Andrew Sullivan is making waves on the web for giving back the Boeing and striking out on his own.
The experiment addresses an intriguing question: Can a blogger actually make it as an independent business or will his audience run away in search of free content?
In my scientific life, I have to conduct experiments such that I do not influence the study to produce the result I want. But this isn’t science, and I therefore felt comfortable putting my thumb on the scale by signing up for a subscription to The Daily Dish.
I did it because I enjoy reading Sullivan, but also because I want his experiment to succeed as a demonstration of a more general possibility. The blogging endeavor can’t survive in a significant form forever a la Huffington Post — providing free material that feeds off of paid content until the producers of that content go broke. Yes there will always be bloggers in their mom’s basement, knocking out rants to an audience of a half-dozen members of their moody loner support group, but those fellows will never shape public discourse as can people with Sullivan’s reach.
I admire him for experimenting on himself (a noble tradition within science, no matter what the horror movies taught you), and very much hope for positive results.