FeedDemon by Subscription?

UPDATE: Based on your comments about this post, we’ve changed our mind.

Shortly after I was acquired by NewsGator, customers started asking whether FeedDemon would switch to a subscription model. At the time we were still ironing out the details, but we’ve decided now: FeedDemon (but not TopStyle) will become subscription-based software.

The rational behind moving to a subscription model can be found in this post from Greg Reinacker, which explains how the subscription model actually works out cheaper (especially for existing FeedDemon customers, who get two years of free upgrades). However, “subscription-based software” is a phrase that causes some people to recoil in horror, so I’m curious how FeedDemon users will react to the news.

My own reaction when the idea was first proposed was, “No way!” The subscription model never appealed to me because of ownership – I own the data that my software uses, and I don’t want to be locked out of it. So let me clarify that this will not be the case with FeedDemon. If down the road you let your subscription expire, you’ll still be able to export your channels, watches and news bins from FeedDemon. That’s your data, so you won’t be locked out of it.

That was my only real roadblock to accepting the subscription model – once I realized that “subscription” doesn’t equal “loss of ownership,” I was fine with the idea. And for a company like NewsGator, which offers several products that tie into the same server-side piece, a subscription model actually makes sense. You’re paying for a service, and that service includes several software options so you can choose how you’d like to access the service. Fair enough, IMO.

But I realize that you may have other concerns about this move, and I’d like to hear about them. What is your reaction to a subscription-based FeedDemon, and what can we do to address any of your concerns?

PS: For some reason, this is one of those topics that brings out the flamers and trolls, so I have to ask that you be thoughtful and respectful when commenting here. Thanks!

107 thoughts on “FeedDemon by Subscription?

  1. I think it all boils down to cost. I don’t think I have a problem with paying a subscription as long as the service I get seems worth what I pay. Since I read RSS at work and home quite a lot and don’t have a laptop, which means I have two different computers, having a service that keeps this all synchronised would be fantastic. This is something I would be willing to pay for.

  2. To be frank my initial reaction is one of disappointment. Thanks to the generous 2 year free upgrade for current users of FeedDemon I have plenty of time to evaulate the service and look at alternatives that may come along. I really like FeedDemon so I’ll give it a fair chance over the next couple of years.

  3. I totally agree with Jeremy.. it’s all about cost. I bought Feeddemon 1.5 year ago and that set my back 25 dollars.. a real bargain if you ask me.. and as long that the costs are nog more then say about 10 dollars a year I have no problem at all with paying for a subscription. When the costs do get more then that i’ll switch to a free solution.. or the benefits and features that Feeddemon will offer would be unbeatable… like getting your feeddemon installations at home and at work to sync with eachother ;-) just a tip….

  4. Roy, could you let me know why your initial reaction is one of disappointment? What is it about the subscription model that bothers you?

  5. Working in IT web-services myself, I certainly understand the compelling business-drivers of the subscription model. Most likely, the biggest concern you will face is from users like myself (I JUST bought Feeddemon 2 weeks ago)that pose the question of… “ok, I just pre-paid my subscription (by virtue of buying/downloading the $26 software license), am I covered for the next year’s worth of service?? How and when is the cut-off for pre-subscriber to be grand-fathered in? And how long are they covered.
    My company faced the same issues and it typically boils down to:
    – fair warning;
    – timely, broad, and empathetic customer communication & transition plans;
    – and adding features/service value that encourages customers to suscribe b/c they want the additional “new stuff” coming down the pike
    Just some questions (grand-fathering) and thoughts from someone who went down the path that ultimately went well for the company and user-base.

  6. In this case I think there is a distinction between the software and the service. Personally, I see the FeedDemon software as something I paid for and should be able to use as long as I want, since you aren’t providing the feeds. The synchronization is the service and that I’m OK with paying for as long as the price is reasonable. If for some reason I decided I don’t need the synchronization I should be able to continue to use the standalone software I paid for. I may not get updates or fixes, but the existing version shouldn’t stop working.
    Now of course if you want to consider the standalone software as part of the service, then that’s a whole different story and that needs to be explained very clearly to people as that is not a typical experience for most users.
    The problem with Greg’s math is that not everyone upgrades every time a new version is available. If you only pay for every other upgrade then the costs change significantly.
    All that being said, FD is a product I would pay for since it is a fabulous product and provides me with a lot of value.

