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Wednesday, July 06, 2005


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I think it all boils down to cost. I don't think I have a problem with paying a subscription as long as the service I get seems worth what I pay. Since I read RSS at work and home quite a lot and don't have a laptop, which means I have two different computers, having a service that keeps this all synchronised would be fantastic. This is something I would be willing to pay for.

To be frank my initial reaction is one of disappointment. Thanks to the generous 2 year free upgrade for current users of FeedDemon I have plenty of time to evaulate the service and look at alternatives that may come along. I really like FeedDemon so I'll give it a fair chance over the next couple of years.

I totally agree with Jeremy.. it's all about cost. I bought Feeddemon 1.5 year ago and that set my back 25 dollars.. a real bargain if you ask me.. and as long that the costs are nog more then say about 10 dollars a year I have no problem at all with paying for a subscription. When the costs do get more then that i'll switch to a free solution.. or the benefits and features that Feeddemon will offer would be unbeatable... like getting your feeddemon installations at home and at work to sync with eachother ;-) just a tip....

Roy, could you let me know why your initial reaction is one of disappointment? What is it about the subscription model that bothers you?

Working in IT web-services myself, I certainly understand the compelling business-drivers of the subscription model. Most likely, the biggest concern you will face is from users like myself (I JUST bought Feeddemon 2 weeks ago)that pose the question of... "ok, I just pre-paid my subscription (by virtue of buying/downloading the $26 software license), am I covered for the next year's worth of service?? How and when is the cut-off for pre-subscriber to be grand-fathered in? And how long are they covered.

My company faced the same issues and it typically boils down to:
- fair warning;
- timely, broad, and empathetic customer communication & transition plans;
- and adding features/service value that encourages customers to suscribe b/c they want the additional "new stuff" coming down the pike

Just some questions (grand-fathering) and thoughts from someone who went down the path that ultimately went well for the company and user-base.


In this case I think there is a distinction between the software and the service. Personally, I see the FeedDemon software as something I paid for and should be able to use as long as I want, since you aren't providing the feeds. The synchronization is the service and that I'm OK with paying for as long as the price is reasonable. If for some reason I decided I don't need the synchronization I should be able to continue to use the standalone software I paid for. I may not get updates or fixes, but the existing version shouldn't stop working.
Now of course if you want to consider the standalone software as part of the service, then that's a whole different story and that needs to be explained very clearly to people as that is not a typical experience for most users.
The problem with Greg's math is that not everyone upgrades every time a new version is available. If you only pay for every other upgrade then the costs change significantly.
All that being said, FD is a product I would pay for since it is a fabulous product and provides me with a lot of value.

Nick, I actually welcome the idea of a subscription based feed service.

I really would like to see the *basics* in FeedDemon though, such tree navigation of all feeds and an update all feeds every so often feature, rather than a group. These currently stop me from using FeedDemon. (Even just an 'update all groups or the selected group' option would do).

Once the basics are there, the subscription service would make it fantastic package. Looking forward to it very much.

Two years might look like a long time at first, but I don't like it if software stops working after some time. Will

What if FD 2 (or 3 or 4 etc) requires a new operating system, etc. Or if I don't want to spend more money, but would like to continue using an old version that works OK. For me to keep using subscription software, it has to be either rather cheap, or very useful and important.

This is not just about the right to access my own data (though that is important as well), but also the right to continue working with 'what I have' indefinitely. If Windows 98 had been subscription based, that old PC right next to my new one would be a useless lump of metal now.

Nick, you'll be happy to hear that the upcoming FeedDemon 1.6 will update feeds in inactive groups.

It's been well over a year since I bought FeedDeamon, so I may be wrong on this point, but I seem to recall that there was a promise of no-cost upgrades for life.

If this is the case, then for those of us who have already purchased FD, and expect no-cost upgrades, then isn't the two year "free" subscription going to work out more expensive in the long run?

Granted, we're not talking huge money here, but still...

I always feel in situations such as these (Company A being acquired by Company B), that existing customers of Company A should have AT LEAST as good terms under Company B as they did under Company A. I'm not convinced that that's the case here.

Peter is right on. For many people, the issue will be wrapping their mind around not being able to keep using "software" that they "bought".

