not really sure why I’m not a subscriber so if that is the route that’s taken you’d probably gain another subscriber!


  70. Not bad. I’m not a GP+ subscriber but I get pretty sick of reading the silly comments people take the time to post here. I only wish you had a better moderation system to keep the crap out.

  71. Clever bastard that commenter.

    I quite like the idea Joe, but what about those of us that use multiple email accounts? Tough?

    Fair enough! Do it mate

  72. I don’t think it’s a good ideia but by the end of the day you own the blog. I’ll be very sad if this’s going to happen

  73. It’s an interesting idea but if the article itself is free to read then most people will just read it and not comment. The comments are a little bonus on the main meal of the article’s content.

    Personally I’m sure GP+ is a great magazine but the main selling point of the speed of its publishing is not that interesting to me (I’m sure to others it is and the previous comment is not meant as an insult towards your efforts).

    Once I’ve seen the race to be honest I can wait a full day or two for the fallout to make it was on to the internet or into an Autosport or equivalent publication. Being able to read the race report a couple of hours after the race is not my primary reason for wanting to pay for content.

    I read the blog because it mostly features things that have yet to happen and/or things that are relevant to the sport but happen away from the track. If you said the whole blog was going behind the paywall and the GP+ contexnt was the bonus, I’d be more likely to pay for that…but who knows if I would.

    That’s why I don’t envy you have to try make a living from it 🙂

  74. I don’t think people would subscribe to GP+ just to be able to comment here, but on average you’d get more educated comments. Wouldn’t change anything for me since I’m a GP+ subscriber for the 3rd year now I think – that reminds me I’ve probably yet to renew my subscription 🙂 Which I’m gonna do anyway and which I highly recommend to anyone over buying any printed motorsport magazines.

    @Jodum5: I think Joe’s moderating system for the comments is called Joe Saward, and any bull**** appearing here is just there because he doesn’t want to be accused of only publishing comments he agrees with.

  75. I don’t especially like this idea; this blog can often produce interesting discussions in the comments section, and restricting the comments to GP+ subscribers will drastically reduce the potential pool of commenters, both good and bad.

    To be honest, I think a big part of the solution is that you need to work on taking what people say in the comments a little less personally. You seem to get very wound up when commenters disagree with you; my suggestion is that you either just don’t publish comments that you find objectionable, or take a more hands-off approach and only respond to the comments that you think are worth your while. James Allen takes the second approach, and it seems to work very well for him.

    There will always be plenty of people on the internet who say silly things. There are also plenty of people on the internet who get their kicks by winding up others. Ignore the former and don’t give the latter the rise they are looking for.

  76. Good idea boss. The only thing I would say is you could expand that into a proper forum using software (some of which are open-source – free to you), making it easier for us to talk to each other and you (or designated moderators) to oversee.

    But, yes, do it. This blog is worthy of being monetised. – and a good step into developing GrandPrix+ world into something fans can really get their teeth into.

    What next, signed pictures of Tonio Liuzzi for every subscriber!? 😉

    I’m still of the opinion you could help draw people into your web empire (as it is becoming) by doing a deal with Grand Prix Photo for some Imagery/Wallpapers for fans.

    As you know, its all about content. If you could work in a *regular* hour-long podcast a la sidepodcast, blog, forum, some cool hi-res imagery that is downloadable and a basic “off the wire” news snippets service along with GP+ race magazines I would happily give you £50 a year for that, as long as there was consistent delivery of stuff to satisfy my F1 needs. You are doing nearly all of this for free at the moment anyway!

    God knows how many subscribers would need to front up for that to work, but there are thousands of F1 geeks who might just be tempted if you could build it!

  77. Me personally, don’t care – I happen to be a subscriber to the magazine but rarely comment on the blog. For me, they are 2 different things, the blog is my daily “fix” the mag is my “monday morning quarterbacking” info source.

    Your blog, your choice – it needs to work for you – do what you think will be the best.

    Oh – and thanks for the grown up view of the f1 world

  78. I’m not sure it would have the desired effect to be honest. The unique selling point of this blog over other F1 blogs is in the comments, the fact that the author does actually respond and you get an interactive experience rather than just reading press releases.

    I found this blog through the BBC News F1 Gossip Column, I’ve stuck around because I like your writing and insight, it has replaced the JA website as my no1 place for F1 info. Because of the blog and discussions in comments I am much more likely to purchase F1 books, magazines from you as there is a great level of familiarity between the author and the reader.

    If you were to put that interaction behind some kind of paywall I think you lose your blogs selling point and therefore reduce your potential customer base.

    I’m sure at times some peoples views may be frustrating but just simply having free subscription to the site to comment would sort the wheat from the chaff in most cases.

    There are lots of ways to make extra money from your writing, sell more products etc, but I’d advise against the pay to comment route.

  79. Depends what you want this blog to do.

    If it’s a loss leader then there’s a severe risk you will reduce it’s efficacy.

    Consider this: the quality of the comments/commentators on here are probably the highest on any of the F1 blogs. The majority of these informed commentators are GP+ subscribers, and identify themselves as such every so often.

    The message to the casual passerby is that GP+ has a better class of reader, that it appeals to the informed F1 fan whose needs are rather more sophisticated than that of the average punter in WHSmith. I’d say that creates a halo-effect that raises the perception of GP+ as a quality proposition, for the serious-minded F1 follower.

    Putting up a paywall on comments effectively renders the upmarket nature of your subscriber-base invisible to potential customers. Sure, you can TELL everyone how well-informed your readers are, but the blog in its current form PROVES it.

    The alternative is to use the ability to comment as added-value for a GP+ subscription. I’m not sure that people are going to pay £25 to be able to comment if they’ve not already been persuaded by the sample issue. After all, they can always go and hold forth to the hoipoloi at JAF1.

    I’m all for the idea of added-value as a GP+ subscriber (must get round to renewing…) but I reckon you need to think of something else. As you don’t seem to be doing sidepodcast lately, how about a subscriber only podcast of you and DT in conversation?

  80. not to be unkind, but if you want this to be a little GP+ clubhouse, put it over there behind a paywall.

    i don’t comment often, but the ability to do so is the motivation i need to actually read others’ comments. absent the ability to participate, my desire to spend time here decreases.

  81. It sounds like a great way to p.o. your readers and reduce the audience for your blog … not to mention alienate potentail readers of the magazine.

  82. Paywalls usually don’t work. There are exceptions, but the exceptions are few. The successful exceptions tend to have a lot of unique content.

    Even among the few successful sites with paywalls, many leave the forums open to the masses. All the better to entice subscribers.

