Why Do I Have To Create a Google Account to Get Support for Third-Party Software?

I’m an avid user of RSS to follow the news, and I use NetNewsWire to manage my RSS feeds and read the news that interests me. I’ve been having a problem with the program occasionally (that is, often enough that it’s annoying) retrieving RSS items on some feeds that are a year old. This happens for a couple of feeds every week or so; for others once a month. (It doesn’t happen for all feeds.)

Now, since I paid for this program, I went to the developers web site this morning to find out how to contact support. I was surprised – stunned, to be honest – to find that the only way they provide support is through Google Groups. There is no support e-mail, no support form on the website; you have to post your problem on Google Groups, publicly, in order to get support.

Since I don’t use Google any more, I don’t have a Google account, and don’t plan to create one to post to a group to get support. (And, frankly, the whole question of providing support via a public forum is one reason why I stopped using Google. I don’t want my discussions with this company’s technical support being public.)

So while I purchased the program, I can’t get support for it in any way that I approve of. I feel very disappointed that the developer has chosen this route as the only avenue for support, and this confirms my feelings about his not being in touch with his users. (There are other issues with the software, which, while not problems, suggest that he’s not very flexible, notable the use of Google Reader to sync the program from one computer to another.)

I’ll use NetNewsWire for a while, but I’m now, once again, in search of a new RSS reader. Companies who don’t want to provide support correctly don’t deserve to get my money. I feel disappointed that I paid for this software.

Note: I have nothing against forums on web sites for users to ask questions, and I do use them regularly. But they are not Google Groups, they are forums the developers have built, and there is always an e-mail address or a form to request support.