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    blog.readup.comBill Loundy1/4/215 min
    35 reads21 comments
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    blog.readup.com
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    • Alexa
      Scout
      6 months ago

      I dig the shift here, and i agree its a scale thing. Will work beautifully the more you grow.

      There's this mantra for effective marketing that basically goes: "Make something worth talking about".

      A platform where you get $$ for writing on your OWN blog is definitely worth talking about. Let's go 2021, get it guys!

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        6 months agoWriter

        There's this mantra for effective marketing that basically goes: "Make something worth talking about".

        🔥🔥

        Writers should be able to make money without selling their souls. We got this.

      • jeff
        Reading streakScout
        6 months ago

        Thanks Alexa, I hope you're right! It's what we're banking on.

    • erica6 months ago

      My two cents: you shouldn’t be afraid to take a bigger percent! Readup wouldn’t exist without you. And you pour everything into it.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        6 months agoWriter

        True, but it also won’t exist without Writers. Remember: We hold all the money until Writers cash out. And they need to get verified in order to cash out. We can earn money on interest (the Robinhood or PayPal/Venmo/Coinbase model - provide a service [mostly] for free, and make money the money you hold) or do other cool stuff. But either way we’ll (1) grow and (2) attract investment.

        So Readup’s a bank. A big, powerful bank that grows deep reading and critical thinking across society. (A bicycle for the mind!)

    • Florian6 months ago

      Dude, you’re too hard on yourself. But at the same time I get it... I’d probably think the same way if I was in your shoes.

      On the revenue model: the focus on payouts for authors which then drives traffic based on their financial incentive is great! You have now externalised the growth strategy. If that works it will turn out to be the most important decision you ever made with ReadUp. I think 5% is too little though. Did you consider starting with a higher percentage with the option to reduce in the future? Reducing your cut (when things go well) is going to be celebrated. But increasing the cut (when things don’t go well) will make sentiment even more negative. Either way though I’m 100% supportive of the new model.

      Also, did you consider building an interface for authors to publish content exclusively on ReadUp? Right now when they say “come read me on ReadUp” they still have to publish elsewhere (on a platform where people can read them for free).

      • jeff
        Reading streakScout
        6 months ago

        I think 5% is too little though. Did you consider starting with a higher percentage with the option to reduce in the future?

        Yes, but we were worried that it risks sapping energy from the growth strategy at the time when it's needed the most. I think the growth "flywheel" analogy is great here because actual flywheels are huge, heavy things that take an enormous amount of energy to get started and relatively little energy to maintain once up to speed. Also keep in mind that 5% is separate from all processor fees and Readup's expenses should be absolutely minimal since we're not even hosting any of the content ourselves right now.

        Also, did you consider building an interface for authors to publish content exclusively on ReadUp?

        Definitely on our radar but first we're going to try making the "read me on Readup" integration as smooth as possible (embeddable widgets, improved writer profiles, etc.). There certainly seems like there would be a lot of value in publishing right on Readup but I think there might also be something to being totally neutral with respect to our relationship with other publishing platforms. Will be very interesting to see how that shakes out!

        • Florian6 months ago

          Thanks a lot for the insights, Jeff. I agree that platform neutrality is important and by letting authors publish here exclusively you’d compromise that. It’s going to be a very interesting few months and hopefully years!

          • bill
            Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
            6 months agoWriter

            👍👍

    • bartadamley6 months ago

      2021 will prove fruitful for Readup. It just has to!

      Think: “Read me on Readup so I can make money!” Writer excitement about big payouts will drive them to evangelize Readup. That will further increase the payouts which will further increase the evangelizing… and so on and so forth.

      Building out a community of evangelists... especially to have writers as our target audience is critical.

      Now the real question rests... when will writers be able to publish directly to Readup?

      Perhaps the byproduct of using Readup.. is that the initial user base (all of us reading this included) have engaged more in the writing process by commenting...

      What if we were the first experimenters publishing directly on Readup? Who else would be better to give it a try?

      • thorgalle
        Top reader this weekScoutScribe
        6 months ago

        Perhaps the byproduct of using Readup.. is that the initial user base (all of us reading this included) have engaged more in the writing process by commenting...

        What if we were the first experimenters publishing directly on Readup? Who else would be better to give it a try?

        Interesting thoughts! I agree that posting on Readup sometimes feels like writing, and that it has a lower barrier than sharing an article on Facebook or Twitter (because Readup is the place for articles). It mostly feels like writing a review, since a post is necessarily tied to an article and it appears in your followers’ notifications. In that sense, everyone on Instagram is a photographer, everyone on Readup is a newsletter curator?

        Take that publishing on Readup to one extreme and you have a long-form social media where you pay each other for reading each other’s thoughts. I believe Medium already considers each Reply to be an article on its own. So many directions Readup’s current base could evolve into.

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
          6 months agoWriter

          🆙

          I was going to say (in response to a previous comment) that commenting is “user generated content” anyway. Self-post wouldn’t alter our inevitable need for some form of moderation. Along those lines, I think that work should not be me and Jeff. I want a content moderation committee, working totally out in the open.

      • KapteinB
        Top reader this weekScout
        6 months ago

        Now the real question rests... when will writers be able to publish directly to Readup?

