Refreshbox is building an email community

Refreshbox, a start-up which seemed to come out of nowhere, is grabbing attention by putting a community spin on email curation, and–indirectly at least–on email marketing.

The idea is so elegantly simple that I’m surprised nobody has come up with it before (let me know in the comments below if they have). Join Refreshbox as a curator, and you can put together a once-a-week newsletter featuring five links to content related to your chosen topic. Visit Refreshbox as a reader, and you can subscribe to newsletters which interest you by using, for example, “popular,” “staff picks,” or “most active” listings, or scrolling down the full list, seemingly forever.

There’s a heavy lean toward technology content, but plenty of newsletters by and for marketers too. As the website enticingly puts it, “Creating a weekly newsletter is an easy, hassle-free way to get a community around you, and the benefits will follow as well.” 

Some curators are using Refreshbox newsletters to promote their own, longer newsletters, and the service is also being used by small brands (technology and marketing consultancies are much in evidence). I don’t see big brands there yet, but feel free to hit the search box and double-check me.

What seems important, at a glance, is that the newsletters, to be popular, should not be corporate. Most are branded as curated by individuals, not companies they make work for, and I suspect it’s also going to be a net negative, in terms of encouraging engagement, to link only to your own, proprietary content.

It’s not going to replace traditional email marketing any time soon, but it does offer the appeal of a self-selected audience. Maybe people who actively search for and select newsletters are more likely to open and read them. 

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