I love this. Andrew Sullivan is taking his blog indie. And he’s not doing it through advertising, but through a pure (and smart) payment layer:
Our particular version will be a meter that will be counted every time you hit a “Read on” button to expand or contract a lengthy post. You’ll have a limited number of free read-ons a month, before we hit you up for $19.99. Everything else on the Dish will remain free. No link from another blog to us will ever be counted for the meter - so no blogger or writer need ever worry that a link to us will push their readers into a paywall. It won’t. Ever. There is no paywall.
An easy way to think of this: the most dedicated and loyal readers pay while everyone else doesn’t — with the hope that they’ll become dedicated and loyal readers who do eventually pay. Again, I love this.
I get pinged quite often about monetizing this site — I’m simply not interested in doing that by way of advertising. I am sort of interested in the payment layer just because it seems like something along these lines has to work eventually if content is going to survive.
Right now, the barriers to pay on the web still seem too big. There needs to be an iTunes-like one-click payment layer for the web. Maybe it’s a big company like Amazon, maybe it’s a startup like Stripe, or maybe it’s someone else.
But it really is and should be simple in my mind: if you provide value to people, they’ll pay for it. I’m not a regular reader of The Dish, but you better believe I’m donating to the cause.