Readability iOS App Rejected for Violating New Subscription Content Guidelines

Richard Ziade of Readability, in an “Open Letter to Apple” regarding their app’s rejection:

We’re obviously disappointed by this decision, and surprised by the broad language. By including “functionality, or services,” it’s clear that you intend to pursue any subscription-based apps, not merely those of services serving up content. Readability’s model is unique in that 70% of our service fees go directly to writers and publishers. If we implemented In App purchasing, your 30% cut drastically undermines a key premise of how Readability works.

I can see how many people, including content providers like Readability, wish that Apple had not instituted these new rules. But, given these rules, how can anyone be surprised by this rejection? Readability’s business model is to charge a subscription fee, keep 30 percent, and pass 70 percent along to the writers/publishers of the articles being read by Readability users. Sound familiar?

Maybe I’m missing something, but these guys claiming to be surprised and disappointed by Apple’s insistence on a 30 percent cut of subscriptions when their own business model is to take a 30 percent cut of subscriptions strikes me as rich. And how can they claim that Readability isn’t “serving up content”? That’s exactly what Readability does. What they’re pissed about is that Apple has the stronger hand. Readability needs Apple to publish an app in the App Store. Apple doesn’t need Readability.

Monday, 21 February 2011