FREE Demon? Yes, FeedDemon is Now Free!

That’s right, FeedDemon is now free.  As in, you don’t have to pay for it anymore.  Just download it and use it free of charge.

And we’re also making NetNewsWire, NewsGator Inbox and NewsGator Go free.  In other words, all of NewsGator’s consumer RSS readers are free.

If you don’t care about the details, you can stop reading now and simply download the new FeedDemon 2.6 (for free, of course). If you’re using a previous version of FeedDemon, you should install v2.6 directly on top of it.

OK, if you’re still reading this, chances are you have a bunch of questions.  We have a FAQ on our site which should answer most of them, but there’s one question I’d like to address here:

"Is this some sneaky ploy to stop development of FeedDemon and your other consumer products?"

Good lord, no.  I realize that some companies have made their software free as a first step towards dumping it entirely, but that’s not the case here.  If it was, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post – I’d be bitching at the top of my lungs in some bar somewhere.

This is a major investment on our part.  If anything, the pace of development will only get faster.  NewsGator CTO Greg Reinacker goes into this further, but basically, there are two reasons we’re doing this crazy thing.

1. It’s the Enterprise, Stupid

I joined NewsGator back in 2005 because I believed in their strategy.  It was clear to me that NewsGator wasn’t just another startup hoping to be acquired before they burned through their angel money.  And a big part of that strategy involved going after the enterprise market.

That strategy has paid off – our products for businesses are making great strides into the enterprise, and we’re increasingly selling our services to large companies.  Getting our name known in the enterprise is among our primary goals, and making our consumer products free is a great way to accomplish that goal.

2. Your Attention is Valuable

When I first blogged about "attention" back in 2004, the idea that your attention data – that is, information about what you’re paying attention to – is valuable seemed strange to a lot of folks.

It doesn’t seem like such a strange idea these days, though.  Since then we’ve seen a number of companies – including Google – place great value in what people are paying attention to.  In return for your attention data, they give you free stuff.  As long as you don’t have to give up your privacy, it’s a pretty good deal for both sides. 

In some ways that’s what we’re doing.  We believe that information about what people are reading, emailing, clipping, etc., is valuable enough that we’re willing to trade our consumer RSS readers for it.  And the more users we have, the better able we are to calculate relevance and importance.

PS: Your Privacy is Valuable, Too

I want to emphasize that we’re not about to use the fact that our software is free as an excuse to violate anyone’s privacy.  I wish that could go without saying, but violations of privacy involving customer data have made headlines this year, so I know this is a sensitive topic.  It’s also a topic I care deeply about, as a quick search of this blog for previous posts about privacy or attention should illustrate.

Simply put, we believe we can greatly improve our products – both consumer and enterprise – by surfacing the content that people are paying attention to, and by making recommendations based on what you’ve read in the past.  Aggregate or anonymous data is the only data we’ll ever share in order to accomplish that.

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49 thoughts on “FREE Demon? Yes, FeedDemon is Now Free!

  1. Despite being a customer who had no problem with will to pay for such an excellent product like FeedDemon, I still feel that this is a fantastic move on Newsgator’s part, I will now have less trouble convincing people of the benefits of Newsgator!
    Thanks as always for your continued hard-word Nick!

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  2. “As in, you don’t have to pay for it anymore”.
    So, like, are you going to send my $30 back or somethin’?

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  3. This is huge! People used to say – FeedDemon is the best COMMERCIAL feed reader. Now they could only say – FeedDemon is THE BEST feed reader. Keep up the good work!

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  4. This ROCKS! You guys are my hero’s… :)
    FeedDemon has been my Favorite Reader for a while now.
    Thank you for continuing to improve it (I’m upgrading from 2.5 to 2.6 now) and for its “release from bondage” ;)
    Have I said you guys rock?
    Take care,
    Greg

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  5. I’ve always recommended FeedDemon to others if they were willing to pay for an RSS reader (as I was), and GreatNews if they weren’t. Now I can recommend FeedDemon to everyone. This makes me very happy (although I kind of feel sorry for the GreatNews folks, because I liked their product *almost* as much).

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  6. Just Amazing !!
    I cant belive it !!!
    Free ???? Downloding right Now !!!!!
    Thanks !!! A thousand of Thanks !!!

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  7. Hi Nick,
    First off, FeedDemon is one of my favourite apps (just below Homesite) for keeping me productive. The thought and effort put into the user interface, features and updates make it something special. I have (and always will) recommend it to everyone that asks for the best rss reader. While I understand the reasons behind making it free, something inside me was slightly dismayed. I cant really explain it, its like our exclusive club is now open to everyone ha ha
    My first thought when I read the post was that we would see Ads being introduced into the app! As always though, your initial preparations and thought regarding the faqs soon put that thought to rest!
    Thanks again and I look forward to seeing FeedDemon progress further!
    Dan.

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  8. I’ve no objection to anyone relinquishing their privacy in exchange for free software if that is their choice. Newsgator have not given me that choice! They took my money (on the 8th December!) and now tell me I can opt out of relinquishing my privacy but under threat of withdrawing a service I have paid for:
    “If users do not wish to participate, each client has a mechanism to disable the data collection and reporting. Some features, like synchronization, may no longer be available in this case.”
    And these are people I should trust? Well, I have just desynchronised my feeds from my premium account and will stick with FeedDemon 2.5 until I can find an alternative. I doubt that I will find an application anywhere near as good as FeedDemon but I am not going to be blackmailed into participating in this scheme. Surely it would have been sensible to retain the premium account option and allow those customers to ‘opt out’ without loosing any facilities?

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  9. Cool! I loved FeedDemon, and as I switched to Mac I’m using NewsNetWire. All the best to Newsgator for this courageous choice!
    I was always happy to support your software.