  7. Nick, I actually welcome the idea of a subscription based feed service.
    I really would like to see the *basics* in FeedDemon though, such tree navigation of all feeds and an update all feeds every so often feature, rather than a group. These currently stop me from using FeedDemon. (Even just an ‘update all groups or the selected group’ option would do).
    Once the basics are there, the subscription service would make it fantastic package. Looking forward to it very much.

  8. Two years might look like a long time at first, but I don’t like it if software stops working after some time. Will
    What if FD 2 (or 3 or 4 etc) requires a new operating system, etc. Or if I don’t want to spend more money, but would like to continue using an old version that works OK. For me to keep using subscription software, it has to be either rather cheap, or very useful and important.
    This is not just about the right to access my own data (though that is important as well), but also the right to continue working with ‘what I have’ indefinitely. If Windows 98 had been subscription based, that old PC right next to my new one would be a useless lump of metal now.

  9. It’s been well over a year since I bought FeedDeamon, so I may be wrong on this point, but I seem to recall that there was a promise of no-cost upgrades for life.
    If this is the case, then for those of us who have already purchased FD, and expect no-cost upgrades, then isn’t the two year “free” subscription going to work out more expensive in the long run?
    Granted, we’re not talking huge money here, but still…
    I always feel in situations such as these (Company A being acquired by Company B), that existing customers of Company A should have AT LEAST as good terms under Company B as they did under Company A. I’m not convinced that that’s the case here.

  10. Peter is right on. For many people, the issue will be wrapping their mind around not being able to keep using “software” that they “bought”.
    While the company sees the issue as selling FeedDemon as a service, the average person will struggle with that concept because they are so used to the purchase/retail model. I’ve seen this struggle with people trying to figure out the subscription music services.
    I think the feeling is that with this model, they’re “throwing their money away” because after the subscription is up, they don’t come away with anything, i.e. the software.
    This is less an issue with NewsGator, and more with downloadable products like FeedDemon.

  11. My concern about subscription based licencing is that whilst it helps ISVs figure out how much money is coming in over the next quarter it can make them lazy about fixing bugs and adding features. So, so long as FeedDemon is still actively developed, with point releases regularly put out (at least 1 point release per subscription period) then I have no issue with the change. I already have a support contract with Alias for Maya so the concept is not alien.
    It would be nice if folks who’ve just bought FeedDemon got the first years sub for free.

  12. I agree with Peter. I feel that FeedDemon should continue to work after your subscribtion expires. For me the subscription is basically like maintainence. If there are upgrades to the software you get them. It also entitles you to sync with the web-based services.
    If I should choose to let that subscription lapse, I should still be able to keep FeedDemon around in it’s current state. I would no longer be able to sync with NewsGator, and I would no longer be entitled to updates to the software, but if I was happy with it in it’s current state, I should be able to continue using it.
    Nick, I do not mind paying a subscription, and I probably will continue to do so after my two years. BUT, I am disappointed that you would take away the choice of the end user to simply use their software, especially us early adopters who bought a piece of software, NOT a subscription.
    There are too many good free aggregators out there now, that forcing a subscription model might hurt FeedDemon in the long run.
    I wouldn’t mind seeing two choices. A fairly modest subscription cost that FeedDemon would expire if the subscription ended, and a more expensive “standalone” version that someone could buy for say $49 or $59 dollars…
    It’s all about choice, and to me, when my choices become limited, I tend to look elsewhere…
    Take Care,

  13. I hate subscription software. If I’m renting the software, then I’m constantly evaluating whether I’m getting my money’s worth. “How many times did I use FeedDemon this month.”, I’ll say. I don’t want to think about RSS software, but it will be unavoidable under this plan. Subscriptions create mental baggage that I don’t want or need. By the way, I know this an irrational view, but you asked. :)

  14. As someone who really needs synchronization, I would agree with Peter: subscription might expire, but the software should never stop working. That would be the ideal solution, IMHO. The stance that “you own the data anyway” is a step in the right direction, however.

  15. I’m a casual user of RSS in general and only bought FeedDemon because of Nick’s reputation and my experience with TopStyle. Previously I had a free package that was adequate for my needs.
    I now feel desperately let down.
    The cost benefit I saw seems to rely on having FeedDemon and some other NewsGator product. What if I have no use for that other product? Then the cost benefit doesn’t work.
    Equally, my experience of subscription services is that the subscription cost rapidly goes up… when that happens, what choice do I have? I can’t continue to use the software that I’ve invested in for a number of years, so I just have to continue to pay or write off my investment.
    I took a long time over deciding to buy FeedDemon and now feel that I’ve made a very bad decision.

