"If you're not paying for the product, you are the product being sold": Andrew Sullivan leaves Daily Beast to relaunch ad free, subscription-based blog
Political blogger Andrew Sullivan has announced he will leave the Daily Beast in order to relaunch his blog, The Dish, which will generate revenue from subscriptions instead of advertising.
A staff of seven will run the site, using what Sullivan calls the 'leaky meter' model, which gives readers a number of free page views before requiring them to sign-up for an annual subscription.
From 1 February the site will be found under the new address andrewsullivan.com and from April 2013 will charge $19.99 for unlimited viewing.
Sullivan has also announced he will not be running any adverts on the new site, relying purely on revenue from subscriptions. Sullivan told TechCrunch that he believed advertising-based models encouraged either blatant traffic whoring, such as galleries of topless celebrities, or more 'subtle corruption' evident in special issues created for advertisers. He said: "Both those avenues seem kind of desperate. You find yourself trying to create pageviews that don't really have any editorial basis."
Writing about the decision to go ad-free Sullivan told his readers: "We want to set up the incentives so we are geared entirely to improving the total reader experience, not to ratchet up hits, or to please corporate advertisers. It would be imprudent for us to rule out all advertising right now forever ... but it would be a great missed opportunity, in my view, not to try. Remember the classic saying: 'If you're not paying for the product, you are the product being sold'."
Sullivan made the announcement after hosting a discussion on the economics of paywalls and paid content, with many saying that this move will be seen as another move away from free content models for online journalism and towards a paid-for access approach.
Speaking to TechCrunch the blogger said he had already received subscription rates into six figures.