In a move that may inspire many imitators or prove financially disastrous, popular blogger Andrew Sullivan is leaving his home at The Daily Beast to take his blog completely independent. In order to do this, he's counting on his readers to be willing to pay $19.99 per year for the privilege.
Optimistic pullquote here:
...if hardcore Dishheads want to give us some love for the years of free blogging and for the adventure ahead, we'd be crazy not to take it.
Actual, discussion-worthy point here:
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.
This is precisely why I'd say he's certain to fail. Sullivan is a political writer who takes strong positions, and is nearly always linked to by others, be they in agreement and looking to add their dittos, or dissenters who wish to pick him apart. If following links from those people is free, why give Sully the $20? For the privilege of calling yourself a hardcore Dishhead?
In case you don't think this topic is sufficiently nerdy, I'll say this - if his plan actually works, Sullivan will undoubtedly inspire others to proceed in the same fashion. Would you stay loyal to your favorite blog if you had to pay a premium, but could read the more popular entries free via external links? Variety tried the paywall, and finally gave it up recently (a huge relief to people like me who wanted to link to their scoops, but ended up linking to secondary sources instead).
TR will not be going that direction. But best of luck to those who try.