Reddit Tries Out An Email Newsletter

Chris CrumSocial Media

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Reddit just announced the launch of its first ever email newsletter. It's called Upvoted Weekly, borrowing the name of its recently launched Upvoted podcast. It's opt-in (double opt-in, actually) and promises subscribers the "very best of reddit's content curated, packaged, and delivered to your inbox once a week."

"It's free and we'll never spam you," says the subscription form. "We will NEVER send you an unsolicited email. Never. Seriously. If you do not check that box [to opt-in], your email address will never show up in our email list. User profile information is stored in a completely different place than the email list. These two databases do not, and will not, talk with each other."

Content will come "from every nook and cranny on the site," and will be handpicked by co-founder Alexis Ohanian and his team. It will be delivered each Sunday morning "so you can enjoy it with a nice cup of coffee, tea, or bacon." The first issue will be sent out on April 19.

Ohanian wrote in a comment thread:

On Product Hunt, Product manager Heath Black talked more about reddit's reasoning for getting into email now after all these years:

First of all, we know that a lot of people interact with reddit content across the web on a daily basis. They love the content, but don't necessarily understand that concept of reddit itself. This helps us build some context for those two things for new users, reddit lurkers, and folks that just can't spend all day on the site.

Secondly, as the site continues to grow, and the amount of content submitted grows with it, finding good content can be incredibly difficult. Discovery is a hard problem to solve, and much of the best content can be found in some of the smallest corners of reddit. A weekly digest gives us the ability to call out those good content creators, no matter where they reside on reddit.

Third, since reddit content blows up pretty often, we want to make sure that the creators of that content are given the credit they deserve. Many publishers that use their content don't credit at all and it absolutely pisses our users off. We want reddit users to know that we love them and the creative things they do.

That last point is also at least partially why reddit recently added embeddable comments (like the one above) as well.

Upvoted Weekly will not factor in the subreddits a user subscribes to because, again, the email list is completely separate from the user information.

"Every day there are millions of people that engage with reddit content across the web," the company says. "Many of them love the CONTENT on reddit, but don’t understand the CONCEPT of reddit. This newsletter is an easy way for people to experience the great stuff that reddit creates, while maintaining proper attribution to the users that created it."

Reddit says to get an idea of what you're in for, you can check out the podcast as well as the compay's Facebook and Twitter accounts. Here's a quick look at the latter:


Email newsletters can go a long way toward increasing user engagement on a site, and I don't see reddit being any different in that regard. You can see a "teaser" of how it will be laid out here.

StumbleUpon has been trying a similar approach to increase engagement with its content, and that seems to be working pretty well. Like reddit, it too shares some of its best content on its official Facebook and Twitter accounts, and much of this ends up in emails to users as well.

StumbleUpon takes things further, however, and is very much about user information, which it uses to personalize emails based on interests and content that users have already engaged with. We recently spoke with the company's director of marketing here.

“Both email marketing and social media are important pieces to the marketing mix that can significantly increase DAU [Daily Active Users]," she told us. “We are running several tests to gauge what content our users want to see. In many regards, email at StumbleUpon has been 100% dynamic content generated out of our personalization algorithm."

She also mentioned the company's weekly recommendation emails, which are personalized, had the highest engagement rates.

This is obviously a much different approach from what reddit is doing, but the completely hands-off approach it's taking makes a lot of sense for the site. If Upvote Weekly proves successful, perhaps reddit may experiment with some more user-based email options. There are no doubt plenty of users who would prefer weekly, or even daily digests of highlights from the subreddits they actually subscribe to. We'll see. For now, they're not hinting at any such plans.

Image via reddit

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.