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. As long there are regular updates then I think I will subscribe, but I would prefer ‘owning’ the software, so to speak.
    This decision must have had plenty of thought behind it so I trust the change.

  2. Jack Brewster – Just re-read your earlier post, and see your comment re: tucking away the v. 1.5 install etc in case one wants to roll back. Yes, (assuming that will work on the install). Point noted, as well as “two years for free.”
    So, what I said I think you’re wrong about was a mis-read on my part.
    That said, I still think I’d break the two pricing-pieces apart, pricing-wise. I think if you pursue that model, you’ll:
    1) make more money
    2) alienate far less of your existing customer base, and
    3) attract a greater percentage of the prospective users looking at buying your FD product (/ synch service).
    Regardless of all said: Nick, your approach/initiative towards input here is commendable, showing you to be a Class Act as usual. Thanks for that.
    We reap what we sow… and you keep sowing good things. May your harvest be appropriately abundant.
    – Cass

  3. One thing to also consider is the perception of choice. Force everyone into the subscription model and you’ll have pushback but offer the choice of both and I bet you’ll see more people pick the subscription model than not.
    FeedDemon is amazingly inexpensive given it’s quality and support and I know I would probably go with the subscription service even if I was a new-user, yet if I *had* to buy a subscription… well, I may look elsewhere. I’d probably come back of course but I would look around. Ease people into it, let them make the decision that a subscription is the best thing if they want to stay current.

  4. I think that anyone who uses FeedDemon on more than one system will benefit from a synschronization feature, and the natual pricing system for that is a subscription.
    Still, I’d like it if the app keeps working eternally even if the synchronization stops when the subscription stops. Getting people to pay for an app (not services, an app) is very hard. To keep selling FeedDemon on a subscription basis, you’ll have to rely on the synchronization feature to draw people in.

  5. I’ll probably be fine with the subscription model after I’ve seen what Newsgator can do.
    Hopefully Newsgator will offer Paypal — chequing account, not a debit card with a Visa/Mastercard logo on it — as an option to pay, just like Nick. And pass the word on to Typepad, iTunes, Audible, etc., who could make even more money.
    Good luck, Nick, and thanks for allowing us to speak.

  6. From a business point of view subscriptions are good in the way that the business gains repeat sales and better cashflow. From a customer point of view another regular (albiet annual) bill is not what I’ll sign up for. Power, phone, insurance and Feeddemon? No thanks. I’m definitely a buy a tool, use a tool, upgrade the tool when I’m ready for a better tool person…

  7. I strongly dislike the subscription model, and fully agree with Dick’s earlier comments about mental baggage.
    Whenever you sign up for a subscription you also add items to your to-do list: the need to reconsider your position next year, authorize the next payment, etc. Most of us are in a struggle to keep our to-do lists down to a manageable size, so a subscription has to offer extra value to be worthwhile.
    Bottom line: FeedDemon is no longer on the radar for me.

  8. My opinion probably doesnt matter much here since I am working on moving away from FeedDemon, but I have a couple problems with the subscription model. I think it makes sense for online services, but for desktop apps I think it actually hurts product development.
    If you know that you have to come up with a kick-ass 2.0 product to get all us 1.5 users to upgrade you are going to work hard to build new features. If you know we have to pay to keep using it no matter what the features, what is the motivation? Microsoft is constantly trying to find stuff to add to Office to get them to upgrade, if it was a subscription why would they bother?
    When it was just you I could trust you to do the right thing and put those new features in, but now that you can’t make those calls I wouldn’t pay for a subscription.

