Readability Shutting Down Revenue Sharing Program

Posted Jun 17, 2012

Readability has announced that they are shutting down their experiment to take payments on behalf of authors and distribute them to the authors while taking a 30% cut. Readability was integrated into Pulse, Reeder, Longform, and other big name apps. According to Readability, this is why the idea did not take off for them:

Why It Didn?t Work
Two things needed to happen for the publisher payment plan to be a lasting success. One, a large group of readers needed to support writing through Readability. Two, a large group of publishers needed to accept that support.

The first part went well. Thousands of you agreed to spend $5 a month (and sometimes more). But the second part proved difficult. Reading behavior on the Web is incredibly fragmented. Nobody reads from just 15 or 20 sites a month. People read from hundreds of sites a month, creating a vast long tail of publishers.

And the great majority of those publishers never registered. Out of the millions?yes, millions?of domains that flowed through Readability, just over 2,000 registered to claim their money. As a result, most of the money we collected?over 90%?has gone unclaimed. As of today there?s nearly $150,000 in earmarked money sitting in a separate, untouched bank account.