August 28, 2021
Newsletter platforms such as Ghost and Substack may be good writers’ incomes, but they’ve put important voices beyond the reach of the less affluent
Want to read Dominic Cummings’ innermost thoughts? That’s going to cost you | John Naughton
Once upon a time, Dominic Cummings had a blog and a very interesting one it was too. Now, he has a different kind of blog, which takes the form of a Substack newsletter. This comes in two flavours: one is free; the other is for subscribers who pay £10 a month for the privilege of having “premium” access to his thoughts. Occasionally, as last week, Dom gives free users a generous helping of his incendiary opinions, but more often the “free” version just contains teasers to the more interesting content that lies behind the £10 tollgate. Another word for this is clickbait.
I have no idea how many subscribers Mr Cummings has, but I’d guess it’s quite a lot, so at £10 per person per month he’s on to a nice little earner. And who can blame him, since he doesn’t seem to have a proper Job and in the old days people could read his old blog on the web for free, thereby contributing nothing to his income? But his shift from the web to Substack shows what a canny operator he is, for lots of other public intellectuals and journalists have been travelling in the same direction, sometimes making tons of money in the process.
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