Substack Starts Paywalling ‘Chats’

rafapress/Shutterstock Zatria.Creative/Shutterstock AnzhelikaP/Shutterstock Remix by Caterina Rose

Substack creators can now monetize their ‘Chats’ by adding paywalls to their Chat feature or specific threads, the company announced earlier this week. 

“Your chat can serve as a virtual sports bar, a daily book club, or a sounding board for your research,” the website said in a post.

“If Notes is like the buzzy house party you attend to meet new readers, Chat is the private backchannel you have with your closest friends to discuss what happened.”

Substack chat update explained

According to Substack, the company’s data shows that active Chat participants are 12% more likely to retain their subscriptions for another year. Users will have the option of paywalling their entire chat space, making it ‘founder members only’, or paywalling Chats on a “thread by thread” basis. 

According to Substack, “this can keep conversations intimate and troll-free, while acting as a simple paid perk for your readers.”

In the post, Substack also announced that it was making changes to the Chat interface. These changes include the ability to search chat threads, the addition of thread notifications, and new reply badges in order to help users keep track of conversations.

While these updates will undoubtedly make it easier to be a creator on Substack, we doubt it’ll be enough to stave off scrutiny for the publication platform after a controversial year.

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