In the past three months, The poet and critic Yan Yi is very busy. Between teaching at Dartmouth, editing literary journals, preparing upcoming books, and running a creative suggestion newsletter called “Reading”, his schedule was jammed.Nevertheless, he decided to add a task: to “read” from Sub-stack To the end of the month. “That was before crossing the visibility day,” he said, “I think it was important for me to make changes that day.”
Yanyi was distressed by the decision to leave the newsletter publishing startup. Substack’s platform is easy to use, and as part of the company’s scholarship program, he received an advance payment, which allowed him to cultivate a healthy, active audience. But he was too dissatisfied with Substack’s temperance. The platform allows content from author Graham Linehan, which Yanyi believes is anti-transgender and violates Substack’s policies. He is not the only one who is unhappy. Around the same time, other high-profile Substackers also announced their decision to leave for this reason. Many people in the exodus have a similar destination: Ghost, a non-profit publishing platform that calls itself an “independent Substack alternative.”
Frankly, the name is a bit strange. Although Ghost has been publicly soliciting defectors-the company has a concierge service to attract writers who want to switch-it is not exactly a one-to-one Substack replacement. The newsletter is the core product of Substack. This is not the case for Ghost. It was originally conceived as a trendy version of WordPress, when it was funded through Kickstarter campaigns in 2013 through Kickstarter campaigns. Unlike Substack promoted by VC, Ghost is a self-reliant company with two dozen capable employees scattered all over the world.
The business models of Substack and Ghost are also completely different. Ghost’s paid hosting service, Ghost Pro, does not take a slice of subscriber income like Substack does, but charges a fee, starting at $9 per month. (This number varies depending on the number of readers of the publication.) Its free-spirited CEO and co-founder John O’Nolan has uploaded his nomadic lifestyle videos to YouTube for many years and is currently in Florida. camping. In the absence of investors, he has no pressure to expand rapidly.Since 2013, Ghost has indeed grown-its paying customers include Tinder and OkCupid, So you might be confused by a dating app that uses Ghost. Its software has been installed more than 2.5 million times-but this non-profit organization didn’t try to use the same software for operation Never stop expanding! The mentality of guiding so many digital media startups to have Silicon Valley cash.
In addition, Ghost is open source, which means that anyone and anywhere can use it as they see fit, as long as they know how to host their website. Although Ghost Pro does have a content review policy (basic content-no pornography or phishing programs), the vast majority of Ghost users take the free route, leaving them completely unreviewed. Basically, Ghost can provide exactly the same content, keeping people away from Substack. Or worse. “We have no ability to control how Ghost is used,” O’Nolan said.
So why is Ghost the first choice for those who want to abandon Substack? When asked why the unmoderated Ghost is seen as kinder than the mildly moderated Substack, the author of the conversion has several answers. For starters, Ghost’s non-profit status has given its reputation a new look. But more importantly, Ghost knows what it is and what it is not—and it is not a publication.
One of the main reasons why Substack has received so much response is because of Substack Pro, its program paid a staggering amount for well-known authors to create newsletters. To be clear, Linehan is not one of these writers. Nevertheless, the existence of the program has shown many critics that, whether admitted or not, Substack is both a publisher and a platform. After all, paid writers are an editorial choice. “Substack has made a modest position,” said Aaron Huertas, a progressive politics consultant who recently moved his writing from Medium to Ghost. “If you are going to make a policy, you should actually implement it.” (When asked to comment, a Substack spokesperson said, “Progress has nothing to do with specific views or moderate decisions. We are press freedom and thought. A staunch supporter of open communication, so we will not influence anyone’s writing, we take moderate light touch.”)