If you're not a regular in the world of newsletters, you might be a bit confused as to why many people on the internet seem saddened by Tuesday's news that MailChimp is officially phasing out TinyLetter, but there is a good reason for their devastation. The free newsletter service has been geared towards creatives and small business owners throughout its existence — and though as a consumer, there's not that big of a visual difference between getting a MailChimp newsletter or a TinyLetter newsletter in your inbox, the service was different. It offered something that no others really offered before: A personal, intimate environment for newsletter readers within a world that's, for all intents and purposes, is meant to be mass-produced.
MailChimp paid-subscription services have always been geared towards larger businesses and brands who wanted to put their marketing budget to good, simple use. This isn't a bad thing, of course — and sadness over TinyLetter being phased out (and according to Inc, absorbed into MailChimp) is by no means knocking MailChimp's place in the newsletter world. When creating a newsletter with a paid service like MailChimp, you get all sorts of data and analytics to help you understand what works, and exactly how your money is being spent. This ranges from access to insights that reveal exactly how many subscribers have opened the newsletter, what exactly they've clicked, what's been purchased from the newsletter, what type of device people are viewing the content on, the variations in subject lines and their corresponding performance, and who has unsubscribed or interacted with a campaign. In other words, every bit of information that can help a business owner better understand their relationship with their followers for the sake of improving their business is available through MailChimp, making it the ideal option for a business that has money to spend and reason to want access to specific customer data.
TinyLetter, however, was not meant for the big businesses. Instead, it was a service that those who already had a good understanding of their following (bloggers, for instance), or weren't overly concerned with their numbers (like creatives). With a user-friendly interface that allowed creators more control over the creativity of their newsletter formats, it appealed to writers and artists more than businesses, because it gave them a platform to share, without over-sharing. It allowed them to show their work, without putting it on the internet. With a max cap of 5,000 subscribers and no explore page to be discovered on, you could curate an audience and shield yourself and your work from the vastness of the open internet. It was basically a safe haven for creators who felt overwhelmed or stifled by social media or the web. The platform was dearly revered by artists who believed that TinyLetter was the new answer to blogs — an intimate web platform that isn't exactly trendy anymore.
As reported by Inc, a MailChimp spokesperson shared the following with them via email in regards to TinyLetter's future. "TinyLetter's functionality will be enhanced in its migration to MailChimp. It will still have the same super-simple newsletter building functionality, but it'll be refreshed and updated for improved user experience, and there will be better reporting and more insight into how newsletters perform and who the audience is." So, in other words, MailChimp will soon absorb TinyLetter, and the TinyLetter as we have previously known it will no longer exist.
TinyLetter was just about the closest you could get to sending a personal email while still representing yourself as a professional individual, which is why the devastation over its phase-out is so vast. TinyLetter currently has 100,000 users who have reached over 9.3 million subscribers, and 15 percent increase in the number of newsletters being sent out — so it's safe to say a lot more people are going to be both surprised and disappointed to find out that it's not going to be around for much longer. Though it will be absorbed into MailChimp, this is definitely the end of an era — and whether or not you send newsletters out yourself, it's one to be sad about.