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May 26, 2017, 11:34 a.m.
Aggregation & Discovery
Mobile & Apps

You can now get a few additional features on Nuzzel for $100 a year

The news aggregator this week launched Nuzzel Pro, which is ad-free, lets users filter stories, and use a dark mode.

Nuzzel — the tweet-link-aggregation app that a certain kind of information consumer finds useful as an alternative to staring with horror into Twitter’s gaping maw all day — is now happy to take your money. This week, the company launched Nuzzel Pro, a subscription service costing $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year, that offers additional features.

Right now, those features are a little thin — eliminating advertising (which the mobile app doesn’t currently have, but which is coming), allowing users to filter stories by keyword, and enabling a dark mode. Jonathan Abrams, Nuzzel’s founder and CEO, said additional Pro features would be added soon.

Nuzzel’s core capabilities will remain free. Users connect their Twitter and Facebook accounts to Nuzzel and can follow the stories that the people they follow are sharing most. Nuzzel also lets users subscribe to or create their own newsletters or feeds of stories. Nuzzel also launched a Facebook Messenger bot in April.

Abrams said Nuzzel decided to launch the Pro tier in response to users who had requested additional functionality and also because many users said they’d be willing to pay for the app. Abrams said Nuzzel has been reluctant to add some features in the past because it wasn’t sure whether most of its users would actually use them, but he said that adding a paid tier allows Nuzzel to create functionality that are aimed at a smaller subset of users.

“At this point, it’s really a test to see what the interest level is,” Abrams said. “There are some people who have said, ‘I love Nuzzel so much, I would pay for it,’ even without us adding anything. People say that — is it true, and how many? Then, on the flip side, there are people who just don’t pay stuff and they will never ever ever pay. In between, if we’re going to add some new features that people are really excited about, what’s the response to that? A lot of those things you don’t know until you start experimenting.”

With an endless stream of breaking political news, Abrams said Nuzzel has gotten requests from users to be able to block stories about politics. (Quartz this week, also due to the overwhelming amount of Trump-related news, introduced a feature in its app that lets users take a 24-hour respite from all stories regarding the president.)

The new filtering feature lets users eliminate stories with selected words in the headline. So, for instance, if you add a filter for “Trump,” you won’t see any stories with the president’s name in the headline in your Nuzzel feed or the digest newsletters, and you won’t receive any push alerts with Trump stories either.

Abrams said Nuzzel has also received requests to let users filter out specific publishers or Twitter accounts, and those features might be added to future versions of Nuzzel Pro.

Earlier this year, Nuzzel added advertising for the first time, in its email newsletters. Abrams said it’s planning to introduce ads to its other platforms as well.

The company has reportedly raised more than $5 million from an array of investors, and Abrams said the addition of advertising and the introduction of the subscription model are Nuzzel’s first attempts to monetize its users.

Abrams said Nuzzel set the price of the premium tier based on what other similar apps are charging. Still, he emphasized that Nuzzel Pro was still an experiment in may respects and open to change. (We are big Nuzzel users and fans here at Nieman Lab, but a quick office poll didn’t find anyone planning to pony up.)

“If you look at other things that people pay for — like Pocket or Buffer, other popular services that have premiums or upgrades — the price is usually five or ten bucks [a month],” he said. “Not many people are charging a buck or 100 bucks a month. We thought we’re adding a lot of value…we thought that it’s a useful service, and we think that Nuzzel users tend to be business influencers, these are people a lot of them are likely able to afford something like that. But it is just an early sort of test for us. Obviously, we’ll see what happens and what we hear from people.”

POSTED     May 26, 2017, 11:34 a.m.
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