Less than a year ago, hacker Noon replaced Medium’s software with its own content management system. Since then he has amassed over 100+ years of reading time, and has historically published over 12k+ authors, according to the company’s About page.
I caught up with Hacker Noon founder and CEO David Smuke to discuss the development of the publishing platform over the past year, the company’s recent funding announcement, and where the future of digital publishing might be.
Micropayment streaming in browser
Coil, founded in 2018, uses a proposed open web standard called web monetization to stream micro-payments to creators in real time. Coyle is making other strategic investments in community content destinations such as Imgur.
“With this partnership, Hacker Noon writers can now add their own web monetization meta tag to their stories, and we will be experimenting with streaming micropayments for authors based on how long Coil users spend reading their stories. are,” said Smook.
Will streaming payments automatically through the browser really work?
“As the ecosystem is young and innovation requires experimentation, these payments will start small,” Smook said. “But from the very beginning, browsers were designed to power the exchange of monetary value. The HTTP status code ‘402 Payment Required’ is a non-standard client error status response code that is reserved for future use. Maybe the future is sooner than we think? Additionally, we’ll provide a way for writers to donate their earnings to charity who are dedicated to making the Internet a better place.”
Here’s what it looks like for contributing writers to add their Coil web monetization tag, on the Hacker Noon platform:
A Total Frontend Overhaul on Hacker Afternoon
On April 20, hacker Noon announced that they had switched their primary reader experience from static pages to the open source NextJS framework.
“This allows us to deploy changes to Hacker Noon without having to resubmit every post and publicly cache pages,” Smook said. “So between deployments, if a user visits a new story that hasn’t been pre-rendered, it is rendered, hydrated, and then stored for future visitors.”
With this frontend re-architecture, the Hacker Noon product team has made major improvements to all of their public facing pages. Authors can now add their call to action not only to their profile page, but also to story pages, bringing more traffic to an external source.
And readers, who haven’t needed to log in since the new site’s launch, have generally better and less distracting reading, with wider images, better typography, and even a dark mode. have experience.
“We still have a long way to go to create the best reading experience possible,” Smook said. “Currently, we rely on Algolia integration to allow a clean route to content discovery, which includes among other things, filters by tag.
With the next iterations, we will introduce reader-focused features such as tags and by authors. Want to optimize for subscriptions, annotations and emoji reactions, and overall more meaningful engagement for each piece of content.”
quantitative social proof
Platforms are under siege: how should they create relevant information for users’ content? And when should they actually step in to remove the content? Instagram has addressed this by removing like counts, and Twitter has — in a more explosive way — begun fact-checking the president’s tweets.
Hacker Noon has taken its step to provide quantitative social proof. “Time Reading Created” has started to surface when the publishing platform contributed to public profiles of authors:
“A platform has a responsibility to decide how other people interact with content,” Smook said. “The simplest measure of engagement is time. As we are a place to read, it makes sense for us to provide our readers with a quantitative measure, such that reading time is built in.”
Smook confirmed that authors only ‘earn’ this feature when they have exceeded a day of reading, and authors can turn this data on or off via their settings page on their profile page.
the future of publishing
Hacker Noon exists in an interesting overlap between traditional columns and opinions (think Forbes, WSJ, and NYT) and social platforms (like Twitter or Reddit). Many publishers are trying to be like social networks, and many social networks successfully capture publisher revenue.
Until the introduction of the web monetization tag, Hacker Noon never charged its readers, but also focused on paying writers. But even now, it’s a third party, Coil, that is paying the writers.
What does Smook think with its contributors about the role and responsibilities of platforms like Hacker Noon?