Readability Discontinues Reader Fees
From the Readability blog:
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.
Donating the unclaimed money to organizations is a good move. But it's unfortunate – Readability's subscription-based model was unique and it made the service different, with a concrete focus on helping publishers.