Instapaper is dumping its paywall and offering its premium features to anyone and everyone at no extra cost. This means all users will have access to the same version of Instapaper, with all the premium features that some people were previously paying for, completely for free.
Until yesterday (November 1st), Instapaper Premium cost $3-per-month or $30-per-year. A Premium subscription offered users a range of extra features over and above the standard features available for free. But now, the premium features are free, meaning everyone has essentially been bumped up to Instapaper Premium.
- An ad-free Instapaper website
- Full-text search for all articles
- Unlimited Notes
- Text-to-speech playlists
- Unlimited speed reading
- “Send to Kindle” via bookmarklet and mobile apps
- Kindle Digests of up to 50 articles
Existing Instapaper Premium users will no longer be billed for the service. They will also be offered “prorated refunds” on their current subscriptions. This change means Instapaper now offers some features for free that Pocket only offers to paid users. So expect Pocket to counter sooner rather than later.
So, What’s the Catch?
Pinterest’s recent acquisition of Instapaper seems to be the main reason behind this change of strategy. After all, Pinterest only acquired Instapaper in August, and less than three months later, Instapaper is dropping its paid option.
This has actually raised concerns amongst existing Instapaper Premium users. Some think that without a steady flow of revenue, development will now slow to a crawl. Others think that when a product becomes free, the users become the product via data collection and targeted advertising.
Instapaper has tried to allay those concerns, with Instapaper’s Brian Donohue explaining, “Our operational overhead is low, and now that we’re owned by Pinterest we can focus on just delivering the best product to our users”. But only time will tell if users are right to be worried.
Do you use Instapaper? If so, why Instapaper over the competition? Have you been paying for Instapaper Premium? How do you feel about Instapaper dumping subscriptions in order to open the premium features up to everyone? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Johan Larsson via Flickr