Following up on Instapaper Rate Limits

On Build and Analyze, Marco Arment addressed the rate limits currently in place for Instapaper. I actually jumped to this part in the episode when I first downloaded it since, as I mentioned earlier, I had been hitting the rate limits a few times. Mr. Arment stated that the current “add” limit for Instapaper is 120 articles a day, with a portion of the previous day’s total counted toward the current day. Mr. Arment emphasized that this was the “current” rate limit and he would not guarantee that the limit would not change as early is that evening.

Listening to Mr. Arment’s discussion of the rate limit in context, it seems he would prefer users of Instapaper make the decision whether or not they will actually read something prior to adding it to Instapaper. As I mentioned previously, I tend to send things I might want to read to Instapaper anticipating that I will eventually read about 30-40% of those things.1 This means I may border on the type of user that can be harmful to his service. On the other hand, I have been using Instapaper since 2008, purchased the app as soon as I got my first iOS device, am a paying subscriber, and evangelize the app to anyone who gets a new smartphone.2 I would like to think those “positives” outweigh the “negatives” of my particular article tagging style, but that is really not my decision. Regardless, I will try to be a little more selective in sending articles to Instapaper.

One thing I do not understand is whether or not “archived” articles are easier on Instapaper’s server than “unread” articles. I am sure I have “unread” articles that are multiple years old, that I will never read, and would be fine having move to “archived” status. Would that benefit Instapaper’s server load? If so, I would be absolutely fine with a system where Instapaper automatically “auto archived” any of my articles that were (1) unread and (2) added to Instapaper over 3 months ago. Sounds like I have to email Dan Benjamin with the feature request3.


  1. I do not send everything I see in my RSS reader to Instapaper. Instead, I try to use it as a way to delay decisions and cycles in my brain about whether or not an article is really worth reading. If I do not have to make a 4-5 second decision about whether or not to read a particular article, I can check my RSS feeds in a quick 30-40 second burst and move on with whatever I am doing at the time. 

  2. After all the times that Mr. Arment has talked about setting up the bookmarklet, it was funny to hear a friend of mine talk about how proud she was of herself for setting it up. 

  3. In case you do not get that reference: on Build and Analyze, Mr. Arment used to say “Please don’t email me” after most comments or points. That has changed recently to “please email Dan.”