Andrew Sullivan, one of the first and still one of the most popular bloggers on politics, made the surprise announcement Wednesday that he is taking the blog independent and putting it on a meter.
Sullivan’s blog has been hosted by The Daily Beast since early 2011, after stints with Time magazine and The Atlantic. Sullivan, along with staffers Patrick Appel and Chris Bodenner, have launched a new entity called Dish Publishing LLC. The site will return to its original URL of AndrewSullivan.com in February, using a metered paywall model similar to that of the New York Times- but the new site will not include advertising.
Sullivan has offered an unlimited reading option for a preorder price of $19.99 per month. Sullivan wrote of the decision:
Here’s the core principle: we want to create a place where readers – and readers alone – sustain the site. No bigger media companies will be subsidizing us; no venture capital will be sought to cushion our transition (unless my savings count as venture capital); and, most critically, no advertising will be getting in the way.
We’re only human and so 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. We may be fooling ourselves, and it would be imprudent for us to rule out all advertising right now for ever. So we won’t. But it would be a great missed opportunity, in my view, not to try.
The British-born Sullivan launched the blog during the presidential election in 2000, and it has chronicled the author’s transition from Bush-loving conservative to a staunch supporter of President Barack Obama, even while continuing to identify as a Tory-style conservative. It has also chronicled the reactions openly gay author, who was writing books in favor of same-sex marriage in the mid-’90s, to progress on the issues of gay rights in America.