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Frequently asked questions


Who owns my stuff?

You do! You keep the rights to all content you upload and publish on Atavist, and we’ll never run ads on your content. You can read more about that in our Terms of Service and our Terms of Service.

What happens when you publish a project? Who sees it?

We have a saying in the office: “Publish” means “public.” When you hit publish, your project is live on the web, and anyone can find it. If you only want certain people to be able to read it, however, you can upgrade your account in order to set a password.

How many dogs work in your office?

Usually between two and four. We often document their contributions on our Instagram.


What’s happening to my old Creatavist projects?

Nothing. Your published projects will remain exactly the same. You will not need to republish them or change anything to keep them as they are.

Is the link to my project going to break?

No! Existing project URLs will redirect to a new URL. Masked URLs will not be affected.

Profile vs. Publication

What's the difference between a profile and a publication?

That's a good question, since you can publish projects to both your personal profile and to a publication, depending on your needs.

Everyone in the system gets a personal profile, automatically. You can use your personal profile to express an idea, share a collection of photos, or publish a project. It's your own space.

However, you can also opt to not use your profile for publishing purposes, and just use the space to create projects that you will move to publications. Your profile's avatar then will just represent you as you work elsewhere in Atavist, on publications with collaborators; this way, they can know who you are.

Finally, if you ever publish to an Atavist publication, your profile's avatar can be used as a byline, and will even link back to your personal profile.

Publications are perfect for organizations who are planning to include multiple contributors and editors under a single, branded entity. We recommend publications for groups — magazines, non-profits, brands, etc. You can create — and join — as many publications as you wish.

Accounts, collaboration, and invitations

Can I add more people to my account?

Paying plans can invite members to join their team. See which plan suits your team’s size on our Plans page.


Can I import a Word .docx?

Yes. Word docs in the docx format can be dragged onto the New Project button on the projects list page.

Can I import a PDF?

No. You cannot import a PDF into an Atavist project.

Custom Work

How much does it cost if Atavist builds me a custom feature?

We generally price on a project basis based on the number of hours we expect it will take. While we’ll do a few smaller one-off client design projects, for actual feature development, our minimum annual commitment is $25,000 and includes Premium Support.


What’s the number to call to get some time with your support team?

We only provide phone support for clients on Premium Support, which is a monthly or year cost over and above the plan payments. That runs $2K/month or $15K/year and we recommend it for anyone interested in doing their own custom design or development.


Is there a limit to my storage?

Nope! We provide unlimited storage.

Which 3rd party products do you support? (Vimeo, Timeline.js, etc.)

We provide a number of blocks for embedding services, including YouTube, Vimeo, and Soundcloud. Users with developer features enabled may build their own custom embeds for other types of content.

Can I use my own domain name?

Paying plans can mask their “” address with an address they already own.

What’s the Atavist stack?

Atavist runs on Amazon Web Services. We maintain two database clusters (one for MySQL and one for MongoDB), and a cluster of LAMP servers that do the heavy lifting for the CMS, web projects and app-facing API's. Our servers sit behind a load balancer, and are provisioned using Chef, which allows us to scale horizontally as we start to see traffic or load. All of our web projects are also cached with Varnish, an HTTP accelerator, which means readers get fast page loads and bursty traffic is not a problem.

Can I use a custom typeface?

Yep! All plan levels can use our custom block types, cover types, and themes to personalize their work. And plans with access to developer tools can use any font their heart desires (assuming you’ve gotten the appropriate licenses)!

Custom URLs

Where does my stuff hosted by Atavist live?

Everything you upload to Atavist is hosted by us using Amazon Web Services. This includes all content storage—images, video, audio, text, more.

Can I use my own domain name?

Yes. We host everything, but we do have a few ways to mask the URL you use if you're on an $8/month plan or above. The easiest way is to use a CNAME. You choose a subdomain of your site and then each Atavist project would have its own URL. Read more about the process here.

Can I embed an Atavist project on my own site?

Atavist is designed using cutting edge responsive design. So we strongly discourage embedding Atavist projects on another site, which could compromise your project's performance.

We do however make it easy to mask the URL of your projects for all paying accounts. At the Team ($50/month) plan level and above, we also allow you to add your Google Analytics tracking ID to your project. That way, your traffic numbers roll up into your existing Google Analytics account, even though we're hosting your content.

Because of these benefits, we block embedding for free accounts. At the Pro level and above, though, you can embed your work on your site however you choose. (It's worth noting that we can't provide technical assistance for this process in most instances.)


Does Atavist allow me to sell ads?

Although we will never serve ads on your work, we do allow certain plan levels to serve ads themselves on their content.

What advertising platform does Atavist use?

We fully support Google DoubleClick for Publishers. You can read more about integrating DFP in our Help documentation. You can run both premium display or remnant ads. Our system will read an ad tag just as it would on your own, so you can use whatever advanced targeting values (custom filters) you like.

Can we publish sponsored content?