  9. Put me down for a vote for the model of purchasing the software, but paying an ongoing license for the synchronization and software upgrades. I feel that this offers the best medium of me being able to view the content that I own, while paying you appropriately for ongoing services.
    my .02

  10. First, I must say that I really like FeedDemon and have been a registered user for at least a year now (don’t recall for sure when I bought it.) It is by far the best piece of Windows software I have purchased in that timeframe.
    With that said, I am not a fan of the subscription model for software. I do not use NewsGator or any of it services, nor do I want to. I manage all of my own subscriptions and groups and like it that way. I do not want to be forced to pay for services that I do not use just to get software that I really do like.
    I do not have a problem paying for software updates or a new version of the application every so often. I own the software independently of any online service and can make my own Groups and add/drop feeds through the software any time I feel like it.
    It saddens me to say this, but if I can’t use the software outside of NewsGator services, then I will have to find a different piece of software when mine quits working.
    — Mike

  11. I would have to agree that I would like to see paying for sync separated out from paying for the application. I would be willing to pay for Feeddemon upgrades, but I would like the choice not to do without losing existing functionality, as well as the the choice not to have the cost of app upgrades be inflated by the cost of a service that I don’t plan to use.

  12. To me subscription is about ongoing services. I’m happy to “buy” software and pay extra for additional services, if I want them.
    For FD I’m aware of “synchronise different machines” as an extra service. I don’t need that.
    I’m not aware of any other service that I would use.
    To me the original license makes sense while I’m uneasy about the new one.
    I guess a move like this causes a change in user base. Some stay, some go and new customers come along. Depends on the size of those three, whether it works commercially.
    (I can picture some of the extensions to existing products and system level improvements, that will move into feed reading, so I’m aware that your decision process is not easy.)

  13. Nick,
    I’m really disappointed about the new developments license-wise.
    Being a FD (and TS!) user since the beginning, my feelings are very negative regarding the non-activation of FD, if the subscription is not renewed.
    I don’t care about any additional services NewsGator may want to package to FD for having a constant flow of earnings as long as the client is not affected by this process. These are two different ball games!
    Let the customer decide to which degree he wants to have services sold to him. For me there’s no added value with NewsGator. I just want to have the plain vanilla client (as in the past) and I’m prepared to pay for any further updates as long as the enhancements do fit to my needs.
    As many of the other contributors I feel somehow betrayed … but still trusting you and hoping that you’ll find a good compromize together with your new employer. For now you have still a loyal customer base backing you.
    Unfortunately Jack is wrong. If, after the two years, I don’t want to renew the subscription – imagine how I must feel to have to revert back to FD 1.5, after having seen all the new developments feature-wise – or is this the intention?! In the meantime your peers have not rested on laurels and there will definitively be a viable alternative … which I really do not want to take into consideration as of today!
    Sad to see how things can go astray – if you have no more influence in this respect, I whish you good luck!

  14. Well now, isn’t this a fine how do you do? I purchased FD 5 or 6 weeks ago after testing it against FoxFire RSS service and Owl RSS. I liked FD for a number of reasons; but mostly having to do with the way the feeds were presented and update speed. I do not have any particular need for syncronization and am having a problem figuring out just how to make FeedStation work properly. So I ask, am I really one of the few who don’t really need or want syncronization services; but would like to be able to use the other functionality of FD without subscription? As I read the previous postings; I’d suggest that the subscription model in and of itself may become counter productive from a business point of view. Two years of syncronization services subscription and not ending up with updated product that I can continue to use after the two years are up really does not seem like such a “good deal” to me. Nick, I’ve used Homesite for quite some time and believe that you are really quite brilliant with you cleaver code; but this may well have been a tactical mistake on the part of NewsGator. Just my opinion :-}

  15. Nick,
    As one of the longest FD customers (since pre-release beta) I have to say I’m pretty dissapointed by this. If I decide to stop paying for FD, I want to continue to use the software I put down cold hard cash for not simply be given a way to export my data and move back to an ancient version.
    Personally I’ll probably stick with it as synchronisation support will fill the hole in my FD experience that has been gnawing at me for 2 years, but only if the following happens:
    1) The subscription price doesn’t change
    2) Major FD versions are released more often enough than they have been, so that a newsgator subscription costs only a little more than buying each new version of FD would.
    Thankfully I’ve got 2 years to decide if the value is there, otherwise I’d be jumping ship. I think the 2 year free subscription is the only thing that will save this deal from tanking :)

  16. Small addition to my previous comment – I don’t expect existing customers to be able to use whatever version of FD is available in 2 years for free. I just don’t think people who want to use FD without newsgator should be forced into a subscription.
    Now that I’ve clarified that, I’ve got an interesting question for Jack / Nick / whoever.
    Jack said:

    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.

