Dear NewsGator,

If you care about retaining your individual customers, you sure have a funny way of showing it. If, on the other hand, you’d rather jettison us so you can concentrate on your corporate accounts, that’s fine—it’s your business, after all—but it would be nice if you’d give us a heads up. Maybe you are.

Several weeks ago, you announced that you’d no longer be hosting the servers that sync our NetNewsWire feeds. That function was going to be handled by Google Reader. The Mac version of NetNewsWire began nagging me to update to the newer version that synced with Google. I resisted; first, because the new version was still in beta (I can’t remember any other vendor encouraging users of released software to upgrade to a beta); and second, because there was no parallel update to the iPhone version of NetNewsWire, and I was afraid my reading would get out of sync.

But your nag screens were persistent, and eventually I relented, upgrading to the 3.2 beta on both my desktop and notebook Macs. I must say I’m very pleased with the new version, and frankly I think the syncing with Google Reader is better than it ever was with your servers. (It always seemed to me that the feeds on your servers were late. I know that the new articles from this blog often wouldn’t show up in NetNewsWire until hours after they were posted—even when I could curl the feed URL and see that they were available.) So my Mac-based feed reading is better than ever.

But to stay in sync on my iPhone, I’ve had to dump NetNewsWire in favor of Google Reader via Mobile Safari. As I thought, the iPhone NetNewsWire is still polling the NewsGator servers, it doesn’t know the current state of any of my subscriptions, and includes articles I’ve already read on my Mac. I’d rather still be using NetNewsWire—it displays the feeds with a bigger, easier to read font—but it isn’t practical.

All of this was supposed to have shaken out by the end of August, but obviously it hasn’t. I’ve seen no explanation; your recent blog posts are all about SharePoint, with nothing about the state of the transition. You’ve pushed me away from your product on the platform where it had a significant advantage (when traveling, I could download feeds to my iPhone when I had a good connection and read them when I didn’t) and upgraded only on the platform where the advantage is minimal.

Because I’ve never paid you a dime, I understand if you see me more as a parasite than as a customer, but it’s not my fault that you made your products free. If you expect to make money off me—either as a paying customer or as a pair of eyeballs to sell to your advertising clients—you need to let me know where things are going and when they’re likely to get there, or I’ll just switch to Google Reader everywhere.

Update 9/15/09
After posting this, I fired up NetNewsWire and… the promised ads appeared for the first time. So now I am paying for NetNewsWire and have no guilt about complaining.

Update 9/15/09
This post today on (which I didn’t see until after writing the post) announces a new beta for the Mac version and says the ads are being postponed another week. As I said in the update above, I started seeing ads this evening, but after updating to 3.2b25 the ads went away.

The post also says the updated iPhone version was submitted to the App Store for approval, so maybe we’ll see it in a week or so.

I’d been thinking about writing this post for a few days. If I’d only gotten it out then I would have looked prescient instead of ill-informed. Oh well.