Readability Makes Premium Features Free, Fee Now Just Donation

Readability, a service which lets readers of web page articles focus only on the core text, is upgrading its free tier to match its one-year-old premium option.

Now free users will get unlimited access to their reading list, favourites and archives, just like premium customers did.

“First, we wanted to better distinguish the difference between having access to features and supporting content creation,” writes CTO Chris Dary.

“Second, we wanted to keep Readability as open as possible so that third-party integrators to our service can access all of our features as well, without limitations.”

In February 2011, Readability, which has faced accusations that it copies publishers’ articles, introduced an optional $5 monthly subscription that it said was partly to compensate publishers and writers, to whom $3.50 was pledged. Dary said “thousands” had participated.

The new move suggests requiring the fee in order to gain full features hasn’t quite worked out. Instead, the net effect of the changes is that Readability is equalising its freemium tiers and making donations optional.

Readability strips out web page distractions like ads, navigation and other furniture and which also lets users save articles to be read later on portable devices. Through its API, other applications, like my iPad RSS reader Reeder, can do the same.