Islanders pull plug on NYI Point Blank


Islanders Point Blank is no longer the "team-sponsored blog." As a result, Point Blank may not be around much longer.

Like just about everything in sports, it’s only business. Nothing personal, and it’s certainly not about anything I’ve written that the franchise may not have loved.

Ten months ago, the Islanders "longtime media relations VP" Chris Botta started a new blog called Islanders Point Blank, a site bankrolled by the team and which quickly grew an enormous following.

At 7:17 p.m. on Wednesday night, Botta broke the bad news above. Six hours later, there are 318 comments, with No. 318 expressing what most have expressed in one word: "Heartbreaking."

Based on his audience size — which he pegs at about 400,000 unique visitors a month — Botta is one of the most read hockey bloggers out there and likely the most read one not affiliated with a major media outlet. Despite the popularity of his site, however, Botta's come to the conclusion (the right one, in my opinion) that it would be very difficult attempting to make it on his own as a blogger:

In response to the many readers suggesting they would pay for a subscription, your kindness is incredible. Thanks also to those readers and friends asking about potential sponsorships. It simply is not a wise business model – not with a family, not at my age, in my opinion not in this age. Even with the popularity of the site, the numbers do not add up to a full-time living, do not add up to being able to do this blog the right way - writing and thinking about it every waking hour. These concerns have been confirmed by many people I consider experts in blogging and the business of New Media.

The sad reality is that monetizing something like Point Blank would likely be a long process, one that would take a lot of faith and hard work to pursue. Botta calls the site "an idea that was ahead of its time," and I think he's right on that front as teams likely will begin to see the value in ideas like his more and more in the future.

Right now, the fans are mobilizing, saying they'll fight to protect the site, so maybe there's hope on that front. A major media organization in the area would do well to hire Botta and use his connections and insight to produce web, print and broadcast material that would obviously have a large audience.

Here's hoping that's what happens. His was a good voice to have in the blogosphere.

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