Saving web content for later has been growing in popularity over the last few years, with several new players entering the game and the functionality being added even to Apple’s own web browser. Most recently, Readability went to a free model after its attempt to offer premium subscription service fizzled.
Now well-known web-clipping app Read It Later has renamed itself to “Pocket” and and taken the same route—going from a $2.99 paid app to free. In a post to his blog, developer Nate Weiner explains his company had already decided to move to a new revenue model because it was hard to get people to pay for something they didn’t understand, and also because the application provides so much increased value over time that it doesn’t make sense to charge up front for it.
What that new revenue model is, Weiner doesn’t say. My guess is either it will be advertising and referral supported, or add some sort of subscription-based premium program, or both. After getting $2.5 million in venture capital, however, Weiner insists the company does have a plan, and it’s not just “We’ll figure it out later.”
The rebranding is a little puzzling, though. As “Read It Later”, the app had built up a lot of name recognition, and changing the name means it will have to start over from scratch. Of course, it is true that “Read It Later” is a bit of a generic name—heck, the bookmarklet my installation of its competitor Instapaper created said “Read it later”—but “Pocket” is just as generic, if not more so. You would have thought they’d pick a more original construction, something easier to defend as a trademark like “InstaPaper” or “Evernote”.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see what the new Pocket business model is, whenever Weiner finally reveals it.