While the company sees the issue as selling FeedDemon as a service, the average person will struggle with that concept because they are so used to the purchase/retail model. I've seen this struggle with people trying to figure out the subscription music services.

I think the feeling is that with this model, they're "throwing their money away" because after the subscription is up, they don't come away with anything, i.e. the software.

This is less an issue with NewsGator, and more with downloadable products like FeedDemon.

Steve, I have never promised free upgrades for life.

My concern about subscription based licencing is that whilst it helps ISVs figure out how much money is coming in over the next quarter it can make them lazy about fixing bugs and adding features. So, so long as FeedDemon is still actively developed, with point releases regularly put out (at least 1 point release per subscription period) then I have no issue with the change. I already have a support contract with Alias for Maya so the concept is not alien.

It would be nice if folks who've just bought FeedDemon got the first years sub for free.

I agree with Peter. I feel that FeedDemon should continue to work after your subscribtion expires. For me the subscription is basically like maintainence. If there are upgrades to the software you get them. It also entitles you to sync with the web-based services.

If I should choose to let that subscription lapse, I should still be able to keep FeedDemon around in it's current state. I would no longer be able to sync with NewsGator, and I would no longer be entitled to updates to the software, but if I was happy with it in it's current state, I should be able to continue using it.

Nick, I do not mind paying a subscription, and I probably will continue to do so after my two years. BUT, I am disappointed that you would take away the choice of the end user to simply use their software, especially us early adopters who bought a piece of software, NOT a subscription.

There are too many good free aggregators out there now, that forcing a subscription model might hurt FeedDemon in the long run.

I wouldn't mind seeing two choices. A fairly modest subscription cost that FeedDemon would expire if the subscription ended, and a more expensive "standalone" version that someone could buy for say $49 or $59 dollars...

It's all about choice, and to me, when my choices become limited, I tend to look elsewhere...

Take Care,

I hate subscription software. If I'm renting the software, then I'm constantly evaluating whether I'm getting my money's worth. "How many times did I use FeedDemon this month.", I'll say. I don't want to think about RSS software, but it will be unavoidable under this plan. Subscriptions create mental baggage that I don't want or need. By the way, I know this an irrational view, but you asked. :)

As someone who really needs synchronization, I would agree with Peter: subscription might expire, but the software should never stop working. That would be the ideal solution, IMHO. The stance that "you own the data anyway" is a step in the right direction, however.

I'm a casual user of RSS in general and only bought FeedDemon because of Nick's reputation and my experience with TopStyle. Previously I had a free package that was adequate for my needs.

I now feel desperately let down.

The cost benefit I saw seems to rely on having FeedDemon and some other NewsGator product. What if I have no use for that other product? Then the cost benefit doesn't work.

Equally, my experience of subscription services is that the subscription cost rapidly goes up... when that happens, what choice do I have? I can't continue to use the software that I've invested in for a number of years, so I just have to continue to pay or write off my investment.

I took a long time over deciding to buy FeedDemon and now feel that I've made a very bad decision.


I've got no issues with the subscription model, even though I have no plans to use the online or synchronization services. I'm a one-computer (laptop), FeedDemon user, and I'm happy to pay for someone (Nick) to keep that program updated, bug-fixed, etc.

My only concern about this is the details: How will we (old FeedDemon customers) get converted to a subscription? How do we get our business account?

IMHO, how those details are handled will help determine if this is, or is not, a successful transition.


Like Steve, I was a TopStyle customer that bought FeedDemon because of Nick's reputation and because it seemed like a decent piece of software.

I don't like the subscription model because I like to buy a piece of software, not rent it. I purchased FD because it was a cheap low-risk once-off application. As a new customer, I could put up with a small once-off, but would never accept a subscription model. Particularly not when there are plenty of free RSS aggregators around.

I think a aubscription model is asking for more trust from the customer. I trust Nick because of past experience. I wouldn't trust a company called NewsGator simply because of the "Gator" connection. (Even though the only connection is in the name)

The only subscription service I've signed up for is Digiguide - but I am paying for continually new data to be provided for me. FD does not supply any of the data it gives me, so in my mind a aubscription model does not make sense.

