Disappointing to see you doubled your premium service price today.

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  • Updated 6 years ago
Disappointing to see you doubled your premium service. I visited here this morning and it was $1/month. By the time I managed to get my export from Google Reader and returned to load it, it's now $2/month.
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Donna B. McNicol

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Posted 7 years ago

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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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It's not. I am much more able to run NewsBlur when it brings in enough money to pay for itself. This has become clear. While I am losing a small percentage of users who choose not to pay $12, I end up making more revenue with people who are willing to pay the full $24. That puts NewsBlur in a better position to last a long time.
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Frank Dosh

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Thanks for the quick reply, Samuel. Where do you rank form twiddling and lifetime account requests relative to full payment on the "this user's a jerk" scale? It'd be disingenuous to say that I can't afford a premium account, but $24 is slightly above the impulse-buy level for students and others without much savings.
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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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I can count the number of jerk users I've dealt with on one hand. Everybody else who I disagree with usually has a good point that I'm unable to support. A lower payment tier is one of those things. Ideally I'd be giving away the service, along with a free mailing of ice cream and t-shirts. But if I want to ensure that NewsBlur sticks around, I have to charge what people are willing to pay.
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Frank Dosh

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I guess what I'm saying, Sam, is that when I created my "free" NewsBlur account, the pricing started at $12, and that's been anchored in my mind as a justifiable amount that I would be willing to pay once the service matured. Your comments on Twitter suggest that you are okay exchanging karma for free premium accounts, but for some reason not for discounted ones. I'd subscribe to the $12 account in a heartbeat to support all the great efforts you've made to improve the service in the last six months, but now that option has disappeared. I'd love an alternative way to support you in this ballpark - that is why I asked if you consider it legitimate to twiddle with the payment form - or to send you a reddit-style postcard, or buy your t-shirt, or do something else that falls in a middle ground between begging and paying the full rate.
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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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Just email me and I'd be happy to offer you a free premium account.
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Shea Clayton

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Seriously, are you kidding?

I don't work for newsblur. I'm just a google reader refugee like so many others. But premium accounts are dirt cheap (what was it, $24 for 2 years? that's a dollar a month. way too low).

When I think about the back end required to keep this place going I assume prices *must* go up. Some of the stuff they're probably dealing with:

  1. keep a potentially unbounded number of articles (nothing stopping you from adding lots of feeds) pulled from web

  2. associate them with your account

  3. update regularly throughout the day

  4. store for x days (14 I think)

  5. purge in a timely enough fashion to keep the whole thing from crashing

  6. synchronized across web and mobile



Complexity-wise it strikes me at least on-par with email. I'd pay at least as much for email as I do for other subscriptions (e.g., nytimes, scientific American, etc...). In compute and storage costs along I have no idea how they break even charging less than 5/month.
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Tazio

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I just want to be sure that your business model is sustainable and that we won't get dumped to the curb again. As others have said, $24/year is a pittance for the amount I use it and I would gladly support a tiered pricing model. I don't know if it would be feasible, but for $5-$10 a month I would like to see super-premium accounts that could get fetches on all of their feeds at least twice an hour. That would probably break NB, though, so never mind.

I was worried when the GR apocalypse happened that I would never be as happy as I had been with Google. Now I wonder how I managed to stick with them all these years. This was the impetus need to de-Google my life.
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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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I wrote this in response to a journalist's inquiry earlier this morning.

"I'm busy launching a whole slew of features that I've been planning since day 1, four years ago. As you may know, of all the current major RSS players, NewsBlur is one of the oldest, dating to June 2009. I'm looking at the http://alternativeto.net/software/goo... list to come to that conclusion. Having lasted through a premium user drought for nearly four years, the numbers now look encouraging enough to think that I'll last another five years with no problem. Beyond that timeframe, I hope they have a fast internet hookup for the colonies on Mars."
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Shea Clayton

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Lol! Wouldn't be surprised at all if half the colonists had newsblur accounts! Best way to separate the wheat from the chaff and keep the quality news stream flowing.
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Darren Kay

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Sam, since some people think that $12 is a better (more attractive price point) why not offer a 6 months for $12?

That way people can pay the $24 is smaller payments.

If someone wants to trial the premium account then $12 is a cheap solution. If people have tight budgets and a whole $24 up front is an issue, again they can opt for 6 month option.

I have no issue with $24 for a year. And I don't like the idea of free accounts, they mean ads or selling data on you. Feedly is not free, they promote product sales with amazon through free accounts, and decent support requires a plus account. ANd when the ToS change to sell your data what can you do... nowt.
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Dan Hermann

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I was on the fence about upgrading to Premium. I promise you, I really was. Then you reduced my feed list from 10 to 5, as if to say to me, "Let me make this free service a lot less useful, then you'll really see what a value the premium service is."

It didn't work. I'm going to Feedly. I wish you hadn't done that.
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Darren Kay

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Feedly is not 100% free, enjoy the ads/promoted products
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Dan Hermann

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I will enjoy it more than reading 5 articles at a time. Thank you.
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Shea Clayton

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Heh, if newsblur appealed to you feedly might be a hard fit. I looked at it but the information presentation just wasn't dense enough. Kinda like pulse though pulse was slightly more tolerable. I also tried currents but it's not "linky" enough for me.
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Darren Kay

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Oh dear $45 for feedly premium.
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Tazio

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I love all these people complaining about $2/month. I'd love to see your phone, internet and cable bills. They must be WAY less than mine for you to care about $2. Running the NB servers is not cheap. It can either be financed by subscriptions, ads, or data mining. I'd choose subscriptions over those other options any day of the week. If $0.06 per day is too expensive for you for a premium service then I don't know how you can afford to own a computer. Remember, NB is not a free service. It is a paid service with a free trial period,
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smoke11

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I'm very happy with NewsBlur and I think the fee is totally reasonable. I've been using it since migrating off my beloved Feeddemon two months ago, and it's been a great replacement.

