How to Get a Better Reading Experience AND Help Publishers Online [Readability]


Being a guy who provides free content online, there’s always a struggle between balancing ads and content.  I hate placing ads which may get in the way of your reading experience, but I won’t lie to you – the more obtrusive the ads are, the higher the payout.  I have however, drawn certain lines For example, I don’t do pop-ups or pop-unders.  I don’t do video ads which play without you initiating it.  Anyhow, I can tell you this much: I’m not the only one who has to deal with this balancing act.

So now, let me tell you about the Readbility Project by the guys at Arc90.  In a nutshell, what they do is they provide a browser plugin which – takes content, strips out all the ads, formats it beautifully – and serve it up to the user for a much cleaner, better reading experience.


Doesn’t stripping out the ads hurt the publisher?   Quite the contrary.  For Readability to be truly useful, readers pay for the premium version which allows the ˜read-it-later’ function, and mobile reading support.   70% of all fees go back to publishers.  Each publisher gets a cut based on how many times his site has been read using Readability.

readbility subscription

So there’s your balancing act.  Perfectly formatted, ad-free content on your desktop and mobile for the reader – remuneration for the publisher.  Everybody wins.

Will this work?

In an age where everyone’s so used to getting everything for free, paying even a low flat fee may seem strange.  Let’s hope a few people do make the effort, because every little bit counts.  Enjoy reading, support writing.

Bonus link: How to install Readability for iOS devices (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch).

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