Just in case newspapers (and just about everyone else) weren’t having enough trouble making money from online ads, there’s a growing number of browser tools like Readability that let you strip those ads away. TidyRead is a new one that works pretty well and has been rolling out a number of features in the last couple of weeks, including support for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
Other new features include a bookmarklet called TinyTidy that allow you to create shortened URLs (via TinyURL) that link to TidyRead-processed pages. Site owners can also add some code that creates a button on their pages, and when a user pushes the button they get a TinyRead version of that page. But why the heck would a publisher want to make it easy for a reader to ignore their ads? I asked TidyRead’s Matthew Chen, and he pointed out that it’s a convenient way to create a mobile version of a site.
As for revenue, Chen says he’s thinking of three possible ways to make money: A service for site owners to create mobile pages, placing advertising along search results of TidyRead pages (that’s right, an ad-hiding service plans to make money through ads; oh the irony), and licensing the technology to other companies. TidyRead is based in Cupertino, Calif., and is self-funded.
Even more interesting than how this service can make money is what will happen if it starts to take off — there’s bound to be some resistance and backlash from publishers. I definitely hope that most of you don’t start reading VentureBeat pages without ads. Please.