Popbitch is a British cult media brand. It publishes UK's biggest email newsletter, sent every week since 2000 to a subscription list now numbering over 300,000. With its website long-reads, which feature serious analysis and investigations as well as more light-hearted and entertainment-focused content, it has an online reach of 1m per week - much of it in the USA.

Here they describe how they have been working with Axate to transform the economics of their business

Digital publishing used to be simple. If your content attracted an engaged, interested audience you could also attract brands who wanted to advertise to them, which paid for your costs. But then programmatic advertising took over, and drove prices down to the floor. Which meant we got paid pretty much nothing unless we plastered our pages with adverts and videos.

We didn't much like looking at the pages we created any more. And we noticed that whatever we did, advertising was becoming worth less and less.

So we decided to ask our site users what they thought. And what they said surprised even us.


Readers didn't just dislike the intrusive adverts. They hated them. Absolutely hated how most of the sites they liked or relied on were becoming unreadable. Hated how content was designed to generate clicks through cheap headlines. Hated how hard to load our site, and others, had become. Hated the autoplay videos everywhere. Basically, users were starting to hate the internet.

So we took all the display advertising off popbitch.com. That might be at the extreme end of solutions but it made us go out there and look for another way.

And that's when we met Axate.

Axate’s idea

Axate's proposition sounded on paper like a no-brainer. A one-time sign up wallet which enables to readers to pay a small payment for whichever article they wanted to read either on Popbitch or on any other website using Axate. A system which puts the power back in the hands of consumers not advertisers.

So we said yes.

And this is what we found.


It was incredibly easy to incorporate Axate technology into the back-end of our website. And free. The Axate team did most of the work, with our input.


The look of the site didn't change - except for a small green triangle to indicate a Axate account. We settled on a price per article (25p). And also a maximum spend per week so that everything on the site was free to read (50p) - so basically once a reader paid for two features they got everything else with no charge for seven days. That way they felt encourages to dive in and

And so we bit the bullet and told our readers. That once a wallet had been created (we don't host the data, and it's all done through Paypal) and a deposit of £3.00 had been made, they could fill their boots.

No commitment, no annoying recurring subscriptions. No feeling like you're siloed once you've paid for a year's journalism. Just an ability to dip in and out when you want to read something.


Feedback has been really good. The whole thing is transparent. And we've signed up 0000s of readers.

We can see what kind of thing people enjoy reading so we can look at doing more of it. And we've found that left to their own devices, digital consumers are an omniverous bunch. And we’re making money we weren’t making before, which we’re putting into creating more features.

The real benefits will come when more publishers sign up - so once a reader decides to sign up for a wallet they can sample a broad spectrum of journalism without having the arseache of inputting their credit card details again and again.

It's how multi-channel TV thrived. Why not digital journalism?