Andrew Sullivan

It’s been six months since politics blogger Andrew Sullivan decided to take his popular blog, The Dish, independent, and on Monday he posted a half-year status update: The blog now has 27,349 paid subscribers who have contributed $715,000 in revenue. That takes The Dish 80 percent of the way to its goal of $900,000 in revenue for the first year.

It’s admirable progress, but as Sullivan acknowledges, most of that revenue came within the first few days of the announcement that The Dish was breaking free from the Daily Beast:

Every so often the stars align and the panel gods break the monotonous cycle of dispassionate, talking point-riddled "new media" discussions. Such was the case last night during a spirited debate on native advertising between blogger Andrew Sullivan and BuzzFeed editor in chief Ben Smith.

Much ink has already been spilled on the subject by Sullivan, panel moderator and Atlantic senior editor Derek Thompson, and others. While many focused on the heated and refreshing nature of the exchange between Smith and Sullivan, the argument seems to perfectly illustrate the bubble-thinking mentality of the media and advertising elites

When political blogger Andrew Sullivan announced that he’s leaving The Daily Beast and launching an independent company called Dish Publishing, the most provocative bit of news was his intended business model. He doesn’t plan to run any ads, and instead to support the company entirely through subscription revenue.

“It’s been a pretty amazing day,” Sullivan told me. Six hours after he first made his announcement and put out his call for sign ups, he said. “We’re well into the six figures.” He described the system as a “leaky meter,” where readers can hit the “read on” button

Back in the 1990s, before blogs, Twitter and a host of upstart Web sites transformed online debate into a raucous convention anyone could gate crash, David G. Bradley decided to build a media company around the "influentials" market. The guiding notion was that opinion leaders—people who formulate, shape and promulgate important ideas—rather than gatekeepers or copyright owners, were the true heirs to the digital kingdom, and that a lucrative consumer market could be constituted by those charged with putting good ideas into action.

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