Andrew Sullivan Is Doing Fine | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Andrew Sullivan Is Doing Fine

Play associated audio

Two months ago, the popular political blogger Andrew Sullivan left the comfortable world of big media and struck out on his own. His bold new plan: Ask readers to pay $19.99 a year or more to subscribe to his blog.

"It was either quit blogging, or suck it up and become a businessman," he told me.

The usual way bloggers make money (if they make money at all) is to sell advertising. But Sullivan figured he could get his devoted reader base to pay. Within the first week, he'd raised half a million dollars. By the end of about two months, the total had crept up to $625,000.

The goal, for him and his staff of about eight employees, is to raise roughly a million dollars by the end of the year.

We ran Sullivan's figures — his readership, how much time they spend on the site — by Rob Leathern, ad guy with a firm called Optimal Social. He was impressed by how engaged Sullivan's readers are — they spend an average of 17 minutes a day on the site, and 80 percent check in twice a day.

"It's definitely valuable real estate," Leathern said, and he figured Sullivan could raise about $840,000 a year if he sold ads.

For now, though, Sullivan would rather sell subscriptions than sell ads (and chase page views). "If you're all about chasing the page views, it doesn't matter what the bloody page views are in the end," he said. "The rat race just takes over."

His site is a mix of short and long posts — and his favorites as a writer tend to be the long ones. Since he switched to the subscription model, he has noticed that those long posts seem to be popular with the people who are paying to read. In other words, Andrew Sullivan the blogger now has an incentive to write posts that work for Andrew Sullivan the businessman.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Amazon Deal With Simon & Schuster Raises Questions For Other Publishers

Amazon has received a fair amount of bad press lately over its long-running dispute with the Hachette publishing house. So Monday's announcement of a deal with Simon & Schuster took some industry watchers by surprise.
NPR

From NFL To 'Scandal,' Whole Foods Buys TV Ads To Boost Its Brand

A pioneer in selling organic, sustainable groceries, Whole Foods now finds itself beset by competitors. So it's launching its first national ad blitz to sell socially conscious consumers on its story.
NPR

Obama Has To Balance His Base Without Hurting Dems In Red States

If Democrats have a chance of hanging onto Senate seats in southern states, they need to do well with African American voters. But for President Obama, that creates a difficult balance between turning out the base and energizing GOP voters who don't like him.
NPR

In Silicon Valley, Paying For Access To Peace Of Mind

The San Francisco area is the home to the high-tech sector and has a history of embracing Eastern spirituality. Now the two meet in the yoga and meditation classes popular with the local tech workers.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.