NEW YORK: As baseball season opened last week, MLB.com pulled the plug on its month-old MLBtv blog. The old site - MLBtv.MLBlogs.com – now redirects to its existing customer support forum.
While the organization explained to PRWeek that it did so because the beta development period of its new MLB.TV online media player was finished, some users complained about its seemingly abrupt disappearance. Past blog posts related to development, problems, and solutions for the service. Some subscribers have asked about the blog on the MLB.TV support forum, commenting that the blog was "useful" and made it "easy to find updates."
"[The blog's] original intention was to be a place during the beta development of our media player," said Matt Gould, VP of corporate communications for MLB.com. After being up throughout March, the blog was "not relevant to the live product," he said, and taking it down post-beta was "pretty standard."
Much of the media coverage of the situation focused on the problems that some subscribers had with MLB.TV on Opening Day and previously, but some pointed to what seemed to be a "social media stumble," according to one headline. PR professionals often caution against any removal of past communications, particularly in the online sphere.
"When you start blogging as a company, you've got to set the rules of the road," said Jud Branam, MD of MS&L Digital. "If you don't set any rules and you just start taking people's issues, you're implying that it is an ongoing conversation, where people can turn back to it. We live in long-term, online archive kind of environment."
When asked if the limited duration of the blog was made clear from the onset, Gould said he was sure the group did so “in some way.” He also said the company, which did not work with a PR firm, does not intend to go forward with communications as to why the blog was removed.
Gould added that out of the 250,000 subscribers to MLB.TV, less than 1% had problems with MLB.TV on Opening Day and "our fans are paying customers and they know that the support forum is the place to go to get their problem solved."