Readability by the Numbers

Last week, Readability CEO Richard Ziade announced that Readability’s acceptance of reader fees and their publisher payment system is ending. In that announcement Ziade shares a few statistics about the service. Ziade also shared some statistics during his conversation with Jeffery Zeldman during last week’s episode of The Big Web Show.

Based on what has been shared publicly, as well as what we already know about Readability, I’ve put together a few statistics about the service:

Where Readability's Subscriber Money Went

  • Total months in active service: 17 (Feb 2011 through June 2012)

  • Total funds paid by subscribers: ~ $238,095.25

  • Average number of paying monthly subscribers: 2,801 (assuming all subscribers signed up for the $5/month plan)

  • Readability’s 30-percent take of total funds: ~ $71,428.58

  • Amount paid to publishers: ~ $16,666.67

  • Publishers who signed up to receive funds: over 2,000

  • Total funds paid to shawnblanc.net: $226.50

  • Unclaimed earmarked funds: Nearly $150,000.00 (will be donated to charity)

  • Publishers/domains with unclaimed earmarked funds: over 2,000,000

  • Most earmarked publisher: The New York Times (though they are intentionally not registered as a publisher on Readability)

As I mentioned above, data for these numbers was taken from Readability’s blog post last week and episode 71 of The Big Web Show where Readability CEO, Richard Ziade, was a guest with host Jeffery Zeldman.

If you’re at all interested in this whole story I highly recommend you listen to the podcast — it’s informative and interesting. I especially found the last 10 minutes of the show to be interesting, as Ziade answers some listener-submitted questions. Also, Gabe at Macdrifter has transcribed some of the Q&A that takes place earlier in the show.

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When Readability’s new service launched early last year I was excited about it. The idea and the service seemed noble and forward thinking. However, over the past 17 months, as issues and controversies arose about the service, Readability often responded by trying to justify their actions by pointing the finger at other services.

As a writer whose sole publishing platform is the Web, I now find myself uncomfortable and saddened by Arc90’s attitude of entitlement over my original content (not the least of which is the new Readlists service and its emphasis on exporting, repurposing, and distributing of someone else’s original content into an eBook).

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