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.