Monday, May 21, 2007

A critique of The FanHouse

Based on a fascinating email thread between AOL FanHouse writers, we thought we'd do an entire post on this.

About a week and a half ago, a blog called Dawg Sports wrote a rather critical piece about the FanHouse. Dawg Sports is part of the SB Nation blog network, which our U-Dub Dish is also a part of.

First off, we were really disappointed about the nature of the post. Though well-written, the post seemed to go against what blogs are all about (including keeping the posts short!) and really rubbed us the wrong way.

One of the greatest things about the sports blogosphere is that rather than compete, sites seem to be rooting each other on; we want fellow bloggers to succeed. You wouldn't know that reading this piece.

That said, Dawg Sports' post brings up some interesting points that have been discussed thoroughly in the aforementioned FanHouse email thread.

Namely is the issue of voice. For example, we like to think that at The Big Picture, we've established a voice you've become familiar with. You know you can expect dick jokes and f-bombs here.

But our voice isn't quite as distinct at The 'House. That's our fault. We're working hard to change that.

As the reader, we'd love your opinion on things you like and things that can be improved at The FanHouse.

-Are bloggers' work on their home sites better than their work at AOL?
-Is the writing at The FanHouse watered-down?
-Not enough community?

We'd really like to hear you thoughts in the comments.

Very few things are perfect, and The FanHouse is certainly not a perfect blog. But it's really something special. Nearly every story's covered, there's strong writing, and there's more and more creativity everyday.

Blogging over at AOL has been a pleasure and something we're incredibly proud to be a part of. Nothing can change that.

(And, like always to compensate for any serious post, that's a picture of a hot chick to improve your Monday).


eric nusbaum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eric nusbaum said...

I just don't get the whole one person referring to himself as "we" thing. It is so pointless, yet seems so prevalent in the sports blog world.

Unknown said...

My problem with the FanHouse is the same as it's always been:

1) As noted, voices are watered down.

2) The main goal seems to be generating as many in-house hits as possible. Outside blogs are rarely linked. (While obviously hits are the goal for any site, I feel content should be put first - the hits will follow.)

3) This is the biggest one - there's too much content. I always know that every single thing will be covered at the Fanhouse, and the problem with that is that every single thing doesn't need to be covered. Mentioned is one thing, but if Gerald Green sneezes, there's not an entire post in there.

Often I see (20) in the new posts for NBA Fanhouse in the feedreader, and I can be assured that 15 of those posts are completely irrelevent and there just for the sake of posting something.

Unknown said...

btw if I were going to overhaul the Fanhouse, here's what I'd do:

1) Narrow each sport's writers down to one or two, and let them run it with their personal voice/vibe, and even then, every post that goes up needs to be thought through in terms of "Is this worth writing about or am I just making $10?".


2) Put a true head editor in charge of guiding content.

(btw does anyone else get bothered by the use of the term "editor" for writers of blogs? An editor edits - a blogger should be referred to as an author or writer. It just seems like a faux-important tag that's used for no reason.)

TJX said...

I see you guys at the U Dub Dish update frequently. I used to be a frequent anonymous hero contributor before you guys took that off, and reported that Spencer Hawes could transfer a couple of months ago.

Maybe UDubdish will be up and running in the college football season.

THN said...

I miss the James Dungy jokes on FanHouse.

The Big Picture said...


The whole "we" thing is really silly and, for a post like this, doesn't really work.

though there are other writers at this site (sorta) so most posts are supposed to be OUR take (hence "we") rather than MY take...

still, it's silly, i know.


Great thoughts. really appreciate them and those are things that can be discussed with the FanHouse writers.

As for the "editor" thing, couldn't agree more.

authors create content, editors edit that content.

Anonymous said...

First person posting also gets kind of annoying. Especially when it is not needed. Any posts that starts with "I" typically gets ignored. FanHouse should be led people away from that.

eric nusbaum said...


I'm just glad to see the Schnurs are doing well in life. That people really can overcome writing for The Daily.

Ray said...

1.) I believe there is a certain sect of writers who only contribute sparingly to The Fanhouse and do their best work at their own blogs. That's fine, as the content IS a little watered down, and you have complete freedom to do whatever you please with your own site. But that's not the case entirely, as you can look at MJD and Bethlehem Shoals. Both are doing fantastic work at The Fanhouse, and MJD has virtually abandoned his old site.

2.) Sure, it's a little watered down, but you can't throw F-bombs all over the place when your sponsor is a multinational media conglomerate that stresses the family ethos. Dems da breaks.

3.) The lack of community is due to the fact that AOL is so far-reaching and attracts its fair share of idiots. Smaller blogs build from a grass roots perspective with minimal resources, meaning the writers and readers become much more familiar with each other, and typically appreciate each other a whole lot more. I don't see a real community building in the Fanhouse comments section, as there's just too many people and topics, meaning there isn't the same level of familiarity you have at a Deadpsin, or even somewhere like this forum.

Anonymous said...

That said, Dawg Sports' post brings up some interesting points that have been discussed thoroughly in the aforementioned FanHouse email thread.
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