It’s a big day for Politico biz-model stuff. First it debuts sponsored content on its homepage.

And now, as reported on the blog of Politico media reporter Dylan Byers, the organization is looking to “test a metered system for subscriptions in a half-dozen states and internationally.”

Those states, says the memo, will be “small” ones “spread across the country, so our experiment captures any regional trends and also limits any potential loss of traffic to the site.” In a note above the memo, Byers reported that those states are “Iowa, North Dakota, Vermont, Mississippi, New Mexico and Wyoming.” Politico has plenty of company in launching this experiment: “300 media companies [are] now charging for online content in the U.S.”

Politico’s reach for national money from its core coverage has a forerunner. Back in 2008, it launched something called the “Politico Network,” a series of ad- and content-sharing alliances with newspapers, TV stations and other outlets around the country. A press release stated, “The Politico Network … brings a new revenue model to these media partners: Politico will sell national advertising to be placed on partners’ websites, and revenue from those ads will be shared between Politico and the media outlets.”

The network now has a ton of participating outlets, listed here. But the national patchwork is a bit unwieldy to manage, and it still doesn’t constitute a sturdy leg on Politico’s revenue stool.

Yet: Politico’s attempt to get its stuff out into the world, combined with its dedication to becoming the “ESPN of politics,” gives the site a chance at dinging its heartland audience.

The glorious thing about the Politico experiment is how little risk it contemplates. It stands to lose a limited number of clicks coming from these small-population states. But all the while, it can issue solid assurances to rich issue advertisers, who deliver big revenue to Politico: We still reach your influentials in and around the Beltway and New York. Sorry if your exposure in Vermont might be a little crimped.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.