    What happens if there is a major security flaw in FD? Will Nick be backporting the fix to 1.5 for people who don’t want to be forced into a subscription?

  17. Nick,
    I have purchased a lot of software that uses the subscription model from http://www.stardock.com, at first I loved the model, and was excited to see the software get upgraded constantly. After 1 upgrade cycle (and having to pay for the software a second time) I looked back and saw that much of the software that I had ‘rented’ was stuff I really didn’t need, and that I could save myself $X a year if I didn’t continue my ‘rental.’ I decided to track my usage of the software over the next year, and to see if it was either something I could do without, or if there was another cheaper alternative. As it turned out over the next year, I found I didn’t -need- the software, and I have failed to renew my subscription.
    My fear in all this is that with a rental model I will be forced into moving away from your product. I have never seen any value to me as a customer with NewsGator merger. I had an account at NewsGator but never found their product to fit my way of using RSS. While I think it’s very cool to provide an avenue to syncing your copies of Feedeamon, accross more than one computer, I don’t need this functionality.
    So look at it from my perspective. I buy a piece of software. I can use it as long as I like. Now you add a new feature such as the NewGator integration, a feature, I don’t need. But you also start to add features and functions like nested folders, syncing the folders that are not displayed. I’m sure you have a bunch of other cool stuff planned for the future. Now, to get all these new cool features, I need to buy into the rental model, and I need to buy into the NewsGator subscription model.
    In my book, you are giving with one hand, and taking with another.
    I will stick around for the two years (which should start with the release of FD 1.6) and see how things go. But I do believe that there needs to be something I’m getting extra for the ‘rental’ fee. I should be able to use your software after the subscription time is up as long as I don’t use any of the network funcitonality that merges your great product with NewsGator.

  18. Nick, you ask me why my initial reaction was one of disappointment. One reason is that I’m trying to get my employer (government agency) to buy a copy of FeedDemon for me. I had a chance to get that approved with a one time cost with paid upgrades every couple of years or so. I don’t have much chance of getting that approval with a subscription based service. Secondly, I don’t much care for the subscription based model for desktop software products. That said, as long as the subscription price is reasonable I’ll likely decide to buy a subscription for home use and use Newsgator Online at work (and keep the two synchronized). It is rare to find such high quality software engineering in a product as inexpensive as FeedDemon. Again, thanks for the two year free subscription.

  19. One more thing: both NewsGator and FeedDemon should seriously consider new product names. Just my 2 cents…

  20. Wow, a lot of discomfort with subscription models so far.
    I figure that subscription models are a way of continually casting my vote, rather than casting it once and being stuck with the product. If I’m happy with the service, the latest round of features, and the frequency of updates, you get my vote. If you take off to Tahiti for a year and RSSReader-XYZ pulls ahead of your’s, I can take my limited cash elsewhere.
    There’s more incentive to innovate because there’s more mobility. It seems to me that this especially true with something like RSS, where the formats are open and standard.

  21. It is rare for me to pull out my credit card and pay for software (not because I am a pirate, but rather there are a lot of free alternatives). I have for FD and was quite happy.
    The one thing no one has mentioned is the psychological aspect of a subscription. The charge, however small, is simply one more monthly fee that must be paid each month. Folks go crazy when cable/satellite goes up by one or two bucks a month, which is not a lot by most folks definitions.
    Given there are a number of free RSS options which do not require a monthly fee, I can guarantee I will not be signing up past the free two year period. The RSS feeds are free (for the most part), why should I have to pay to access something which is freely available?
    As for the synchronization, the ability to utilize an ftp site for the cache would have taken care of that (most folks here probably could set one up on their ISP I am guessing).
    The worst part of all of this is, unless I am reading it incorrectly, 1.6 will not function without a subscription. Is that correct? That is, well, crummy if it is true. I could see making 2.x require a subscription, but a 1/10th version?
    I would suggest a better solution, albeit not good for the existing users: crippling the software so that one can not redirect the cache (thus eliminating the use of a USB key for example) and stating “if you want to synchronize, pay the monthly fee”, “if you do not want synchronization just pay for the software”.
    Sorry about the rambling,

