X Tests New Option That Would Enable Creators to Gather Email Contacts from Subscribers
Elon Musk is looking to fulfill a key promise to creators in the app, with X developing a new option that will enable subscribers on X to share their email contact information with a creator they follow, if they choose.
As you can see in this example, posted by X News Daily, X is working on a new checkbox on the subscribe pop-up window, which would enable subscribers to opt into personal email sharing.
“Share your email with [creator name]. By accepting, you agree to let X share the email address with the creator for the purpose of off-platform and accept the Email Sharing Terms.”
That would provide each creator with full access to an off-platform contact method for each subscriber, or at least each one that opts in, enabling them to provide direct offers, or even move to another platform entirely with those contacts, if they so choose.
And with people who are looking to subscribe highly likely to share their contact info (why would you follow someone if you didn’t like or trust them?), it does seem like it could be a valuable complement.
As noted, Elon has been promising to include this element from the beginning of his new creator incentive push, noting back in June that:
This platform will provide email addresses of subscribers (who opt in) to content creators, so that creators are able to leave this platform easily & take their subscribers with them if they want
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 7, 2023
Direct contact sharing is a contentious area for social media platforms, with most viewing this type of data as proprietary, i.e. they own that connection because they’ve facilitated it in the first place. As such, most have been reluctant to provide an easy way to download and re-use contact info, though there has been a broader shift towards such in recent years.
Enabling data portability like this on X could be another lure for creators and brands that have considered building their presence on the platform, with many more now likely to factor in how they might be able to leverage this element, in order to expand their connections, and build business, both on and off-platform.
And it’s not just creators that would benefit. Brands, for example, would be able to offer special deals via subscriber-only tweets, and then use those collected emails to build their direct mailing lists.
There’s a range of ways that this could be used to expand your presence, adding a whole other element to the X experience. It also comes in addition to the platform’s newly launched ad revenue share program, which is already delivering money direct to many of its most engaging users.
In summary, X is indeed sweetening the deal for creators, and businesses in the app, which could help it become a more relevant consideration over time. There are some flaws in its approach (the incentives for its ad revenue share program will skew users towards posting engagement bait, which could impact the overall user experience). But if X can find a sustainable way to maintain its creator incentive schemes, it could help to keep its top users posting, and with only 25% of X users producing around 97% of all posts in the app, X only needs to appeal to a small fraction of its user base to maximize overall engagement and activity.
Can X find a way to keep these top users active, without eroding its core offerings?
The capacity to download emails is another step in this direction.