Rangers Competitive Analysis of Publication Platforms


After a few years of writing on Substack and Medium, Rangers have decided to consider deprecating both publications in favor of newer tools (Mirror.xyz & viaheadline.xyz) that prove to be more closely aligned with our mission and goals as an organization.

In our review and analysis, we will compare and contrast each of the publication platforms in an attempt to delineate between the different options that we as an organization have available to choose from along with the pros and cons that each publication offers.

In anticipation of deprecating both Medium and Substack, it is possible that we decide to support the web3 publications Mirror & Headline for closer alignment with Ranger’s mission. To support this possibility, we will cover with as much detail as possible the value of co-opting these newer publications in favor of the old.

Getting us started, let’s cover the features and each of the different publication platforms.

Core Features of Substack

  • Send regular emails to readers or subscribers
  • Read, save, share allows readers to like, comment, and share the publication to twitter
  • Substack publications allow for writers to develop their audience around a niche group
  • Substack offers an IOS app that likens it to more to a Medium or Twitter

Pros of Substack

  • Direct connection with readers: Emails land directly into the reader’s inbox
  • Send free emails for life
  • Discoverability on the platform
  • Full control over content: Opening up the possibility to do brand sponsorships on newsletters wherein you introduce readers to a new tool they would benefit from.
  • SEO & Domain Authority are high at 78% and 84% respectively

Cons of Substack

  • Lack of the community aspect: Comments section is minimally engaged
  • Exclusivity in making money: Stripe is the only payment gateway available
  • Lack of advanced analytics: Only shows the number of times a newsletter has been opened and the percentage of readers that clicked on links. No information is available about audience demographics, other topics readers are interested in, or how much time they spend reading the post, etc.

Core Features of Medium

  • Send regular emails to readers or subscribers
  • Discoverability with recommendations provided by the algorithm
  • Readers can leave claps on a story and add it to their “list”
  • Write about a variety of topics across different publications ensures greater success

Pros of Medium

  • Direct connection with readers: Emails land directly into the reader’s inbox
  • Discoverability on the platform
  • A robust community of readers and writers: The comments section on Medium is quite robust
  • SEO & Domain Authority are highest at 80% and 95% respectively
  • We already use it!

Cons of Medium

  • Success on Medium is algorithm-dependent
  • Limited control over content distribution
  • Limits on ads, affiliates, and sponsorships
  • Lack of advanced analytics: Only shows the number of times a newsletter has been viewed, read, and the ratio of those who viewed that also read, as well as fans. No information is available about audience demographics, other topics readers are interested in, or how much time they spend reading the post, etc.

Core Features of Mirror

  • Own your publication
  • Web3 auth enabled
  • Split up proceeds with collaborators
  • Build a monetized community using NFTs or creator tokens
  • Crowdfund project ideas offering NFTs and earning cryptocurrency
  • Hold auctions tailored to their content
  • Distribute tokens within the community
  • Several tools allow users to launch brand or ideas beyond the content alone.

Pros of Mirror

  • Web3 native
  • Solid discoverability
  • Publish from an org account & permissioning access using $WRITE
  • Full control over content: Opening up the possibility to do brand sponsorships on newsletters wherein you introduce readers to a new tool they would benefit from.
  • We already use it!

Cons of Mirror

  • No email subscriptions
  • Semi-frequent crashes
  • Still newer & less established
  • SEO & Domain Authority are low at 39% and 52% respectively

Core Features of Headline

  • Own your publication
  • Send content directly to a subscribers inbox
  • Choose whether to make your content gated or free (unlock)
  • Read and write content from one place
  • Membership powered by Unlock w/ Encrypted content from LIt Protocol
  • Creator data uses Ceramic for identity
  • Multisig Wallet Support (coming soon)
  • Free to use & Open source
  • Send blog as a newsletter using Mailgun domain
  • Import subscribers using wallet addresses

Pros of Headline

  • Built by our community (RG, Unlock, Ceramic)
  • Dogfooding
  • Beautiful & Seamless UI
  • Decentralized
  • Subscriber import using wallet addresses
  • Free or Gated content

Cons of Headline

  • No email subscriptions
  • No multisig support
  • Much newer and less battletested
  • No analytics
  • SEO & Domain Authority are very low at 40% and 8% respectively

A Quick Synopsis

After reviewing each of the publication platforms, it is fairly clear the direction we are headed in.

Web2 publications such as Substack and Medium are proving themselves to be less desirable for shelling out content as they do not support our project with the features and discoverability that we would like. These publications are more focused on monetization and helping writers to grow their network using social features built into their apps, as well as SEO optimization and algorithmic page ranking, and as you could imagine, DAO content seems to be falling through the cracks of these publications’ SEO.

Medium being the primary subject has failed to drive significant traffic to the DAOhaus publication. The data tells a story that readership has dropped off quite a bit since we first created our publication, with viewership peaking in March of 2021.

Even with the latest HausParty blogs that we have been sending out, viewership is at its lowest since April of 2020, indicating that our audience has either shifted its attention to other publication platforms in favor of reading medium posts, or our content is no longer interesting and engaging them in a way that tickles their interest.

On the other hand, Substack still proves to be a useful tool for driving viewership to DAOhaus content. This is primarily a function of the email subscription service that Substack offers to publications running on the platform.

Since May of 2021, our email subscriber list has grown nearly 3x to 1,269 individuals from 443. This marks an impressive amount of growth for our publication over the past year. In addition to the sheer number of subscribers, viewership has scaled in parallel where today over 40% of subscribers are opening the content we send to their email inbox.

So What Now?

After conducting analysis across each of these publications and with the goals of our organization in mind, It is time to provide DAOhaus with guidance about which platforms we should move forward with or continue to use in light of the information presented here.

Moving forward, It is recommended that DAOhaus move forward with deprecating its Medium publication in favor of the alternatives talked about in this post. (SS, Mirror, HL)

As for Substack, it is clear that traffic is still being driven to the publication as viewership and opens continue to climb. With the publication gaining steam and more subscribers, it might not be a good idea to switch as we might risk losing a large chunk of DAOhaus viewers.

With that said, if we can prove that a viable alternative such as Headline can work and the risk of trying is relatively low, then we should do everything in our power now to pursue that alternative.

Proposed Path Forward

First, we will want to deprecate the Medium. In doing so, we will need to figure out a method for backing up all of the content that we would like to keep from our Medium. (Will update this)


We will be moving our archive of medium articles to the DAOhaus mirror.

We move forward with exploring Headline as a possible alternative to Substack, where we can begin to publish our content on Headline and syndicate that content out using Substack until we feel comfortable pulling the plug on SS.

There are several things we need to figure out ahead of shifting our publication to Headline:

  1. How to setup Mailgun service
  2. How to give multiple writers access to publishing content on the platform
  3. How permission access for our org

Once we have resolved each of the above points, and we have written a meaningful amount of content using Headline, then we can consider moving forward with deprecating the substack in favor of the new tool.

Final Thoughts

Continuing forward with Headline, Mirror, and Substack - each of these publications should serve a specific purpose and fill a particular need from the perspective of Warcamp and the Rangers circle.

Along with refining our on-going content strategy, I want to suggest that we begin working with UTMs to help track how users are interacting with linked content from content pieces we post in our different publications.

Substack/Headline - Wider ecosystem communications, such as: Announcements, newsletters, updates, integrations, Haus Party :tada: etc.

  • Output: Users and community stays up to date on DAOhaus product, partnerships, community developments, and opportunities

Mirror - Important cultural docs, organization and product updates, as well as research reports & syndicates.

  • Output: Users and community can download our values & mission, product updates, as well as high fidelity research.

(Deprecated) Medium - Haus Party :tada:, Specific announcements, Post-Mortems

  • Output: Community can stay involved in important cultural discussion in DAOhaus, they can improve upon those ideas theirselves

We can update this as we see fit, but for now our focus will be on delivering high fidelity content to each of our publications listed above. Our strategy can change around these publications, but for now will move forward with the existing strategy with the exception of Headline being an experiment in moving away from Substack.

Please feel free to drop comments, questions, or concerns in the forum after this post goes live or in the Rangers chat.