  22. Nick, I think it’s time for another ‘satanic cults’-type post is warranted here – you’re experiencing a full-blown “Six Apart” syndrome, so I want to say right now – thank you for the great software you’ve put together for us, especially FeedDemon in my case.
    I think we’re seeing what I have privately called the “five stages of business model changes” – being played out in these comments – we saw it when SA started charging for MT, you saw it before with HomeSite, and your seeing it again:
    1) Disbelief – “you can’t be serious – they would never go to a subscription!”
    2) Anger – “Nick, how could you! I’ll NEVER have anything to do with this software again!
    3) Bargaining – “I’ll stay if you make the synchronization subscription but keep the feed-gathering stand alone”
    4) Depression – “I’m sad and unhappy that it’s going to be a subscription”
    5) Acceptance – “hey, we get two free years – this is gonna be OK”
    Yes – these are the same as the “five stages of grieving” that one sees mentioned from time to time – I think that a change of this magnitude to well-loved software would naturally induce these feelings – any radical changes to anything people really like would produce similar sentiments.
    For me, I don’t have a problem with the subscription model – especially since I now won’t have to pay for the 2.0 upgrade! :)

  23. I don’t even know what you mean by “subscription-based software”. Lacking that knowledge it sounds quite off-putting, something like “let’s wring all the money we can out of the suckers”. Please show me how I am wrong.

  24. While I understand the benefit of synchronization for some (I don’t need it), no one has answered my basic question: WHY DO I NEED TO PAY A CORPORATION TO READ RSS FEEDS I CAN OBTAIN FOR FREE?
    Am I missing something here? I bought FeedDemon and TopStyle Pro and am crushed that Nick sold out. I work hard, but I don’t make much money, so my purchases feel wasted.
    The consensus here seems to be to offer a separate standalone version of FeedDemon. Do that I’m with you. Otherwise, I’ve already started converting my feeds to RSS Bandit. Most of us neither need nor ever want to pay for a subscription. EXCEPT for synchronization, subscription-based RSS makes about as much sense as paying for email by the message. I love you Nick, but I feel ripped off. I can’t think of a many corporate acquisitions where things got better.
    – Zaine

  25. Nick,
    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to express our viewpoints on the upcoming integration of FeedDemon with NewsGator. Been a FeedDemon user since it was offered in beta and I’m quite pleased with its features and functionality.
    Although my needs may change in two years, I currenty have no use for the synchronization of RSS newsfeeds (NOTE: I’m a single computer owner, no pda, no cell phone or anything else to synch with. And, with the threat of $3/gal. gasoline…no near future plans to purchase a synching device). Therefore, in my opinion, I hope that I would be able to pass on this upgrade and be allowed to continue to use FeedDemon v1.5, as is, until such time as features are offered that I feel warrant paying for an upgrade.
    Concur with previous posts that suggest FeedDemon should be offered in two flavors (i.e., with or without synchronization). If NewsGator wishes to offer all current FeedDemon users a limited, free trial subscription to its services, all the better. I may change my mind about paying for the upgraded version after testing some of the other new features firsthand. But I hope that accepting this free offer will not prevent current FeedDemon users from reverting back to its original, previously purchased, fully functional, 1.5 version if they so choose.
    Personally, I will think thrice before buying software in the future if the upgrade option is not afforded us. Already been burned by GIANT AntiSpyware when they sold out to Microsoft six months after I purchased their product.
    Keep the faith.

