I do not feel good about the professionalism at PWInsider.com, and yet I must venture there. For you, dear reader. For you.
It’s not JUST the fact that I feel as though I’m putting the health and wellbeing of my computer at risk every time I go there, traipsing through the pop-ups, and flashing ads and just really weird things that happen (like random sounds, and utterances… there may even be voodoo. I can’t be sure).
But it’s also a lingering feeling that my own intellect might somehow be drained if I expose myself to the stylings of Dave Scherer and Mike Johnson. I’ve heard the stories… I’ve seen the flame wars Scherer is known for. I’ve witnessed the sycophantry to which Johnson is accustomed. They are, in these arcane skills, artists. But can they… report?
Will I find within the depths of their Elite news service an original point of view, or perspective on the inner workings of the professional wrestling industry? Indeed, what, dear reader, will my money be paying for when I submit, and transmit my funds through the ether, via PayPal into their coffers? Will it be of value or simply a vapid recitation of current events blended with misleading headlines and hollow innuendo, rumor, and snark?
Whatever consequences I face for taking this bold, daring leap into the abyss, I remain compelled to sign up—for at least a time—as part of my journalistic duty as editor of Sheet Sandwich. Again, dear reader, for you; as it is… expected.
PWInsider is one of the bigger pay services, and oft cited as the biggest breaker of news—whether that means timely reporting of big stories, or mangling the headlines so severely as to render the subject matter meaningless, I leave to you to discern—and it’s probably worth at least taking a look at the inner workings of their Elite service.
As I set out on my assignment I am, of course, confronted with the realities of navigating to the PWInsider domain. Inundated with pop-ups, and confronted with countless, flashing advertisements surrounding their pages, obnoxiously covering every last inch of the site—sometimes, logic and reason be damned, on multiple levels with overlays covering ads beneath ads beneath ads…
I quickly close their most offending ads, clearing the way so I can scan their menu, searching desperately for a “Sign Up” button or prompt. But none materializes.
With haste, I click instead on PWINSIDER ELITE on the top menu bar, figuring most Sign-In promotes are accompanied by some sort of “not yet a member, sign up here” option. An, voila, I am correct. Their bare bones sign-in page has the option I seek. “[Become an Elite Member]”
Simplistic, yet somehow ominous. Not since I sat through Going Clear had I felt so uneasy and suspicious. I clicked the link.
It’s plain. Clean. Free of style and, better, banners, ads or overlays. It’s a simple text page that gives me pause.
This “sign up” page leaves me unsure… It looks like something slapped together by a Nigerian Prince desperately in need of help.
First of all, I’m given options that confuse me. Here, for the first time on my journey I learn of something called PWInsiderXtra.com. But there is no explanation present as to what this is.
I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between PWInsider and PWInsiderXtra. And both have an Elite version? But really, the PWInsiderXtra Elite is only worth $1, but I can’t get it on its own, only as a package with PWInsider.com Elite… okay, great. That convinces me it must be shit. So I don’t want it.
Even as this unexpected confrontation with decision passed, the unease would not subside…
I read the Important Notes section, and things get fuzzier for me. Like, creepy fuzzy.
“Your user name and password will be emailed to you as soon as we get your processed information.”
What? Is this 2015? This seems archaic. I can’t even set my own username and password?
I pause. Was it time to reconsider? Had I made a rash decision… I shook my head, took a deep breath, and pressed on, only to read:
“Your PWInsider.com will be set within 24 hours of your sign up, and usually within a few hours at most.”
The pop-ups and overlay ads had been one thing, but now I was being bombarded with stabbing blows to the very core of reason and clarity.
Which was it? Within 24 hours, or a few hours at most? Because part of me feels like it would be, at most, 24 hours. If it’s within a few hours at most, why even bring 24 hours into it?
This does nothing for my confidence that this site knows what it’s doing in processing my order. Are there mice involved in this? Dial-up servers? Modems from War Games involved? What the hell is happening?
As I shake my head clear once again, the fine hairs on the back of my neck prickle, and rise. I look over my shoulder at nothing in particular except for maybe, deep down, half expecting a dusty, tattered edition of the Wrestling Observer, coded with a warning that the Outer Gods would not like me to proceed any further.
The creepy and unclear turn salacious as we get this borderline solicitation of favors somehow sexual in nature…
“if you don’t get your information within 24 hours of signing up, please us by clicking here.”
What does this even mean? What happens if I click there? How will this please them? What am I promising to do for this pleasure? I’m not signing up for this!
At this point, just when I think it couldn’t get any more bizarre, the ghost of Black Beard appears…
“ The information contained on the Elite site is our exclusive, proprietary information and content and it not allowed to be reposted on other sites. Any violation of these terms will result in your account being suspended and any money you paid to us be forfeited.”
Arr, matey. Yer money be ar’s and ar’s alone.
I’ve got to think about this a little longer.
To be continued…