If you were itching to launch an email newsletter via Twitter, following its acquisition of the Dutch newsletter platform Revue last month, it appears you’ll have to wait a little bit longer for the official unveiling — although some Twitter users are reporting being able to sign up for the newsletter publishing tool right now.
The social media company confirmed to TechCrunch it’s reverted Revue’s Publisher offer back to private beta for the moment — saying this means it’s only accessible to existing customers at this time.
Nonetheless, it also appears to have quietly flipped the launch switch over the last 12 hours or so — at least for some users.
Earlier today, a number of TechCrunch staffers were able to go through the process of setting up a Twitter Revue newsletter — including our very own Editor-in-Chief, Matthew Panzarino.
At the time of writing India-based reporter, Manish Singh, also has access to the interface — which prompts Twitter users to set up a free newsletter to reach their audience, flagging features such as the ability to embed tweets, import email lists, analyze engagement and earn money from subscribers.
So it looks as if Twitter has been testing a newsletter launch in a number of markets. It’s less clear whether/if it aborted a planned launch. We’ve asked the company for more details and will update this post with any response.
Unless you’ve been on a very long digital detox you’ll have noticed that newsletters have been having quite the moment of late. The rise of platforms that help writers monetize their content via an email-delivery format presents a clear risk/opportunity to Twitter, a company that relies on an army of users freely and publicly contributing short-form content.
But with Twitter launching its own in-house newsletter, tweets can potentially inflate in value — becoming the top of the funnel for Twitter users to build a community of followers who they made be able to convert to paying subscribers for longer form content, delivered in a newsletter format.
Twitter told us today that it has put new sign-ups to Revue on ice so it can focus on improving the offering in order to effectively meet the demand of new customers — and make Revue an even more powerful tool for publishers.
It added that it’s working quickly to roll out a new version that’s open to new customers, with a spokeswoman pointing to a mailing list for interested parties to sign up to get the latest updates here.
It’s not clear exactly why Twitter might have aborted a launch — or whether it was just quietly testing sign-ups in select markets, which at least three of our writers happened to be able to access. As we reported last month, it had already been working to integrate the newsletter into its platform and is clearly moving at a clip to get Revue plugged in so it can start to capitalize on the hype and momentum around paid newsletters.
Simultaneously, preventing users from finding a home for their longer form thoughts elsewhere is also likely front of mind for Twitter — as competition for attention in the social sphere heats up, such as from the likes of (rival) newsletter platform Substack (which has been building momentum since 2017); and buzzy live-voice chat app Clubhouse (which has recently captivated the clique-loving technorati).
But it seems Twitter feels its Revue newsletters aren’t quite ready for the prime time just yet.
For those eager to know more about how ‘Twitter + Revue’ will work in practice, here’s the lowdown from our very own @refsrc — who does have early access.
The newsletter feature, available from the three-dot “More” menu option on Twitter’s web interface, enables a user to sign up for Revue with a few clicks using their social account. Once onboard, users can begin drafting their newsletter and drag their recent tweets to it — if they so choose.
The newsletter platform, which competes with among others Andreessen Horowitz-backed Substack, maintains integration support for a number of third-party services including Facebook, Instagram, Pocket, Product Hunt, Instapaper, and even RSS feeds. Once users have integrated these services, they can drag and drop stories from those feeds to the newsletter.
In the current avatar, users can manually add email addresses of subscribers, or import a list from Mailchimp or a CSV file. On the welcome screen, which noted reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong first spotted last week, Twitter also advertises that its newsletter can help writers and publishers earn money from paid subscribers.
Like before, Revue lets users schedule their newsletters. All in all, there doesn’t appear to be any additional features in this entire workflow.