Scroll’s ad-free subscription web service is shutting down as an independent entity in “approximately” 30 days, the company announced in an email to subscribers. The service — which was purchased by Twitter earlier this year — will instead be rolled into the burgeoning Twitter Blue premium subscription as “Ad-Free Articles.”
In its current form, Scroll is a $5-per-month service that offers ad-free browsing to hundreds of websites, including The Atlantic, BuzzFeed News, G/O Media, USA Today, and Vox Media — which, full disclosure, includes The Verge. It works by using a combination of third-party cookies and browser extensions to stop websites from showing ads to paid subscribers.
Aw man, Twitter is shutting down Scroll. It was a great little service that let me read The Verge, The Atlantic, and so many other sites ad-free while contributing dollars to journalism via my attention. Bring on Twitter Blue I guess pic.twitter.com/AP9G8GEIiG
— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) October 5, 2021
Scroll was bought by Twitter in May, at which point it stopped accepting new sign-ups while the company figured out its plans for the ad-free service; today’s announcement that Scroll’s service will be added to Twitter Blue seems to provide the answer.
Twitter Blue currently offers a variety of bonus features for the service, including an “undo send” feature for quickly retracting your tweets, a bookmarks folder for grouping and saving tweets, and a reader mode that converts long threads into a single, cohesive block of text. It also adds some cosmetic changes, including color themes and custom app icons. But the addition of Scroll’s ad-free service would mark one of the biggest features to come to Twitter Blue yet.
There’s not a lot of details in Scroll and Twitter’s announcement of what the changeover will look like, practically speaking. The two companies have yet to clarify how existing Scroll customers will transition over to Twitter Blue (assuming there’s a direct path to switch at all), when Scroll’s service will be available on Twitter Blue, or even a concrete day that the standalone service’s shutdown will be. The company is promising more information in the coming weeks.
Also absent from the news is any information on price and availability. One of the selling points for Scroll was that its $5-per-month fee would go (at least in part) towards funding the journalism that subscribers read: Scroll kept $1.50, while the other $3.50 per month was divvied up amongst sites based primarily on how much a reader was reading them.
Twitter hasn’t said if it’ll be changing that price, either — currently, Twitter Blue is only available in Australia and Canada for $3.49 CAD or $4.49 AUD, with a rumored $2.99 price tag for the US. Adding Scroll in its current form to that service without raising the price would mean a big change in how sites get paid.
Additionally, Twitter Blue is currently only available in Australia and Canada so far, meaning that unless the service expands greatly in the next month, it could be some time before existing Scroll customers are able to get back their ad-free experience — assuming that Twitter’s implementation of its “Ad-Free Articles” is still the same Scroll experience.