Scroll, the ad-free news reading website is joining Twitter in an attempt to align with the company’s bigger dream according to the company’s CEO Tony Haile.
Twitter is reportedly working on building a new subscription model which will include Scroll as well as other first-party services it developed.
In a blog post announcing the deal, Scroll CEO Tony Haile says that one reason he sold his company is because “Twitter’s ambitions are larger than people suspect.”
Website advertisements can be annoying to some degree and Scroll solved the problem by using third-party cookies or browser extensions to tell websites to not serve ads to the end user.
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While it’s not entirely an ad-blocker, it sends a portion of the subscription fee (US$5/month) to the participating websites being visited.
Now that it’s being acquired by Twitter, it will no longer accept new signups — though nothing is expected to change in the short term for existing customers.
That’s not the case for another Scroll service, Nuzzel, which is going to be “winding down.” Nuzzel sends daily emails of the top stories shared by people in your Twitter feed and was therefore beloved by a tiny set of very online news consumers. Twitter says that it will “bring the core elements of Nuzzel directly to Twitter over time.” The service will shut down on May 6th.
While the exact purpose of the purchase isn’t known, its quite obvious that the social media company is on the verge of building its very own subscription service.
In its announcement post, VP of product Mike Park hints at Twitter’s plans by suggesting that it will integrate Scroll directly into a more comprehensive subscription that will, in part, be sending slivers of money to Revue newsletter writers:
To do this, we plan to include Scroll as part of an upcoming subscription offering we’re currently exploring. As a Twitter subscriber, picture getting access to premium features where you can easily read articles from your favorite news outlet or a writer’s newsletter from Revue, with a portion of your subscription going to the publishers and writers creating the content.
According to the team behind Scroll, it made it known that its users sends out more money to news sites via its subscription model compared to ad views.
Applying that sort of model to independent newsletter writers would be a whole new set of incentives for media wonks to worry over.
Another possibility is a service that’s competitive in some ways with Apple News. Instead of the web tech hack that stops ads at a browser level, it could be a feature inside the Twitter app itself — or even a future news reading app. You could read that out of Park’s claim that “We want to reimagine what [Scroll has] built to deliver a seamless reading experience to our hyper-engaged audiences.”
In other words, Twitter is looking to leverage its central place in the online lives of many journalists and news hounds. Haile writes that he hopes Scroll will make Twitter a “great gathering of people who love the news and pay to sustainably support it.”
One of The Verge reporter who contacted Twitter via email to clarify how it would utilize the subscription services on its platform made it known that there aren’t much info to be shared considering the early stages of things but would be able to figure things out over the year.
The opportunities to mix and match individual subscriptions, bundles, and news reading experiences are vast. Vast is great, but specific will be better. Twitter’s going to have its work cut out for it putting together a coherent service and then explaining it to potential users.