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Blogonomics and independence

Blogonomics and independence

Andrew Sullivan:

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.


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It’s probably tax money, laundered though SEIU.

Andrew Sullivan is so smart that he has forgotten what happened to the readership of the New York Times “elete” columnists who ended up behind the TimesSelect paywall. After two years they bailed, because those who didn’t want to pay found another way in through the search engines.

Now with the new regime in place at the Fishwrap, the columnists are telling people in advance just how to get around the new, “limited free views” policy. Here is Paul Krugman.

    drdog09 in reply to gad-fly. | January 2, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    gad-fly has it just about right. The paywall incident taught NYT nothing. Their current thrust in web journalism is not doing any better and though it is slowly gaining some readership, it has not cracked the money angle as it still bleeds red. Been in IT for 30 years and been watching the blogging scene for almost a decade. My opinion is that there is NO money in blogging/web based journalism as digital-like pulp. At least in its current incarnation.

    The problem the legacy media has trying to transition to the web is multifold. First they still carry the baggage of that multimillion dollar 4 color press they must pay for vs say Sullivan paying for a T1 line or better and a colo web hosting at a couple of $100 a month. Second they still have all the legacy distribution costs of hauling pulp around daily. Third and this is key, their younger readership have two thoughts. A) They don’t need to pay for the content, it should be free in their minds. Much of what they know comes from Twitter and its free in their world. B) They don’t have the capability of paying for it. I mean seriously, half of the kids are living with mom and dad and are saddled with massive school debt.

    Besides straight news is a dead animal to the Gen X and Y crowd. Why keep flogging it? If you can’t wrap what’s important so that it lands on E!, TZM, Colbert Report or one of the late night shows it did not happen.

    I wish Sullivan good luck, but I don’t see it lasting. By the way Mr. Jacobson, no reflection on you, you have a great blog. But if you are covering your costs you are doing good.

Um. I don’t know how you can take $100,000 “donations” from people and consider yourself an independent. Huh. Oh, but wait. Everything’s different for Leftists. They get to make the rules. And then break them.


I smell a dead fish… I think I just saw it float by going with the BS stream.

As a famous circus dude once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Midwest Rhino | January 2, 2013 at 10:19 pm

The best “bloggers” sacrificed their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. That seems to deliver the best product. I’d guess that is always the problem with blogging for a living … there is a certain element of wanting to satisfy the customer, which might dull the cutting edge.

The premium content model is tried by some. A Friday night video chat summary of the week, for all donations over $25/year? Obama has made out pretty well singing and dancing, for a premium … but then he is pretty weak on substantive policy debate or constitutional law, so has to compensate. 😉

I just read somebody is going to offer a la carte cable, so Comcast might not be able to control content so much. They said ESPN gets $5/customer, but only 25% watch it.

That would make the Beck model enticing … maybe a consortium of bloggers could put together some kind of pay channel, or even just join with Beck, since he can only produce a couple decent hours. I don’t pay for his, but would if there were a dozen legit bloggers, and a Palin weekly show. Maybe even buy up a UHF slot? ha

I attended a focus group for a local news website, and it was a very enlightening meeting. There were about a dozen people, including three businessmen, me and the rest were women who said they relied heavily on that site for their news.

When they asked us about how they make money, the men and I were sympathetic. We had a few ideas. Mine was to charge 2 cents for using a link. No, I don’t know how to do that. Yes, it would be cheap, but there’d be money in stories that went viral.

The women said they wouldn’t pay anything under any circumstances. But they sure as hell had a lot to say about what the site could do to serve them.

Sullivan is the political Perez Hilton and as such, it’s no wonder Obama reads him, as PH braggs in the linked article. His style/content gossipy, shrill, angry, whiny with a lot of gay propaganda and his obsession with Sarah Palin was/is just plain wierd.

$19.99 a year? Cripe, I contribute more than that to almost every blog I visit on a regular basis.

The key word here is “contribute”. My sense of fairness wouldn’t let me read these blogs without contributing, just as the posts hear contribute to my education and enjoyment. Unfortunately, I suspect I’m in the minority.

I’d subscribe, Professor, if that were the only way to get your content. But I suspect our relationship might be affected. This seems like a friendship. That would be business. Not all bad, but different for sure.

But I sure as hell wouldn’t pay Sullivan to read the drivel he writes.

hear=here {sigh} Maybe you should charge us for a “preview” feature.

In a certain blog I read, one of the unique benefits is seeing old music video’s as I posted a few days ago. I check out the blog on Monday, and what do I see? Not one of my beloved vintage rock ‘n roll vids, but MY FAVORITE SONG OF ALL TIME performed by the original artist (I think) Louis Armstrong and What a Wonderful World. Every time I hear that song I still get chills. Now that’s what I call in the blogosphere value added. Take that Sullivan.

    MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to Callipygian1. | January 3, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I’m hoping before he quits posting the Armstrong vids, he finds one of Louie Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald performing “Summertime”, which is one of my top 5 all time favorites.

Maybe he’ll finally have enough money to fully investigate Trig’s birth! Bwa ha ha!

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | January 3, 2013 at 10:43 am

I love Obama. Republicans are crazy. Sarah Palin isn’t Trig’s mother.

Pay me $20.