Outpost is a new kind of publishing system for independent media, founded on four simple ideas:
- Indie media publishers should keep as much of their revenue as possible and should not be making billionaires even richer.
- Indie media publishers should have great software.
- Most current platforms for independent media creators are exploitative, hard-to-use, or too limited.
- Indie media publishers should have a say in the software they use and benefit from its success.
Outpost is a publishing system that helps independent and small teams of writers, journalists, artists, teachers, and more run a membership-driven media business.
Outpost is not a new Content Management System like Wordpress.
Outpost is built on top of and alongside the outstanding open-source Ghost CMS, which has native tools for creating posts, sending out posts as newsletters, signing up members and member payment tools. Outpost does not host sites; instead, nearly all our sites use Ghost(Pro), run by the non-profit that builds Ghost, to host their site.
But we believe a great and wickedly fast CMS is just the start of what's needed to run a great indie media publication.
While each small media business is different, all of them require some mix of additional tools to help with creation, distribution, customer service, user communication, community, audience retention, and audience growth.
That’s where Outpost comes in.
Outpost is built by a team that, for a decade, has been running and building ethical media tech (Contextly). We're building Outpost on what we learned from building Contextly and what frustrated us about publishing tools and publishing models that incentivized bad reader experiences.
Outpost is also a co-operative, officially registered in California as Outpost Publishers Cooperative. Outpost is not and never will be funded by venture capitalists who demand that the companies the fund grow as fast as possible.
That means Outpost is built to serve your needs. It'll never get sold for a quick buck as Outpost’s bylaws bar selling out. You have a voice in what gets built, services are provided at the best prices possible, and, when feasible, Outpost profits get returned to you at the end of the year as a rebate.
That said, being part of a cooperative doesn't mean you have to go to meetings, and no one gets to tell you how to run your site.
We’ve built Outpost with our own funds (called boot-strapping). Our business model is simple; we provide great a service, get paid for that, and grow with customer revenue. That said, we are open to innovative, non-dilutive financing options.
We strongly believe that Kevin Kelly was right that it’s possible to make a good living with 1,000 true fans, and Outpost is built to help people find, feed, and connect with their fans and supporters.
Unlike nearly all the other services out there, we're not taking 5 to 10 percent of your subscribers' money in order to make Wall Street or billionaire investors even richer. You should keep as much of your money as possible, while we charge enough to build new features and maintain great software for you.
Finally, Outpost supports all manner of voices, but hateful conduct won’t be tolerated. You can read more about that in our Terms of Service.
Building a platform for indie writers, authors, artists, or “creators” is certainly easier with millions of dollars in Venture Capital. But that money comes with strings, and forces companies to make choices that benefit investors over their customers.
We don’t want to have to do that.
The only things we have to do is:
- Help great indie publishers find and build their audiences, while spending more of their time writing/drawing/podcasting than on business stuff.
- Build a platform we're proud of.
- Help indie publishers keep as much of their revenue as possible.
We think that's a way better way to spend our life energy than helping billionaires get richer.
You don't have to believe in our dream, though, to use Outpost to build your business. You can just choose it because it's the best software to build your publishing business, and it lets you keep more of your money.
But you're welcome to join our dream anytime.