  26. This might have already been said, but this thread is getting a little long to read all the responses. Hopefully Nick will be reading.
    I think that cat is out the bag too early. I don’t think Nick has provided enough detail on the transition to subscription for existing users.
    There in an implication that all v1.5 and earlier users will get automatically converted to subscription, with 2 years free as a sweetner. This implies that v1.5 at least is already time-bombed. And that I find extraodinary if it were true.
    However, if v1.5 is the last of the ‘indefinite’ use products, then I’ve no problem. If Nick wishes to convert to a subs model, then why not.
    My understanding of the FeedDemon updates model was that point releases were free (this is what most developers do to keep customers happy). Major versions (i.e. 1.x to 2.x) would be a new purchase.
    To me, the delimma Nick has is when to call the next release a major release, and potentially alienate a user because they thought perhaps the one feature they wanted was going to be in a point release.
    If you ask me, there is no difference between a subs model and an upgrade model, apart from the fact that if the software stops working without a sub, you are cut off from your past loyalty to the product. Exporting feeds to OPML is hardly ‘retaining ownership of your data’. The users is still stuck with moving to an alternative platform. This is a fine way to treat your users.
    Version upgrades should offer significant benefit to the potential upgrader. Podcasting for example should have been a major upgrade (as its a big shift in the supported content). There is a balance to be struck between keeping the existing user happy with point upgrades, enticing in new users because of the feature progress, and persuading existing users to purchase upgrades because there is benefit in doing so.
    This change only works for me if 1.5 remains enabled for life (until I die, my PC dies, or RSS changes to the point its no longer supported by 1.5). v1.6 or later can do what it likes, and I’ll make a new purchasing decision when *I* choose.
    Anything else suggests that this is motivated out of money, and not respect for the existing customer. if you want to lose the existing customer, then its a great way to go about it.

  27. Nick,
    I appreciate the opportunity to provide input before any decisions have been made. It certainly adds to your already significant credibility!
    I dislike subscriptions for many of the reasons already posted. It isn’t always a tangible reason that drives a decision and I think if I had to choose between a better product for a subscription and an inferior product for a small fee, I’d go with the inferior product. But I’d certainly expect a service for my subscription, and short of synchronization and web-wide searches (neither of which I use), I don’t see what I’d be getting.
    I don’t think you owe any of us a continuation of the current model. When I buy software, I have no expectation that it *must* get better. You could always stop development tomorrow – and so long as you had a short maintenance period (say six months), who could complain they were treated unfairly?
    Bottom line: Good luck with whatever model you choose. I don’t think I’d subscribe – unless there was some *got to have* feature, but I don’t see that coming.

  28. God (or the Devil?) is in the detail.
    I am sure that once folks know the details, they will be able to form rational, reasonable opinons.
    My initial “OHH No!” reation only lasted 10seconds and I now await the details in the safe knowledge that you/your-Inc. will apply value, reasonableness and common sense to any policy you propose.
    (No flaming-trolls here).

  29. Last comment from me:
    – Nick and the company he joined are of course free to choose any business model they choose.
    – The existing 1.5 is a fine product, those who bought it thought it was value for its money.
    So any talk of ‘betrayal’ or ‘disappointment’ is, frankly, ridiculous. You didn’t buy a promise for great feature upgrades in the future, you bought 1.5.
    My 2 cts…

  30. Zaine Ridling said:
    The best question of the whole post :).

  31. Hi Nick, thanks for providing an opportunity for users of your product to have a say on this.
    I have to say I agree with the thoughts posted by: Peter (at July 6, 2005 09:56 AM). It now appears that I have to pay for the services of Newsgator whether I want it or not. (I didn’t ask for it; if I was keen on using this, I would have gone with Newsgator-Outlook in the first place.)
    If it is in your control, you might want to consider giving existing users of FeedDemon a chance to use the existing model of software upgrade and when the major version comes along, you’ll charge an upgrade fee.

  32. Zaine Ridling asked
    This question makes no sense – Of COURSE not, you don’t need to pay any corporation to read rss feeds – there are many free RSS aggregation tools out there.
    However, the obvious implication of your question is that any company that provides RSS aggregation and reading capabilities should give their software away – huh? That makes literally NO sense – they are under NO obligation to provide such a service for free, nor would I expect them to, especially when it’s their raison d’être. They are free to charge anything they like, using any model they prefer, just as we are free to choose whether or not to continue using the software as-is or whether or not to subscribe to the service.

