Substack failed to register a URL. It allowed me to receive their private emails.

The Wall Boulevard Magazine. TechCrunch. Vice.

Those are only a handful of the media shops who reached out to me previous this yr for remark of their tales.

On the other hand, they were not in truth in search of me. No. They had been seeking to touch the net publication platform Substack, an organization I don’t paintings for.

Those shops had been in search of remark from Substack on such things as its investment of right-wing writers or short of to interview its CEO, Chris Absolute best.

So, why had been they achieving out to me?

Smartly, it needed to do with my Substack publication URL, one who Substack has since taken away with out even a heads up: “press.substack.com.”

In June 2020, in the course of the early days of the worldwide pandemic, I signed up for a couple of accounts with Substack. “I will release a publication,” I assumed whilst seeking to give myself a mission or two to paintings on amid lockdowns and quarantines.

So, I started taking a look to look what subdomains had been to be had so as to supply some inspiration. I used to be stunned to look one of these generic, one-word dictionary title to be had: “press.” I ran a media critique sequence whilst running for a prior employer and idea this may be a really perfect Substack username to run one thing identical on. I signed up and become “press.substack.com” at the platform.

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If you are no longer acquainted with Substack even finally the controversy over its investment program for writers previous this yr, it is mainly a simplified e-mail publication platform. You enroll and your publication lives on-line on the URL. Your subscribers will obtain each and every submit of their e-mail as its printed. And what e-mail cope with does that publication that lands on your inbox come from?

“Your Substack username + @substack.com.”

So after I registered “press.substack.com” for my publication, I accidentally registered the “press@substack.com” e-mail cope with, the kind of e-mail cope with corporations usually use for its media inquiries. (As an example, Google’s press touch may also be discovered at press@google.com, Twitter’s at press@twitter.com, and on and on.)

I did not understand this on the time. I in truth had no longer even spotted the click emails intended for Substack that landed in my inbox till not too long ago. However, Substack will have to have no doubt spotted.

The corporate makes use of press@substackinc.com for its press e-mail, which makes it extraordinarily simple for other people to mistakenly kind the cope with with the substack.com area title as a substitute.


Substack took away my URL.

Substack took away my URL.

It is unclear precisely when Substack reclaimed their URL from me. I gained no heads up. Taking a look thru my inbox archives, the final e-mail I gained addressed to the click.substack.com subdomain or press@substack.com e-mail used to be in overdue March 2021.

You’ll have learn a identical tale via Claire Carusillo that ran a couple of weeks again in Gawker titled “The Punk-Ass Bitches at Substack Attempted to Take Away My Best possible Url.” Carusillo misplaced her top class URL “politics.substack.com” when Substack made up our minds it sought after to offer this piece of on-line actual property to any other one among its customers.

Substack emailed her to mention they had been taking again the URL and altered Carusillo’s to “politics123.substack.com.” Finally, then again, Substack made up our minds it wasn’t one of these nice transfer and gave “politics.substack.com” again to Carusillo.

One of the crucial sudden issues concerning the Gawker piece is that Carusillo had initially emailed the corporate earlier than they took her URL along with her intent to promote “politics.substack.com,” Substack apparently cheered on the speculation of their reaction to her.

“That’s attention-grabbing! Can’t wait to look the way it is going. The great factor this is that you’ve got complete possession of your content material, IP, and mailing listing, the whole lot,” Lulu Cheng Meservey, VP of communications at Substack advised Carusillo.

High quality social media usernames are in top call for. There are even blackmarket platforms that promote those “OG usernames,” as they’re frequently referred to as, at top class costs. Promoting usernames is frequently frowned upon in on-line platforms’ phrases of provider. So, Substack’s sure reaction to Carusillo’s plan to promote hers stood out.

My case is most likely going to head slightly bit in a different way than Carusillo’s.

As I in the past discussed, and in contrast to Carusillo, I by no means even gained an e-mail letting me know they had been taking again the URL. I needed to in finding out the onerous means via seeking to login time and again earlier than stumbling over the truth that “press.substack.com” not is going to a publication web page. I sooner or later found out by myself that Substack modified my URL to “press2.substack.com.”


I am not going to get my Substack URL again.

I am not going to get my Substack URL again. Not like “politics.substack.com” which Substack used to be going to offer to any other creator, Substack is the usage of “press.substack.com” for the corporate’s personal functions. They did not even pay me for it, you recognize, being that I “retain complete possession” of the IP and all.

However, it is sensible. Although Substack pretended to be other, maximum on-line platforms say they are able to reclaim your username or subdomain at any time being that they personal the platform.

The truth that they not noted to seize that e-mail cope with for themselves within the roughly 3 yr for the reason that corporate started and I registered it’s sudden, however in all probability a lesson to be realized for different tech startups. The results of any individual outdoor the group getting access to that e-mail cope with will have been a lot worse. I will have rather well stored them from any other person finding “press@substack.com” used to be open for registration and the usage of it for nefarious functions.

Once I reached out to Substack, issues seem to have modified for the reason that Gawker piece.

Lulu Cheng Meservey, the corporate’s new VP of communications pointed me to a new FAQ web page on Substack’s website that used to be posted after the Gawker article used to be printed: “How lengthy can I stay my subdomain?”

In line with Substack, the corporate has permission to “reassign” your URL to any other creator if you do not replace your publication for 6 months. To be transparent, I had by no means printed the rest on press.substack.com.

Meservey did not have a lot more data to disclose as it sounds as if Substack took the URL again earlier than her time with the corporate. On the other hand, she did say that reassigning a URL with out telling a person “should not be going down.”

So take into accout subsequent time you might be tweeting, sharing pics on Instagram, or writing your subsequent Substack submit: You do not personal that area. At any time, the platform can simply take it again.

And, should you run a platform, you should definitely seize all of the important URLs and usernames earlier than opening registration to the general public. You by no means know if one random person will finally end up receiving your personal emails.

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