As Medium melts down, another big tech hope for small publishers to snag some extra revenue seems to be going up in smoke.
But on Wednesday, a New York startup called Verst debuted a set of tools designed to make it easier for smaller publishers and creators to make money without building custom technology.
Verst started its life as DWNLD, which landed $US12 million from Greylock Partners in 2015 to build a platform that made people custom apps. The problem was that most people weren’t using publisher apps to read or watch content, Verst CEO AJ Frank told Business Insider. They were either using social apps like Facebook or the open web.
So DWNLD pivoted to Verst in November. Verst, as it stands today, is a mixture between something like Patreon — which enables repeated donations to your favourite creators — and a content platform like Squarespace.
And Verst’s shiny new feature, as of Wednesday, is letting you easily turn on a paywall. “By simply flipping a switch, Verst publishers can start delineating specific posts as premium content that sits behind a paywall,” the company wrote in a blog post. “All you need to do is choose a monthly price and the name of the subscription.” Verst also rolled out a set of tools to better customise your homepage.
To get access to Verst, creators pay $US29.99 per month for the standard subscription, which includes website hosting, paywall, and other features like the ability to run ads and A/B test headlines and images. (As a note, Verst will also take 10% of your paywall revenue — 5% of which will go to Stripe and 5% of which will go to Verst.)
If you are a small publisher or creator, there are a few options out there to try and get money to support yourself, and the aforementioned Patreon has earned praise from its users. But still, it’s worth checking out any elegantly designed platform (like Verst) that comes along, especially when it makes the process so easy.
If you’re curious, Verst has a 14-day free trial.