  16. I’ve got no issues with the subscription model, even though I have no plans to use the online or synchronization services. I’m a one-computer (laptop), FeedDemon user, and I’m happy to pay for someone (Nick) to keep that program updated, bug-fixed, etc.
    My only concern about this is the details: How will we (old FeedDemon customers) get converted to a subscription? How do we get our business account?
    IMHO, how those details are handled will help determine if this is, or is not, a successful transition.

  17. Like Steve, I was a TopStyle customer that bought FeedDemon because of Nick’s reputation and because it seemed like a decent piece of software.
    I don’t like the subscription model because I like to buy a piece of software, not rent it. I purchased FD because it was a cheap low-risk once-off application. As a new customer, I could put up with a small once-off, but would never accept a subscription model. Particularly not when there are plenty of free RSS aggregators around.
    I think a aubscription model is asking for more trust from the customer. I trust Nick because of past experience. I wouldn’t trust a company called NewsGator simply because of the “Gator” connection. (Even though the only connection is in the name)
    The only subscription service I’ve signed up for is Digiguide – but I am paying for continually new data to be provided for me. FD does not supply any of the data it gives me, so in my mind a aubscription model does not make sense.
    But I’m not a normal FD customer, in that I actually ended up using Opera 8 for my RSS needs because it’s simpler and is integrated into an application I already use every day. For me, FD is just a bit overkill for my needs anyway. So, someone that uses it and gets the full benefit from it might well be a little more willing to accept this kind of thing.
    Also, free upgrades for 2 years doesn’t seem like a great deal. I’d rather received no new updates and have an application that isn’t going to expire on me. (Which is what I’ll do if this is introduced.)
    As a side note, presumably changing to a subscription model will put more pressure on Nick to keep updating FD because it’s important for it to continually evolve in order to keep the value for the existing customers. IE if you were forced into a subscription model you would expect to get a regular supply of updates as you are paying every month/year/whatever for the software alone.
    So this makes me wonder if TopStyle is going to disappear even further into obscurity? It’s been quite obvious recently that FD is updated all the time and by contrast it takes forever to progress through very minor TopStyle maintenance releases.
    Sorry, Nick, but for me – probably someone in the minority – I am sad to see the introduction of this.

  18. One other thing… if the new version of IE includes support for RSS out of the box, as it sounds like it will, is it not going to be even more difficult to persuade users to subscribe?

  19. First, RSS support in Firefox and IE7 is totallly different than how products such as FeedDemon work. If you don’t understand the difference, then FeedDemon isn’t for you.
    I personally have no problem with subscriptions. Three or four software packages I currently use are based upon the subscription model and in the real world, there is no difference as far as I can tell.
    Nick, can we expect FeedDemon 1.5 to be outside the subscription model? Seems like everyone who isn’t happy with the subsciption can just keep using FD 1.5, right?

  20. First, RSS support in Firefox and IE7 is totallly different than how products such as FeedDemon work. If you don’t understand the difference, then FeedDemon isn’t for you.
    I personally have no problem with subscriptions. Three or four software packages I currently use are based upon the subscription model and in the real world, there is no difference as far as I can tell.
    Nick, can we expect FeedDemon 1.5 to be outside the subscription model? Seems like everyone who isn’t happy with the subsciption can just keep using FD 1.5, right?

  21. I, for one, am quite happy with subscription models, if it means I can expect regular updates to software. I like to be on the bleeding edge and if a subscription means I get to see the software continually evolve, I’m all for it.
    At such time as you stop improving FeedDemon, though, I personally would hope it would return to a shrink-wrap pricing model.

  22. The way I see it: you buy software “as is”. The vendor has the right to change the licensing at any time, as long as I can keep using the existing versions of the software I paid for. No problem here.
    That said, I think most people are not yet comfortable with subscription-based licensing for client software. Mainly because they see a program as a “product” and not so much as a “service”. It’s much easier to sell a web-based application as a “service”, because someone has to keep everything running.
    Also, I was kind of surprised that one of the reasons to sell FeedDemon was to use the server-based NewsGator solution as a central repository for your feed data. You can store your cache folder on a removable USB drive and so avoid duplication between multiple computers, can’t you?

