Instapaper 6

Instapaper goes freemium with big redesign on iOS

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Hey guys, I'm the General Manager and lead iOS developer for Instapaper. Really happy to see Instapaper 6 on Product Hunt! Freemium is a big shift for us, and the first time Instapaper has had a free offering since around 2011. Let me know if you have any questions/thought/comments!
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@bthdonohue would love to hear more about how the move from premium to freemium is going?
@robjama thanks for asking! It's only been a week, but so far it's going extremely well. Our downloads are off the charts (> 6,000% increase month-over-month), we're featured on the first page of the iOS App Store, and we're currently ranking above our competitors in both the Free and Top Grossing sections of the News category on iOS. Since we're no longer generating revenue from downloads, we need to be proactive about replacing that revenue with Instapaper Premium memberships. Over the past year we've seen strong growth in subscription revenue, and we're executing on a dead simple plan: implement the features our customers are asking for. I'm planning on writing a full blog post about the decision to switch to Instapaper Premium, and its importance to the future of Instapaper.
@bthdonohue That's awesome. Looking forward to reading more about your experience. Do you use any specific tools to track and prioritize what customers are asking for?
@robjama nope! Just ZenDesk, Twitter, and our support guy does weekly reports with feature requests. We're a very approachable team, and we're lucky that our users are very vocal about their needs.
@bthdonohue Congratulations on the new product and the uptick :) Am a paying customer and heavy user since Marco's early versions. Its my only bookmarking + reading app. Hope you guys do some more work on the annotating & social features.
I'm a big fan of Instapaper. It's reliable, well integrated with third parties and easy to use. I have never needed to try anything else!
Big update iOS 8 update from Instapaper, with Today + Share extensions, profiles, text to speech and a new $0 price tag to compete better with Pocket. As a verb, I find it much easier to say "Pocket this", "pocketing" or "pocketed" vs. "Instapaper'd".
I was always a huge Instapaper reader for commutes, but pretty much 100% of my content came from Now that they have released their app ( I'm rarely using Instapaper at all. I wonder if that is the standard use or if people really are importing a lot of links themselves.
@wmorein I don't use Longform… I mostly find articles through Twitter and RSS, and save them to Instapaper.
@jasoncrawford @wmorein I used Instapaper for a long time, but it missed a few features that Pocket solved for me. I've been using Pocket for more than a year and won't be looking back. My content comes from Feedly, twitter, facebook etc.
@Jacquesvh Hey Jacques, there was a slowdown in feature development during the betaworks acquisition, but since then we've added a ton of great features like article sorting, highlighting, text-to-speech, and user profiles. Would love for you to have another look! If there are any features Pocket has that we don't, we'll implement them ;-)
@bthdonohue Brian, sounds like you guys ramped it up. Ok, let me give it a test run and see how I like it. Cheers!
@Jacquesvh EDIT: wrong reply. @rrhoover, no delete button?
I was an early user of Instapaper (I bought it for $5 back in the early days when you didn't even need a password) but switched to Pocket after a few years. This was mainly due to Pocket developing more features than Instapaper had at the time. After the Betaworks acquisition, rebuild, and new version launch, I thought I'd give Instapaper another look. The clean design and new feature (highlighting!) are awesome and I'm also an Instapaper Weekly subscriber (highly recommended the newsletter). I think you guys have done an amazing job with your stewardship of Instapaper. The reason why my new look at Instapaper didn't stick was the HTML parser (this may be the wrong term for what I'm talking about). Check out these two articles: and Pocket did a much better job reading and displaying the content with few errors. Instapaper missed some content on the iOS 8 review and couldn't correctly display certain characters in the Deadspin post ("Your letters…"). I think overall features and value on Instapaper have outpaced Pocket at this point, which is really a testament to all the team has built in such a short time. But I can't switch until I know that the core functionality - reading and displaying saved content for me - is working reliably.
@eric3000 thanks for the kind words, Eric! Parsing is one of the things that we haven't spent a ton of time improving since the acquisition, which I think has been our biggest mistake. We've been modifying the rules to our current parser as issues come up, but what we really need is a product overhaul inline with what we've done across our consumer facing products. This has been on of our highest priorities, and I really look forward to beating the competition in this area as well :-)