The incident raises an ugly specter, the possibility that Instapaper will block any site or publication that's deeply critical of it or Arment, and 9to5Mac would be far from the first site to object to read later services. By that reading, one of my favorite sites, The Awl — from which I Instapaper things constantly — clearly objects to Instapaper and other read later services with an article titled "'Read It Later': Republishing is Theft." Choire Sicha even namechecks Instapaper specifically, stating, "It was pointed out early on that Instapaper is, at best, copyright infringement." I've never seen a more clear objection to Instapaper from a site I read. Will Instapaper block it, too?
Although I'm certainly not an advocate of 9to5Mac, I am somewhat concerned by the precedence that Marco has set in this circumstance. Despite the fact that Marco is the sole owner and developer of Instapaper, the service has grown far beyond the bounds of a simple personal startup. Instead, Instapaper has become a cornerstone of the Internet reading experience for thousands upon thousands of people.
Thus, regardless of whatever personality conflicts might be occuring between a petulent rumor-centric website and Arment, such volatility should not extend to the unsuspecting user.
I unquestionably comprehend Arment's reasoning. Moreover, I thoroughly empathize with him. It's never a pleasant experience to be so outrageously slandered by veiled people on the Internet. Still, I contend that these matters should not slip from a personal environment into the professional business world.
Instapaper is a wonderful, pioneering service, but it is faced with ever-strengthening competitors on its home territory. I do not doubt that Marco has plenty of auspicious plans for the future, but I do worry that the extension of personal matters into his business practices may harm his home field advantage.