    By cutting off commenting, you’ll see fewer page views, meaning less awareness of GP+. Further, I suspect you’d still have obnoxious commenters. Except they’d feel entitled.

    Why not just do what so many other sites have done, force commentators to register and/or solicit for a moderator or two?

  83. I’m against it, probably because I’m not a subscriber but here’s why:
    Part of it is philosophical; open debate after an interesting article is part of what makes online media what it is. Successful and ground breaking.
    Also some of the most interesting time I spend on the web is looking at how other people react to a story, I find it very insightful into how other’s minds work.
    I think even if i did subscribe because there’d be fewer comments then you would have less feedback on how the unwashed masses are perceiving the latest news, some of your best posts have been in reaction to peoples comments to clarify the inside situation.
    To me I have enough subscriptions, to F1 magazines, the attraction of this blog is that it is a quality online source of F1 information, but first and foremost it is online with all the things that implies.

    What are you trying to achieve here? Reduce the idiots (they have money too let’s not forget) or to make more money? Both are laudable goals, but I’m not sure the two are best linked. Reducing comments to members only, comment moderation/scoring are two things I would suggest trying first.
    I guess i don’t know why you run this blog, is it for:
    * getting the news out asap
    * attracting people to your other revenue sources that do make money
    * raising your profile in general

    If it’s one of those then I think that locking down the site would harm those goals. If it’s somethign else then fair enough.
    Also why do you have to read all the comments?

  84. John

    Having to pay £25 a year for the magazine and access to comments etc. on here is hardly elitist. It costs more for autosport/ half a tank of petrol.

    Also may I reccomend a user system as a minimum (As it stops meaning-less spam and you can ban or automatically trust people), happy to help with that a little. Im not sure what wordpress allow you to do I shall go have a look now.

  85. Depends what the purpose of you blog is for you Joe.

    1. If it is to provide an open broadcast to the world on your thoughts and gain feedback from people hooked to your entries, then status quo.

    2. If it is to provide your opinion in the hopes of generating additional subscribers to your money-maker GP+, then status quo is probably the best approach – as it maximises the readership.

    3. If you are tired of reading through asinine comments, then the idea of having a profile in order to post a comment and setting up “rules” that everyone must comply with, then you can filter out the idiots and because you have a process in place with rules, can feel justified when you decide to zap someone’s ability to post a comment.

    By charging for the right to comment (through the obligation of buying GP+), you MAY see a blip in subscribers, but in my opinion, your blog readership will eventually decline as I agree with what many have posted, the comments are part of the fix I get from your blog. I doubt highly it will do the opposite and increase your readership.

    End result blip in GP+ subscription, reduction in readership, thereby reduction in potentially new GP+ subscribers.

    If you’re objective is to maximize the $$ in your pocket at the end of the day, then the idea mentioned above in the mode of Autosport is something worth looking at. That is, charge for your blog! A nominal fee for the right to read your blog is what you should really investigate.

    How many of your blog readers would be willing to pay 5 quid a year to read what you are posting now for free? That is the real question you should be asking. Then any asinine comments can be read by you with a smile on your face, as the poster has paid for the right.

    For me, charging for the ability to post a comment to your blog doesn’t really matter. However, it would diminish the quality of this blog as there will be a reduction in comments.

    Charge me the right to read your blog – hmmm – I may/may not pay, depends how much you want and what the value proposition to it is.

    My recommendation for you to spend your time analyzing in order of priority to maximize $$$:
    1) Examine charging for the right to read your blog
    2) Status Quo – the initial blip in GP+ subscribers will eventually subside, but you lose the potential for new sales due to reduction in site traffic
    3) Tie the right to post vis a vis GP+ subscription

    Go with 1 or 2, option 3 makes little sense and the headache can be managed using alternate means.


  86. Comment on my comment.

    My preference is status quo – I’m not yet hooked so much to F1 that I’d pay for a magazine subscription. But if I were, based on what I’ve read elsewhere for free or at the news stand – GP+ is the only one I would buy.

    I may have created a few enemies out there by proposing you examine charging for the right to read your blog, but there really is value in what you post Joe – you should explore the cost/benefit of charging for it. I just hope you remember who suggested it to you and offer him a free lifetime subscription to it (smirk).

  87. Think its ok as long its still free to read the posts and comments.

    Wisdom of paywalling the comments is a fine line, but im sure the benefits will outweigh the negatives as your getting quite popular these days.

  88. soeren,

    Yes, that is about it. I moderate things. Delete some stuff that is really unpleasant and otherwise put it up. I don’t mind what people think so long as it is not an accusation of some kind, or lacking respect. I know people do not always agree with my views about certain things, but that it is the whole point. These are my views and you can take them or leave them.

  89. Sounds like a good idea to me. You may lose some of the breadth of commentary, but truth be told that breadth is not always a virtue. As for the ‘right’ to comment – those who wish to exercise that right are free to start their own blogs, create the content, maintain the blog, generate an audience, and comment on anything that interests them. And once they’ve gone to all that trouble, they will have earned the right to give or withold commenting privileges (not ‘rights’) to anyone they choose.

  90. I’m someone who would love to subscribe to GP+, but who is currently unemployed, and so won’t be subscribing until I have a job. (When I had a job I used to buy Autosport, F1 Racing, etc., but have since found out that I can manage without them perfectly well, and after the “Real Lotus” business, I wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole any more — GP+ will replace them all!)

    Nevertheless, my first reaction, when I first read your piece, was genuinely to type something along the lines of: “Well I’ll be sad, because I won’t be able to comment any more until I get a job, but I can certainly see the merits of the idea, so perhaps you should do it, and see you on the other side!”

    However, before I then found the time to sit down and write this, I thought about it some more, and now I’m not sure it’s such a good idea at all. Why?

    Well, firstly you risk the comments section becoming full of “Yes”-men. Not entirely, of course, there will always be those who subscribe to GP+ who can offer a cogent opposite point-of-view, but it seems to me that it might well end up stifling legitimate opposite opinions as well as the idiots. You might thus find that the lively debate drains out of the comments section, leaving it largely redundant.

    Secondly, and related to that, you may find that people drift away from a site which they can’t comment on, whether because they feel excluded, or because they don’t like reading things that they can’t comment on. You risk them wandering off to other blogs, including that one, which still allows comments. You risk killing your blog just when, from the sounds of it, it’s really starting to take off.

    Then I read the 57 comments that have since appeared, to find that quite a few people feel the same way (Stephen Kellett and Martin put it particularly well, and good points made by BasCB, Cabby, david & Barry Lucy). Forums and the like always lose something when they “go pay”.

