On Digiday, John McDermott calls attention to the impending “DVR problem” online content faces, in light of all the content-reformatting apps such as Readability that can automatically save web articles and cull advertising before consumers even have a chance to see it—just like DVRs allow consumers to skip over commercials in their shows.

This has been an ongoing issue as long as the web has had ads. Ad blockers (both software and hardware) have made the web more reader-friendly for years (I use one myself), much as some content site owners rail against them. But what can you do? Readability tried the bold experiment of charging a subscription fee with which to compensate content owners, but it didn’t exactly work out. And as long as content providers insist on annoying their users to get more revenue, there’s no incentive to change that.

As with most things, I expect it will continue until it can’t. If advertising-based sites are unable to continue to provide content with the revenue they take in, they will either close or find some other means to make money. If they close, it won’t be the end of the world. Something will come along to replace them.


  1. As you say, this is only an impending problem if one has been ignoring tech news over the past 6 years. Even your source admits that Pocket initially launched in 2007; wouldn’t that suggest that the problem has been around for at least that long? Why is it only a problem now?

  2. Send to Kindle is my most used plugin on my browser.

    I have plenty of time to read away from the screens, click, click, click, and more content to read at my own place and time.

    I do find commercials particularly jarring having been with Tivo as a beta tester onward. Ads on the web I learned to ignore, now it is even easier when they do not show up on my Kindle.

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