Home News Instapaper: New ownership but still no service in Europe

Instapaper: New ownership but still no service in Europe


The Instapaper saga gets more mysterious. This read-later service, on which I have relied for several years, went offline on May 25  implementation day of the new GDP regulations and is still down two months later. I imagine most European users have moved over to alternatives such as (in my case) Pocket. 

Instapaper was developed originally by the excellent Marco Arment who ran it efficiently until, presumably, it became too big for a small outfit to handle. He sold it to a group of developers who, in turn, sold to Pinterest two years ago. Now comes news that the group, who had continued to manage Instapaper on behalf of Pinterest, have now bought out the service and intend to continue independently. No doubt the disaster over GDPR has reduced the price a little. 

There’s a whiff of trouble a’t mill about all this. I still cannot imagine why Instapaper, alone as far as I can see among similar services, should be so scared of GDPR that that had to close down completely in Europe. What, I wonder, was happening to our data that warranted such a drastic measure? Where does Pinterest stand on this?

I wish the new team well, but they have made no promises about a return to the European market and the website is still informing us that it is “temporarily” unavailable. Unfortunately, Instapaper is now a fading memory for European users and it will take a lot of persuading for the new team to win back customers and, perhaps more to the point, give them the confidence that this dreadful break in service will not recur.

Note: Our broadband service is still out after 30 hours with no sign of return, despite promises from Virgin Media. As a result, it’s difficult to upload large files and I’m reduced to working from my iPhone with the cellular connection. I hope normal service will be resumed soon. 



  1. I think some of Instapapers missing service will depend on how you interept GDPR, or who was doing that iterpretation, or not for them. I have seen some real funny things emerge in my line of work since GDPR’s implementation, things that have been current business practice for years are now frowned upon, and people are scrabbling to come up with new ways of doing what is needed. No doubt this may be the case with Instapaper.

    • GDPR does not really solve all online protection issues, although we are now offered an unsubscribe option for most spam. I mentioned before that I was receiving emails about manuals for old cameras after I had won items at camera auctions. Yesterday I received such an email before I participated in a camera auction. A GDPR improvement?

      As for Instapaper, it perhaps time to move on from that. It is likely that its functionality and funding models don’t really fit into the GDPR framework.

      Data is the new gold.

      On the Virgin issue, you send an email to Ofcom, even if you have got your service back by now.



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