    Not only that, but others have brought up a third point I’d overlooked: that you’d lose interesting outsider views such as the ones we had from Bahrain, or even from other F1 insiders posting anonymously.

    I think it would be a shame to lose those.

    As someone said, perhaps what you need is staff. Is there nobody you could get to give the comments the once-over for you and reject the seriously out-of-order ones? (I gather that sometimes you get a lot of abuse that we never even see.) Obviously not a full-time position, but something that a friend or family member could do for beer money? Hell, I’d do it myself for a free GP+ subscription! 😉 [I’ve long wanted to apply for the job of being your proofreader, could always combine the two!]

    Two final points:

    Firstly, can I ask that if you do do it, can you at least leave the comments visible read-only? Sometimes people (including yourself) add very interesting information in the comments, and it would be a dreadful shame to lose that.

    Secondly, if it’s either this, or having no comments at all, then I guess it’s better to go for this new plan.

    Whatever happens, you still do pretty much the finest F1 journalism there is out there, as I’ve seen myself for the last 17 years, back to the days when I didn’t even know your name but knew quality writing when I saw it. More power to your elbow!

  91. raztek said:

    Charge for your blog! A nominal fee for the right to read your blog is what you should really investigate.

    How many of your blog readers would be willing to pay 5 quid a year to read what you are posting now for free? That is the real question you should be asking. Then any asinine comments can be read by you with a smile on your face, as the poster has paid for the right.

    The problem with that approach is that it gives the idiots a sense of entitlement. “I’ve paid to post this, so I can say what I like!” And Joe would no longer be able to use his snappy comeback of “You’re getting all of this for free, if you don’t like it, go somewhere else”.

    Therefore, and not just for selfish reasons (besides which, even I could afford a fiver a year), I think it’s a very bad idea.

  92. im for it since I plan to sign up to gp plus before the start of the season, if its anything as good as your sidepodcast chats then im in for a treat, even if i have to put up with anti schumacher stuff

  93. If I buy a subscription will it also buy me more leeway before you gong off any silly, contrary points I may make on your articles?

    If you don’t want to deal with a blog, open up a a separate blog on your GP+ site and shut this one down.

    No doubt it’s a lot of work to clean up comments you may find objectionable, but reading some of the half baked thoughts of others is part of the charm for your readers as well.

    Keep your bog as is, and I will be subscribing to your GP+ emag regardless.

    Thanks for your ongoing efforts!

  94. By the way, if buying a GP+ subscription is the only way that I will be allowed to post comments here then two things will happen:
    1. I will NOT buy a subscription as I basically am opposed to coercion;
    2. YOU will then loose the benefit of many insightful observations by myself and many others.

    DON”T DO IT JOE!!!!

  95. Joe, my comment was not meant as criticism of any kind.

    You wrote some time ago that you’re filtering / moderating all comments manually, by yourself, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m astonished every day how much work and time you’re investing there. My response to Jodum5 was meant to spare you responding to it yourself – I was arguing your case, nothing else! I wanted Jodum5 to know that you’re voluntarily and consciously letting all these comments appear here and that it’s not some sort of dodgy filtering software or a moderation team of some sorts (like James Allen probably has) being responsible for the variety and bandwidth of comments published on this blog, including those getting up your nose time and again about the same predictable topics.

    I think it’s very laudable to give room to other opinions even if you’re shaking your head about them. I wouldn’t even mind if you only published comments which are actually contributing to the discussion.

    So to be clear: I’m very grateful for all your work and I almost feel aggrieved myself if someone treats my above-all-else-number-one-website without the respect I feel appropriate.

  96. and as for all you mugs who think its a great idea, I bet you d***heads are the to55ers who pay for Sky Sports and all those other subscriber channels that take even the “poor mans sport” like football AWAY from the poor man!!! Carry on paying for nothing, as the saying goes…”A fool and his money are soon parted”. !!!

    1. Vodka and orange,

      Strange combination, a vodka and orange name and Marxist views about football… Thank you for that erudite comment. I object to you abusing people who are only expressing an opinion. I also object to the idea that GP+ subscribers are paying for nothing. They are not. They are paying (not very much) to get a quality product. OK, it is not 100 percent perfect, but with more subscribers it will be improved.

  97. Hi,

    If I had the cash I would subscribe. I don’t so I won’t be following if this is done. I will still follow the site as I find it well balanced, informative and entertaining in all the appropriate places.

    I will be disappointed if I don’t have the chance to engage with this community but I’ll have to find another way to post my views.

  98. You cannot guarantee that all GP+ subscribers are sane, but anything that reduces the amount of moronic trolling you have to read will be good news for you – and therefore good news for us.

    Just floating this excellent idea seems to have generated a few subscriptions… Do it, and give Joris a year for free!

  99. Joe, any thinking person must be able to work out that you likely spend many many more man hours on the blog than you do on GP , I have spent my life in a profession where time is money and fully realise that you perhaps need to do something. In a perfect world those with an interest in F1 should sign up to GP , after all why not ? , £25 is more than good value.

    Often I have thought to myself about how you find the time to devote to the blog.

    As for me not missed an issue of Motorsport mag in 42 years but no longer take the other mags as find that taking GP plus Motorsport is a good solution for me.

    So come on blog clan sign up for GP and show Joe that it’s not just free content your after, after all you are interested in the sport, so why not ?

    Guess if Joe can see an upturn in GP takers then the issue will go away.

    Thanks Joe for your efforts.

    PS, I have no connection with JS

  100. That’s a tricky one. I would not have followed this blog daily if there was a charge to it (even to comment), that would have been my loss. I would be ok to pay for something more interactive like a game, or Fantasy F1, or something… but not opinion.

  101. Okay Joe:
    I signed up. Your blog is excellent. I think it should be kept open because it allows more people to get involved in the sport.

  102. History has shown that just because you have money doesn’t mean you make informed decisions or comments. I don’t subscribe to GP+ but only because I don’t feel I would have the time to sit down and read it. Living it in Australia after most races the magazine would be released Monday morning my time, and by then I’m sleeping, before getting back into the full swing of the working week, and struggling to fit in all the leisure activities that I already do around the working week.

    Have you thought about hosting this blog on your own domain, say “joesaward.com”, it’s not all that expensive, and then you can introduce advertising. If you engage a talented web designer you could also get it so the ads are tastefully placed. It wouldn’t make the comments any less daft, but at least the blog would be generating some income.

