Time To Consolidate
The one with the API gets it, for now
Revue vs Substack
I have been using both platforms for a total of 4 newsletters per platform for a few weeks now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Revue is, rather surprisingly, the one to use for the near term.
Well, Substack has become popular with the indy journalist thing, and so people jumped on, and while there were already other platforms (commercial marketing email like Constant Contact and Mail Chimp, newsletters like paper.li, and whatever else is out there), much like Clubhouse, Substack invented newsletters… Twitter bought their way in by acquiring Revue, and so for no great reason I selected these two (Substack, Revue) to test out.
Substack has a decent editor. Not great, but slightly more flexible than the Revue editor. By this I mean the browser-based editor to create rich emails.
Substack seems to be more forgiving with the issue thumbnail size, with Revue limiting the size to 2.0 MB and if you’re one byte over it throws a non-useful error that doesn’t indicate the file size problem (unless they have fixed that), which tells me Revue is still in need of some, er, Review.
Neither platform is bug free, but that’s the way software is. The deciding factor, even though I don’t like Revue as much as far as issue creation (I’ll get to that in a minute), is quite simply, Revue has an API, Substack does not (nor do they have specific plans to).
The Revue API is not great. It appears that the editor treating content by item blocks is baked in to the API, so that you add items to an issue like appending to a list. There is no API for re-ordering elements and whatnot, nor to actually send the issue, nor to even create a new issue (a new issue is created on sending an issue). Generally speaking, v2 of the API can’t really be the final version, but it’s something that enables one to tack on blog entries and whatnot, to blog-first, newsletter-later if you will.
So rather than publishing a different newsletter on each of Substack and Revue, I’m going to consolidate everything to Revue, and next roll out something like Mailman for “real listserv functionality,” if you’re familiar with the real good old days. Actually I want to deply a news server, or maybe both. These are experiments that have to do with my actual software projects, to enable user engagement in newsletter-ish form among other channels, so you’re seeing experimentation in action.
I have mixed feelings about migrating a mailing list without opt-in. The subscriber lists are not large, but I’d like to think any more than zero people should have an opportunity to opt in to change, even as simple as this.
On the other hand, this Substack newsletter, while not on deck for deletion, will certainly go on hiatus for a while, and if something does take the place of the usual Monday drivel it won’t be mere copies of the other newsletter(s).
The real changes will be the (fingers crossed) launch of some kind of blog or authoritative website on which to host and publish “stuff,” and then make the Revue newsletter from there (among other things). The podcasting stuff has been useful to see how annoying it can be to use other services as the primaries.
So, in the near term the point of consolidation for newsletters is
Also, the Buy Me a Coffee profile page still has links and out-of-band updates and whatnot, check that out if you don’t want to subscribe but you want to see what is up and running and whatnot
Finally, don’t forget that I’m also testing out the recently-launched link tree competitor from the Buy Me a Coffee people, bio.link, as a simple one-pager for link vectors