After announcing this initially in November, it comes with great regret that after 4.5 years of operating, Minimal Reader has indeed shut down and closed its doors on December 15, 2017.
In April 2013, on the heels of the Google Reader shutdown announcement, I started working on Minimal Reader, the ultimate companion for RSS feed reading. I focused on building a useable service with a minimum number of features to fully experience RSS feed reading. I centered the entire application around reading content that was worthwhile, not “clearing an inbox”.
Just a few short months later, in July of that year, Google Reader finally shut down and closed its doors. That’s when I launched “mnmlrdr” as a beta test to 100 users. Much to my surprise, the service was extremely popular, thrived, and grew quickly.
One of the hardest challenges of running an RSS feed reading service was not scaling the service to meet demand. That was easy. Nothing that a bunch of servers and smart technology couldn’t solve. No, the hardest part was converting trialing users to paid users for a service that used to cost $0.00 (i.e., Google Reader). I even gave a talk on this topic at MicroConf in 2014.
Ultimately, through some good partnerships and advertising strategies, I was able to grow the service to thousands of paying users. It looked like Minimal Reader could be a sustainable business after all.
Unfortunately, a lot changes in the market over the years. I’ve noticed a large trend in the industry away from RSS feeds. Feeds are not dieing or whithering away, but they definitely aren’t growing like they used to be.
Slowly, as users migrated away from RSS feed reading, my excitement of working on the product started fading away, too. It’s extrmely hard to justify adding new features to a “minimal” feed reader, let alone to a product that has a limited future. These things certainly helped seal the deal for shutting down the service.
To all of you out there who have subscribed to Minimal Reader this year and would like to receive a refund on your remaining subscription, please feel free to email me and I’ll make sure to get that to you. This is the least I can do as I spin down the service.
For all of those who have stuck around with me over the past 4.5 years, I appreciate your support and encouragement. Minimal Reader would not have been able to sustain itself for this long without you. For those of you who are new to the service, I want to thank you for your courage for giving Minimal Reader a try and to apologize that our relationship is to be cut short.
Again, thank you all for your support. If there's anything I can do for you in the meantime, please let me know.
So long, and Happy Reading.