Upworthy just published their plans to make money:
Upworthy Collaborations is about finding a shared mission with brands and organizations — working together to connect the best of what they stand for with what our community cares about. Brands get an opportunity to participate in the Upworthy community, we get to go deeper on important content areas, and together we push the mission forward.
On a practical level, it means you’ll see sponsored sections around topics we think are important and promoted posts that fit with the Upworthy mission. Most importantly, you’ll always know when a brand is involved — it’s very clearly marked — and you can rest assured that we’ll only work with folks we think are actually making a real effort at improving the world, not just those saying it.
The key issue here? Thoughtful criteria and saying "no" often. When we talk about the age of curation, we tend to think of brands, consumers and platforms as curators of content.
As far as the money goes, platforms should also curate the brands that sponsor the content. That's why Pinterest is setting pretty high stakes when it comes to advertising. Or why Instagram's CEO is reportedly vetting all the ads himself.
Purpose is about knowing how to curate your message as well as your revenue sources.