On second thought, that headline might not be entirely correct :)
As you can imagine, the comments to my last post have spawned a lot of conversations at NewsGator. I really don’t want to say yet what we’re going to do as a result (because we’re not sure yet), but please don’t think my lack of response is due to anything other than not wanting to open my mouth too soon.
Funny thing is, I actually do understand some of the negative reaction to ads (for proof, take a look at this cartoon I drew many years ago). I personally don’t find the ads in FeedDemon to be bothersome, but I do recognize that advertising has entered every corner of our lives, and sometimes it seems there’s no escaping it no matter how hard we try. For many of you, it’s not about how tasteful or targeted the ads are: it’s about not wanting to be sold to every minute of your lives. I get that.
The problem for us is that we find ourselves in an ugly economic climate that absolutely requires everyone to earn revenue wherever they can. Charging for our software again didn’t seem wise (imagine the reaction to that!), which led us to consider advertising as a possible revenue stream. I won’t claim to have been in love with the idea, but after considering the alternatives, and especially once I saw how the ads would look in FeedDemon, I felt better about it. Anyway, if you want a bit more detail on our thinking behind the ad-based version, check out this post on Jeff Nolan’s blog.
So…what I would like to know next is how you recommend we earn revenue from our software. Let’s just assume we offer an ad-free version for a small fee: would that alone be enough to pay the bills? I have serious doubts about that (that doesn’t mean we won’t do it, but it does mean we have to consider other approaches, too).
Look, I love the fact that there are still people who buy software – even just to get rid of the ads – but the ugly truth for developers is that these people are in the extreme minority. Today’s audience has been conditioned to expect software for free, and plenty of otherwise honest people have no qualms about piracy. Within days of releasing a paid ad-free version, it would be available on hundreds of warez sites and IRC channels.
Really, that’s a huge reason why we considered ads in the first place. Very few people are willing to pay for software anymore, so we had to look at other sources of revenue. Which is why I want to hear from you about anything we might be overlooking. If charging for software doesn’t work, and advertising in software bothers so many people, then what else can we do?