Slate is dipping its toe in the membership pool.
Digital publishers keep experimenting with different methods of monetization, whether through metered paywalls, crowdsourcing, events or subscriptions, to see which one’s the answer to the pressing and increasingly complicated revenue question.
In a blog post Monday, Slate Editor David Plotz introduced Slate Plus, a membership option for the most passionate Slate fans. For those who pay $5 monthly or $50 a year, Plotz said readers “who support [Slate] journalism and want a closer connection to it” get perks like access to Slate writers through Slate Plus member-only discussions, early viewing of certain articles, ad-free podcasts, 30 percent off live events, single page articles rather than pesky pagination and special commenting privileges.
But don’t worry — this is not a paywall. As Plotz noted, all the free stuff on Slate will stay free. The membership fee just buys you extras, a benefit package they’ll be adding to over time. This type of model has been described as a “reverse paywall,” one that GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram has said is a good way to reward loyal readers rather than penalizing them.