In which I admit that yep, I’m part of the problem:
It’s not dissimilar to what the advent of the DVR did for TV, and it also brings up similar problems when it comes to the advertising model that supports content creation. With DVRs, users can forward through commercials, but with read-it-later apps, ads are stripped out. To make matters worse, Pocket users don’t even need to visit a publisher’s website in order to save something to the app, meaning the website doesn’t even get a brief pageview. That could be a problem as use of these apps grows.
I love Pocket. No really, I love it. It’s got a great desktop app, a great mobile app, and it integrates easily with Feedly, Digg RSS, Twitter’s mobile app and more. So if I see something I want to read later on any of those platforms – or just in the browser, in which case I can use the handy bookmarklet for Safari – I can do so with just a couple taps or clicks. It’s one of my top productivity apps.
But I get that I’m doing the publishers and unfortunate disservice by not giving them even the cursory page view, thus denying them of a small amount of ad revenue. Ultimately, as the user base for Pocket and similar apps continues to grow, I’d expect them to roll out freemium models, begin talking to publishers about revenue splits and so on. The usual list of accommodations, including likely having to report out on number of saves/reads and other metrics publishers may find of interest. And publishers will, of course, continue to explore native ads and other sponsored content revenue streams to offset that lost display ad revenue and actually give the readership *more* content to potentially save and read at a time of their own liking.