To our valued readers,
New Atlas is fast approaching its 15th birthday, and we'd like to thank you all for your readership over the years.
Today, we launched a paid subscription option for those of you who want to directly support what we do, instead of indirectly, via advertising.
Here's why we're doing this:
1. Some of you really don't like ads
The overwhelming majority of complaints we get are about the advertising on the site. We do our best to maintain a good user experience, but increasingly, the things advertisers want are the things you don't want. This is unsustainable.
30% of you use an ad blocker on your desktop browser. That costs us tens of thousands of dollars in revenue a month (as contrary to popular belief, you don't have to click them for us to get paid). That's an enormous amount of money for a company of our size.
When we experimented with detecting ad blockers, and asking people to turn them off, a staggering percentage of the feedback we got was people telling us they would rather pay us directly.
So we built it.
2. Live by the algorithm, die by the algorithm
Algorithms decide how many people read our site, and how much we get paid for the ads those people see.
The incentives are broken, and don't reward diligent, considered, high-quality journalism. That's why many news websites write countless articles about a new product on the same day, with a single, atomic fact in each. More chance of it coming up in a search engine. That's why news has become so politicized and inflammatory – there's more chance of it getting shared on Facebook.
We've decided to try to build a sustainable business that can focus on better serving you, rather than lowering the bar and chasing drive-by traffic from social networks and search engines.
3. We're self-funded and independent
Our future isn't guaranteed.
More than 20 editors, writers and developers work full-time on New Atlas.
We're one of the last significant publications on the web that isn't owned by a big media company, or funded by venture capital.
That means we can be a filter, rather than a firehose. We'd like to keep it that way.
What you get as a paid subscriber
First and foremost, you get a better looking ad-free site that allows you to focus on the content without distraction. In addition to the cleaner layout, the user experience is improved by faster loading pages and photo galleries.
It's the site we've always wanted to make.
We'll also be rolling out subscriber-only content, site features, and deals over the course of the year.
For the time being, only those of you in the United States and Australia will be able to buy a subscription. We're working on rolling this out to other countries.
As always, we'd love to hear your feedback.
Thanks, The New Atlas Team