Every time a market leader emerges in the tech space, people begin looking for signs that its users are abandoning it for some upstart competitor. Hence why newsletter writers attract a fair amount of attention whenever they announce they’re leaving Substack.
The platform Ghost has often been the beneficiary of this attention and is sometimes portrayed as the “anti-Substack.” But does it pose a real threat to Substack, and do the hyped defections actually signal a user exodus? Wired does a good job of exploring the differences between the two platforms in this piece:
Frankly, this designation is a bit odd. Even though Ghost has been openly courting defectors—the company has a concierge service to entice writers looking to switch—it’s not exactly a one-to-one Substack substitute. Newsletters are Substack’s core product. Not so for Ghost, which was originally envisioned as a snazzier version of WordPress when it was funded through a Kickstarter campaign in 2013. Unlike the VC-fueled Substack, Ghost is a bootstrapped affair, with a lean staff of two dozen scattered around the globe.
The business models of Substack and Ghost are also completely different. Rather than take a cut of subscriber revenue like Substack, Ghost’s paid hosting service, Ghost Pro, takes a fee, starting at $9 a month.