  103. Good Evening Sir Joe.

    Long time reader, first time commenter etc etc, and thought i would chuck in my 10p’s worth, since you are asking.

    With the amount of free content on the internet, this is neither a carrot nor a stick to me, and from reading some of these comments, isn’t to a number of your readers either. Some of the free content may not be of as a high a standard of what is available in GP+, but some of it is – at least compared to the free issue you have provided. JAonF1, BBC Sport and Formula1.com are 3 sites which i find to have comparable writing standards.

    £25 per year for 20 magazines of intelligent and coherant opinions may not seem much. However, as i am currently a student and living on a shoestring.

    I know this is just one guys views, but one thing which i’m not sure if you have considered before or not, is offering individual issues to buy? I know i would have bought issues about specific races from last year – namely a season preview/review, Turkey, Spa and Hockenheim. Just a thought, which might enable more buyers at little to no extra cost!


  104. Hi Joe
    I’m not sure. This is all very Rupert Murdoch of you……pay for content seems his mantra.

    I came across this blog a long time ago and have been enjoying your posts on an (almost) daily basis ever since. Rarely do I have the time or inclination to comment but I do like to read other comments. These comments are mostly worth the read and some are genuinely funny if not all are intelligent.

    I think one of the reasons I still come here everyday is that I value what you have to say, even when I don’t agree with you (ie. please tone down your negative views on cyclists).

    I immensely enjoyed the evening with Joe and meeting you and mike doodson in melbourne and hope you do a similar style event in the future. This is well worth paying for….

    But I have had a philosophical problem with pay sites and I am sure that I’m not alone. It took me some time to get over my bias and subscribe and am delighted that i did.

    However I think you will be detract from your blog by blocking non payers

  105. S@?t hit the bloody post button accidentally ….. Sorry

    I would prefer you kept it open. Happy to have you spout about the blog, your entitled to tout your wares and make a living from it but I think it will be of less value if it is behind a pay wall.

    For example I visit news sites every day but it will be a long time before I pay for any……

    Good luck and thanks for the opportunity to put my 2 bobs worth.

  106. If I had to subscribe to GP+ merely to Joeblog then I wouldn’t, but since I have already that’s ok.
    For those that don’t want to and take perhaps a slightly more conservative view, there’s James Allen’s blog, different from Joe’s, but still well respected.

  107. I’m content to read your blog and keep my opinions to myself. Some of your respondents have interesting views other than the ones you have but if you manage to eliminate them it makes no difference to me.

    I do not fancy myself as an expert or even a well-informed fan to the extent of what I have seen on your blog. If people are so opinionated, they can start their own blog and see what it’s like to get trashed or applauded on a regular basis.

  108. I think the problem is Joe that you take a lot of the comment, especially those that criticise your point of view, personally. You have to remember that every idiot with a computer and an opinion is free to air those opinion now days, regardless of how brilliant or stupid that opinion is. You really don’t need to challenge everyone whose opinion is stupid like you do.

    By the way, I do want to add that I think that much of what you write is brilliant and guess I should subscribe to GP+ also.

  109. As much as I value Joe’s insights, the comments are sometimes equally interesting and worth the visit. These are knowledgeable fans. GP+ is a bit pricey when converted to US dollars, which is why I have not subscribed before.

  110. Sorry, haven’t read all the comments so my suggestion may be a dupe.

    But… how about you have a specific post/chat/webcast dedicated to each issue of GP+? By all means you could limit the comments or invites to that for members only.

    Tbh I only recently found out about GP+. Think it’s a great idea for a product but it’s not as professionally formatted as it could be. Hiring someone to improve the aethetics would be a great idea.

    1. Richard Barddock,

      Hiring? That would involve money… Perhaps it will be done when there is money to spend… Perhaps there are more important things to spend money on at the moment.

  111. I think it would be a shame if you took that route. Ultimately it would not encourage me to subscribe to the magazine, I already pay for autosport plus, and it is likely to make me less inclined to read the blog. I rarely comment but I do enjoy reading the blog, but if I am barred from commenting because I’m not as ‘valuable’ a reader as others then it is probable that I won’t feel welcome and won’t read.

    As a Schumacher fan I don’t always agree with your comments, but I do appreciate your views and dedication to quality journalism. I can see why some of the responses frustrate, annoy and irritate, but I doubt restricting it to GP+ readers will stop that.

  112. Really stupid idea, Joe!!!

    I am actually wondering why you put this up because I do not believe you actually think this is an avenue to pursue since it is so lacking in sense.

    Are you bored?
    Isn’t GP+ achieving the targets you and your mate. or your accountant, require?
    You keep saying yourself that the web is inundated with crap; why would your website be imune to it?
    May be the teams sent to the specialist journos a little box of petrol fumes to indulge prior to open season and you over indulged…

    Great blog. Love it!

  113. I’d recommend it, and I’m not even a subscriber.

    Of course pro’s/con’s, but look at the level of discourse and lack of simple respect on forums/blogs when there is no filter of any sort. Why not some giving of value when value is received??

    It’s unfortunate if someone cannot afford it, and yet how valuable is your time Joe? What’s in it for you to have to do more sifting when any of the ‘give me somethin for nothin’ crowd can lay claim to your time?

    I like JA’s too, but I read the posters less and less, wish he’d do the same.

  114. They say F1 is more business than sport, I see no reason for you to be any different.

    Shame though, there will be less to read. Might make it less of a destination for me.

  115. Oh hell – your decision, obviously. You’d lose readership, and of course subscription ≠ sensible comment. I suspect it wouldn’t be the best solution financially, given that dealing with real idiots is not a time-consuming task and I for one wouldn’t pay even for the benefit of reading your sensible and well-informed views. Illogical that may be, but I’ve got a young son and I can’t really spend the money on a hobby.

    Responding to those who have read your blog and disagreed with you should be part of the joy of the whole thing, so if I were you, I’d treat the blog as a loss leader and a way for you to blow off steam. After all, your argument that it’s your blog and you can say what you want would lose some traction if your readers had to pay for the privilege.

    Whatever way you choose to proceed – good luck!

  116. Free blog? Free comments. If you don’t like me commenting without paying you, stop publishing the blog.

    Clearly GP+ isn’t selling well enough because you spend half your time trying to get us to buy it. Perhaps it isn’t good enough?

    And if the idea is to increase subscribers, and if that worked, you’d still get the same number of daft comments. Or do you think the type of people who would pay for your writing would never be daft? Full of yourself, much?

    You’ve just lost a reader.

    1. sg1974,

      What an extraordinary stream of consciousness. I think you need to reassess some very basic concepts.

