Letter.ly is a newcomer on the newsletter scene launched a couple of months ago by drop.io founder, Sam Lessin. An industry blogger, Lessin had grown tired of the free newsletter scene citing a variety of concerns that lead him to take his newsletter offline and begin charging for it.
I am done with blogging personally. A little over two years later, It no longer serves the purposes outlined above, and even beyond that I find writing for an open audience is actually exceedingly disingenuous if not straight hypocritical given my strong belief in the value of “information”.
a. Understanding the medium: ‘blogging’ as a medium is quickly being out-moted by passive and active data-streams. I understood what I needed to understand, I don’t need to understand more about it. I am not turning off facebook in the least (though I will not be putting ‘high value’ content through it specifically because the value of information is inversely related to how public it is), but the highest value thoughts need not be public for the sake of exploration anymore.
b. An audit-able trail on the web for defense and offense: I have what I feel I need for now. I will occasionally need a mouthpiece, but I believe I can generate that when needed through other channels
c. Personal intellectual rigor: Still critical, but sharing ideas at a high velocity with a set of people I respect through other written means will serve the purpose just as well… I do think that forcing yourself to write down and refine is critical
d. Communicative margin: It is gone. There is no margin left in blogging (nor is there margin left in twitter/fb status potentially)… the flight pattern is too full, you don’t get any prizes anymore for showing up, and the people I really respect/want to share ideas with have mostly stopped reading blogs.
Financial bloggers looking to begin charging for all or some of their content will find that letter.ly is absolutely the easiest way to build a premium newsletter product.
Here’s how it works:
- sign up
- letter.ly provides you with a URL to send subscribers to
- publishers also receive a unique email address — this is how you publish. Create the newsletter in word/email client and just send off.
There are some basic tools to manage your list or to comp some free subscriptions. By clicking on ‘cash out’, you can get paid.
Yeah, this gets into the whole openness/closed discussion surrounding the web and for that, check out Is it time to stop blogging (GigaOM) and Let’s take this online (Joel Spolsky on Inc.).
Clearly, some newsletter publishers are going to want a lot more functionality in their subscription product. That’s fine and letter.ly is probably not for them. But if you’ve already built an audience and you’re looking to upsell them to an more intimate, more in-depth product, letter.ly is perfect.
Let me know what you think.