But I'm not a normal FD customer, in that I actually ended up using Opera 8 for my RSS needs because it's simpler and is integrated into an application I already use every day. For me, FD is just a bit overkill for my needs anyway. So, someone that uses it and gets the full benefit from it might well be a little more willing to accept this kind of thing.

Also, free upgrades for 2 years doesn't seem like a great deal. I'd rather received no new updates and have an application that isn't going to expire on me. (Which is what I'll do if this is introduced.)

As a side note, presumably changing to a subscription model will put more pressure on Nick to keep updating FD because it's important for it to continually evolve in order to keep the value for the existing customers. IE if you were forced into a subscription model you would expect to get a regular supply of updates as you are paying every month/year/whatever for the software alone.

So this makes me wonder if TopStyle is going to disappear even further into obscurity? It's been quite obvious recently that FD is updated all the time and by contrast it takes forever to progress through very minor TopStyle maintenance releases.

Sorry, Nick, but for me - probably someone in the minority - I am sad to see the introduction of this.

One other thing... if the new version of IE includes support for RSS out of the box, as it sounds like it will, is it not going to be even more difficult to persuade users to subscribe?

First, RSS support in Firefox and IE7 is totallly different than how products such as FeedDemon work. If you don't understand the difference, then FeedDemon isn't for you.

I personally have no problem with subscriptions. Three or four software packages I currently use are based upon the subscription model and in the real world, there is no difference as far as I can tell.

Nick, can we expect FeedDemon 1.5 to be outside the subscription model? Seems like everyone who isn't happy with the subsciption can just keep using FD 1.5, right?

First, RSS support in Firefox and IE7 is totallly different than how products such as FeedDemon work. If you don't understand the difference, then FeedDemon isn't for you.

I personally have no problem with subscriptions. Three or four software packages I currently use are based upon the subscription model and in the real world, there is no difference as far as I can tell.

Nick, can we expect FeedDemon 1.5 to be outside the subscription model? Seems like everyone who isn't happy with the subsciption can just keep using FD 1.5, right?

I, for one, am quite happy with subscription models, if it means I can expect regular updates to software. I like to be on the bleeding edge and if a subscription means I get to see the software continually evolve, I'm all for it.

At such time as you stop improving FeedDemon, though, I personally would hope it would return to a shrink-wrap pricing model.

The way I see it: you buy software "as is". The vendor has the right to change the licensing at any time, as long as I can keep using the existing versions of the software I paid for. No problem here.

That said, I think most people are not yet comfortable with subscription-based licensing for client software. Mainly because they see a program as a "product" and not so much as a "service". It's much easier to sell a web-based application as a "service", because someone has to keep everything running.

Also, I was kind of surprised that one of the reasons to sell FeedDemon was to use the server-based NewsGator solution as a central repository for your feed data. You can store your cache folder on a removable USB drive and so avoid duplication between multiple computers, can't you?

James, you may be right. I guess IE7 will push RSS into the public and for many people it will give them everything they need. But then those people wouldn't be buying FD anyway.

Well, it slightly depends how IE7 handles it, but I guess you're right.

I knew this newsgator thing was bad. I guess its time to find a new RSS feedreader. Goodbye FeedDemon.

I hope they dont screw up and kill topstyle. But I have a feeling it will dye a slow death just as Homesite did.

Rob, could you please explain your reasoning here? Why do you think this is a bad thing?

So let me get this right.

Feeddemon is no longer a stand alone software application. Its Rentware.

I pay for the right to use it and when I stop paying I can no longer use the software. Right? But the data is mine.

Oh well. I guess its time to look for another RSS Application.

I agree with Peter (at July 6, 2005 09:56 AM). I like FD a lot. That being said, I don't want my purchased version of Software to stop working because of the subscription model that is being "plugged" into it. I think there needs to be a clear marker of when FD becomes stand-alone software versus subscription based. To me it would make sense to offer the subscription as an add-on service to FD, that way the products and subscription are separate revenue streams, while preserving the existing FD revenue stream. I for one, probably wouldn't pay for the subscription service unless it's very reasonable ($5-$10 / year). The synchronization is nice, but it's a feature, not a "deal-maker". For those of us that use FD, I think if we are forced to use the sync service, then we are looking at a "deal-breaker".