  23. James, you may be right. I guess IE7 will push RSS into the public and for many people it will give them everything they need. But then those people wouldn’t be buying FD anyway.
    Well, it slightly depends how IE7 handles it, but I guess you’re right.

  24. I knew this newsgator thing was bad. I guess its time to find a new RSS feedreader. Goodbye FeedDemon.
    I hope they dont screw up and kill topstyle. But I have a feeling it will dye a slow death just as Homesite did.

  25. So let me get this right.
    Feeddemon is no longer a stand alone software application. Its Rentware.
    I pay for the right to use it and when I stop paying I can no longer use the software. Right? But the data is mine.
    Oh well. I guess its time to look for another RSS Application.

  26. I agree with Peter (at July 6, 2005 09:56 AM). I like FD a lot. That being said, I don’t want my purchased version of Software to stop working because of the subscription model that is being “plugged” into it. I think there needs to be a clear marker of when FD becomes stand-alone software versus subscription based. To me it would make sense to offer the subscription as an add-on service to FD, that way the products and subscription are separate revenue streams, while preserving the existing FD revenue stream. I for one, probably wouldn’t pay for the subscription service unless it’s very reasonable ($5-$10 / year). The synchronization is nice, but it’s a feature, not a “deal-maker”. For those of us that use FD, I think if we are forced to use the sync service, then we are looking at a “deal-breaker”.

  27. I reluctantly add my voice to those of the “disenchanted”–I say “reluctantly” because of my respect for Nick’s talents and because of my longstanding use of both TopStyle and FeedDemon.
    Like others, I have no need for (hence no interest in) Newsgators’ other products/services. Perhaps I’m less common in my usage needs, but I really obtained approval to acquire FeedDemon for very specific purposes, and the standalone software has done just what I needed it to…I know others will benefit from the extra services, but I use FD only at work, and so have no use for the added features/services due to the nature of my job.
    My employer (government) buys less and less software each year; to my knowledge, it has never purchased software subscriptions. I may inquire if this is possible (since I’d like to continue using FD for work research), but this sector is one where exceptions to the rule are, if not frowned upon, then certainly not encouraged. And the public sector does not like when any product it “purchases” ceases to function (for any reason)…and logical reasoning backed up by technical understanding will not change this–I as a user understand how this works, but those who sign the checks so that I might use this software don’t, and won’t in the future either. It should also be noted that as an employee, I am not allowed to purchase the software/subscription myself and then install it on my employer’s computer.
    Soooo: not all your customers have the individual power to say, “sure I’ll buy a subscription”–if I’m not personally signing the check, then I’m not in control of whether or not I can use the software (if it’s sold only as a “service”), but if I can convince my employer of the value of a standalone piece of software, then at least I’ve got a chance to use your product (which brings business, albeit indirectly, your way).
    And like John Carpenter, I worry even more after seeing this that the future of TopStyle is less secure than it seemed to me as “Bradbury Software’s TopStyle”…don’t mean to be negative, I just don’t see how work on TopStyle can go forward if the pressure of satisfying FeedDemon subscribers is ratcheted up due to this business model…hope I’m wrong, I really do (sigh)
    I wish Nick and Newsgator the best–but I’m just not sure this business model matches my needs and my employer’s rules of operation.

  28. I’m glad that Nick and Greg will give 2 years of free trial of upcoming services. The subscription fee is fair enough, especially with stuffs that come with it. I hope that I could pay subscription to have my feed stored permanently. Once I stop paying, FD will still work as the current version, still able to access old data – I just can’t add new data. Currently, storing feed data permanently and accessible anytime anywhere is my biggest concern, and I don’t mind to pay to get it solved.

  29. I have no problem with this decision.
    I’ve been using Newsgator with FeedDemon for a while; I use the product both at home and at work, and its very handy to have the sync services the partnership offers.
    Anyone that’s already registered FeedDemon will get two years worth of Newsgator subscription. If you’re going to go in search of another product, simply because you disagree with a decision that isn’t going to affect you for two years, then don’t the let door hit you on the way out.
    If you haven’t already registered FeedDemon, then imho, your opinion doesn’t count. Its that simple.
    By the looks of it, the Newsgator sub that gives you FeedDemon will cost very little. I value FeedDemon enough to pay an ongoing subscription for it – Nicks work both in developing and supporting FeedDemon is second to none. Considering the health problems he’s had, I think the guy is a marvel.
    Newsgator didn’t have to offer any of us the two year sub. If they hadn’t, we might have a valid case to moan. As it is, I find some of the comments posted here very disheartening.

