The Masked Social Network

Effectively Instapaper has found a way to keep its users engaged with the site’s main purpose, reading, while offering users ways of keeping tabs other readers. It’s like getting a peek at someone else’s bookcase, without them knowing that you peeked.

Imagine what would happen if Twitter operated this way: you have no inkling of who is following you and others have no clue if you are following them. You just have an account that you post to, occasionally a person responds to you. The only way you know if a person is following you is when you go to Direct Message them.

Imagine that, because what would really change?

Ben Brooks – The Masked Social Network.

The downside to outsourcing subscriptions

Ben Brooks has written two great posts about Apple’s plan to take 30% of subscription revenues sold through its App Store. In the first one he notes:

Apple is giving you an out from customer service. If someone needs to unsubscribe or has issues with their subscription — it is no longer your problem, Apple needs to fix that.

While that can certainly be seen as a benefit for small iOS development shops or small publications it’s a dangerous risk for a business to take.

When users struggle with your payment gateway or feel that you’re unwilling to provide a refund or cancellation when things go wrong you are dead in the water. No money, no business.

iOS developers already give Apple control over a lot of the financial side of their business. Now Apple will control the downloading, billing, recurring subscription charges, and unsubscription process/support.

App developers will be passing more control over the revenue side of their businesses to Apple, who is probably not focused on crafting the same happy experiences for your paying users.