We really try to be a tool that will adapt to your editorial and business needs. So, you can approach ads and sponsored content however works for your business. If your plan has developer tools, you can add any banners, ads or other custom components directly in our system and drop an ad pixel to track performance.

Is there a way to tag or identify the content as sponsored content?

We generally recommend putting some sort of tag or banner at the top of sponsored content, but the way you implement it is up to you.

Search, social, and sharing

Are my projects shareable?

Absolutely. You can set a default sharing URL, default Twitter text, default Facebook text and signature, and upload a sharing image. All of these are set on a project’s Social tab.

How does Atavist optimize for search engines?

Everything published on Atavist is fully indexed by search engines.


What analytics are available?

All plan levels can see how many page views each projects has gotten. We have a Google Analytics-powered dashboard for paying plans, and plans with developer features may add their own Google Analytics ID into in their projects, which allows you to see your Atavist work in your existing GA dashboard. Those tiers may also add custom analytics suites, such as Adobe or ChartBeat.


Do I need anything other than an Atavist account in order to sell?

All Atavist sales are processed by Stripe, one of the most secure and powerful ecommerce solutions on the market. Setting up a Stripe account and linking it to Atavist takes about five minutes.

Do you support international selling?

Commerce on Atavist travels wherever Stripe does. If you own a bank account in a country supported by Stripe, you’re good to go. Customers in any country may make purchases with a credit card.

Where will my work be for sale?

You can sell directly on the web.
Clients who build their content as in-app purchases directly from their iOS or Android apps.

How does my ebook get on Amazon?

Paying plans can export an unlimited number of ebooks, which you can then sell directly on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, Barnes & Noble’s PubIt, or the Apple iBooks Store.

How do I get paid?

Your Stripe account is linked directly to your bank account, so net proceeds are directly deposited to you.

Can I sell a subscription to my ebook?

Subscriptions are really auto-renewing commerce products that entitle the buyer to access content. You can definitely release a book serially. But it’s best to charge for it either once up front or separately as installments are released.

How do I manage my subscribers?

When someone wants to buy a project form you, they enter a credit card and an email address. Atavist manages what they’ve purchased and when they should be billed. And you will have a list of all your readers and what they’ve purchased. Their payment information is securely stored by Stripe.

Can I import my existing subscribers?

We can import subscribers as part of a .csv upload, or you can manually input your users into your account yourself.

Does Atavist use Digital Restrictions Managment (DRM)?

Projects and ebooks sold through Atavist on the web do not contain DRM. Our decision not to use DRM is partly one of pragmatism. DRM encryption is an expensive undertaking and there’s little evidence to show that it actually prevents piracy. Instead, DRM is largely beneficial to large retailers to maintain reader lock-in, and to some large software companies that use DRM to gather data on readers for their own purposes.

For customers concerned about potential piracy, at our highest tiers we offer some options that will reduce the ability to copy and potentially re-distribute your work (we don’t encourage these changes, however, because they reduce your readers’ ability to share your story in ways that may actually increase sales). If DRM is a requirement, we recommend you not sell through Atavist directly, but instead generate ebooks out of Atavist and only sell through retailers that do utilize DRM (Kindle store, the iBookstore, etc.).


What’s the difference between Atavist and The Atavist Magazine?

Atavist is a technology company that produces a suite of publishing tools. The Atavist Magazine is an editorially independent magazine, which operates on the Atavist platform. While both are owned by Atavist, Inc., and are based out of the same Brooklyn office, they are two separate enterprises.

Does The Atavist Magazine accept submissions?

Yes, we accept pitches for longform, character-driven, narrative nonfiction stories between 5,000 and 30,000 words. These can be directed to the desk of our executive editor, Katia Bachko, at Please take the time to look at the kinds of stories we’ve done in the past.

Does publishing on the Atavist platform mean my work will be published in The Atavist Magazine?

No, we’ve built the platform so that you can publish and promote your work yourself.

If I pay for a plan, will The Atavist Magazine partner with me on promotion?

No, magazine business—both editorial and promotional—is completely separate from platform client business. If you have an editorial pitch for the magazine, please submit it following the guidelines above.

I’m a journalist, can I get access for review purposes?

Absolutely. Email, and we’ll add you to our distribution list for advanced copies or set you up with a press account to read them online.

Credit cards & billing

When is my card billed?

We charge your card once a month beginning the day you upgrade your account, or once a year if you choose to pay in advance. If paying yearly, we’ll remind you a month before your card is billed again.

What happens if my card doesn’t go through?

If for some reason we can’t run your card, we’ll notify you immediately via email and ask you to update your billing information. If after 7 days we still can’t run your card, your account will be downgraded to Creative ($0/month) and special features will be locked out. Your work will remain published, and once you update your billing information, we'll restore your special features. For more details about downgrading, please see our Terms of Service.

Can I get a refund for my plan payments?

Monthly plan payments are non-refundable. Yearly plan payments are refundable for 90 days.

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Learn even more in our Help center.

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