  30. I’m a software developer myself and I’ve struggled with subscription vs. a one-time fee quite often. Personally it comes down to what the word “subscription” means to me. A subscription is something in which I recieve new content on a periodic-basis or am renting/using/consuming an asset that I do not own directly. Think magazines and off-site storage.
    FeedDemon doesn’t actually produce any new periodic content except upgrades and bug-fixes, which I would be willing to pay for. If I do not need sync functionaltiy or do not need/want new versions of FD then I feel like I’m being coercied. It’s as if I want the June issue of Wired but to get that I have to get a subscription.
    I strongly agree with those that there should be a one-time fee that gets you a non-sync version FD plus 6 months of upgrades/bug-fixes OR you can purchase the subscription-based FD that has sync capabilities plus a years-worth of upgrades/bug-fixes.
    Even the stand-alone, one-time fee FD should have a buffer of free upgrades because if I buy a TV from SoundTrack and it goes on sale a month later I can just go haggle with them or if they are really being idiots I’ll actually return the item and then re-buy it at the new price… which I’ve done before.

  31. I’m an old guy and probably have a different and useless perspective, since I’m not in the demographic wanted by anything – tv, employers, software etc. etc.
    Anyway, at one time I kept a folder of all of the failed and unsupported shareware I used to buy, but the folder began to tip the file cabinet and I threw it out. My favorite, was a thank you note from an author thanking me for the payment and telling me he was no longer developing it due to the small number of registrations – he did manage to dry his eyes long enough to get to the bank and cash my check, though!
    I find most software – immature, technically, totally under supported and functionally deficient. Upgrades are nearly always late – if they are ever issued and promised functionality is deficient. Authors seem to never take responsibility for bugs – everyone seems to have adopted the MS and Intuit approach of fervently pretending that their stuff works.
    The subscription model puts even less pressure to improve and make a new version enticing for upgraders.
    I know it’s the love child of the bean counters as they strive for “multiple revenue streams” and push to constantly add more and more intrusive ways to sell more products and services. I’m too darn old to accept that this is just “capitalism” at work!
    I’ll probably move elsewhere, however sometimes I’m compelled to stay with software that has a model or licensing scheme I abhor until something else comes along – and it always does. Then I have the hassle of stopping the seemingly inevitable failure to stop nicking the CC.

  32. Nick!
    Say it ain’t so! There are so many other rss readers to choose from. I usually do not purchase software when there are others that are free but I really was impressed with the speed of feeddemon. But the ability to purchase once and get free updates is why I purchased it. I will not be moving to a subsciption based. Time to move on…

  33. Personally I like the subscription model and my only real problem with it was the same as you. When/if I decided to discontinue my subscription I want to make sure that I can export all of my data (eeds, watches, newsbins) to standard format (opml?) and import into my new client.
    The way FD works now makes it easy to do this however in the future I would love to see you move to a database rather than lots of individual files. If you do this (and I REALLY hope you do) I would be a little worried if I couldn’t get my data out of the database again.
    However I trust you. I trust you to do the right thing for you customers. I think that a subsription service is the best thing for FD now that it is a NewsGator product as the reason a user would use NewsGator is so they can access their feeds anywhere and whatever they do is seen everywhere (being it the web server, FD or Outlook plugin).
    One question I have though is how will FD work in a subscription system? Will it require internet access every N days? What happens when the subscription ends? Will it no longer load or will it just not update any feeds?
    Also, and you knew this was coming, what about a FeedDemon sans NewsGator support that is sold as a stand alone client? Basically FD as it is now but with the NewsGator/Bloglines Syncronized Channel Group feature?

  34. Subscription might be ok for FD, though my general feelings are against subscription-based software.
    For me, that’s because with non-sub, I can decide if and when I want to upgrade to a new version, and don’t have to pay additional to keep using the one I’ve already ‘bought.’ Subscription-based would force me to pay again (hate that word ;-) just to keep using the software.
    If you move to subscription-based, I’d hope the cost is comparably-divided out, ie, subscr-price is less/year so we aren’t effectively rebuying the s/w each year or two. (similar to how you’d compare the rate of leased equipment – how long do you lease at rate X to equal normal purchase cost)
    Longer-term subscriptions might get a price break too to reward loyalty.

  35. Also (sorry just thought of this!) I think anyone who says “goodbye FeedDemon” and “its time to fine another rss reader” are jumping the gun a bit!
    Firstly you have 2 years before you need to even think about looking for another client. If you ditch FD now you will be wasting your money. Wait for the subscription system to come out and give it a try. You might find that you cannot live without it and $20 a year is fine with you. If you find it isn’t for then you can tell NewsGator why you don’t. As I said I trust Nick and I am sure that if there is a big problem with their subscription model they will address it. Nick has always listened to his customers and I do not believe he will stop. I am sure one of the reason NewsGator wanted Nick was because he listens to his users and gives them what they want.
    By all means air your views on why you don’t like subscription models of other companies so that the NewsGator model is as good as it can be. Don’t write it off before it is available though, you have nothing to lose by waiting to try it out do you?

  36. Jeff: I know exactly how you feel and I am sure Nick does aswell. The way I am looking at this is that I am not paying for a license to the software I am paying for the NewsGator service and FD happens to be a tool within that service which allows me to access the service in a different way (as is the Outlook plugin).
    For want of a better word, FeedDemon, as an independant client, is dead. It has merged with other clients to become a service tool.
    While I do not have any problems with the subscription model (at least from what Nick has said about it) I would *love* to see a seperate client without the NewsGator support sold as an independant client. Perhaps even keeping the name FeedDemon and giving the subscription client a new name?

  37. There’s an interesting theme running through many of these messages— people (myself included) generally hate subscription services, but Nick’s a good guy so we’re willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. If Microsoft had purchased Bradbury Software and announced a non-voluntary subscription model, people would be fleeing like rats from a burning ship…
    It’s too bad that there can’t be a bug-fix 1.6 standalone release that fixes the outstanding issues from the earlier version. That way, users don’t feel railroaded into a new subscription just to get working functionality they thought they originally purchased. I realize this probably isn’t feasible, NewsGator is probably chomping at the bit to get a new integrated release out, and all in all, the money amounts are small enough that Nick’s reputation will probably be good enough to avoid any major issues.
    Two years is a long time, though, and there will be LOTS of changes on the RSS scene with major company support and the like, so while Nick’s reputation won’t drive users away from the new subscription model, it’s still quite possible that cool new non-subscription software might be available by then (integrated into the OS? who knows) which makes the subscription a pretty tough sell for those who don’t need the online features like synchronization.
    Just my $0.02… hope it helps. And of course, given that I’m running FD in a $300 Vmware sandbox (on Linux), it’s a pretty foregone conclusion that I’d be upgrading for life anyway, so it’s not a big deal to me either way…
    PS: Thanks, Nick, for discussing this publicly and giving us a chance to bring up issues ahead of time, etc. Wonder if NewsGator realized your reputation is the biggest asset they acquired?

  38. — The following is a personal comment neither reviewed or endorsed by my employer – NewsGator. —
    I think Morgan hits the nail square on the head. For current FD users, the switch to subscription costs nothing for two years.
    Nada. Zip. Zilch.
    It’s even better than the 30 day money back guarantee that Nick has always offered.
    Just put your FeedDemon 1.5 installer and registration info in a safe place and, in two years, if you’d rather fall back on it than keep 1.6 or 2.0, or 3.0 or whatever we’re at at that time, you can. Or you can look around for something else at that point.
    But the next two years are free sailing. Why not give it a go? I bet at least a few people who say, today, they don’t need synching, may be singing a different tune in a year. Not to mention all the other whizbang stuff that will be available – gratis – during the free subscription.
    Who can afford _not_ to give it a try?

  39. FD is great software but I will be disappointed if it stops working simply because I choose not to take-up the subscription. Some of the other posts have suggested that this may happen. Not too keen on subscription because I will not be using some of the new features, eg synchronisation, that is, presumably, what the subscription will be partly paying for. Generally I prefer to pay a one-off fee for each version of any software which gives me the choice whether to stay with an old version – or upgrade. However, I will use FD for the two years and then decide if I think the subscription costs are worth it.