      1: You do not have a divine right to a free, informed blog about F1. It is your good fortune that such a thing exists.

      2: There is a reason it exists beyond the fact that the author is obviously stupid to work for free.

      3: It is normal and logical that someone who is trying to make a living, should encourage people to buy products. It is basic marketing. If a butcher offers you a sausage for free, is he doing it because he likes you? Or because he wants you to buy things from him?

      4: If you read the comments, do you find a single comment that says anything negative about GP+? People love it. The only people who don’t express enthusiasm are those who have either not seen it, or those who know nothing at all about it, but like to complain, or those who are in unfortunate circumstances and cannot afford it.

      5: You obviously do not know whether it is good or not, because you are not a subscriber. Therefore you are not qualified to have an opinion, although obviously you do not see it this way and have to mouth off.

      6: GP+ costs £25. Half a tank of fuel in Europe. You get access to nearly 100 top quality magazines, produced by some of the most experienced writers and photographers in the F1 business. You get each new magazine around six hours after a race. You can carry the entire archive in your own computer. It weighs nothing. It is environmentally friendly. It may not be as good a bargain as a free blog with quality information and insight, but it is still an exceptional deal.

      7: There are some people who understand that if you want quality you have to pay for it.

      8: This blog could stop tomorrow.

      9: There is a discussion going on about whether it is good idea to only allow comments from GP+ subscribers. It is an interesting question and a surprisingly large number of people think it is a good idea. No decision on the matter has been made.

      10: It is unclear why you are being rude and stomping off.

  117. As Phil E said “Do it. Do it now.”

    Joe, by only allowing subscribers to comment you might (hopefully) weed out some of the ignorant pillocks with their daft comments.

    BTW – 130 comments within 24 hours – obviously an emotive topic

    keep up the excellent work!

  118. I’m a very happy subscriber, but I can’t see how a paywall type block would help. They *always* reduce the number of visitors/commenters. Access to the archive, and showing appreciation for your work are big enough carrots, I’d have thought.

  119. I reserve the right to express my ignorance.
    Bad idea, Joe. Surely GP+’s interests are best served by throwing your arms wide open and welcoming one and all, regardless of race, color, religion, level of knowledge about the sport, stupidity.

  120. Joe – tongue planted semi-firmly in cheek I hope!.
    Anyway you’ve convinced me – it is good value so I’m back in – same usrname &psswrd as last year please. I’ve become quite fond of it!

  121. Joe,

    It’s a great idea. For one, you get to actually know who your customers are, and better, for that matter. This can be valuable in tailoring the product, GP+, and also creating a camaraderie amongst F1 fans who do subscribe.

    The downside is, there will be people no longer commenting due to not having a subscription. You lose that portion of the commentary, opinion and dialog with them, and one that also might help in tailoring your product, as well. So it’s a bit of catch-22.

    It’s sort of hard decision. As someone who lost their job, I cannot afford such luxuries at the moment. That said, if you do choose to have subscriber only commenting, I’ll still read the blog, but it would be sad to lose out on the dialog.

  122. Joe,

    I would be sad not to read your blog, but it is your choice. I don’t have the time to watch most F1 races nor have I time to read GP , so I won’t pay for it. I’ve heard you speak on Sidepodcast and know you enjoy people hearing (and reading) your opinion, so I think you would be doing yourself a disservice by reducing the number of eyeballs focused on your words. I think you would have fewer irritating posts by charging, but you might also miss reading novel viewpoints. You can try it and then change your mind if you miss the rude posts.

  123. Hi!

    After reading 200++ comments,(some very daft comments,others not),only about this i change my wiew from “no” to “yes!”.
    I guess it will be more interesting comments and fewer stupid ones then.Time will show.
    It’s a win/win really,the only loss is for the makers of daft comments.

  124. Joe

    Re sanity of GP+ writers, it looks just fine so far – but it clearly could not be guaranteed if you carry on dealing with this lot.

    So far there looks to be a majority in favour of the free-to-read/subscribers-only-to-post idea. The remainder are basically proclaiming their right to start their own blogs.

    Keep up the good work!

  125. Joe,

    I think you have to do this. One point not mentioned is that the BBC is closing down their 606 comment facility in the name of cost-saving, at least on F1 – I am sure the football crowd will not have that problem. Anyway, there is a lot of dross on there – usually related to Fernando or Lewis and aren’t they God/Satan/beautiful/ugly/brilliant/stupid and so on and so forth. I think it is purely to wind up others and you wade through pages of this stuff to find the odd comment.

    So you would clear out that lot for starters. Secondly, myself and I am sure a host of others totally reserve the right to disagree with your opinions. But as proven probably every day, as long as those opinions are expressed in a reasonable fashion, not being personally attacking towards either you or the blog commentator, then those opinions are up on the blog for others to read, comment upon and so on. If I could be bothered, I would start my own blog then I could say what I like. I can’t be bothered, so I come here instead but at the same time appreciate it is not my blog and therefore my opinions must be correct and everybody else is wrong. It is not a hard concept to grasp for most of us.

    Last but not least, somebody mentioned above that producing GP+ in a lo-res and hi-res format would be a good idea. I can choose to download a 30Mb rather than 5Mb file if I want hi-res photos so that gets my vote.

    I know you have been answering comments here but will you write a summary blog post on this in a few days to let us know what you are inclined to do?

    All the best…

  126. Joe – appreciate the reply to my comment. A redesign would indeed mean hiring someone – but that doesn’t have to mean spending a significant amount of money.

    Get in touch with your local Uni and secure the services of a budding design student. You get a redesign on the cheap (and thus your product appeals far more to people like myself, of which I wager there are a few), and the student gets fantastic exposure for their work, an increase in their portfolio, and potentially more paid work from one of your many readers.

    Anyway, I’m off-piste. Do agree with you wanting to give your GP+ commenters some exclusivity but think the approach you suggest may be a case of using a hammer to crack a nut.

  127. Joe,
    As a non-EU reader of your blog,I can’t imagine how I would go about paying for your GP+ subscription.Unfortunately,at the current exchange rate of GBP/ZAR,I couldn’t afford it anyway,even if I knew how to go about it.I really enjoy your blogs,to the point where I scan my Twitter feed for new posts of yours before I check anything else.I can’t be bothered to follow any other sites on a regular basis as the content available here is far more insightful and informed than almost all the rest.I would hate to not have the opportunity to post a comment purely based on a subscription issue.I have only posted once previously,on the issue of the South African Gp bid,but would enjoy the opportunity to present my views and opinions if I felt the urge. No doubt your vocation take an enormous amount of expenditure and a GP+ subscription can help you maintain your incredible output,but I doubt denying the non-subscribers an opportunity to comment would increase your revenue.

