Why I Decided to Charge for FeedDemon Again

By now, FeedDemon 4.0 is in the hands of thousands of customers, many of whom are disappointed to discover that it's no longer free (well, there is a free ad-supported version, but the full feature set is only available in the for-pay Pro version).

Explaining how this came to be requires some history, so bear with me here…

When FeedDemon became free back in 2008, I was still working for NewsGator, and the goal was to promote the NewsGator brand (especially the enterprise products) by getting consumer products like FeedDemon into the hands of as many people as possible.  I was among those who thought this was a good idea, and I'm sure it helped spread NewsGator's name.

But a year later it was decided that we still needed to generate revenue from FeedDemon, so we inserted non-intrusive ads which we hoped would earn a few dollars without pissing too many people off.  But of course, it did piss people off, especially those who purchased FeedDemon before it became free and were now faced with advertising (which is generally accepted on the web but not in desktop software).

Much to our surprise, there were also people who said they'd pay to get rid of the ads.  We hadn't planned for that, but it's hard to ignore customers demanding that they be able to pay you, so we scrambled to come out with a version that enabled purchasing a serial number to get rid of the ads.

Then just over a year ago, I was let go from NewsGator.  For the record, it was the right decision, and there are absolutely no bad feelings between myself and NewsGator.  They treated me very well while I was there, and I'm still friends with my co-workers.

But that left me in a tight spot: I had to pay the bills with whatever money FeedDemon generated, and as popular as FeedDemon is, it's not popular enough to bring in enough cash through ads alone.  And very few people were paying just to get rid of the ads (can you blame them?).

For a year I kept FeedDemon free, and I started work on FeedDemon 4.0 in the hopes I could find a way to keep it free yet still pay the bills.  But eventually it was clear that the only way to keep FeedDemon (and myself) going was to start charging for it again, and I figured the best way to do that was to come out with a free ad-supported Lite version with fewer features, along with a for-pay Pro version that had all the features and no ads.  That way there would still be a free version, which I knew had to exist, while at the same time there would be a way I could charge for a more feature-rich version.

Of course, I realize many of you aren't happy about this, and it's not just because you expect everything for free – more likely you're tired of the constant shift in FeedDemon's business model (believe me, I'm tired of it, too!).  I really am sorry for all the changes.  Honestly, in retrospect making FeedDemon free wasn't a great idea.  It would've been far better to have a free Lite version and a for-pay Pro version from the start and to have stuck with that model.

Given all these changes, I'm flattered that so many of you have stuck with FeedDemon over the years, and I thank you for it.  Despite the naysayers, I continue to believe that RSS has a bright future, and I plan to keep working on FeedDemon for a long time to come.

58 thoughts on “Why I Decided to Charge for FeedDemon Again

  1. Well. Its debatable whether Windows XP is all that different from Win2k or Win7 is much more than Vista with a little eye candy, but I have to say that the upgrade to FeedDemon 4.0 might be completely imperceptable to those of us who have no use for the Stream. Not complaining. Just saying. :)

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  2. Nick,
    I do agree that FeedDemon has been my number 1 news reader for the past 2 years. Had the 3.x version which the company bought and almost bought my own copy when the consumer verison was released.
    I have also been actively been involved in the Beta Group
    I don’t see any way of paying $20 for a news reader, even though I will miss the twitter integration a lot
    Wish this product as more affordable, I do wish you the very best

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  3. Hey, Nick: Good luck with the new release! I’ve moved to a Mac, so I’m a customer’s of Brent’s now, but if ever a PC comes back into my life, FeedDemon will be my first purchase. BTW, your shared items are a daily read for me. -Craig

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  4. Hello Nick,
    Your software is great. I use it since 2005.
    In 2005 i’ve paid fort it. And I think it s fair to pay for a software. But today my old serial number of 2005 isn’t recognised as an available one…
    Do you think it’s normal I am charged twice ?
    Frederic

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  5. @Frederic
    If you purchased Office 97 in 1999, you were required to purchase an upgrade if you wanted to use Office 2000. If you purchased Office 2000, you were required to purchase an upgrade if you wanted to use Office 2003. And so on.
    You purchased FeedDemon FIVE years ago – do you really think it’s fair to Nick to give you almost an entirely new application for free? Do you not see the cognitive dissonance here?
    “Do you think it’s normal I am charged twice”
    a better question is:
    “Do you think it’s normal to buy an old version of a piece of software five years ago and expect to keep using new and greatly improved versions for free for life?”

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  6. Bought every version so far that it’s been possible to buy. Delayed upgrading to 4.0 until I upgraded PC; so that means I ended up paying full price rather than the upgrade from 3.0 price. Do I care? No! $19.99 a great price for such a simple, easy to use piece of software. More of the same please!

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  7. So I just updated from the Beta version to find out that the feature I suggested and helped test (scoped folder watches) which I got the impression was viewed as not widely useful, is now a pro only feature. This is kinda annoying.

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