Will SubStack Newsletter Live? A company is weighing its future.

These are the things that newsletter author Kristen Hahn remembers about the SubStack. These mere downsides are not enough to overweight.

He dislikes that the platform presents itself as a haven for freelance writers with less resources, while many prominent white men have presented ten figures. The Hand-off Content Detection Policy, which permits the language of transphobic and anti-vaccines, does not sit together. She also didn’t like to earn $ 20,000 in subscription revenue and then $ 2,600 in fees to SubStack and its payment processor.

So last year, Ms. Hahn moved her newsletter, We, The Citizen, to a competing service. She now pays $ 780 a year to publish through Ghost, but said she’s still almost in the subscription.

“It wasn’t too difficult,” he said. “I looked at some of the options that people were talking about.”

A long time ago, subcontractors upset mainstream media executives, mocked their star writers, lured their readers and, intimidated them, threatened their stability. Flush with venture money, the start was called “the future of media.”

But now, the subtreeks find themselves no longer a windshield but a company facing a host of challenges. Depending on who you talk to, these challenges are either a standard start-up pain or a threat to the future of the company.

Tech Gain, News Outlet and other companies have launched competing newsletter platforms in the past year. Users who had loaded the newsletter during the epidemic started measuring back. And many famous writers, such as Associate English Professor Grace Laurie and climate journalist Mary Annis Hegler and Amy WesterveltMost of the company’s moderate policies or complaints about consistent delivery pressure.

“The subtext is at a pivotal point where they need to think about what is going to happen when it gets bigger,” said Niki Usher, a professor of Associate Journalism at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

The good news for the company, this summer of five years, is that it is still growing. Its paid subscription to hundreds of thousands of newsletters increased from 50,000 at the end of last year to more than one million between 2019. (The company does not disclose the number of free subscribers.) Recruiters expect to hire more than a dozen engineers, product managers and other specialists. Executives hope to eventually grow the company – which has collected more than $ 82 million and is said to be worth $ 650 million – to the public.

But to keep up with that growth, sub-stack executives say, the company must offer more than a newsletter.

In an interview in the sub stack office in downtown San Francisco, its co-founder spoke in clear statements about “grand sub stack theory” and “master plan.” Chris Best, chief executive, described the desire to “shift how we experience culture on the Internet” and to bring “art into the world.”

“The subtext is the kind of alternative universe on the Internet in its full ambition,” he said.

In practice, this means that Substack will be not only a written news delivery channel but more of a multimedia community. Executives want users to create “personal media empires” using text, video and audio, and interact with subscribers through extensions Comments Which can display GIF pictures and profiles for readers. This week, Substack announced a new tool for writers to recommend other news.

Jiraj Sethi, co-founder and chief technology officer, described the subscribers’ dream of joining together as writers at a concert.

“If you only give them space to interact and interact with each other, there are some beautiful types of relationships,” he said.

In March, SubStack introduced an app that consolidates subscriptions into a single place, rather than distributing them separately via email. This month, the company announced an expansion of Podcasting.

“From the beginning, we intended for the company to be more than just providing subscription publishing tools,” Himesh Mackenzie, a co-founder and chief operating officer, wrote about the app.

But as the subtasks go beyond the newsletter, there is a danger that it looks like any other social network or news publisher – which may make it less appealing to writers.

Ben Thompson, whose tech-focused Newsletter Newsletter subtracts, wrote last month that the subtack has gone from being a “faceless publisher” behind the scenes to trying to keep “The Substack brand front-and-center.” To do this, build your app as one. The floor on the backside of the authors.

“This is a way for the sub-stack to deviate from its popularity to create an alternative revenue model that pays readers for the sub-stack first, and publisher-second, instead,” Mr Thompson wrote.

Publishing on Substack is free, but authors who pay for a subscription pay 10% of their revenue to SubStack and 3% to their payment processor, Stripe. The company also offers great congratulations to a small group of writers, whose identities refuse to reveal it.

There is one significant difference with most other media companies in Substack: it refuses to pursue advertising deals. “Over my body“Mr Mackenzie once wrote. “The antithesis of what the subtax wants to be,” said Mr Best.

“If we, through greed or error, have entered the game, we will effectively compete with TalkTalk and the Twitters and Facebook around the world, which is not just the competition we want to be in,” Mr. Best Add General Chat Chat Lounge

This means that Substack will continue to rely on subscription revenue. Subscribers pay more than $ 20 million annually to read the Top 10 Substitute Authors. The most successful professor of history is Heather Cox Richardson, who has more than a million members. Other notable authors include Knight novelist Salman Rushdie, the punk poet laureate Patti Smith, and the Eisner winning comic book author James Twain IV.

Emily Oster, a writer and professor of economics at Brown University who offers deviant tips for controlling infectious diseases with children, joined the sub-stack in 2020 when Mr Mackenzie recruited her. Its newsletter, ParentData, has more than 100,000 subscribers, including more than 1,000 paid readers.

“The subtext has certainly been as much a part of the media landscape as I thought it would be,” he said.

But Dr. Oster’s main source of income is his teaching and books. Much of his newsletter revenue goes toward editing and support services. Many users have struggled to support themselves, especially writing on platforms and instead using their income to pay for other wages.

Elizabeth Spears, a Democratic digital strategist and journalist, said she gave up her sub-stack last year because she didn’t have time to read or justify her lengthy weekly essays to pay readers.

“With that, I started getting more paid assignments elsewhere, and it didn’t make much sense to put stuff on Substitute,” he said.

But Substack’s biggest controversy has been over content testing.

Mr Mackenzie, a former journalist, describes the subtext as a reflection of the economy, a “best place” where writers are rewarded for “different things,” rather than tomatoes being thrown at their opponents.

Critics point out that the platform embraces (and therefore confirms) the culture of war is the epicenter of hateful and hate speech and misinformation. Last year, several authors gave Substack its focus on transphobic content. This year, the Center for Countering Digital Heat said the anti-vaccine newsletter on the sub-stack generates at least $ 2.5 million in annual revenue. Technology writer Charlie Wurzel, who contributed a job in the New York Times, described the platform as a place for “internet internet beef.”

Substack has resisted the pressure to be more selective about what their platform allows. Twitter employees who were worried that their content moderation policies would be softened were told by Elon Musk, the world’s richest person and platform’s largest shareholder. Don’t hesitate to apply for a job On the Substack.

“We don’t want the mediator to say, ‘Eat your vegetables,'” Mr Best said. “If we agree or dislike everything on the sub-stack, it will be less what a healthy intellectual climate looks like.”

Substack makes it easy for writers to calculate, and doctors have a wealth of fast-growing competition that is waiting for them.

In the past year, newsletter presentations have started on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Axios, Forbes and the former Condé Nast editor. The Times made several newsletters available only to subscribers last year. Mr. Wurzel moved his galaxy brain from the sub-stack to the Atlantic as part of his newsletter push in November.

Media Platform Ghost, billed as the “Independent Substack Alternative”, is a concierge service to help subtask users transition their work. Medium also reversed its editorial publications to follow a more subset of the “support for free voice” model. Zestworld, a new subscription-based comedy platform, has called “transphobia without subtext.”

Mr Best said he welcomed the fluid.

“There is nothing worse than being copied,” he said.

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