    Keep up the great work.

  128. I don’t want to repeat some of the excellent points raised here, but a solid technical reason (which will lead to a business reason) why you may not want to make comments ‘subscriber only’, is that it will affect your site’s search engine ranking.

    People link from motorsport sites, motorsport forums as much for your content as that supplied by readers.

    You can’t do much about signal to noise ratio lowering as you get more comments. But think of it this way, having too much reader feedback is a ‘problem’ many would like to have.

    Perhaps it would be worth asking a passionate fan of yours to help implement some wordpress plugin to make the moderation easier. That would be more effective for you I think, both in terms of your time and personal exposure, than going all News Corp here.

  129. I think the only way you could have got more comments would have been to mention Lotus 🙂

    Best off to renew my GP+ subscription!

  130. Ambient Sheep: The job’s taken. Joe has had an after-the-post (pun intended) sub-editor for many moons, who looks at typos and other things. Joe sometimes doesn’t correct minor typos, and the sub hasn’t the stamina to keep up with his 24 hour lifestyle. But we both try …

  131. I would be interested to know how many GP+ subscriptions have been sold to people who decided to subscribe after reading and getting involved in comments on this blog. I would imagine the number is high enough to make the hassle of dealing with annoying comments worthwhile.

    In the interests of openness I have not subscribed to GP+ for a number of reason but I bought the Grand Prix Saboteurs book as soon as it was published and I guarantee I have generated at least 2 dozen sales by nagging people to buy it and by telling them how great it is.

    Taking the internet behind a paywall has been tried many times and I only know of two occasions where it has worked; THe Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. These publications are really tools of the trade for their readership and effectively compulsory purchases and in many cases are purchased by employers.

    There are so many other failed cases though including one major US newspaper which carried out a 6 month long experiment which generated 35 customers. Taking this blog or the ability to comment behind a paywall MAY reduce the number of undesired comments although I am far from convinced of that but it will immediately kill off a valuable sales tool.

    If you take the ability to comment behind a paywall I think you will still get the same number or probably more offensive comments. Anyone can find your e-mail address which you publish. Is it better to get offensive e-mails than comments while costing yourself sales?

  132. I’d like to have an option to purchase a single issue of GP+ , to see if it’s the sort of thing I’d enjoy. Making single-shot purchases an option shouldn’t be too complicated with modern E-store software, and might give people like me an opportunity to see what they’re getting into before they commit fully.

  133. I do not subscribe to GP+, I am a student so disposable income is somewhat of a rare beast. I am hugely grateful for the blog – it provides a great analysis of F1, and is a superb advert for what seems to be a very popular magazine (above comments).

    However, I do not agree your decision to block comments from non subscribers, for the following reason.

    People subscribe to publications they agree with. I would not buy the Guardian, say, if I was not a leftie. If I pay £25, I’m not going to be the kind of person who thinks Joe Saward does not know what he is talking about/spouts out ridiculous bias. There will be a community who broadly say “oh Joe, you are so great”. Now that is fine, if that is what you want.

    But it is only with engaging with people who do not agree with you that you are able to argue your point more carefully and fully. You never know, you might be wrong, and come to side with that alternate view. God knows the number of times I have had that over the years.

    Add to that the fact that many close to/in the F1 community may not be subscribers, and thus no longer have the option to comment. It is their valuable contributions that make your comments sections so reasonable.

    And just do not engage with the comments which you find too loony/insulting to be worth your time. People will always slate you, regardless of who you are, better to your face than not in my mind.

    It is, however, entirely up to you. You gain little from me reading your blog, and thus my opinions therefore count for very little, but I feel the above is probably the best argument you will get for not implementing this. I understand why you would introduce it, though it would surprise me if a large number subscribed JUST to comment on your blogs.

    I hope you will agree this post has no malicious intent, simply put though, I think you would be wrong to do this.

  134. Canehan: Aha! I had noticed that the number of typos etc. went down a lot a while back, I’d just assumed that he was using spellcheck more regularly (not that that’s a solution for everything by any means). Well done, keep up the good work.

    So, as I said in my (rather too long) post above, can there not be something similar done with moderation?

  135. It looks like some people think you’re suggesting that they have to subscribe just to *read* the blog, as opposed to subscribing in order to *comment*.

  136. What I don’t understand is why people are complaining about not being able to read the blog if this GP+ scheme comes into effect.

    Non-subscribers can read the blog to their heart’s content, but would not be able to REPLY to blog entries nor have discussions in the open on the blog.

    They can link to the blog from their blog and discuss posts there, they can create forum topics discussing the post on other sites. The blog would not be buried behind a paywall, but the “post comment”-button will be.

  137. Host the blog somewhere else that allows google Ad Sense & then remove the ad’s for subscribers.

    Keep the comments on the site (with your current moderation system) but don’t reply so often/if at all.

    Additional content (to what you already post on the blog for free) is where you can potentially make a line in the sand.

    Your stories always tend to feature highly in the aggregator listings & getting some ad revenue from these sources should generate something more meaningful than zilch at least.

    A forum attached to the subscription to GP+ could be a way to engage more with your user base if you so desire & would generate repeat subs for GP+.

    A fine line, but one that can be traversed in my opinion.

    Content cannot be free in perpetuity if you intend to eat.

  138. For professionals the internet is a way to be known (almost) everywhere on the planet at a very very low cost. Very few people can afford to have their work known and published all around the world without the internet.
    All those using it should remember the enormous amount of work and energy given -most of the time for free- by so many people for so many years….
    Before thinking of making money out of it maybe we should ask ourselves what have we paid to use this tool ? Do we think it is worth nothing ? What are the plans of all those making money on the internet to contribute to this wonderful tool’s future ? When we take don’t we have to give back one way or the other ?
    Food for thought my friends 😉

  139. Joe,

    Personal opinion, as a non subscriber is, if you feel that the comments that

    I would question whether paying subscribers are necessarily better commentators. But I do agree that like many other blogs you can be inundated by idiotic comments. My particular bug bear is bad mouthing if drivers just because they dont drive for someones favourite team. Or all of the haters out there.

    I won’t be subscribing, as I don’t visit the site enough to warrant it.

  140. Personal opinion, as a non subscriber is, if you feel that the comments that……

    Well I proved a point there. I didn’t finish the sentence.

    I was saying if you think if will improve the debate I’d do it.

