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Why Twitter is shutting down Revue, and the best alternatives

Why Twitter is shutting down Revue, and the best alternatives

A few weeks ago, Platformer broke the news that Twitter will shut down its newsletter tool Revue, just one year after acquiring it. It looks to be official, as evidenced by this tweet from Revue founder Martijn de Kuijper:

A tweet from Revue's founder

I have no doubt angry users will blame Elon Musk. However, sources inside the company say Revue was on the chopping block long before the acquisition closed.

But people love Revue. Why shut it down?

Twitter has never been an advertising powerhouse like Facebook, so they've increasingly flirted with alternative business models—paid newsletters was one of them.

When the pandemic started, Journalists (who all hang out on Twitter) began leaving their jobs en-masse to start paid newsletters with Substack. Meanwhile, they were making a lot of noise about this on Twitter.

So it's easy to see how Twitter management, desperate to find other ways to monetize, got Substack envy. Hence the Revue acquisition.

Rule #1 of the lazy social media exec playbook: Always Blindly Copy the Features of Any Challenger Platform.

The problem is, Twitter execs didn't realize newsletters are a different beast.

A strategic blunder

Email newsletters are not the same as Youtube copying TikTok Reels; or Instagram copying Snapchat Stories. Those features don't cannibalize Youtube or Instagram. They keep you on-platform.

Newsletters do the opposite. The whole point of building an email list is to prevent social algorithms from having control over your customer relationships. The average twitter user only reaches 1-2% of their followers with a post. The average email marketer gets anywhere from 20-40% open rates from subscribers.

This means the difference in reach between a Twitter follower and an email subscriber can be 20X. If you can successfully convert Twitter followers to your email list, you've disintermediated Twitter!

Whatever your feelings about Musk, killing Revue is absolutely the right business move for an ad-supported social media company like Twitter.

It's just not great of the rest of us.

My recommended Revue alternatives

So what does this mean for newsletter creators? If you're currently using Revue, you'll need to find another platform. Luckily Email is an open protocol and there's plenty of great options depending on your goals:

  • For journalists starting a paid newsletter: you're going to want a platform built specifically for running a 1-person media company. Substack (free) and Ghost (paid) are the two big players in the space, with challenger platforms like Beehiiv not far behind. Conventional wisdom is: Start on Substack, migrate to Ghost when you get bigger.
  • For startups, founders and creators: give Audienceful a try, we've been referred to as "if Notion and Mailchimp had a baby." Audienceful offers the minimalist publishing experience of tools like Ghost/Substack, but with powerful segmentation, automation and drip sequence features that growing businesses need. And you can leave your website on whatever platform you want.

How I migrated my email list off Revue

If you're currently using Revue, I'd recommend exporting your email list off the platform as soon as possible. Here's what I did for my personal newsletter:

First, head to the subscribers tab and go to Options > Export Your Subscribers.

How to export your email subscribers from Revue

Next, you should receive an email like this with links to download your list (do this quickly, the links expire within 30 minutes):

Links to download your Revue email list

Click the links to download your subscriber list.

Once you have your email list in CSV format, you can now import it into any email platform of your choosing.