Today, we’re announcing the end of one of those: As of June 30, 2012, Readability will no longer accept reader fees.
What if we’re not able to get every dollar back into every deserving writer’s hands? We’re going to do the next best thing we can think of. All remaining money that was put aside to be claimed by domain owners will be given to non-profit organizations that speak to the spirit of supporting reading and writing.
Readability is now a free service, and they’re trying to figure out what to do with $150,000 of unclaimed funds earmarked for publishers. The comments on Richard’s post quickly turned into a riot. People want their money back, people feel duped, people feel the whole charity thing is noble yet sleazy, etc.
I interviewed Ziade back when Readability’s iOS app debuted and again with the release of Readlists. While many people may be relieved the pay service is over, since it clearly became a second-class citizen once the service became free earlier this year, this backlash is sure to persist at least for a few weeks. But then what?