Google already has the space where many newsletters (Docs) start and end up (search). Now he can also control where they are hosted, giving him the ability to advertise.
TechCrunch earlier reported on Museletter, an experimental product under development within Google’s R&D division. Museletter gives users a public profile on Google Drive through which they can share documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows with anyone who subscribes. A website preview tool says users could get paid by offering premium subscriptions.
One-stop shop – Paid newsletters have exploded over the past year, in part thanks to Substack, which has created an easy-to-use product for writing newsletters that includes a simple payment system. Twitter, Facebook and others have since followed with their own newsletter offers as people have shown their willingness to directly support their favorite writers. It’s unclear how many newsletters a given person would be willing to pay, but the best writers in their given niche may have made hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) each year.
One of the downsides of paid newsletters is that writers can generate more income from loyal fans, but their influence might decrease as fewer people see their work overall.
It makes perfect sense that Google is trying to get a share of the action, as it already controls the creation and promotion side of newsletter business. Advertising on newsletters could be a lucrative new space for Google because the price it can Fee per click on Search Network ads has shrunk over the years and it faces increased competition in Amazon’s ad space. Ads in newsletters could theoretically be worth more because they would target people interested in a very specific topic.
To be determined – Like other platforms, Museletter allows writers to post work on their profile or on a mailing list. You can imagine that a financial analyst publishes a regular newsletter, but then grants access to detailed spreadsheets only to paid subscribers.
On its website, Museletter suggests it would make Google money by charging for premium features like custom domains. Advertising also seems like an obvious possibility for the reasons stated above, although Museletter’s website does not mention this possibility.
Google said TechCrunch in a statement that Museletter is “one of many experiments” and that “it is still very early days”. Anyone interested in using Museletter can request access to its website.