I want this service to thrive and not starve and I sure as heck don't want to be forced to move to some less than adequate product.

And, frankly, NewsBlur is better designed than Google Reader and some of the other services out there.

The server response, load times, etc., have been very good. That takes good backend equipment and generous bandwidth. It also takes money.
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pitamakan

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Definitely agree with those who feel that Newsblur is well worth $2 a month, and well worth supporting in general. I'm not rolling in money myself, but 6 cents a day is a ridiculously small price to pay for being spared Feedly and its ads. I respect my eyeballs way too much for that.

And while I also greatly appreciate Samuel's good heart in offering free subscriptions to folks ... I hope he doesn't reward TOO many complainers that way! It kind of devalues those of us who are proud to support the service. :)
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Frank Dosh

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Wow, didn't expect to start a storm of comments on this thread! I absolutely don't want to take advantage of Samuel and ask for a free account. Mostly I just regret not upgrading sooner, when the $12 plan was available - this is the price that was posted when I signed up, so it's anchored in my mind as a price that was once fair (maybe a solution would be to offer this plan to accounts created before the Reader announcement, to reward early supporters/leaches?). As NewsBlur grows, my intuition is to expect scale to lower cost-per-user, not increase it. It's absolutely true that I have many much greater expenses, but at the same time, the incremental value of NewsBlur over Feedly or a desktop app feels about the same as a premium iOS app - maybe $10 or $15, but not too much more. I also have a pretty high aversion towards subscription plans - I'd put $50 down for a lifetime plan much sooner than commit to $24 every year. But of course you're all right: Samuel is providing a great service and deserves to make a solid living at it.
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Shea Clayton

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I'm honestly curious to see how the whole thing shakes out. I don't see how an ad based news aggregator can work for any but the largest company. The newspaper and magazine creators often survive off ads. And are always going to want to spiff up their look and feel, incorporate media, link to their own stuff, etc...

I don't think they'll be able to keep up. It's the same problem I had with some of the podcast apps - they're never as up to date as the source feed. I'm figuring all that overhead they add on top of the feed has something to do with it...
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JJ Lopez Minkoff

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I use Newsblur everyday for more than just a RSS reader service, I depend on it to organize articles and links that I write about every day. It is a necessity for me...and one I would continue to pay 24 bucks for!

I especially want to keep from being inundated by advertisements and other promotional gimmicks, I had enough of that crap over at Google.

All the other replacement RSS reader services are nothing compared to NewsBlur, and I would be devastated if Simon caved in to a bunch of people who wanted a quality service he is offering for "free."

It is obvious to me that they are here for one reason only, the other free services did not meet with their standards...

The suggestion up top offering 6 months at $12 and a year and $24 is a good idea. It gives people an option, but I must say lifetime plans are a ridiculous notion. Who wants to do a job and only get paid once for it? As long as the service is good and it is consistent, pay the two bucks a month and get on with it!

Samuel, please keep up the good work, and don't give in...your time, efforts and your Newsblur service is worth it.
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Daniel Herman

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I just wanted to post to let Sam know that not all Dan Herman(n)s dislike newsblur. This one chose it over Feedly for many reasons.
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smoke11

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I wouldn't touch Feedly. I tried it out. It's a freaking mess. It's not designed for people trying to get work done.

What I want is what Newsblur seems to offering: Reliability, as close to 100% uptime as possible, and I'll assume that they have back-up and the means to get providing their service if connectivity is lost, a data center goes down, a line is cut, etc.

For those who want free, there is always free. But as in all things, you get exactly what you pay for.
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Kazriko Redclaw

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I only paid $12 when I signed up because I didn't know if it would work or not. Now that I know it does work, I'd easily pay the $24-36 for it. I actually donated $12 via bitcoin some time ago even though I already had a premium account.
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evancg

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I've had a Google Reader tab open all day on every electronic device I use (desktop, laptop, app on phone, etc) for what I would guess would be the past six or seven years. Every day, all day. I figured Google was monetizing that in some way, much like their many other "free" services I use - mail, search, voice, etc.

When it was coming to an end, I tried a few services - The Old Reader (a close second, which is now running into it's own existence issues), Feedly (distant third), and a few others.

NewsBlur isn't perfect - the mobile app (Android) still leaves a LOT to be desired. The 14 day limit is too short. Sometimes it's a little slow to load the "Text" view of feeds. I wish there was a way to "Mark articles older than a day as read", etc. That being said, it's still by far my favorite replacement RSS reader. In some ways, it's better than Google Reader. In some ways, it's worse. One substantial way it's DIFFERENT is it isn't run by a multi-billion dollar company monetizing it through advertising, data mining, etc.

With that in mind, when it came time to decide on my permanent Google Reader replacement, I upgraded from my free account to a paid account. I even went as far as to go with the $36\year, because I feel there is great, GREAT value in a quality RSS reader. If you feel there is value in a quality RSS service and you really like NewsBlur, then chip in a couple bucks a month. Sam works off a different business model than Google or Feedly and it requires our support. I'm not a huge fan of subscription services, but at the same time I understand when you're running a service, reliably calculating your annual income vs expenditure to maintain the service is important, and for a small, self managed service like NewsBlur, probably a necessity.

If you don't find a substantial value in an RSS reader, than you probably aren't all that picky about how it operates, and something free like Feedly might work well for you.

/rant
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Jim Perry

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This is by the far the best reader replacement I have found. They are working to upgrade capacity to handle the crush, and I would pay more if I had to, just so I have a working usable feed reader. FYI - one that is very similar in operation to the late lamented Google Reader (RIP).