Apr 3, 2022

The cost of being ad-free...

It can take a toll.

Dear readers,

I'm about to make you an offer.

Before I do, though, I want to explain. When I started Tangle, one of the core principles I launched on was that I would keep our newsletter ad-free. This was for three reasons:

1) When a news outlet runs ads, they make more money the more people see those advertisements. That means they have incentives to be sensational, to "go viral," to write clickbait, to create bombastic and eye-catching news that will juice their profits. I didn't want that incentive.

2) When you have advertisers, you have relationships. News companies often try to keep a "separation" between the sales and editorial side, but the divide is often murky. Imagine my shock, for instance, when I saw Axios — a political newsletter — running a full-page Michael Bloomberg ad during the Democratic primary in 2020:

An advertisement I saw inside a politics newsletter

3) Ads are a bad experience for you, the readers. They are annoying, they get in the way, you have to read past them, and they often are not clearly denoted.

I chose not to run ads because I wanted to preserve my independence, produce a better product, and make sure I wasn't acting like all the competition.

But there is a huge cost to that decision. For instance, Tangle has about 35,000 daily readers. Other newsletters that size charge $800 for a single advertisement in their newsletter. That means if I ran four advertisements a week, at $800 each, I could make $3,200 off ads every week. Or over $166,000 a year. If I ran two ads every day, I could double that number — which would leave me with more revenue than I make right now from subscribers and donations combined.

By choosing not to run ads, I'm leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table. And I'm doing it for two reasons: Because I want to remain independent, and because I can trust readers like you to support us.

But I also know readers occasionally need incentives. So today, I'm offering a 20% special spring discount for our yearly subscription — for the next 48 hours.

Remember: Subscriptions are not donations! You get something in return. Our 5,500+ paying subscribers get special Friday editions every week (interviews, deep dives, reader-requested content, and personal essays). They get access to our comments sections. They get special offers from our partners. They get 600+ archived posts covering debates on all the biggest political issues. And they get updated regularly on the future of Tangle, with opportunities to shape how the newsletter evolves.

In this crowded media space, I know I might just sound like another media outlet, organization or political group asking for money. But we are truly unique: Ad-free, investor-free, and 100% independent. If you've been enjoying our product, all I ask is that you consider backing us so we can keep doing what we love, and keep growing our team.

Just a reminder, we're only running this for another 48 hours (until Tuesday night!) So... come join us now!

All the best and — either way — we'll see you tomorrow.

Isaac & the Tangle team

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