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.

FeedDemon is getting the boot! Hello, RSS Bandit!

When FeedDemon was a paid application, I was a very happy customer. My feed subscriptions have been in the  hundreds for a while now and lately, FeedDemon’s been getting the hiccups i.e. a polite way ofsaying it crashes within 10 minutes of usage. I am not kidding. Ever since the app became free, it’s like the developers have let it go to hell in a hand basket. It would help matters tremendously if it told me that some feed was trying to poison my computer or FeedDemon or do some sort of diagnostics because I’m getting sick of it. I tried out RSS Bandit before by Dare Obasanjo and it was not bad at all. In fact, the newest release of RSS Bandit supports Google Reader and my online Newsgator subscriptions. I’m also biased to RSS Bandit because Dare Obasanjo is a fellow Nigerian (probably a citizen or permanent resident of the USA now though) whose writing (& now code) I cannot get enough of. I will be downloading & installing RSS Bandit tonight because FeedDemon is just not worth the lost man-hours. The singular most annoying thing about FeedDemon crashing when I’m reading my feeds is that it doesn’t even let me resume my reading from where I left off. To be clear, all the feeds that were read before FeedDemon crashed? They automagically become unread when you restart FeedDemon. For someone who has hundreds of rss subscriptions, it has become a nightmare for me and I’ve stopped my daily reading because of this issue. I really hope they haven’t abandoned development of FeedDemon (they haven’t, but FeedDemon 2.8 is taking a long while) because I really had faith in this tool. Now, I’m just plain tired.

Update: Wow. I just installed it and man oh man! I’m really impressed. RSS Bandit has come a long way from when I first tried it. It feels snappy as hell! I’m not afraid to scroll through my feed list, wondering when (not if) FeedDemon will freeze on me before I get a chance to save my “state”. It imported my Newsgator Online feed list & didn’t crash! Can you feel my happiness? 🙂