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Andrew Sullivan's grand experiment in reader-supported online journalism is now live

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andrew sullivan (trey ratcliffe flickr)
andrew sullivan (trey ratcliffe flickr)

Prominent political blogger Andrew Sullivan’s site The Dish is now up and running at its new user-funded home. So far, the ad-free experiment appears to be a success, with Sullivan pulling in $511,000 in revenue over the five weeks that passed since the project was announced — half of the $1 million the writer says he needs to run the site for a year.

Sullivan is adamant that 'there is no paywall'

Unlike The Dish’s previous home at The Daily Beast, the new site will charge for some of its content, although Sullivan is adamant that "there is no paywall," and incoming links from other sites will never be blocked. Non-subscribers will be able to read seven of The Dish’s premium "Read On" posts during a 30-day period, and those who pay the $19.99 yearly fee will get unlimited access to everything on the site.

It remains to be seen if Sullivan’s new venture can hit the million-dollar mark once the initial buzz around the launch dies down, and you get the impression that he's winging it a little bit (e.g., "to be honest, we didn’t know where to set the price," and "no venture capital… unless my savings count as venture capital"), but if he and his team are successful, it would be an important test case affirming that it's possible to build a sustainable business around quality, for-pay online content.