Meet Listory, the Latest Buzzy Newsletter Startup

A human-curated service from an unlikely source

Newsletters? There's an app for that. Listory

As media organizations—and individuals—ramp up the number of newsletters they produce, thereby creating new advertising opportunities, one company wants to curate them all in one space.

Content recommendation company Outbrain founder and CEO Yaron Galai is behind a newsletter curation app called Listory, which puts a set of filters over newsletter stories to provide readers with tailored content based on criteria people select when they first use the app. (Listory will reportedly not include paywalled content.)

The product release comes as the media industry has moved to create more newsletters to attract subscribers and uniquely cover news cycles. Recently, Insider acquired Morning Brew, which creates aggregated newsletters, while more and more high-profile reporters abandon their mainstream media posts to write their own newsletters at Substack.

Outbrain’s Listory will allow users to place certain filters over newsletter content to personalize the experience, including by topic, how long the stories will take to read, and content type. Users can also gamify the experience by setting reading goals, whether it’s daily or weekly.

The new service will prioritize human aggregation—each story will be hand-selected, rather than using an AI aggregator—to bring readers “only content that is authentic, relevant and important,” according to the company’s website.

Listory currently monitors 1,000 newsletters across topic areas that include engineering, design and venture capital. Listory has launched with a free, ad-supported version and a premium, ad-free option at $5 per month.

Essentially, newsletters provide a direct connection to readers at “low marginal costs,” said Anindya Ghose, a professor at NYU Stern School of Business. And with that direct relationship comes a slew of data points tied to users’ email addresses.

“This makes it easier for publishers to do digital attribution analysis, which is attractive to advertisers who place their ads on publishers’ platforms,” Ghose said.

The new product comes as ad-tech companies innovate new tools to win over publishers beyond the ad carousels that made their businesses popular with media companies, but are sometimes seen as cheapening the user experience.

Indeed, Outbrain’s main competitor Taboola (their merger was axed in September) announced last week that it was rolling out a beefed-up product for publishers that aims to help them turn registered users into paid subscribers.

When the intended merger was announced, a media executive who previously spoke to Adweek on the condition of anonymity due to their relationship with the ad-tech firms predicted that the two companies would move deeper into developing new products as publishers also grew their own subscription businesses. At the time, the executive said each company had “developed all these tools that nobody really cares about.”

@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.