I have been writing about the Substack model. I am also bemoaning about the fact that this is not the medium to publish because you don’t own it. Financial Times had something to say about it:
On top of the 10 per cent that Substack charges, Stripe charges 2.9 per cent plus 30 cents per transaction (no wonder its valuation has soared to $95bn eh?). But we find all of the fee structuring a bit confusing, to be honest, because according to our maths, if you have 100 subscribers each paying $5 a month, that’s $50 to Substack, $14.50 to Stripe plus $30 in transactions, making a total of $94.50 in fees (or 18.9 per cent of your revenues), and leaving you with $405.50 in income from your $500 in revenues.
And yet if you use the Substack pay calculator that we referred to above, you can see your estimated monthly total is $396, and so the total fees that you are charged are in fact 20.8 per cent when you are charging on a monthly basis (we tried this with higher numbers of subscribers too and it always came out at between 20.7 and 20.8 per cent in fees, depending on how much you are charging per month).
I am not a huge fan of newsletters. They can get caught up in spam/ algorithmic sorting into “promo tabs” and a host significant issues that are beyond your technical control. If you have paying subscribers, they expect a home run each time. Substack is being pushed out by punters and like any start-up, they have a toxic optimism around them.
Media’s role is to inform and generate critical thinking. Substack is just a platform for anything else. Be wise and save your money. There’s nothing extraordinary about the “journalism” being practised even if it represents a departure from the orthodoxy and toxic cancel culture prevalent online through shrill minority.