Monetizing software and keeping your users

This post was inspired by the current (it’s dying down) kerfuffle generated over FeedDemon’s latest Release Candidate containing adverts. Now, I haven’t installed it or tried it out yet. However, I left a comment on Nick Bradbury’s blog about the issue that I’ll repost here:

“Has anyone considered Text Ads in FeedDemon? More than anything, it’s the notion of ads contaminating FeedDemon that gets my goat.I understand you need to survive. How about experimenting with a different area (less obtrusive although that might defeat the purpose of placing ads in FeedDemon to begin with) to put the adverts? I will go ahead and echo several commenters in saying that I would gladly pay a subscription fee for a robust NewsGator Online Service and/or FeedDemon development sans ads. My own love/hate affair with FeedDemon started back when it was a paid app. Lately, my own issues with it have been stability, but I’m sure you’re addressing that already so the issue of ads just added salt to my own wounds. Good luck deciding what to do, Nick and I think that after all is said and done, FeedDemon is truly a superior product and at the risk of ‘jinxing’ you, I’d say you could possibly get away with introducing ads to your product. The only thing you/developers need to keep doing is making the product faster, better, et cetera.”

I have switched to RSS Bandit although that switch hasn’t come without its minor issues. Anyhow, that’s just my 2 cents. Right now, I’m putting my money where my mouth is by ponying up ~$20 for the Weatherbug software because the free version comes with adverts. Yes, I’m one of those people who installs adblocking software on her browser, but my desktop is my sanctuary and I am intensely distrustful of software that’s running ads in the background while I’m using it. I won’t pretend to know much about the cost of maintaining & developing FeedDemon so it’ll be up to them to decide what to do. I am solidly in the “remove the ads” camp. In any event, I’ll make lemonade from what I have right now i.e. RSS Bandit. Now would be a great time to explore what other desktop feed readers are available. Here’s a short list of programs (feed aggregators) that I intend on testing out on my laptop (I’ll start with the ones that abide by the free & open source software [FOSS] principles). Oh, before I forget, check out this Wikipedia comparison of the various feed aggregators.

Dear Yahoo, please free my mail

<rant>Or give me a get-out-of-jail-free card. I’m serious. I don’t really care about integrating my account with Facebook, Flixster or Wixster. I don’t care for the fancy visual changes. How about giving us POP or IMAP access for free? If that’s too much to take, offer POP/IMAP access for less than the current rip-off price of $19.95 per year. I mean, all I use my Yahoo! email for is just that – mail and because Yahoo’s been apparently resistant to freeing up the email pipes, I’ve slowly and surely made other services (Hotmail & Gmail) my primary means of contact. Why? Because I can fire up Outlook and have my mail ready to go. As much as I like using a web browser, checking mail is one of the more annoying tasks I have to undertake because I have quite a few. Note to self: In your next life, find 1 email service and stick with it. </end of rant> Here are some of the ‘changes’:

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It doesn’t stand out to me, but I wish them well.

FeedDemon 2.8 RC1 is out, Snagit 9.1 is in and more

Well, well, Whaddaya know! FeedDemon 2.8 Release Candidate 1 is out and it now contains ads. Wow. I feel like I’ve dodged a bullet with switching to RSS Bandit. Seriously, none of the applications on my laptop contains ads simply because: (a) they’re free or (b) I paid for them. FeedDemon used to be shareware i.e. free for 30 days and about $30 to register. I paid for FeedDemon back then and was ecstatic when they made it a free program because it freed me from having to pay for upgrades. Now, the author of FeedDemon, Nick Bradbury, feels the need to insert ads into this product because they need a source of revenue. That’s his prerogative. I’ll install FeedDemon on my Windows XP Pro SP3 virtual machine and see what the hubbub is about. In any case, I don’t think I’m going back to FeedDemon till I read about serious rss-bandit-quibbleimprovements in the stability & handling all sorts of feeds. So far, beyond some minor User Interface gripes, I’m liking my switch to RSS Bandit. Whenever I click “mark all feeds read”, it happens without locking up and forcing me to use Windows Task Manager to kill the process unlike *cough* FeedDemon *cough* 😀 On a serious note, it’s not all roses with RSS Bandit though. Here’s one of  my pet peeves in the picture on the right. Continue reading FeedDemon 2.8 RC1 is out, Snagit 9.1 is in and more