        Being a publisher is something else entirely from being an aggregator. I'm not sure it would be a good idea to go down that route (at least not until they can afford to hire moderators and a legal team).

        • thorgalle
          Top reader this weekScoutScribe
          6 months ago

          Do you think moderators would be necessary because this would mean that purely user-generated content would be put on Readup?

          Makes me wonder what Medium’s moderator situation is.

          • KapteinB
            Top reader this weekScout
            6 months ago

            Exactly.

            Well, moderators will be necessary at some point anyway, if the amount of comments keep increasing. But as it is, Readup has an in-built protection against most of the problems that plague Internet comment sections. Ad-bots have to somehow fake reading the article before they can post their spam comments, hotheads have to read the articles before engaging in their flame wars, the same with shills and astroturfers, making their work less cost-efficient. Adding a section of the site where anyone can post with little or no barrier makes it a free-for-all for all those unsavoury characters.

            • jeff
              Reading streakScout
              6 months ago

              Very interesting point about publishing on Readup being a sort of bypass around the default baseline reading verification comment moderation. I hadn't thought about it that way before.

              • bill
                Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
                6 months agoWriter

                Because of what Alexa said there’s a good ethical reason to keep the publishing off of Readup, decentralized. But the reason I can imagine we’ll allow self-post is because there’s not a great blog solution right now. For some of people, getting a blog up and running is hard. It’s not cool to have to tell people, “to get started as a Writer on Readup, go launch a blog.”

                Either way, in the beginning, Readup’s going to work way better (meaning: make more money) for people with a big body of existing work and a readership.

    • skrt
      Scout
      6 months ago

      Love Readup and love recommending it to my friends and family. Here's to another year of Readupping.

      On the note of paying writers. I'm curious how this will work with publishers themselves? Like do you envision publishers of a piece ever wanting to take a cut... And do writers have to opt-in or will they automatically get a cut if their piece goes viral on Readup?

      • jeff
        Reading streakScout
        6 months ago

        Like do you envision publishers of a piece ever wanting to take a cut...

        I could see this going either way and it will be very interesting to see how it plays out. We're essentially automating the process of tipping writers. Lots of publishers are cash-strapped so they might just be happy their employees are earning some supplemental income which is directly tied to increased page views on their articles. It would be great if we could work out a deal with publishers that would give Readup subscribers access to paywalled articles, but I think we'll have to grow to a very large size before they'd even consider talking to us about that.

        And do writers have to opt-in or will they automatically get a cut if their piece goes viral on Readup?

        Great question! We're still working through all these policies now but they will of course be published once we launch.

        Writers will automatically get a cut of any read even if their piece doesn't go viral. Practically of course if it's a piece that only gets a single read that cut will be very small. At the end of every reader's billing cycle their subscription money will be allocated to all the writers they've read during that period based on number of minutes read.

        Those allocations will continue to grow month over month. Essentially every writer will have a sort of trust account on Readup. Once the balance grows to a certain amount we'll reach out to them to get them verified so they can cash out and link up so it's automated for future cycles. The threshold amount before we proactively reach out to writers is still TBD. For instance I could imagine someone just being annoyed if we emailed them saying they can claim their $0.25!

    • KapteinB
      Top reader this weekScout
      6 months ago

      Here's hoping 2021 turns out better for you than 2020 did!

      5% happens to be the same fee Flattr takes, so you're now making that the industry standard I guess. (Though their payment provider takes another 5%, and they also take a $3 fee for each withdrawal.)

      The main problem I think is scale. If you have a hundred paying users, you'll need the 50% split to cover your expenses. If you get a million paying users, 5% will let you swim in cash. A lower fee should accelerate growth (in theory).

      Hey by the way, I have a questions about Apple's slice of the pie: Will it be possible to pay for Readup without doing it through Apple? I don't own any Apple gadgets to run your apps on, so I'd rather give that slice of the pie to you guys.

      • jeff
        Reading streakScout
        6 months ago

        The main problem I think is scale.

        Yes, exactly! Part of the realization was that we think this type of reader/writer "marketplace" really needs to be large scale to work in general since our readers can read articles by any writer on the entire internet. The AOTD game dynamic should help to focus a lot of that attention in a good way and yes this all hinges on the growth acceleration theory!

        Will it be possible to pay for Readup without doing it through Apple?

        Yes! We're required to exclusively use Apple In-app Purchasing on iOS devices but that's iOS-only. If you subscribe through a browser you'll be able to pay via credit card or Apple/Google wallet via Stripe (in the middle of building all this right now!). In that case the transaction fee slice of the pie will be much smaller: 2.9% base fee + $0.30 (calculated percentage will be variable depending on how much you choose to pay per month) + 0.5% billing fee (Stripe subscription management add-on product).

        Eventually when we're on Android I believe the Google system is similar to Apple. The good news is that if you're a multi-platform reader you can subscribe through the browser using Stripe and then still read on your iOS and Android devices as well. The weird thing is that it all depends on which device you initially subscribe on and we can't inform our readers that the other option exists! Apple doesn't allow you to suggest paying through any other means and IAP isn't supported in browsers.