    I dont think it will stop idiotic posting, it will just ensure they come from someone who pays you to read their rubbish 😉 which is not too bad lol

  141. Go for it Joe.

    I’m all for stopping the anonymous masses making deliberately controversial or anti-establishment comments.

    Only those with money (e.g. GP+ subscribers) are entitled to be heard. This approach works (mostly) in Bahrain so why shouldn’t it work here? 😉

  142. @Racefan26: I bought my GP+ subscription with a standard SA Visa Debit Card, so very easy and quick. At today’s rate that is R281, R14/issue is pretty cheap even in our local currency!

    @Aaron James: Worth mentioning is that most blogs/forums have ‘no-follow’ tags in comments, meaning that for SEO purposes, linking to Joe would have absolutely no effect in search engine ranking. However, ‘humans’ could/would still click and then visit Joe’s site. In my opinion, whether comments are moderated through subscription or not, will not affect Joe’s ranking. Additionally links from F1Fanatic, BBC et al that link to Joe are all in the body, and will be there irrespective of the comments, they’ll link for Joe’s writing, not our musings

    My 2cents…

  143. I’d just like to say that there’s no technical reason that Joe cannnot structure this blog how he wishes without loosing any search results ranking.

    What you do is provide the search engine bots/spiders the page you want and keep note of their incoming IPs. (being mindful as possible, that e.g. Google has a few strict rules about how you should generate pages to properly reflect actual content)

    But i’ve just seen a very big site make a mess of that.

    Some blogs just make a warning that non registered users might not see their coments in a hurry, and that seems to work as well. So, you register because the conversational flow is more important to you.

    The solution i was thinking about is to make GP+ an Open Auth provider, so the login here follows from that.

    I’m not sure this is as simple as grabbing the nearest student. I’m not even sure that is necessary, because the wordpress ecosystem is mature, and almost plug and play.

    I know two highly experienced PHP programmers who are mates and who would pile in intellectually, and no doubt enjoy the problem solving. One works for banks, the other is likes to roll his own design elegance. I’m on safer groud when it comes to network mechnics and database internals. Brainpower, such as it is, costs nothing.

    This is also a good Q to ask at StackOverflow. They have similar problems, and have come up with answers which work for them.

    Good talk here:

    Someone mentioned the Financial Times. Interestingly, they maintain a blog called Alphaville, which is a free digest. But only a digest. Maybe that is a model. It’s fairly meaty. The FT also has restrictions on commenting for non subscribers. It works rather niclely, though to be honest i have never (despite subscribing) quite worked out their login system!

    Logins need to be thoughtfully designed. I suggested OAuth, but honestly it really can be a mess.

    Also, I’m not entirely certain I yet want my full name and company credentials linked to my comments. Though i have no problem letting anyone know that individually.

    So, there might need to be a arrangement for nicknames appended to accounts. And also a way to allocate those.

    There is probably a module for everything, but testing is essential for a high profile site like this.

    Here’s one fun thing: most wordpress installs run on a “database” known as MySql. The thing is, MySql is not a database, it’s a management layer. It’s very flakey unless you think hard, work around maldesign. I am occasionally convinced that moderation delays and problems in fact stem from MySql.

    I should say also this, that my install of the Firefox web browser is hats on paranoid. What this means is that javascript, syndicated adverts, flash, and video are out. (not just at browser level, proxies, and more to keep nasties away, which i do because i publically announce a registered IP address, so genuine parties can see me)

    because F1 always attracts a technical audience, i think i’m not alone. So Joe’s possibilities to monetise the blog are diminished by it’s very nature.

    (I do see the small adverts to the side, Joe, got me your Sabateurs book which is a revelation)

    So, going forward, there ought to be a solution for that too. Irrespective of what the decision is about the blog setup.

    I’m assuming the blog will continue. But I obviously do not see the comments Joe has to discard in disgust, and however thick skinned i like to think i may be, i’m sure that exposure would upset me.

    I am now very rarely inclined to register for any blog, just to comment. But if this could follow neatly from subscription, well i’m not handing over anything more personal than i already may have.

    Robert X Cringley’s blog works the same way as Joe’s presently does. That’s high volume, and pretty polite. (Joe, he’s in the same boat, from what i read. Good stuff. Risk a contact.)

    But I like the openness here. Sure, i don’t see the nonsense which Joe must suffer.

    It has to come down to time, and if it was a straight toss between GP+ and this blog, well forget the blog. My next personal geek project will be writing a script to print GP+ moment it comes out. Not very “eco”, but how eco is keeping all these other electronics running?

    I’d like to say that as far as i am aware, everyone i know has looked in to Joe’s blog. Down to my octagenarian Mother, who is now so hooked, for my mum who always said boy racers were silly, she was raving about the Graham Hill doc on the BBC other night. That’s sweet, and entirely because of this place.

    I’d also like to say, that some ten years ago (i think, was a blur) i had the worst winter ever. I was literally pulled out of the gloom by Joe’s online encyclopaedia. Something like that happened this winter also. So, having freely available materials, is something i have to thank my lucky stars for.

    I do not know how to translate those facts into a working rate card, but this has been on my mind rather a lot lately. Just not my niche. But i think there is a natural premium on such goodwill from a publisher, and i know it’s rare as hens teeth to experience it.

    There is a funny thing on the internet, where the expectation is of free. This is compounded by the fact individuals pay for “access”.

    Back to the FT analogy. Say i gave out the FT for free. So I get it written, print it, offer it for free and *then* i have to pay to send it out to you first class. That’s how all but the biggest websites work. The very biggest get their “postage” (bandwidth) for free by peering arrangements. The cover price you see on a magazine merely pays for the print & distribution. Without adverts you’d have to pay 20 quid a copy. That’s an underestimate. Good newsletters (example: Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, to pick a goody) cost THOUSANDS to subscribe a year. THAT is a realistic price!

    Think of it. Even Joe’s home ISP is called “Free”. What does that make the naive consumer expect?

    Although i was far from late to the internet party, i have often described it as a mug’s game for authors. Look at Apple’s attempt at land – grab! We are killing not just the commons, but levelling the High Ground.

    I think i had better get off my tuffet and at least try to see if there’s anything i can do.

    For Joe: transition this, if you can, rather than blow it up. I think everyone above is actually taking this seriously.

    This blog is valuable to me for the other comments, as well. It feels friendly. A few quid is fair entry. But i’d like the rest to get a look-in too. Please do not make it the party no-one is invited to.


    – john

  144. Somehow my link to a video talk didn’t appear, at least to me. Easily found. Joel Spolsky. Stack Overflow. A Google seminar.

