New Dish, New Media Update

Andrew Sullivan —  May 29 2013 @ 1:59pm

A reader writes:

As a Dish addict, I’m biased. But I’m stunned that you still need to send out the occasional call to action for new subscribers. This post from over the weekend managed to sum up in a throwaway sentence why the Dish is required reading – and it wasn’t even from the entry itself. The delight I experienced seeing there at the bottom, with understated charm: “Previous Dish on the nexus of scholarship and heavy metal here.” If that sentence’s existence isn’t worth $20 (I’m on the “fuck the penny!” side of that reader thread), then we’re all doomed.

I’m usually a doomster myself, but I remain doggedly hopeful about the Dish model. 26,422 of you are now subscribers, which makes us, I think, the most successful subscriber-only purely-online site on the web. More encouraging, there are another 22,000 of you who have already shown you’re true Dishheads, by clicking through the maximum number of free read-ons, but who haven’t yet taken the plunge.

Without you, we’ll have trouble surviving and growing. With all of you, for just $1.99 a month, we’d be financially secure for the indefinite future – an amazing feat without advertizing or corporate subsidies. So please, if you’ve been procrastinating, [tinypass_offer text=”take a moment now”] and take out your credit card and help [tinypass_offer text=”brighten the future”] for independent online media. It takes [tinypass_offer text=”two minutes max”]. Click [tinypass_offer text=”here”].

On the bright side, we have just seen a big up-tick in the percentage of people signing up after hitting the meter. It started over the weekend, with much lower traffic but much higher response rates:

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Maybe it’s easier to pay when you’re at home and not rushed at work. Either way, we’re grateful. To continue with full transparency, revenue has slowed but remains reasonably steady, and we’re inching very close toward $700,000 gross revenue (we’re around $696K as of today), with our goal of $900,000 by December 31 looking less likely, given the slowing of the pace.

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Another financially strapped reader makes the case for you:

I just subscribed to the Dish for $2.68. It’s the price I pay for coffee every day. I will abstain one day each month to support this innovation.

A few more readers sound off (with a non-metered readon below, so nonsubscribers can go ahead and click without it counting towards your limit):

I’m an avid reader of the Dish and just happily subscribed.  But I thought you might be interested in why it took me so long to pay up. My reason is quite mundane, but it may reveal something about the decision-making process other yet-to-subscribe readers are going through.

Years ago I stopped carrying my wallet in my back pocket.  Instead, I stick it in the inside pocket of my suit jacket.  When I get to work, I hang my jacket up on the back of my office door.  Therefore, when I’m sitting at my desk and using my computer I don’t have ready access to my wallet.  To get my credit card (since I don’t have a PayPal account), I have to get up and get my wallet.  That simple detour away from whatever I’m doing at my desk has been enough to delay my subscription to the Dish.

Today I dressed casual.  I didn’t wear a jacket.  My wallet was in my back pocket.  When I had some time to check out my favorite blogs, it was easy to pull out my wallet and subscribe to the Dish.

Personally, I think my excuse for failing to subscribe sooner is a sad example of human laziness.  But I wonder how many other folks have similar reasons for not yet subscribing.

Another:

Longtime reader, never subscribed. Here’s what would get me to subscribe: a digest that never climbed above some fixed number of posts per day – maybe the top ten or twenty. Over time, reading the Dish has become more and more work. A recent business trip underscored this. After two days offline, my RSS feed had two unread posts from Coates, maybe eighteen from Yglesias, and 162 for the Dish. Historically I’ve been a Dish completist, but I can’t persuade myself that an hour frantically skimming those 162 posts (or three hours reading them properly) is a good use of my time.

Please understand I’m writing this from a place of deep admiration for your work. If I didn’t value the Dish, I would happily drop it, instead of agonizing. But honestly, trying to read every post eats into my day. Sampling a random 40% or 20% is no good – what if I’m missing the good stuff? So yeah, even though I don’t pay for the rest of my media diet, I’d easily throw you $20 per year in exchange for some curation, and a feed that only pinged maybe once an hour.

I hope you all will consider this. If you do, I hope you’ll reply to this email, because I’m pondering a Dish fast. And notwithstanding all of the above, thanks for your work.

What we’re going to do is replace the Daily Wrap with my own quick digest of the best posts of the day. We hope that helps.