  33. FeedDemon to be SubscriptionWare

    Nick Bradbury has announced that NewsGator will be making future versions of FeedDemon subscription based software. As a developer I certainly see the value of a subscription based business model….when it fits. I’m not so sure it fits in this case,…

  34. Nick,
    Thanks for giving us the chance to voice our thoughts.
    I’ve developed software. And I worked harder when customers had to choose to buy an upgrade than when they periodically sent me money (calling it a maintenance contract or a subscription).
    A subscription to a service like I understand NewsGater to be is understandable. Personally, I have absolutely no interest in what they offer, and a couple of concerns about what they do.
    Periodically buying worthwhile upgrades to a software package I use daily is fine. Trusting that worthwhile upgrades will continue to happen when economic incentive is lowered hasn’t worked, in my experience.
    I use FeedDemon on 1 system that I can remote into whenever I want to use it. I have no interest in an outside service maintaining my feeds.
    I’ve been waiting to see where my data & choice of feeds lives with the new version. If it’s not on my system, where I am responsible for backing it up, etc., then I do not want the next version.
    FeedDemon is a good program that’s fast, and handles RSS cleanly. I will continue to watch what happens.

  35. I must add my voice- to the discomfort i have with the subscription model and the underlying fear (for feeddemon and topstyle) that has been lurking since the newsgator acquisition.
    One of the most amazing things for me when i first bought topstyle (and Feeddemon) was i could communicate directly with a developer who had his clients interests at heart and developed the software based on the users needs.
    Bring out a great piece of software, and then work really hard listening to your customers, if you have done your job well they are more than happy to purchase upgrades.
    The subscription model (newsgator acquisition) breaks what for me has been the unique quality of feeddemon and Nick’s great software. I feel a close relationship with software that has the ear of the developer, I know if i have issues that they will be listened to, and I will be onboard to support the developer when upgrades that have been tailored to my community are produced.
    If I am not interested in the way the software is going, or feel my old copy does all i need it to, I dont have to shell out any more, and can vote with my pocket and express my opinions in the forums. But if I am subscribed to the software, I cant go back to last years software if i dont like the way its going- i have to look for a new product all together.
    I have come to trust Nick and know he is listening (hi Nick). But i am uneasy and not in the slightest interested in newsgator functionality. What would have been really cool would be to synchronise with a file on one of my own servers (how many dont have there own server , virtual or otherwise, or a gmail account) and have to wonder what newsgator really brings to the party besides some hefty servers.
    But perhaps the most serious for me is the apparent neglect of Topstyle, a tool i use every day – all day, and the knowledge that it now belongs to someone other than Nick Bradbury. I am still onboard, but nervous.

  36. FeedDemon by Subscription?

    If you’ve ever been curious what people think about paying for a “subscription” to a desktop application, look no further than Nick Bradbury’s announcement that FeedDemon will move to a subscription model.
    I’ve thought ab…

  37. Thanks for the 2 years of Newsgator, but as a registered user of FeedDemon…HOW do I take you up on that offer?

  38. I’m definitely disappointed to hear about the subscription format. I’ve paid for several subscriptions, and to be honest, I don’t like that format. As a matter of fact, I am letting two subscriptions expire in the next two months. I’ve found other ways to do what I need to do. No matter how much I love the software, the subscription format hasn’t been working for me. I don’t see this changing with FeedDemon.
    FeedDemon’s always been my favorite software. However, I am 99% sure I will stop using it once it becomes subscription based. It’s just not fun for me anymore. It doesn’t feel like it’s mine. It feels “rented”. I don’t like that. I also don’t like that I need to continually upgrade and my purchased copy will be broken at some point because it will go to the subscription format.
    Honestly, I hate this but I will probably go with another feedreader that I can purchase and use on my desktop (possibly Awasu) or use one of the many free online services. Yes I’ll have to give up a few features that FeedDemon has, like Newsbins and Watches. However, I don’t like the subscription aspect more than I don’t like losing features.
    I feel like everyone wants a subscription-type of yearly fee out of my pocket and it’s getting really annoying, not to mention quite costly. I’m sure others don’t mind, but I’m having an awful time supporting this model.
    Sorry this is so long; but these are just my rambling thoughts on this subject. I’ve been with FeedDemon since the beginning, and feel like I’m being cut away, honestly. I wish the best for Nick, but my pocket nor my standards can follow where ever subscription-based services go.

