Questions for Esquire

And a few for Tinypass as well

Josh Sternberg reports at Digiday:

[Esquire] has teamed up with Tinypass, a company that helps publishers sell digital content, to charge readers for access to Luke Dittrich’s new in-depth profile of Dr. Eben Alexander, a man who claims to have gone to heaven and back. Readers wanting to dive in can pony up $1.99 to get the content. …
Esquire is betting that folks will do this for a deeply reported 10,000-word piece. This perhaps highlights the ridiculous publishing economics of today. For $1.99, you can go through [several] steps to read one article now. However, you can get a three-year subscription to the magazine for $18 (or a one-year subscription for $8) that also gives you access to online content. The article will run in the August issue.

When I visit Dittrich’s profile of Dr. Eben Alexander at, I am greeted with the following screen:

This is the same screen that I saw two days ago. Below are questions for Esquire, Tinypass and anyone else who wants to join this coversation.


Why is the Tinypass “ticket” only placed in the lower right? Why is it that shade of blue? Why is the call to action “Read it now” as opposed to “Read” or “Purchase” or “Continue” or _____. Why are there two paragraphs of dense copy? Why is there no photo of David Granger or Luke Dittrich? Why did DG not LD write the note? Why is the Esquire logo below the purchase button?

Are you A/B testing any of the above? If so, what? If not, why? Is it a technical limitation? Time? Budget?

If you are testing (when you do test), how do you incoporate referral sources? Do people coming via search behave differently than social or e-mail or the homepage?


Are you retargeting people who come to the article but don’t click the $1.99? How long do you follow them?

Are you running search ads? Promoting Tweets or Facebook posts? Who are you targeting?

Why is the pitch solely text? Did you consider creating a video “trailer” for the article? Did you film any interviews with Luke Dittrich or Dr. Eben Alexander? Did you consider using photos? Are you testing?

Why is there no ability to “remind me later” or read later? Is your assumption that people who visit this article want to immediately purchase?

Are you interested in capturing e-mail addresses? Does Tinypass work with Pocket or Instapaper to allow people to make in-app purchases for an article?


Will selling individual articles negatively impact the acquisition of new subscribers? Will it boost new subscriptions? How are you collecting this data? What is your hypothesis? What models are you building?

Why is the only option to purchase the article as opposed to purchasing an Esquire subscription?


Will you be publishing another 10,000 word feature for free? Will you market it the same way? How are you using previous data? What data do you wish you could obtain but are not?