    They had to deal with a very big and noisy community, and found ways to automate, which has had good results so far.

    all best,

    – john

  145. Hi Joe,

    I am not a subscriber to GP+ but I read your marvelous blog regularly. I know that you receive a great deal of hassle but very much hope that you don’t limit the ability to comment to GP+ readers. That would detract from the over all experience.

    Don’t know if you have tested Google adwords in order to promote GP+. Have just typed in; Autosport, F1 and F1 News and virtually no ads come up. So you could test pay per click advertising for a few pence. About 90% of search in the UK goes through Google, so would always test with Google first before moving on to the lesser search engines.


  146. So basically ud be charging with having the courage to admit to it???? Frankly I’m not surprised and have been expecting you to try something like this. I do not comment a lot so I would still come here to read but it would be disappointing.


  147. The other problem I see for you Joe is that after the initial influx of subscribers emanating from this open forum, you will have little or no more new subscribers BECAUSE of the closed forum.

    Your voice is your best form of advertisement. I come back time and time again because you actively involve yourself in these discussions. We like you because you are NOT unbiased.
    Sometimes I agree, sometimes I roll my eyes, but that is what makes your blog/open forum so enticing to me.

    You are Joe Saward.


  148. Joe, it depends what you want to do. If you want to incentivise people yo subscribe to GP , then yes, it’s probably a good idea. If your motivation is to improve the quality of comments, well you’re making the assumption that your subscribers are all, for want of a better phrase, “the right sort.” It’s certainly true that non-subscribers contain some good contributors, I would have thought that the converse is likely true, too.

    Whatever you decide, good luck. I enjoy the blog immensely.

  149. A full no-go for me.
    I mean, I really don’t mind commenting or not.
    But my underlying thinking is that if I must pay for every single blog in every single subject I am intersted about, it would be a nonsense. 5 sports sites and/or blogs, 5 news/newpapers, plus politics, economics, music and so on… So my way is no. I cannot permit myself shrinking hundreds of usd for the hole suscription of the hole internet.
    Thus, I will keep moving on.

  150. If you charge people to read or comment on your blog, it really needs to be more than just a blog…
    Doesn’t bother me much, commenting here wouldn’t be the high spot of my day.

  151. “Earning” = paying for
    “brilliant” = untested
    “increase” = could go either way

    You have a very good hook – just need to perfect the landing of the fish < 5000.

  152. Autosport killed their live timming and commenting this year F1 tests. So? We went for another spanish or greek or chinese or whatever blog to follow the tests. Even if that wont want to work, we were in good mood to wait untill next day to read about it.
    There were no casualties.

  153. Autosport circulation: ABC 01 Jan 2010 – 31 Dec 2010 29,144

    Brian Bedonde has the right idea – even increase blog readers via google – AOL are doing it – blog leads to a potential sale of another product

  154. I was going to say that few things could be more calculated to dissuade me from taking out the subscription I was seriously considering than feeling I was having my arm twisted like that, but: 187 comments on this thread before I even noticed it… maybe you have a point.

    I still don’t like the idea but your blog, your rules.

  155. hi Joe

    I have a motorsport community based site like yours, and when i was a bit short of cash due to some unfortunate circumstances i explained the situation to my membership and asked for donations. i raised over $9000 in around 2 weeks. that was enough money for me to keep the site running for over a year and a half so far, and i think I’ll get another year out of the money before i have to do another donation drive.

    The good thing about donations is those who don’t have much money, but appreciate the work you do can throw in $5, whereas the more wealthy members can put in what they can afford. i had 2 members each throw in $500, with the majority giving in the $20-50 range.

    Naturally anyone who donated over $25 would automatically receive your magazine, but you might find a bunch of your fans throwing in much more just because they appreciate your work and want to help you out

    i think that if you were to disable comments for non-contributing members of your site you would discourage growth of your site and in turn discourage sales of your magazine. People need to read for a while, then work up the courage to make a comment or two, get a response from you making them feel wanted as a member, then flow on to subscribe to your magazine.

    Perhaps subscribers/donators could get a star before their comments, or maybe their comments could be in bold, or show up at the top of the comments list and the non-paying members go to the bottom of the list, there’s heaps of ways to encourage members to donate/subscribe without simply cutting them off

    I for one will be subscribing to your magazine today no matter what you decide, but i would think you would do better considering some of my ideas listed above. however at the end of the day it’s your site and your decision

  156. I can’t believe I read as many comments as I did on this topic. How about just charging a buck to make a comment. Passionate commenters need to pay for the privilege. I am looking forward to my first year of gpplus without reader generated anything

  157. to pay for the right to comment is just absurd..
    what sounds better is that you should make us to access your blog..
    i think this idea came to you when you blog ventured into politics and the amount of “daft” comments..
    maybe you should stick to racing with your blog joe..

  158. I’ve been religiously following F1 for so many years and frequent all the F1 sites. From my opinion Joesaward blog is the best among them all. I’m sure the hate messages are not coming from the people who read this blog regularly.

    My sincere suggestion is to ignore the trolls and please do not approve the messages if you think it will not add any value.

    You have every right to decide how to you want to run your business, and the people like me are very fortunate to read such a quality content with regular updates.

    If possible you could keep these on a dedicated domain of your choice and plug some Ads, initially it might not be much but in the long term it will be sizable.

    if you choose a generic F1 domain name, it will be a very good business model like F1-live which got sold to Espn.

    I’m looking for a job right now, my first thing to do after landing a job is to buy myself GP+ subscription.

  159. (corrected)
    to pay for the right to comment is just absurd..
    actually what makes more sense is that you should make us pay to access your blog..
    i think this idea came to you when you blog ventured into politics and the amount of “daft” comments related to that..
    maybe you should stick to racing with your blog joe..

  160. I have no idea why you don’t do this in the first place.

    But it won’t make me subscribe. I like inside stories from F1 but what I mainly care about is watching the races, then waiting for the next race, then watching that. All the talk and guff and ‘inside news’ in the world doesn’t change the results of the races.

  161. What an absolutely terrible idea. I love ot read your opinion, Joe, and to comment on it from time to time, but if it becomes so that I have to purchase your product in order to do so I wouldn’t bother. I can safely tell you, as someone who runs a lively forum, that I wouldn’t be alone. You should have the experience and sense to see that.

  162. @Joe

    Thanks,I have investigated Paypal,I was not aware of this until now.Still can’t afford it though.


    R280 is a lot when you’re unemployed,and trying to pay for rent,food,etc. I’ll stick to Joe’s excellent frre blog,thanks 😉

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