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  10. @Chris: we’re not asking you to give up your privacy, and you don’t have to disable synchronization. Each feed has a “Collect attention data” checkbox in its properties – just uncheck that to opt-out.

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  11. Great timing Nick, my initial subscription was about to run out :-p
    It’s been an absolute pleasure dealing with you since the early beta days of FeedDemon (coming up on on 5 years now? sigh – they grow up so fast, don’t they? ;-p ). I would have no problems renewing, and the fact that you got us early adopters 2 free years in the first place was awesome, but this is even it better!
    Keep up the incredible job Nick, FeedDemon continues to be my favorite program.

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  12. Nick, you wrote “@Chris: we’re not asking you to give up your privacy, and you don’t have to disable synchronization. Each feed has a “Collect attention data” checkbox in its properties – just uncheck that to opt-out.”
    I’m more than happy to buy in to that but it doesn’t quite gel with the Newsgator FAQ statement which I repeat:
    “If users do not wish to participate, each client has a mechanism to disable the data collection and reporting. Some features, like synchronization, may no longer be available in this case.”
    So “opt out” equals *possibly* no syncronization and potentially minus other unspecified features. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely appreciate application design that is heads above the competition as is FeedDemon. I just don’t like being taken for a ride. Suffice to say I would have been happy, well willing, to pay twice the premium account subscription, maybe slightly more, but no-one ever asked me.

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  13. Hmm, is it really still only available for Windows? :-(
    Any plans on releasing it for OS X? (And possibly for BSD/Linux as well?)
    Cheers,
    Robert

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  14. Wicked!
    Nice move!
    Now, I’ve got my list of subscriptions in FeedDemon, how do I get it over to NewsGator Online? Do I have to File > Export, then upload the file? Or does it all automatically go over there (NewsGator Online) if you login and tell feedDeom your username and password?

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  15. Thanks Nick, I’ve got it working now :)
    I had to edit the locations. Under “NewsGator Web Edition” I clicked feeds, saw all the feeds there, checked all, and synced them all up.
    Now it all works beautifully. Thanks a lot for such as useful product!

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  16. FeedDemon is good, but I will not be upgrading.
    To all users considering downloading the free version: Do you really want big brother tracking which feeds you’re reading?

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  17. Thanks for making this fantastic product free. Earlier I used google reader. I don’t care about big brother or father reading my feeds. Since, there’s no guarantee whether google read or not. Also, what difference it makes, i’m only reading the general feeds readily available for anyone. Only ones reading their mails via RSS and taboo stuffs ;) should be worried.

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  18. LOL! I figured it out–I _thought_ I had a NewsGator account, so I tried signing in with what I _would_ have used as a username/password. That just hung.
    Finally, I went to the “Lost password” link, put in my email address–and it told me that I didn’t have an account. I went to create a new account, and now I can log in just fine.
    That’s … a really frustrating bug. :-)

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  19. I’m terribly sorry, but I have a bad feeling about this. I am a paying customer of Feeddemon and I want to know if FeedDemon 2.5.0.10 is giving “attention data” to Big Brother for Big Brother to sell. I don’t believe in anonymous data. If we have an anonymous person X who’s favourite colour is red then this already excludes billions of persons who’s favourite colour is not red. The more additional data we know about this person X the more additional persons are excluded. We don’t need that much data about person X to come to a point that only one person on earth can possibly be person X. Soo long anonymity. So my question is, what should I do if I don’t want my “attention data” being stored in a database? Stick with FeedDemon 2.5.0.10? Not use NewsGator synch? Deinstall ?

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  20. @ConcernedCustomer: “We don’t need that much data about person X to come to a point that only one person on earth can possibly be person X.”
    Yeah, I think we learned that lesson _in practice_ with the “anonymized” AOL Search data leak. It’s not “in theory, we could lose anonymity” but “it’s been proven that anonymity is a farce.”
    Even if the data is distributed “in aggregate” there will be cases where the count in aggregate equals 1, which becomes uniquely identifying data.

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  21. @Dossy: yes, I reproduced the login bug, and I let our online team know about it. They’re looking into it now.
    The FeedDemon crash you reported looks odd. FeedDemon isn’t a Visual C++ program, yet your screenshot show a “Visual C++ Runtime Library” error dialog. Rather than work it our here in my blog comments, though, could I ask you post a bug report in our support forums at http://forum.newsgator.com/Forum14-1.aspx ?

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  22. @ConcernedCustomer: each feed has a “collect attention data” checkbox in its properties – just uncheck that for any feed you don’t want usage tracked for.
    I should add, though, that all we want to do is track what people are reading, which is the same thing that countless web-based apps have been doing for quite some time. Our goal isn’t to mine data for big brother, but instead to use this attention data to provide new, more powerful features. That’s all.

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  23. What can I say? Even if it wasn’t free, I would still be using FeedDemon. I purchased my copy a long time ago after searching the web for the best product. FeedDemon was my choice after searching, testing and reading many RSS programs. All I can say is that I wish your company success in the coming years and no good deed goes unanswered.
    Best Regards!
    Jim

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  24. Nick,
    No concern here and keep up the GREAT work. I agree with your statement “countless web-based apps have been doing for quite some time”. I am not upset that I once had to pay for the application. Nick, just remember you can’t keep everyone happy and those with tin foil hats on will always complain. I could care less that you track the sites I read. As long as you are not collecting personal information, I am find with it. I look forward seeing what the future brings with your application and keep giving us the best software around.
    I find it unreal that a company has taken a bold approach and turned a paid application into a free one and people complain. You could have done what others have done and discontinued the software and then everyone would be out of luck.
    Once again best wishes in the future!
    Jim

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