And so, as we contemplated the end of our contract with the Beast at the end of 2012, we faced a decision. As usual, we sought your input and the blogosphere’s – hence the not-terribly subtle thread that explored whether online readers will ever pay for content, and how. The answer is: no one really knows. But as we debated and discussed that unknowable future, we felt more and more that getting readers to pay a small amount for content was the only truly solid future for online journalism. And since the Dish has, from its beginnings, attempted to pioneer exactly such a solid future for web journalism, we also felt we almost had a duty to try and see if we could help break some new ground.
The only completely clear and transparent way to do this, we concluded, was to become totally independent of other media entities and rely entirely on you for our salaries, health insurance, and legal, technological and accounting expenses….
Hence the purest, simplest model for online journalism: you, us, and a meter. Period. No corporate ownership, no advertising demands, no pressure for pageviews … just a concept designed to make your reading experience as good as possible, and to lead us not into temptation.
So for the next month, we’re going to offer you advance membership of the Dish for $19.99 a year, which translates to $1.67 a month, which is around a nickel a day….
To be honest, we didn’t know where to set the price – we have almost no precedents for where we want to go – but $19.99 seemed the lowest compatible with a serious venture. We wanted to make this as affordable as possible, while maximizing revenues.
Blogonomics is one of the mysteries. It’s hard to make a living, hence so many independent bloggers have other jobs. And blog in their spare time.
While joining corporate media has an allure, there’s a huge plus to independence. Particularly for rugged individualists.
Apparently many of Sullivan’s readers not only are signing up, they’re throwing big dollars his way.