I reluctantly add my voice to those of the "disenchanted"--I say "reluctantly" because of my respect for Nick's talents and because of my longstanding use of both TopStyle and FeedDemon.

Like others, I have no need for (hence no interest in) Newsgators' other products/services. Perhaps I'm less common in my usage needs, but I really obtained approval to acquire FeedDemon for very specific purposes, and the standalone software has done just what I needed it to...I know others will benefit from the extra services, but I use FD only at work, and so have no use for the added features/services due to the nature of my job.

My employer (government) buys less and less software each year; to my knowledge, it has never purchased software subscriptions. I may inquire if this is possible (since I'd like to continue using FD for work research), but this sector is one where exceptions to the rule are, if not frowned upon, then certainly not encouraged. And the public sector does not like when any product it "purchases" ceases to function (for any reason)...and logical reasoning backed up by technical understanding will not change this--I as a user understand how this works, but those who sign the checks so that I might use this software don't, and won't in the future either. It should also be noted that as an employee, I am not allowed to purchase the software/subscription myself and then install it on my employer's computer.

Soooo: not all your customers have the individual power to say, "sure I'll buy a subscription"--if I'm not personally signing the check, then I'm not in control of whether or not I can use the software (if it's sold only as a "service"), but if I can convince my employer of the value of a standalone piece of software, then at least I've got a chance to use your product (which brings business, albeit indirectly, your way).

And like John Carpenter, I worry even more after seeing this that the future of TopStyle is less secure than it seemed to me as "Bradbury Software's TopStyle"...don't mean to be negative, I just don't see how work on TopStyle can go forward if the pressure of satisfying FeedDemon subscribers is ratcheted up due to this business model...hope I'm wrong, I really do (sigh)

I wish Nick and Newsgator the best--but I'm just not sure this business model matches my needs and my employer's rules of operation.

I'm glad that Nick and Greg will give 2 years of free trial of upcoming services. The subscription fee is fair enough, especially with stuffs that come with it. I hope that I could pay subscription to have my feed stored permanently. Once I stop paying, FD will still work as the current version, still able to access old data - I just can't add new data. Currently, storing feed data permanently and accessible anytime anywhere is my biggest concern, and I don't mind to pay to get it solved.

I have no problem with this decision.

I've been using Newsgator with FeedDemon for a while; I use the product both at home and at work, and its very handy to have the sync services the partnership offers.

Anyone that's already registered FeedDemon will get two years worth of Newsgator subscription. If you're going to go in search of another product, simply because you disagree with a decision that isn't going to affect you for two years, then don't the let door hit you on the way out.

If you haven't already registered FeedDemon, then imho, your opinion doesn't count. Its that simple.

By the looks of it, the Newsgator sub that gives you FeedDemon will cost very little. I value FeedDemon enough to pay an ongoing subscription for it - Nicks work both in developing and supporting FeedDemon is second to none. Considering the health problems he's had, I think the guy is a marvel.

Newsgator didn't have to offer any of us the two year sub. If they hadn't, we might have a valid case to moan. As it is, I find some of the comments posted here very disheartening.

I'm a software developer myself and I've struggled with subscription vs. a one-time fee quite often. Personally it comes down to what the word "subscription" means to me. A subscription is something in which I recieve new content on a periodic-basis or am renting/using/consuming an asset that I do not own directly. Think magazines and off-site storage.

FeedDemon doesn't actually produce any new periodic content except upgrades and bug-fixes, which I would be willing to pay for. If I do not need sync functionaltiy or do not need/want new versions of FD then I feel like I'm being coercied. It's as if I want the June issue of Wired but to get that I have to get a subscription.

I strongly agree with those that there should be a one-time fee that gets you a non-sync version FD plus 6 months of upgrades/bug-fixes OR you can purchase the subscription-based FD that has sync capabilities plus a years-worth of upgrades/bug-fixes.

Even the stand-alone, one-time fee FD should have a buffer of free upgrades because if I buy a TV from SoundTrack and it goes on sale a month later I can just go haggle with them or if they are really being idiots I'll actually return the item and then re-buy it at the new price... which I've done before.

I'm an old guy and probably have a different and useless perspective, since I'm not in the demographic wanted by anything - tv, employers, software etc. etc.

