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No More Ads!
On the first anniversary of our major relaunch, Boston Review celebrates
the success of our new publishing strategy and business model
by giving our readers a gift.
In October 2016, Boston Review announced a major relaunch. We shifted our editorial focus from print to web, while keeping our online content free. We introduced a new print edition, thematically focused and with no ads. And we created a membership program to build closer links to readers and supporters.
When you chase after ads, your readers turn into “eyeballs,” headlines become click-bait, and engagement means click-throughs. It is time to stop.
Three new directions, but the same mission: Boston Review is about sustaining the serious engagement with important ideas that a vibrant democracy depends on.
Now we are announcing an important new step: as of February 1, 2018, we are getting rid of all commercial advertising from bostonreview.net.
This step builds on the success of our relaunch. In the past year, we have more than doubled print readership and increased our online audience by nearly 75 percent. Print advertising revenue, which was a significant source of operating income, is now zero, but we have more than made up for it: subscription income has doubled and issue sales are up 650 percent. Most importantly, our membership program is now our largest source of revenue.
These results demonstrate to us the importance of a single-minded focus on our readers. Our idea is to cultivate a public sphere that models pluralism of thought—by loosening the hold of convention, forswearing glibness and groupthink, putting poetry and fiction alongside politics, and subjecting arguments to the constructive scrutiny of a diverse and discerning public.
Taking this step, like everything we do, depends on your generous support.
That is why people read Boston Review. And that is why members support us: they want the broad engagement that comes from keeping our web content free. Free for readers is, of course, costly. We could continue to cover the costs partly by selling online ads. But when you chase after ads, your readers turn into “eyeballs,” headlines become click-bait, and engagement means click-throughs.
It is time to stop. On February 1, we are done.
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