jb… a weblog by Jonathan Buys

Instapaper Premium is now free for everyone


Today we’re making Instapaper Premium available to all Instapaper users, free of charge. Instapaper Premium is the best way to experience all that Instapaper has to offer, and we’re excited to open it up to everyone.

I’ve been an Instapaper user for as long as I’ve known about the service, and a premium subscriber for as long as it’s been available. I was worried when Marco sold Instapaper to Betaworks, but Betaworks did some good work on the service. I started to hope that Instapaper had found a stable home and that my Saturday afternoons were safe for catching up on interesting reading.

When Pinterest bought Instapaper, and acquired a majority share in Betaworks, I started to wonder about the long-term viability of the service again. Would Pinterest keep it around? Would Instapaper line up with Pinterest’s future goals? We’ve all seen popular services be acquired by larger companies just to be unceremoniously scrapped. Thinking through the goals of the two services however, I believe that Pinterest is more interested in watching user behavior than making Instapaper a profitable stand-alone service.

In that light, yesterday’s announcement that they were doing away with Instapaper’s revenue model of selling premium subscriptions makes sense. It’s in Pinterest’s best interest to get as many subscribers frequently using the service as possible, presumably to leverage machine learning on the back end to be able to serve up better targeted advertising in their main Pinterest service. So, I think the service will be fine, at least for the time being. While I’m often adverse to such intrusive monitoring of my online activity, with Instapaper I’m completely fine with it. My Instapaper queue comprises who I wish to be, my ideal self is interested in reading everything in the queue. My actual self sometimes selects all and deletes.

Sometimes, not all the time. When that lovely Saturday afternoon comes and I’ve decided to read, Instapaper is waiting for me. Sometimes on a Sunday morning, early in the day before the kids get up, I’ve made my coffee and found my seat on the couch. The house is quiet, Oliver settles at my feet, and Instapaper opens up the world to me.