As you may have heard, this afternoon NewsGator announced that all of their desktop/mobile client applications are now freeware. NetNewsWire (see our review) and FeedDemon are well regarded as the best-in-class for all things RSS in a desktop application..now without a price tag. Loyal fans are cheering that the company has abandoned their “buy the software and get a free subscription” model in favor of different ways of raising revenue (including abandoning all but web forum support options).
These applications were always well worth their shareware/commercial license, and now that is a thing of the past. But is it disruptive?
As FeedDemon developer Nick Bradbury explains, this move is all about the data (aggregate or anonymous data, of course):
We believe that information about what people are reading, emailing, clipping, etc., is valuable enough that we’re willing to trade our consumer RSS readers for it. And the more users we have, the better able we are to calculate relevance and importance.
So this question is for those of you who are already using other web-based RSS readers, such as Bloglines or Google Reader. Does this change the game for you? NewsGator founder Greg Reinacker says: “What we’re working to do is to saturate the market with our clients.” Do they have a chance? Will you consider switching to NewsGator’s desktop client applications now that they’re all free?
In short, with the recent dominance of web-based applications, was the barrier to adoption of desktop RSS clients ever centered around the price…or are there other factors at play? Let’s hear your thoughts on this, web workers.