Anyway, at one time I kept a folder of all of the failed and unsupported shareware I used to buy, but the folder began to tip the file cabinet and I threw it out. My favorite, was a thank you note from an author thanking me for the payment and telling me he was no longer developing it due to the small number of registrations - he did manage to dry his eyes long enough to get to the bank and cash my check, though!

I find most software - immature, technically, totally under supported and functionally deficient. Upgrades are nearly always late - if they are ever issued and promised functionality is deficient. Authors seem to never take responsibility for bugs - everyone seems to have adopted the MS and Intuit approach of fervently pretending that their stuff works.

The subscription model puts even less pressure to improve and make a new version enticing for upgraders.

I know it's the love child of the bean counters as they strive for "multiple revenue streams" and push to constantly add more and more intrusive ways to sell more products and services. I'm too darn old to accept that this is just "capitalism" at work!

I'll probably move elsewhere, however sometimes I'm compelled to stay with software that has a model or licensing scheme I abhor until something else comes along - and it always does. Then I have the hassle of stopping the seemingly inevitable failure to stop nicking the CC.

Say it ain't so! There are so many other rss readers to choose from. I usually do not purchase software when there are others that are free but I really was impressed with the speed of feeddemon. But the ability to purchase once and get free updates is why I purchased it. I will not be moving to a subsciption based. Time to move on...

Personally I like the subscription model and my only real problem with it was the same as you. When/if I decided to discontinue my subscription I want to make sure that I can export all of my data (eeds, watches, newsbins) to standard format (opml?) and import into my new client.

The way FD works now makes it easy to do this however in the future I would love to see you move to a database rather than lots of individual files. If you do this (and I REALLY hope you do) I would be a little worried if I couldn't get my data out of the database again.

However I trust you. I trust you to do the right thing for you customers. I think that a subsription service is the best thing for FD now that it is a NewsGator product as the reason a user would use NewsGator is so they can access their feeds anywhere and whatever they do is seen everywhere (being it the web server, FD or Outlook plugin).

One question I have though is how will FD work in a subscription system? Will it require internet access every N days? What happens when the subscription ends? Will it no longer load or will it just not update any feeds?

Also, and you knew this was coming, what about a FeedDemon sans NewsGator support that is sold as a stand alone client? Basically FD as it is now but with the NewsGator/Bloglines Syncronized Channel Group feature?

Subscription might be ok for FD, though my general feelings are against subscription-based software.

For me, that's because with non-sub, I can decide if and when I want to upgrade to a new version, and don't have to pay additional to keep using the one I've already 'bought.' Subscription-based would force me to pay again (hate that word ;-) just to keep using the software.

If you move to subscription-based, I'd hope the cost is comparably-divided out, ie, subscr-price is less/year so we aren't effectively rebuying the s/w each year or two. (similar to how you'd compare the rate of leased equipment - how long do you lease at rate X to equal normal purchase cost)

Longer-term subscriptions might get a price break too to reward loyalty.

Also (sorry just thought of this!) I think anyone who says "goodbye FeedDemon" and "its time to fine another rss reader" are jumping the gun a bit!

Firstly you have 2 years before you need to even think about looking for another client. If you ditch FD now you will be wasting your money. Wait for the subscription system to come out and give it a try. You might find that you cannot live without it and $20 a year is fine with you. If you find it isn't for then you can tell NewsGator why you don't. As I said I trust Nick and I am sure that if there is a big problem with their subscription model they will address it. Nick has always listened to his customers and I do not believe he will stop. I am sure one of the reason NewsGator wanted Nick was because he listens to his users and gives them what they want.

By all means air your views on why you don't like subscription models of other companies so that the NewsGator model is as good as it can be. Don't write it off before it is available though, you have nothing to lose by waiting to try it out do you?

Jeff: I know exactly how you feel and I am sure Nick does aswell. The way I am looking at this is that I am not paying for a license to the software I am paying for the NewsGator service and FD happens to be a tool within that service which allows me to access the service in a different way (as is the Outlook plugin).

For want of a better word, FeedDemon, as an independant client, is dead. It has merged with other clients to become a service tool.

While I do not have any problems with the subscription model (at least from what Nick has said about it) I would *love* to see a seperate client without the NewsGator support sold as an independant client. Perhaps even keeping the name FeedDemon and giving the subscription client a new name?

