The social network Substack wants to own more and more of the relationship

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

Home With The Armadillo: Substack Is Setting Writers Up For A Twitter-Style Implosion

Essentially, the “follow” feature allows Substack to hold writers (and readers) hostage on their platform, forcing them to operate in a closed-content ecosystem that predominantly benefits Substack. Readers must use the Substack app or the Substack site to see content from writers they “follow,” and writers have no way of independently reaching their “followers” — whereas they can email their subscribers directly, or, if they transition to another platform, can bring those subscribers with them.

Substack started as a writer-friendly company that talked big about letting you take your audience with you if you ever wanted to leave. They still do that, and that’s good, but their explicit dive into being a closed social network means all of your followers are completely locked into you sticking with Substack.

Throwing this out there just in case it ends up coming true, but I wonder if one day you’ll have to pay Substack extra to even own your email list. I wouldn’t put it past them.