9 Comments

  • DLC

    The developer has clearly stated he needed to make this change in order to keep making money – the ad revenue was not enough to keep food on his table.

    He has given a thorough explanation for the changes and acknowledgement that the pro/lite model should have been put in place a long time ago, that the ad-support only model was a mistake:

    http://nick.typepad.com/blog/2010/12/why-i-decided-to-charge-for-feeddemon-again.html

    Software development is a business like any other. And in business, sometimes a company (even if that company is a single indie developer)changes business models for various reasons. And sometimes those models don’t work and they have to try a different model. I don’t get why software developers in particular are held to a higher standard than that and are given the expectation that once something is free, it must remain free for all eternity. These developers work hard and deserve to make money for their work. To say that it is a violation of trust to make some previously-free features pay in order to keep a roof over his or her family’s head is really pretty ridiculous, selfish and completely oblivious to the realities of trying to make a living in the post-recession economy.

  • @DLC

    I am aware of that post and I briefly commented on earlier one to relate to developer how the change made me feel (uncomfortable and unlikely to continue using his application).

    And in business, sometimes a company (even if that company is a single indie developer)changes business models for various reasons. And sometimes those models don’t work and they have to try a different model.

    And should those models be paid for out of customers’ pockets every time? Some people had already paid three times for FeedDemon (shareware->adware (remove ads)->shareware).

    I know (hope) this wasn’t developer’s intention. But in effect this is “customers hadn’t paid in a while, let’s make them pay again for whatever reason”.

    I don’t get why software developers in particular are held to a higher standard than that and are given the expectation that once something is free, it must remain free for all eternity.

    Bait-and-switch.

    I am not saying removing free features is completely unreasonable. But removing them first and telling that you have to pay up then is very poor way to handle it (as for me).

    These developers work hard and deserve to make money for their work.

    Absolutely.

    I also think users deserve honest and upfront information about software. Don’t you?

    To say that it is a violation of trust to make some previously-free features pay in order to keep a roof over his or her family’s head is really pretty ridiculous, selfish and completely oblivious to the realities of trying to make a living in the post-recession economy.

    I am saying it’s violation of trust how that was handled. And that by now it seems rule rather than exception for FeedDemon.

  • dlc

    Have you even read the blog post referenced? How about the one that detailed the changes in the application over a week before the new version was officially released? Or the Feeddemon.com website which was also updated about a week before the official release? Or the number of threads on the FeedDemon beta forum that discussed the issue, again over a week before the release of 4.0? It appears you have not. If you had paid an ounce of attention (which, by your own admission, you had not) you would have known about this. What else could he have done – write you a personal letter in his own blood detailing every change in code?

    Bait and switch? Just to understand, you are publicly accusing him of fraud and an activity that is illegal in most jurisdictions – is that correct? Are you willing to go on record and state, without equivocation, that Nick Bradbury is defrauding you and committing a criminal act?

    There is no bait and switch. You purchased a license for a 1.x, or 2.x, or to remove ads in 3.x. You can use the version you purchased a license for unto perpetuity with no loss of functionality for that version. No one is forcing you to upgrade.

    However, if do you want to upgrade to FeedDemon 4.0, then yes, you have to decide whether you want the free, reduced-set Lite version or pay for an upgrade to the full-featured version. Again, this is a change in major versions and not him flipping a switch and preventing you from using the version for which you have the license.

    I can cite numerous applications where previously free features have been moved to premium (AVG I’m looking at you) upon release of a new major version.

    In any event he has apologized (cf the blog post I mentioned, and his first comment in this thread on the feeddemon group) for the inconsistent handling of the pricing and license model – some of which was partially out of his control.

    He has always taken feedback from his users and made changes – in this case, he made changes to the site when it was pointed out the information about the changes in the new version wasn’t up to snuff and he added a warning in the installer about the upgrade (If I read the forum posts correctly, it was a day or two before the warning was added, so if you downloaded on release day or shortly thereafter you didn’t see it).

    The takeaway is that he recognizes there have been issues in the way FeedDemon has been handled over the years, and apologizes for them. He had to make hard choices in what to include in Lite and Pro knowing that whatever he did users were going to be upset, but he didn’t do it in a vacuum and made every reasonable effort to detail what was going to happen. Unfortunately, being an indie developer again, he is just a single person running the operation, is human and therefore prone to mistakes. He is neither a criminal nor a fraud and is in fact one of the nicest and most concerned, customer-oriented developers I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with. The accusations you are leveling at him smack more of my 3 year old nephew’s reaction when his mom takes his toys away than any real examination of the issue.

  • What else could he have done – write you a personal letter in his own blood detailing every change in code?

    He could have put notification about critical changes in functionality at start of installation. Simple as that.

    Bait and switch? Just to understand, you are publicly accusing him of fraud and an activity that is illegal in most jurisdictions – is that correct? Are you willing to go on record and state, without equivocation, that Nick Bradbury is defrauding you and committing a criminal act?

