Longtime blogger Andrew Sullivan is striking out on his own after years of partnerships with the likes of Time and The Daily Beast, and had this to say about including online advertising in his new venture:
The decision on advertising was the hardest, because obviously it provides a vital revenue stream for almost all media products. But we know from your emails how distracting and intrusive it can be; and how it often slows down the page painfully. And we’re increasingly struck how advertising is dominated online by huge entities, and how compromising and time-consuming it could be for so few of us to try and lure big corporations to support us. We’re also mindful how online ads have created incentives for pageviews over quality content.
That last sentence hit home. Online ads HAVE created incentives for pageviews over quality content. I saw that transformation hit the Seattle P-I like a bomb after it became an online-only site. After a couple years of excusing it as necessary, I looked around at non-profit news sites and phenomenal outlets that do phenomenal work and realized that’s not the case.
A journalist friend shared online that at a holiday party at the Orange County Register last month, the table placards read, “We are here to write stories, not generate content.” I loved that.
There are ways to monetize beyond online ads, particularly for small sites. And they’re worth considering.
Looking forward to seeing how andrewsullivan.com evolves …