There's an interesting theme running through many of these messages--- people (myself included) generally hate subscription services, but Nick's a good guy so we're willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. If Microsoft had purchased Bradbury Software and announced a non-voluntary subscription model, people would be fleeing like rats from a burning ship...

It's too bad that there can't be a bug-fix 1.6 standalone release that fixes the outstanding issues from the earlier version. That way, users don't feel railroaded into a new subscription just to get working functionality they thought they originally purchased. I realize this probably isn't feasible, NewsGator is probably chomping at the bit to get a new integrated release out, and all in all, the money amounts are small enough that Nick's reputation will probably be good enough to avoid any major issues.

Two years is a long time, though, and there will be LOTS of changes on the RSS scene with major company support and the like, so while Nick's reputation won't drive users away from the new subscription model, it's still quite possible that cool new non-subscription software might be available by then (integrated into the OS? who knows) which makes the subscription a pretty tough sell for those who don't need the online features like synchronization.

Just my $0.02... hope it helps. And of course, given that I'm running FD in a $300 Vmware sandbox (on Linux), it's a pretty foregone conclusion that I'd be upgrading for life anyway, so it's not a big deal to me either way...

PS: Thanks, Nick, for discussing this publicly and giving us a chance to bring up issues ahead of time, etc. Wonder if NewsGator realized your reputation is the biggest asset they acquired?

--- The following is a personal comment neither reviewed or endorsed by my employer - NewsGator. ---

I think Morgan hits the nail square on the head. For current FD users, the switch to subscription costs nothing for two years.

Nada. Zip. Zilch.

It's even better than the 30 day money back guarantee that Nick has always offered.

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. Or you can look around for something else at that point.

But the next two years are free sailing. Why not give it a go? I bet at least a few people who say, today, they don't need synching, may be singing a different tune in a year. Not to mention all the other whizbang stuff that will be available - gratis - during the free subscription.

Who can afford _not_ to give it a try?

FD is great software but I will be disappointed if it stops working simply because I choose not to take-up the subscription. Some of the other posts have suggested that this may happen. Not too keen on subscription because I will not be using some of the new features, eg synchronisation, that is, presumably, what the subscription will be partly paying for. Generally I prefer to pay a one-off fee for each version of any software which gives me the choice whether to stay with an old version - or upgrade. However, I will use FD for the two years and then decide if I think the subscription costs are worth it.

Please understand - I don't know NewsGator or the people owning it.

I have, however, been on the aquiree end of several transaction and had people trust me, also. Unfortunately, I was rendered totally impotent by "them that has the gold....." and my best intentions were rendered worthless to those that had placed trust in me. It hurt.....

Something to ponder......

Jack makes a good point about sticking with it for the next two years.

However, I think it makes more sense to pay for another product now and support and encourage it's development now than start looking around in two years time. It makes no sense to try to go back to a two year old product when the subscription runs out.

I bought FeedDemon less than 1 month ago and feel I have just lost the cash I forked out. The least I expected ws updates and bug fixes for the rest of the year.

It's even worse when I see the new features in version 1.6, as these are the features I was expecting to get sometime this year for free. I now know that, unless I want to tie myself to NewsGator and a product that will effectively stop working in two years time, I'm not going to get my new features.

I may not be the best datapoint since I've switched to OS X and now don't actively use my copy of FeedDemon anymore and therefore won't be affected by the pricing model changes, but:

If FeedDemon had been sold using a subscription service a year or two ago, I would not have bought it.

I agree with the earlier commenters who say they don't like the idea of renting a product here -- I don't care at all about NewsGator and all of its server features, so a subscription buys me absolutely nothing. I just want a program I can run on my laptop to keep track of RSS feeds, none of which are managed in any way by NewsGator.

Sure, paying for upgrades every now and then is kind of like a subscription, but I always have the option of saying "you know what? the new version isn't worth what he's asking. I'll stick with what I have". With a subscription, I don't really have that option.

So yeah -- definitely not interested in subscription-ware. It's easier for the publisher and you can throw together hypothetical calculations showing that sometimes it's cheaper for the customer, but I don't really see a benefit for users here.