  39. So, it looks like a few people have an opinion on this :)
    It’s difficult for me to respond to every comment, but I do want to let everyone know that the number of well-reasoned comments has led to a *lot* of internal discussion at NewsGator.

  40. Nick, thank you for posting about this before inacting the change.
    Initially, I didn’t think it was so bad. I pay for a couple other subscription services, and definitely would pay for a subscription to FeedDemon. That being said, I too now disagree with changing to the subscription-based service. It just doesn’t make sense for RSS. Like someone said, when you stop paying for your subscription, you lose all your content – not only can I not continue to view new entries, but I wouldn’t be able to view old entries. That’s the biggest problem.
    I know you need a steady income, and I have NO PROBLEM with the current pay-to-upgrade scheme. I like having the choice to upgrade or not. If there are enough advances and I have the money to upgrade, I’ll be glad to pay again.
    One thing to consider is if FeedDemon will just straight-up stop working when your subscription expires, or if that will just prohibit you from upgrading. The subscription model suggests the second, which I don’t like at all. I do this for Napster now — yes, I subscribe to Napster. It’s not the best thing in the world, but I download several albums a month and make up the $9.95 easily. I suppose I would do the same with FeedDemon, but I don’t like that as much. I would rather pay a price (per month, per year, or per upgrade) and then if I have to/want to stop paying, I’ll just be stuck on the prior version.
    Well, lots to think about for you, I’m sure. Your software is A+, so keep up the great work. Just take in all of these opinions about how you charge for that A+ software before making your final decision.

  41. quote from critter42:
    “1) Disbelief – “you can’t be serious – they would never go to a subscription!”
    2) Anger – “Nick, how could you! I’ll NEVER have anything to do with this software again!
    3) Bargaining – “I’ll stay if you make the synchronization subscription but keep the feed-gathering stand alone”
    4) Depression – “I’m sad and unhappy that it’s going to be a subscription”
    5) Acceptance – “hey, we get two free years – this is gonna be OK””
    This is a reasonable psycological assessment of the situation – up to a point. It seems like you’re laying out these points toward acceptance of the subscription model, and it’s appearing that everyone will go through these same points. It might work for grief-based issues (and yes, FeedDemon changing to a subscription model looks like a situation which will create us much grief!) :) However, I don’t believe this assessment is quite accurate when it comes to having a choice to continue with the service. I have “Accepted” that a couple of my other services have gone subscription and haven’t kept up with upgrades, etc. and I’ve also “Accepted” that I can live without them. Which is different from “Accepting” and digging out of your pocket meekly every year for the rest of your life for subscription fees.

  42. I purchased FD a couple of months before the acquisition. These are the terms I agreed to:
    “We only charge for major version upgrades. In other words, there will be a small charge to upgrade from version 1.x to version 2.x, but minor upgrades (such as 1.0 to 1.10) will be free.”
    I did not intend for the software to be free for life. I did expect to own the version I purchased and have the option to upgrade if I desired. If I didn’t want to upgrade the software I purchased would still work – because I purchased it.
    Now you are saying that will not be the case and I have a problem with that. You had a reputation and I trusted that reputation. Newsgator needs to honor the agreement you made with your customers. New customers – subscription is okay. The option for subscription vs. paid updates is fair as well. But to force customers to rent a program they bought…sorry, it doesn’t fly with me.

  43. I am trialing FeedDemon and the more I use it the more I like it.
    If I buy the product now am I:-
    1. Better off than waiting for the subscription base service.
    2. After 2 years does it still function or magically stop working?
    Note I don’t like the idea of subscription based software however the advantage is one can easily jump ship after a year!

  44. I’ll echo what seems to be the most common thought: thanks for posting about this Nick. I’m glad to hear everybody is at least still discussing this internally :)
    In the time since my first comment I’ve done some thinking and read other posts here, and I’ve realised that I probably won’t want to subscribe forever. I work in the IT industry so there’s a very good chance I’ll use some of the newsgator service for many, many years to come, but while my need for that may drop away my need for a desktop client never will. If FD stops working when the subscription expires I imagine I will be really pissed off and the thought of that may just make me not subscribe at all.
    I haven’t seen this suggested – how about a nominal fee at the end of your subscription to keep using FD offline?

