We don’t agree very often with Andrew Sullivan, but he is without a doubt a very significant figure in the rise of professional blogging. So this development is of interest to the blogosphere. As most reading this probably know, in 2013 he went from blogging at various host sites (New Republic, Time, Atlantic, The Daily Beast) to blogging at his own subscription site. At the time, many wondered if this business model would work out.
Now, Sullivan has announced that he is stepping down from blogging. There is much speculation as to why. Is it his health? Is he just tired of it? Did he make a lot of money and pocket it? But I do think you have to ask if this is a reflection that his business model didn’t work as well as planned. Perhaps there is a way to determine this, but I haven’t heard the financials.
I blog here because I like writing, I like letting others know my opinion and I want to change things or at least influence the conversation. I suspect my co-bloggers feel much the same way. I don’t expect to make money. I’m not sure how you make blogging, political blogging in particular, a professional endeavor. A few high profile people may be able to make a decent living being paid by host sites to blog, such as Rod Dreher at The American Conservative, but my hunch is that the future of blogging is going to be amateurs like us and writers who are employed by websites (and increasingly websites that are click driven) to draw traffic. I don’t see much of a future for pay sites. People have become too accustomed to getting what they want on the internet for free.
Noah Millman at TAC has some thoughts on the economics of the issue.