I will go out of my way to avoid software that requires a subscription. I want to be in the driver's seat -- I want to decide when to upgrade, and not have that decision forced on me.

I've been using FeedDemon for less than a year, and I have been pleased with it, but I will start searching for another product if I am required to subscribe.

The key issue for existing users, as I see it:

"As someone who really needs synchronization, I would agree with Peter: subscription might expire, but the software should never stop working."

Pricing-model thoughts:

The functionality of READING FEEDS, by itself, I don't think lends well to a subscription-based model. There is no "service" on the provider side being rendered.

BUT, the functionality of SYNCHRONIZATION, DOES lend itself well to a subscription-based model (at least as it must be implemented currently; i.e. centralized / server-based), because service IS being rendered.

In my mind, these are actually two different value-creation points. Unlike, say, Keyhole, where the service and the software are intertwined (the software is fully dependent on the service).

Business-wise, it seems to me this model serves as a strong disincentive to prospective users NOT needing / wanting syncronization.

...and, lastly, as I understand the proposed model (having only skimmed all the comments here), I think Jack Brewster is wrong; it will cost your existing users the situation of having a guaranteed-not-working piece of software after two years of use, once they've made the choice to upgrade. That's a cost that only happens if they come along for this update. It's also a very real cost -- it's not just some arbitrary non-issue because ~730 days stand between then and now.

Bottom line: I think I'd separate the two, and possibly lower the price of the software so that what one used to pay for just FD license, is now FD license + 1 year subscription (or, perhaps better marketing-wise, same price for FD license but include a "free" "try-it-out" service subscription for the first year).

Well, you certainly predicted the firestorm. :)

FeedDemon is the best RSS reader I've tried (and I've looked at several). I refer people to it all the time. It's one of the few "shareware/trialware" products I've bought in the last 2 or 3 years. I love it.

However, I think I probably fall in the camp of not wanting a subscription based product. RSS is rapidly gaining popularity and becoming more and more mainstream (witness Yahoo, Firefox and IE7, et al). There is a glut of new aggregators with many of the features that makes FeedDemon so good. How long will it take before someone writes something that is almost as good as FeedDemon for cheap (or for free)?

FWIW, I would offer a thought or two:

1) If you want to have a recurring revenue stream, sell the SYNCH SERVICE and not the software. I know the support forums are full of comments asking for the ability to synch, but as you are now aware, there are many of us who will do without it.

2) Perhaps you can sell a "Standalone" FeedDemon and a "Network" FeedDemon.

Nick, you're a great guy. I'm glad you were able to make some money on this. I hope you are able to make this difficult change palatable for everyone.

Jeez, Cass...steal my thunder. :) Well put.

I agree with Mike - I like the idea of a standalone aggregator.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.


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

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

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.

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.)


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!

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 :-}


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 :)

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?


I have purchased a lot of software that uses the subscription model from 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.

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.

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

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.

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,

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! :)

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.

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


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.

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.


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.

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).

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...

Zaine Ridling said:


The best question of the whole post :).

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.

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.


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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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?

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.

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.

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

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! :-)

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.

Scott - it would still be breaking the promise. There is supposed to be a small charge for updates and then mini-updates free. Unless I have the wrong perception, if I upgrade to the next version (whether it is free or not) the terms have changed from a small charge to a subscription - meaning the software will not work when the subscription ends.

I thought the deal was to upgrade my software not change it into a completely rented software.

See the key point is: for those that offer subscription software customers don't buy it first. They subscribe to it from the beginning and it's clear they never really own it.

As a business move I think it's kind of irresponsible for this not to have been worked out before the merger. Thankfully its not a lot of money involved but it's the principle of the thing.

Basic premise: I pay for it, I own it, I use it.

Not quite so. Every pay for software out there states on their fine print that what you've paid for is the right to use it. Right that can be withdrawn by the software maker. In other words, you are leasing the software. Granted, it is a lease that can be for live...

If upcoming subscription model will work like other similar programs, such as Stardock, Kerio, etc, where you keep the program after your subscription runs out, minus upgrades to latest and greates and you can resubscribe later, if you think upgrade worth the money, then I'm looking forward to new FD.

If you absolutely must have NewGator account to run FD and it's locked down to it, then there're always will be alternatives.

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