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Bloggers Make Money Charging for Content: Interview With MediaPass CEO Matt Mitchell

MediaPass is service that allows bloggers to choose price points and subscription terms for their content. Taking only mere minutes to implement and helpful support staff available to assist, I decided I needed to get more information from MediaPass CEO Matt Mitchell.

Q: Many bloggers discover that selling banners and links is not the best way to generate revenue. What type of blogger is the best fit to cash in on the MediaPass business model?

A: This may sound odd but the answer is most. Yes, some blogs (e.g. finance, parenting, cooking, medical, science, health, fitness etc…) convert better than others but even the lower converting blog’s subscription pages still far out monetize purely ad-based sites. Take for instance a blog that converts 0.5% of their users that arrive on one of their subscription pages. Our average subscriber spends about $60 with renewals. That means that the effective CPM on those pages is $300, many fold over the ad rates any blog is getting.

Q:
Is there any self-evaluation a blogger should perform before signing up?

A: They should simply use their intuition in determining what sections and pieces of content make sense to charge for. Some only charge for their legacy/archived content, some pick entire sections and some pick maybe one in three of their articles (or whatever ratio they would like). Our account managers are trained and can also help them pick.

Q:
Are subscriber pages blocked from being crawled by search engines?

A:
No

Q:
How do bloggers get paid?

A: Via check or ACH twice a month. We are updating our platform to pay more often. Will be ready next month.

Q:
Will MediaPass work with all blogging platforms?

A:
Currently all but blogs hosted by WordPress. I want to be clear about this. MediaPass works perfectly on a blogs that use WordPress as their CMS (as most do) but if they are hosted by WordPress (i.e. their domain name ends in .wordpress.com), we currently don’t support that.

Q: What is your dream plan for Mediapass?

A: Even the smartest blogs and publishers are not experts in online subscription practices as we are. We have created a product that automates much of that expertise. Which is why if a blogger wants our system to do something MediaPass currently doesn’t it’s either b/c A) We will be developing that functionality in the future or b) it’s not a good subscription practice so we don’t let them fall into a trap. B is the most common reason. We think every almost every blog should have some paid element to their site. Blogs that are 100% free don’t make enough money for their efforts. And we want to help power the subscription platform for all of them.

Q: What do you say to bloggers who feel the introductory 35% cut MediaPass keeps is steep?

A: Three things: 1) it costs hundreds of thousands and most often millions of dollars to start a sophisticated in-house subscription platform and is equally expensive in upkeep. We handle everything so it is essentially riskless. 2) What many bloggers may not realize is that other ways in which they monetize their site (i.e. ad networks and AdSense) charge them usually between 50-60% and sometimes more. Those companies have fixed but no variable costs to deliver their service. We have both and still charge less. 3) We believe our subscription expertise pays for itself. Meaning in most cases a blog’s subscriptions will be at least 35% higher for having used us. Additionally, if a blog uses us and it doesn’t outyield their current monetization, the solution is pretty simple; stop using MediaPass.

Q: Any success stories you can share?

A:
We have multiple. Our publisher terms and conditions don’t give us the right to tell the world who has decided to add subscription elements to their publication. We are close with a site called GameClassroom that has let us mention them on a few occasions. They have increased their eCPM on those pages by over 10X, which appears to be about our average.

Q: Do you offer a solution for a blogger to sell access to one-time content (i.e. – a Web-based ebook)?

A:
Yep. We have a pay-per-view (PPV) and they have access to that content forever. We don’t turn it on as an option in their publisher console unless they are doing something like video or an ebook because PPV is usually not the best way for publishers/blogs to maximize revenue.

I’ve signed up for MediaPass but have not launched it yet. I plan on attempting to use it to make my eBook available in an online format. I’ll be sure to share the results. Anyone out there give it a try? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Comments

  1. Sara says: 9/27/2010

    I just went through their signup wizard. Was really easy. Took literally four minutes. Will be interesting to see what my users will pay for.

    Reply

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