Saturday, March 31, 2012

How Readability Could Nullify The Naysay

Some people (notably John Gruber) believe Readability is overstepping their bounds by collecting money on a publisher's behalf. I disagree, but I can see the story from the other side as well (in the right context). However, I do believe Readability could do one simple thing to quell the critics—give publishers one more option.
Right now, publishers have three options...
  1. Do Nothing — This is obviously the simplest option, but if you don't want money collected in your name going to support Readability it's not an option for you.
  2. Opt Out — Fairly painless, and it will keep money from being collected in your name, but it will also stop readers from being able to view your content in their preferred format.
  3. Sign Up For Payments — This option will take a little extra effort on the publisher's part, and may not be worth the effort if your site isn't all that popular. It will, however, keep the money from going to Readability and will continue to allow readers to view your content in their preferred format.
What if Readability gave publishers a fourth option? The ability to donate the money collected in their name to the charity of their choice.
  • Publishers that have a beef with the service would then be sending the money collected in their name towards a cause they support.
  • It would be much faster/simpler than signing up for payment, and publishers shouldn't complain about being hassled because the time they spend setting things up will reflect positively on them.
  • It would encourage small publishers to get involved.
  • Readers wouldn't be punished because the publisher has a beef with Readability.
  • It would look extremely good to potential subscribers.
I couldn't imagine this simple suggestion being anything but a win-win solution to a pesky PR problem. Am I being naive?