  45. Nick, I won’t write a long post here but I do want to provide you with feedback concerning FeedDemon and the subscription service. Personally, I am not keen at all on subscriptions. There isn’t a subscription service yet I would pay for. I bought FeedDemon because with RSS being so new, there just wasn’t enough quality readers around. I tried FeedDemon and was immediately sold on the product. I recommend it highly to others new to RSS. But, if future releases of FeedDemon won’t function because my NG subscription ran out than I’ll just drop it and search for another reader that will do what FeedDemon has been doing so far. You designed an absolute superb product, but I paid for the software once and do not feel like paying every year for subscription renewal. Plenty of sites now offer RSS feeds, and I don’t need to pay for them.

  46. Sorry, to be frank, I can’t see any appropriate reason for such kind of “subscription”.
    Nowadays, free desktop RSS aggregators are more and more and they are just as featrue rich as some comercial ones.
    What’s more, IE7 and almost all other browsers have integrated or will integrate this feature and they are all free.
    For the majority of users, they will be satisified with these products. SO your subscription model will bring you very few benefit.
    Furthermore, not like antivirus programs, RSS aggregators are not necessarily updated. I wonder what your point is in charging users every year.
    Finally I should say I am worried about the future of NewsGator as it lacks “profit pattern”. The subscription model can’t help you but harms your image.
    Please change your mind since it is crucial.

  47. It’s yours. It’s not rented

    FeedDemon recently got bought out by NewsGator. Old news, certainly in this fast-paced world of hourly RSS updates but NewsGator announced the other day that all their software products would be moving to a subscription model.
    This is a mistake, ma…

  48. Unfortunately, everyone above is right, as they have expressed their opinion!
    As owner of several licenses, I’m posting here not with any new information, but just to add one more voice. I don’t see why I would pay for FD subscriptions. Maybe if RSS content was critical to my life, a subscription would seem OK, but it isn’t. It’s interesting and useful, but not critical (to me).
    So I suppose a useful related question would be “Would I pay for FD updates?”. I think, “Yes”, since I don’t mind paying for improvements to software I use.
    As others have suggested or implied, creating a version 1.6 available only by subscription, even with a very generous 2 free years, is a bit of a slap in the face to existing customers, IMHO. Call it V2, or better yet, change its name. That’s how different I feel a subscription is from optional maintenance or optional updates.
    Thanks and cheers, wayne

  49. Tyme wrote:
    “I did not intend for the software to be free for life. I did expect to own the version I purchased and have the option to upgrade if I desired. If I didn’t want to upgrade the software I purchased would still work – because I purchased it.
    Now you are saying that will not be the case and I have a problem with that. You had a reputation and I trusted that reputation. Newsgator needs to honor the agreement you made with your customers. New customers – subscription is okay. The option for subscription vs. paid updates is fair as well. But to force customers to rent a program they bought…sorry, it doesn’t fly with me.”
    There are no plans to make v1.5 somehow not work once (if!) the model changes to subscription-based. What we all bought with v1.5 is exactly what was advertised. Now… if v1.6 changes to subscription, I’d suggest Nick rename it to 2.0 if he wants to keep his licensing promise! :-)

  50. Another voice added to the dissentors: I won’t support a subscription service for an application … for many of the reasons mentioned by others here.
    Even if I get the next two years free, I’d still dump FeedDemon now if a subscription-based payment was confirmed – I don’t want to come to rely on an application that is ultimately going to ‘hold me to ransom’. Slightly irritating given that I only paid for FD a few weeks ago.
    Also, it’s been suggested “take the free upgrades and when the subscription service kicks in you can always revert to 1.5”. C’mon, who is going to want / be able to lose two years worth of functionality?
    Basic premise: I pay for it, I own it, I use it.
    I also echo John C.’s sentiment that it’s disappointing to see TopStyle continuing to be pushed out of sight. I guess there should be no surprise in that given NewsGator’s business model. Nevertheless, disappointing for those of us who live with TS many *hours* a day, as opposed to minutes with FD.

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