Micro-Payment Dilemma

I am a huge fan of Readability’s new payment system — both because I want to support others and because I appreciate any support of this site. I was also very excited when Instapaper and Readability were tied in together since I don’t normally use Readability. I have one major problem though: I send everything I read through Instapaper and I don’t necessary want to support every site that I read.

That may seem unreasonable, or even mean to some, but truthfully there are some sites that I read that I really don’t want to support.

I thought perhaps that Instapaper solved this problem with the recent addition of these options:

Screen shot 2011 02 10 at 8 48 13 AM

Originally I had the first option selected, but by virtue of the fact that I didn’t want to give money to all publishers I read, I changed to the second option. Now only publishers whose articles I star will get credit.

This seems like a great solution — until I got to thinking about it more.

The problem is I star very few articles — I save starred items for articles that I think are of excellent quality — which means that there are some very good articles on sites that I truly want to support, that just won’t get support under this system. I don’t want to star non-excellent articles just so I can support the publisher — I only star things that I think are excellent.

The last option seems like it would be ideal, except that when I want to remove an item from Instapaper I would need to delete it — otherwise that publisher gets my money. Deleting items in Instapaper requires two clicks. Two clicks is too much friction for me.

Perhaps this all seems silly to you, but I truly want to be able to give select sites money with as little friction as possible.

For now, my solution is to keep the Readability bookmarklet in Safari so that I can give those not-quite-star-worthy articles money, as well as those that I star in Instapaper. I don’t know what the best solution is, because adding a ‘send-money’ button in Instapaper would also require two clicks (one to send the money and one to archive it).

What I can tell you is that what I have today is a far better system than what I had two weeks ago.

Originally posted for members on: February 10, 2011
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