Apps I’m addicted to & why Read It Later went free

The (first?) “save this article to read later, because I don’t have time now” app Read It Later has been rechristened Pocket and made free. Myself I’m a huge fan of Instapaper, and started using it because it was free to start using. Same with Dropbox and Evernote, I started because someone suggested I should try them, and since they were free, there was no risk. Guess what, I’m addicted to all these apps. I pay extra for more Dropbox space, paid for extra features in Instapaper, and am seriously contemplating paying for Evernote premium. Yeah, they hooked me and hooked me good. These apps became so indispensable that not having them around was just not an option. So when time came to upgrade or pony up some cash, no problem!

Read It Later started with the idea of charging for the app at the start. And I guess it served them well for a time, but they had one of those “come to Jesus” moments (I assume) and decided to change things—they made the app free. Nate Weiner’s post goes into some smart detail about the whys, but this part I thought summed things up for me:

By being a paid app, Read It Later was charging like the fast food case, even though the value of our product maps much closer to the second and third graphs. Put simply: From a business perspective, having a user pay $2.99 up-front once and then use the app for 4 years just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

via Nate Weiner • Why Read It Later/Pocket Went Free.

It’s the hook you with free, become indispensable, then offer you awesome upgrades for a reasonable price strategy. Me, I think it’s smart. The trick is to become indispensable.

Since I already using Instapaper and Evernote (and just connected the two with ifttt (If this then that)) I don’t think I’ll be switching to Read It Later over Instapaper, but if I were just starting save things now I don’t know which I’d use. All this aside, I’m wondering to myself if the same idea can be applied to a retail setting…not sure, but hey I was given a brain for a reason—to think stuff up.

Oh and I’m not going to finish this post (the first in 5 months) with a “oh I promise to blog more” kind of thing. Yeah for someone who used to think nothing of writing five posts or more a day, I’ve been a little off my usual pace. It’s the working full-time, editing/writing a 2nd edition, starting a new book, and trying to still have a life challenge that gets in the way of writing more posts more often.


Last thing, I heard from my publisher/editors at Pearson this morning that the 2nd edition of Create Your Own Blog has started shipping! Exciting, especially when I consider I finished the last edits last week and started writing Sam’s Teach Yourself WordPress Themes in 24 Hours with Catherine Winters this week as well!

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