He hopes to prove that "an independent site, if tended to diligently, can grow an audience large enough to sustain it indefinitely."
Before Andrew Sullivan got paid to host his blog at Time, The Atlantic (where I worked on his staff), or The Daily Beast, he posted at a simple Web site of his own creation, its background dark blue, its text white, and its pitch simple: if you're a regular reader, please help support the The Dish. "Donations from loyal readers are a crucial component of our budget and make it possible for our site to remain on the web," he wrote to mark his five year anniversary as a blogger. "If you like andrewsullivan.com, please consider becoming a supporting member with a contribution of $20 or more. We welcome all contributions large or small. How much should you contribute? Your call entirely. Contributions both large and small are welcome. If you're an occasional reader, consider the basic pledge of $20. If you're a daily reader, why not give $50?"
All these years later, the pitch isn't so different: on February 1, Andrew Sullivan, Patrick Appel, and Chris Bodenner, as formidable a blogging team as has ever existed, intend to leave The Daily Beast in hopes that The Dish can stand on its own. Rather than seeking investors or advertisers, they're asking their core readers to pay $19.99 per year to cover their salaries and expenses. "The decision on advertising was the hardest, because obviously it provides a vital revenue stream for almost all media products," Sullivan wrote. "But we know from your emails how distracting and intrusive it can be; and how it often slows down the page painfully. And we're increasingly struck how advertising is dominated online by huge entities, and how compromising and time-consuming it could be for so few of us to try and lure big corporations to support us. We're also mindful how online ads have created incentives for page-views over quality content."