It seems I missed the news when this happened last week but according to Greg Reinacker’s post NewsGator’s RSS clients are now free! 

We’ve got a lot of big news today at NewsGator.

First, we’ve got new releases of our most popular applications: FeedDemon 2.6, NetNewsWire 3.1, Inbox 3.0 (beta), and NewsGator Go! for Windows Mobile 2.0. Each of these is a pretty major release on its own - tons of new features in all of them.

But second, every one of those applications is now free! Free as in beer, that is. And add to the free list NewsGator Go! for BlackBerry as well. And not only are they free, but our online services (including synchronization) are now free as well! Not to mention our iPhone reader, HTML mobile reader, and all of the other applications that are part of our online platform.

According to Greg and Nick Bradbury, the reason they are doing this is because the bulk of their profits/revenues come from selling Enterprise licenses and the desktop readers are now being used as advertising to get enterprise customers.

They also mention that the other reason they are giving away their desktop application is that they see a lot of financial value from collecting information about what feeds their users are reading. My assumption was that this is because the demographic data is being resold to marketers although both Greg and Nick make it seem like the collection of this data is benign and only used for end user facing features. 

Anyway, this is pretty great news for fans of desktop RSS readers. If I didn’t already have RSS Bandit, FeedDemon would be my first choice when it comes to a desktop RSS reader for Windows. I also like the fact that we get a shout out as part of the setup experience for FeedDemon which is shown below

Thanks for the shout out Nick. Smile

Now that these apps are free, it does encourage us to step our game up with RSS Bandit. Right now, my thinking is that official version number for the release currently codenamed Phoenix will be RSS Bandit 2.0. This release will be deserve the monicker “2.0” for two reasons

  1. The user interface will be completely rewritten from scratch by Oren and Torsten using WPF.
  2. The application will become capable of being a full-blown desktop client to both Google Reader and NewsGator Online.

If I seem to have been blogging less, it is because I’ve been spending more time reading about code, thinking about code and writing code in my free time. I can’t wait to get the first beta out to you guys in a few months.

Now playing: Kid Rock - Welcome To The Party (Ode 2 the Old School)


Friday, January 18, 2008 1:36:56 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Feedreader implemented my Bandit feature requests!

Today, I discovered another free RSS Reader called Feedreader, and I decided to turn away from RSSBandit. The main reason for trying another reader was that I did not get proper support for feeds that did not work in RSSBandit and I got the typical answer “Feed does not validate with feedvalidator”.

Using Feedreader (abreviated FR in the rest of this post) was an eye-opener for me. It was as if RSSBandit had implemented all my feature requests, thoroughly debugged them, and made the interface much smoother.

Here, I cite only the major things that work perfectly in FR and that I had asked in this forum for monthes, but remain to be seen in RSSBandit. All of this has been reported in RSSBandit forum, please make a search for more details

- FR works for all my feeds so far. RSSBandit should be more robust even for feeds that do not 100% follow RSS specifications. FR takes this very seriously and has a specific support forum for feeds that have problems.

- FR is good for the eyes. Press a “A+” button and the font in the article will increase. I killed my eyes reading articles in RSSBandit on a 15inch laptop screen, and did not want to spend time understanding style-sheet files.

- FR can hide read feeds and read items, making the subscription tree much easier to look at

- FR can filter feed items based on conditions (eg “contains xx keyword”). This is called “smart feed”

- FR uses an intelligent update mechanism to automatically fine-tune polling time for each feed. It is a big time waister in RSSBandit to manually fine-tune for each feed the update interval, and very easy to lose those settings by changing just 1 global parameter.

FR has many more features that I did not even think of before. Example: adding tags to feed items, grouping feed item duplicates, etc.

Well, you might wonder: “Right, but RSS Bandit must have better features than FR?” Well, the only point where RSSBandit surpasses FR for me is the ability to specify an alternate location of the database by adding a couple of lines to RSSBandit.exe.user.config. But that is about all…

When I started using RSSBandit at the end of 2006, I had the impression that it was ahead of the pack of free RSS readers. But I did not see any major new feature in RSSBandit, and it feels like the project has been on hold for the last 6 monthes.

I do not want to pick on you, developers, I know that you have had pretty busy personal lives lately, and this is the most important. Still, with the today announcement of FeedDemon and NetNewsWire going free AND RSSBandit soon releasing 2.0, it sounds as if you are pushed by increased competition, and it does not sound as if you are leading the pack anymore!

Well, I sincerely hope that you will at least catch-up when you release RSSBandit 2.0. I may try it when it comes out, but the only thing that can have me revert to RSSBandit in the future is the addition of new features that will make it stand out from the pack. You know, the wow factor. Anyway, I wish you good luck with RSSBandit further development!
Friday, January 18, 2008 2:46:31 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Thanks for taking the time to leave such detailed feedback. I admit that the working on RSS Bandit took a back seat to stuff going on in our personal lives for a large part of last year. I'm glad you found the application useful when you tried and I'm glad you've found an application that makes you more productive.

We will be working on RSS Bandit and adding new features over the course of the next few months. I'd definitely appreciate your feedback even if you do not come back as a full time user.
Saturday, January 19, 2008 10:37:29 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
RSS Bandit is better :)
Saturday, January 19, 2008 11:34:29 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Great news, i am looking forward to the 2.0 release but anyway after having used more RSS Readers in the past, RSS Bandit is the best one :)
Monday, January 21, 2008 1:40:10 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
You're welcome for the shout out, Dare :) If you'd like to offer a similar feature which imports from FeedDemon, just drop me a line and I'll share the details with you (although I'm guessing you've probably figured it out already).
Wednesday, January 30, 2008 7:57:51 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
looks like he did.. may be ms will add this to their framework
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