Post, a Twitter alternative in which users can make micropayments to read singular, ad and cookie-free news articles, has launched its public beta this week.
The new social media network is publisher-centric, with a keen focus on improving users’ news reading experiences.
The LA Times, USA Today, and The Independent have already signed up, along with a string of other local news, tech, and finance publications.
Post: A Better Way to Access Information?
Post’s unique selling point is the way it declutters the average person’s news reading process, providing an ad-free, paywall-free experience. You can read news directly within your feed on the site, rather than having to follow a link to reach externally hosted content. As this is the case, you'll be able to read the news without accepting trackers and other ad tech-related permissions enforced by some major news corporations.
You won’t have to put up with any invasive cookie tracking when you read articles on Post – all reading is done within the app.
The catch is that you’re expected to make micropayments — denoted as “points” — which currently cost $4.20 for 300 points, according to Techcrunch's Sarah Perez, who saw articles available for as little as a single point, but others worth up to 89 points.
Users currently get 50 free points when they sign up, and Post's founder Noam Bardin says 80% of users have inputted credit card information to buy more. There are plans to add additional payment methods — such as paying whatever amount the user sees fit — in the near future.
On the surface at least, it would seem that setting up a platform in the way Post has will ensure that the average user reads more news that they actually care about from a wider variety of reputable sources. Having so much high-quality news hidden behind paywalls – accessible to only those who can afford it – is not ideal for any of us. Post, in theory, will at least lower that barrier.
What's remarkable is how viable this could be for subscription-based publications struggling to persuade site visitors to sign up. If Post can keep the cost of points to a reasonable level, you can see it attracting a class of avid news readers who are open to the pay-as-you-go system.
Major Publications Are Already on Board
Over 650,000 people signed up for the Beta version of Post, and around two-thirds of that number ended up making an account, which is an encouraging sign.
TechCrunch reports that major news sites The Boston Globe, The Independent, Insider, LA Times, NBC News, Politico, Reuters, The San Francisco Chronicle, and USA Today all signed up to provide articles for the platform’s 430,000 account holders.
Websites that cover technology and finance, such as Fortune, MIT Technology Review, Yahoo Finance, and Wired, also have a presence on the platform.
Innovation in the Face of Twitter Turmoil
While Twitter continues to flounder under Elon Musk’s leadership, Twitter alternatives have been flourishing. A whole ecosystem of social media apps is now benefitting from Twitter's deeply unsatisfied user base, a cohort of news-consuming users more open than ever to switching platforms.
Post also provides a fresh option for publishers like the New York Times, who’ve just been stripped of their “Verified” badges on Twitter because they don’t pay for it.
It’s not just Post who've shown promising signs of growing their user base, however. Mastodon, for instance, has more users than it’s ever had, while smaller platforms like CounterSocial have also seen an uptick in users.
If Twitter continues to make mass layoffs, respond to customer support requests with poo emojis, and deprioritize the overall user experience in favor of short-term profit-chasing initiatives, they’ll usher in the post-Twitter era all by themselves.