I don't have a favorite subscriber. I don't have a favorite type of subscriber. But I'll absolutely acknowledging having a favorite type of subscriber story.
Goes like this: Someone serves in the military. That someone gets a free military subscription for this site. And that someone enjoys it enough that eventually they help pay the way for someone else in the military to get one, too.
A few days ago, we received the following email from Kent Stahlman, currently deployed in the U.S. Navy, and it's reprinted here in full with his kind permission:
DK and Team,
I just wanted to let you know that I have joined as a Lifetime Lunatic after being a part of the site using a military subscription for the last few years. No need to refund my account for anything but, if you are able to pass the rest of my military subscription on to another military member, all the better.
I have been considering joining as a Lifetime Lunatic for quite some time. I was disappointed to miss out on the Lunatic Bricks when this venture started and held off in case they ever made another appearance. In the end, it was worth it to me to trade the possible five-plus years of military subscription I had remaining to be counted among the Lifetime Lunatics. Even better for me that I am able to subscribe on the fifth anniversary of the site.
Keep up the awesome work! You are doing a great thing for Pittsburgh sports fans. Even while deployed, as I currently am, I am able to get the inside story on my favorite teams. I hope the fifth anniversary bash is a great time! I wish I could be there in person! All the best!
AOC Kent Stahlman
VFA-103 Jolly Rogers ☠
I love this program. Everything about it. But nothing more than hearing stuff like this.
For those new to our little venture, it's worked this way: We've always absorbed the cost of all subscriptions for all active-duty U.S. military. Our readers, in turn, reached out to similarly step for all U.S. military veterans by contributing to a pool we collect to distribute those upon request.
Then, early this year, our friend Josh DeNinno at Moon Golf Club came up with the concept of pushing all of us to reach 1,000 full-year military subscriptions for the calendar year through his Veterans Challenge. And to back that, Josh is buying 10 a month himself for a total of 100, leaving 900 for everyone else.
To date, we've sold 258, not counting Josh's. And that's awesome. And appreciated. It'll be a heck of a climb to meet the goal, but it's not impossible.
Current state of the program: We began the week with 27 veteran requests, and one generous subscriber stepped up Monday by buying five, so the deficit at the moment is 22.
And speaking of Lifetimes ...
LIFETIMES RUNNING OUT!
We've sold 85 Lifetime Lunatic subscriptions, including three more this week, so only 15 remain toward our cap of 100. It costs $299. If you'd like one, buy it here. If you're an existing subscriber and want to go Lifetime, do the same thing, then email us at Help@DKPittsburghSports.com to let us know. We'll refund the remainder of your existing account.
HECK OF A MONTH
July was very good to this site, to put it mildly.
Our 2,743,525 page views, per Google Analytics, represented our biggest month in that regard since April of 2018, as well as a 43.2 percent year-over-year increase from last July, which was 1,912,968. This is still short of our goal of 3 million per month, but this also wasn't exactly the hottest month for sports. We'll get there. We've got football and hockey coming soon, and we've never been better equipped to cover both.
We also had our biggest subscription revenue month since May of 2018, this despite falling short of our goal for new subscribers -- we wanted 100, and we got 74 -- in large part because we had a lot of previous subscribers come back to us. That number's very time-consuming to compute, but trust me, we heard this from a lot of people. And that's really cool.
Onward and upward. If July can roll like this, imagine how the better sports months can go.
THE TECH INITIATIVE
We heard from a lot of readers about last week's Site Stuff, in which I laid out our hope of dramatically upgrading our tech through a major financial initiative. To repeat from that piece, we have no clue which way such an endeavor will take us, but we're sharing the objective here for this exact purpose. Because we want to hear from people who know this sort of thing infinitely better than we do.
Thanks to everyone who's already made contact with us on this. And once again, we aren't interested in loans, VC money or anything that concedes any part of who we are. We're looking for an honest way to fund this extremely expensive (for us) initiative.
BECOME A PARTNER
We're always looking to grow our base of business partners, and there currently are several very good opportunities available to take advantage of our unprecedented reach. Our 2019 media kit has all the info you’d want. Email me directly at Dali@DKPittsburghSports.com to set up a meeting. -- Dali
BACK TO BUSINESS
• New subscribers for 2019 are at 617. You can now track this figure daily at the bottom of the desktop and tablet versions of the site.
• Our daily active app users, averaged out over the past week, are at 12,870, broken down as 10,258 on Apple, 2,612 on Android. That total's minus-132 from the previous week. This figure will always fluctuate with the seasons and the news, so the goal is a steady, gradual increase, initially to 15,000, a number we've never achieved.
• Our daily page views, averaged out over the past 30 days, are at 86,991. The goal with this figure is to average 100,000 — a number we've achieved only during the two Stanley Cup runs.
• Our most-hit original article of the past week -- exempting live files -- was a virtual dead heat between the two columns I wrote from New York on the Pirates' front office, one at 12,659, the other at 12,067. They're both right here. The Pirates accounted for 167,078 page views, the Steelers 160,164 and the Penguins 71,962.
• We're at 32,872 (+97) followers on Twitter, we're at 32,051 (+1) page likes on Facebook, we're at 11,210 (+67) followers on Instagram. These figures are just for our official company account on each platform, not for us as individuals.
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