UKClimbing.com today launches a new initiative, sponsoring top UK climbers with an annual salary. In return for hard cash support, the climbers will develop exciting content for UKC users to read and watch.
With our new 'Pro Partners' we will be able to deliver cutting-edge exclusive video news almost immediately after it has happened.
The selection criteria for the 'Pro Partners' was thrashed out between the staff team here at UKC. Suggestions for athletes to approach included Leo Houlding, Dave MacLeod, Steve McClure, Franco Cookson, Dave Birkett, James McHaffie, Lucy Creamer and Mina Leslie-Wujastyk.
We decided that we were really looking for young, upcoming performers, with an ability to blog about their adventures, but they had to be articulate enough to engage with users on the UKC Forums. It's as much about 'on-line presence' as climbing ability.
Mick Ryan commented:
"There's various well researched journalistic techniques to consider here, which I have read about in books. They have to be a big draw because we want hits on the site and everyone knows that hits make money. Controversy and scandal are our currency and apparently nudity goes down well too, plus any way we can mention Princess Diana."
The way internet advertising works is we get paid per 'hit'. Franco's recent video has had over 20,000 hits already. We can roughly work out our revenue at £1 per hit (for a news item) so from that article alone we are 20K up. Hence why we have been able to offer a salary of £20,000 to Franco.
Mick Ryan - UKC Business Strategist
Stats Don't Lie
Following the recent success of his exciting video news piece, young North York Moors specialist Franco Cookson was top of our list. Franco has an active blog, films and edits his own videos, and has a UKC Logbook and an active UKC Forum profile. He actually climbs at a fairly moderate level, but because of the ridiculous UK grading system, many UKC users think he climbs to a nationally significant standard.
"I'm really pleased to be working with Franco," said UKC Chief Editor Jack Geldard, "as my ego would take a battering if we sponsored someone better than me. I'm the (self appointed) hard-climbing face of UKC and I wouldn't like it if I didn't get to put photos of myself online all the time."
As part of our contract with Franco, he has provided us with full details of his life and climbing career, enabling us to put together a comprehensive CV. This four line document can be downloaded on our new Athlete's Page.
Franco Cookson - Climbing Fact Box:
Franco was excited about his new opportunity to work with UKC, a company he has been 'interacting' with for several years:
Franco Cookson - In the UK's top 100 climbers
UKC News, Mar 2011
© Prince Charles
"UKC's expansion reminds me of the commendable work of our brothers, the south American mining corporations." Cookson told UKC at his successful interview.
"One has to make a choice in life; either be the Amazonian mahogany and face the consequences of standing up to the tidal wave of consumerism, or capitulate and join the ever-growing ranks of UKC tyranny and try and produce something truly special in the name of marketing and grade inflation.
That is my dream. I see this backing by the UK's premier climbing resource as a real opportunity for me to develop my own climbing and I'm hoping this will allow me to realise my long term ambition of climbing Rainshadow [Steve McClure's F9a sport route] on trad gear - essentially without aid.
I've chatted to Steve and he reckons there's some potential peg placements at half height giving an opportunity for a massively inflated grade, if we extrapolate the V6 crux of The Hypocrisy of Moose [H7] to the V12 crux on Rainshadow we're talking BIG numbers - like H14/15. And let's face it, if the recent Tintwistle debate has taught us anything, it's that climbing is all about the numbers."
Alan James, Director of UKC and main forum moderator said:
"We knew resistance was futile, so we decided to assimilate Franco into UKC. We calculated that this assimilation will reduce the number of deleted forum posts by 95.7%. In your language it is referred to as the "if you can't beat 'em - join 'em" philosophy. It also makes financial sense as we may be offering Franco 20,000 pounds per year, but we have insured him for £250,000."
Related Video: Franco Cookson makes world's highest dive: