There’s more industry-wide recognition that advertising isn’t necessarily always bad
This calls to mind Medium's folly: a hard-line anti-ad stance. I wrote about this very thing for Adweek. Ev Williams spoke idealistically about how the ad-supported model drove clickbait and bad content, hinting at some new, yet-to-be discovered model. Instead, they went the subscription route, which is fine; they just didn't unearth something no one hadn't thought of. To your point, ads depend a lot on the broader mix and the execution. Media like newsletter and podcasts work well because their audiences are engaged. Some Substackers do a pretty good job at incorporating sponsors.
A writer or Creator needs full control over their publication. If you want Ads, power to you! Substack needs to be an agnostic tool-box, nothing more. If I want Ad sponsors to diversify my revenue, Substack should literally match me up with the best companies and aligned corporate entities for the micro niche I am in.
Great post. Honestly, anything is better than to model we have now for media. The attention game is awful for journalism, and ads contribute to it. We need a better model that reduces the amount of clickbaiting and polarization that comes from the current news model.