For what it's worth, I just got an email from Mike Lasday, who's behind the Pirates Fan Advisor site. Here's what he has to say.
I just ready your post about my Pirates Fan Advisor website on SB nation and I'd like to set the record straight about this initiative.
I have a background in corporate advisory boards and a passion for baseball. I came up with an idea of creating large scale independent advisory boards for teams in an effort to collect a singular fan voice on an entire range of issues facing the team that they love. My test team is the Pirates and I asked Mr. Coonelly to make a video saying that the team enjoys getting fan feedback. My goal always has been win-win. I would deliver absolutely free to the club weekly statistically valid fan perspectives and the team would agree to receive those reports and the fan advisors would legitimately feel that their voice is being considered.
Like in any corporate advisory model (which I make clear on the website), the team still of course makes all of the decisions but at last there would be a single (and again statistically valid) data point about fans' perspectives which can serve to assist the team in decision making.
On my site, I was not suggesting that blogs or talk radio are bad. I am a consumer of both. My point was that fans for years complained about not being "heard" and how teams don't care what they think. Yet there has never been a vehicle to actually calculate in a meaningful manner the actual voice of the fan. Teams do customer surveys, but that's not what I'm talking about. The business model is set up more like an association than anything else. Ultimately, fans themselves will determine whether they believe the value of being part of a collective voice being heard by the fan merits the subscription fees.
I'm happy to talk to you directly and discuss this in more detail. I also wanted to write you directly outside of the public blog format, but if you'd like to post this on your blog that would be fine as well. I have no issue whatsoever if you or anyone else wants to argue that these efforts are a waste of time or that images on the site are insulting to fans, I only request that any definitive conclusions be based on facts which I am happy to provide.
Chief Fanatical Officer Fan Advisor Network
For the record, Lasday's website describes "traditional 'fan forums'" as "banal" and says that "a majority on those sites are simply not as knowledgeable" as, uh, fans who want to pay $9.95 or more each month to answer questions.
UPDATE: The Pirates respond to the Pirates Fan Advisor video, essentially saying that Frank Coonelly recorded the video and the Pirates agreed to take feedback from Pirates Fan Advisor when a Pirates Fantasy Camp attendee (presumably Lasday) asked them to. But the Pirates aren't making any money from this and don't want to give the impression that they are, so they have asked Pirates Fan Advisor to take the Coonelly video down. One might think they would have gotten all the details before having their team president agree to participate in something like this, but apparently not.