    Should have added some smilies after that. Naturally it’s nowhere near criminal stuff. Which doesn’t change my experience – losing free features and being served with option to pay if I want them back.

    I am “accusing” (in quotes because I think it is quite clearly not the tone I picked for the post) him of being unable to find stable way to support his application and suck-it-up attitude that comes with it. Yes, in very nice and concerned tone. Which doesn’t change the recurring theme – tweak stuff, ask for new payment.

    At least it’s now in writing that all further major versions will come with upgrade cost.

    You can use the version you purchased a license for unto perpetuity with no loss of functionality for that version. No one is forcing you to upgrade.

    Until Google Reader tweaks its non-public API again and old version looses sync capabilities. Correct me if I am wrong – I saw no promise of old version being maintained.

    However, if do you want to upgrade to FeedDemon 4.0, then yes, you have to decide whether you want the free, reduced-set Lite version or pay for an upgrade to the full-featured version.

    I wasn’t presented with such choice until after I upgraded.

    added a warning in the installer about the upgrade (If I read the forum posts correctly, it was a day or two before the warning was added, so if you downloaded on release day or shortly thereafter you didn’t see it).

    I downloaded very shortly after release. I must note that this post was also written (and scheduled ahead) shortly after that so doesn’t reflect more recent events.

    I will try to lookup information about installer changes and update post accordingly later, thanks for info.

    The takeaway is that he recognizes there have been issues in the way FeedDemon has been handled over the years, and apologizes for them.

    I hadn’t claimed otherwise. I only stated that for me personally this issues accumulated to the point of being discouraged from paying and strongly considering to stop using the app altogether.

    He had to make hard choices in what to include in Lite and Pro knowing that whatever he did users were going to be upset, but he didn’t do it in a vacuum and made every reasonable effort to detail what was going to happen.

    There is long established and widely used model of introducing advanced features in paid version. Introducing Pro version with new features would make a lot of sense.

    Removing features from free version to buff up paid version is very different story and gets very different attitude from me.

    He is neither a criminal nor a fraud[…]The accusations you are leveling at him smack more of my 3 year old nephew’s reaction when his mom takes his toys away than any real examination of the issue.

    I think the “accusations” are mostly imaginary here. :) I have no grudge against developer and wish him all the best with further development (which I also voiced to him in comments at his blog).

    I merely thought that the way situation played out and my reaction was interesting enough to write about.

  • dan l

    I don’t experience this a whole lot:

    I almost entirely run FOSS, save for:

    -An XP vbox for MSO
    -I pay for remember the milk (I consider that paying for a service, not paying for the software)
    -Numerous cell phone apps I put a couple of bucks into
    -My work ‘puter has a paid copy of fences

    That said, I don’t have a terrible problem with paying a reasonable amount of money for a piece of software fitting into Rarst’s criteria.

    What’s feeddemon all about? I’ve never touched it.

  • @dan l

    That said, I don’t have a terrible problem with paying a reasonable amount of money for a piece of software fitting into Rarst’s criteria.

    I don’t have issue with paying for software, but as for me in context of personal use there are very very few software titles that are worth paying for. This is not a some kind of insult to shareware developers, but more like market reality in age when open source and freeware are strong – not only for hobby projects, but serious, powerful and highly profitable ones.

    What’s feeddemon all about? I’ve never touched it.

    It is desktop application for reading RSS feeds. It has one unique trait of being only app that officially and fully syncs with Google Reader (temporary corporate owner of FeedDemon struck that deal when they decided to distance from non-corporate users and dropped their own online service).

  • Miek P

    To say that it is a violation of trust to make some previously-free features pay in order to keep a roof over his or her family’s head is really pretty ridiculous, selfish and completely oblivious to the realities of trying to make a living in the post-recession economy.

    Of course it takes away the trust of many people! And it really sucks how FeedDemon is managing the transition to the paid version: by an update! Loosing the features if you dare not to pay, is not such a clean way to force (less or more) people to pay.

    It’s clear, DLC, that you only defend the rights of the seller, but that you totally forget how the consumer will experience the let down of FeedDemon. And if you don’t understand the reactions of the consumers, then it’s clear you totally don’t care about the consumer and only look at the frame of the developper.

  • @Miek P

    And if you don’t understand the reactions of the consumers, then it’s clear you totally don’t care about the consumer and only look at the frame of the developper.

    This is more or less my point. It may have been good and logical decisions for developer to fine-tune pricing this way (I understand that is necessity at times), but he disregarded customers’ perspective and unintentionally maximized negative perception of changes.

    I had recently picked up this Wikipedia article (while reading article about things to never do with software, and yes – removing free features was on that list) – loss aversion. Basically it has more impact on people to lose something, than to gain something.

    So pay to get advanced features procures considerably different reaction from pay to get back advanced features. Small change in meaning, large change in customers’ emotions.

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