  40. Please understand – I don’t know NewsGator or the people owning it.
    I have, however, been on the aquiree end of several transaction and had people trust me, also. Unfortunately, I was rendered totally impotent by “them that has the gold…..” and my best intentions were rendered worthless to those that had placed trust in me. It hurt…..
    Something to ponder……

  41. Jack makes a good point about sticking with it for the next two years.
    However, I think it makes more sense to pay for another product now and support and encourage it’s development now than start looking around in two years time. It makes no sense to try to go back to a two year old product when the subscription runs out.
    I bought FeedDemon less than 1 month ago and feel I have just lost the cash I forked out. The least I expected ws updates and bug fixes for the rest of the year.
    It’s even worse when I see the new features in version 1.6, as these are the features I was expecting to get sometime this year for free. I now know that, unless I want to tie myself to NewsGator and a product that will effectively stop working in two years time, I’m not going to get my new features.

  42. I may not be the best datapoint since I’ve switched to OS X and now don’t actively use my copy of FeedDemon anymore and therefore won’t be affected by the pricing model changes, but:
    If FeedDemon had been sold using a subscription service a year or two ago, I would not have bought it.
    I agree with the earlier commenters who say they don’t like the idea of renting a product here — I don’t care at all about NewsGator and all of its server features, so a subscription buys me absolutely nothing. I just want a program I can run on my laptop to keep track of RSS feeds, none of which are managed in any way by NewsGator.
    Sure, paying for upgrades every now and then is kind of like a subscription, but I always have the option of saying “you know what? the new version isn’t worth what he’s asking. I’ll stick with what I have”. With a subscription, I don’t really have that option.
    So yeah — definitely not interested in subscription-ware. It’s easier for the publisher and you can throw together hypothetical calculations showing that sometimes it’s cheaper for the customer, but I don’t really see a benefit for users here.

  43. I will go out of my way to avoid software that requires a subscription. I want to be in the driver’s seat — I want to decide when to upgrade, and not have that decision forced on me.
    I’ve been using FeedDemon for less than a year, and I have been pleased with it, but I will start searching for another product if I am required to subscribe.

  44. The key issue for existing users, as I see it:
    “As someone who really needs synchronization, I would agree with Peter: subscription might expire, but the software should never stop working.”
    Pricing-model thoughts:
    The functionality of READING FEEDS, by itself, I don’t think lends well to a subscription-based model. There is no “service” on the provider side being rendered.
    BUT, the functionality of SYNCHRONIZATION, DOES lend itself well to a subscription-based model (at least as it must be implemented currently; i.e. centralized / server-based), because service IS being rendered.
    In my mind, these are actually two different value-creation points. Unlike, say, Keyhole, where the service and the software are intertwined (the software is fully dependent on the service).
    Business-wise, it seems to me this model serves as a strong disincentive to prospective users NOT needing / wanting syncronization.
    …and, lastly, as I understand the proposed model (having only skimmed all the comments here), I think Jack Brewster is wrong; it will cost your existing users the situation of having a guaranteed-not-working piece of software after two years of use, once they’ve made the choice to upgrade. That’s a cost that only happens if they come along for this update. It’s also a very real cost — it’s not just some arbitrary non-issue because ~730 days stand between then and now.
    Bottom line: I think I’d separate the two, and possibly lower the price of the software so that what one used to pay for just FD license, is now FD license + 1 year subscription (or, perhaps better marketing-wise, same price for FD license but include a “free” “try-it-out” service subscription for the first year).

  45. Well, you certainly predicted the firestorm. :)
    FeedDemon is the best RSS reader I’ve tried (and I’ve looked at several). I refer people to it all the time. It’s one of the few “shareware/trialware” products I’ve bought in the last 2 or 3 years. I love it.
    However, I think I probably fall in the camp of not wanting a subscription based product. RSS is rapidly gaining popularity and becoming more and more mainstream (witness Yahoo, Firefox and IE7, et al). There is a glut of new aggregators with many of the features that makes FeedDemon so good. How long will it take before someone writes something that is almost as good as FeedDemon for cheap (or for free)?
    FWIW, I would offer a thought or two:
    1) If you want to have a recurring revenue stream, sell the SYNCH SERVICE and not the software. I know the support forums are full of comments asking for the ability to synch, but as you are now aware, there are many of us who will do without it.
    2) Perhaps you can sell a “Standalone” FeedDemon and a “Network” FeedDemon.
    Nick, you’re a great guy. I’m glad you were able to make some money on this. I hope you are able to make this difficult change palatable for everyone.

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