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.

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8 replies
  1. Chucky says:

    I prefer doing my actual reading in my browser instead of my RSS reader. So I prefer an RSS reader that is best geared toward a ‘headline only’ mode.

    And thus I’m a devotee of the free NewsFire. It doesn’t sync, but if you can deal with that, it’s otherwise an excellent RSS feed monitor.

  2. Alan Greene says:

    Hello Kirk,

    I too paid for NetNewsWire and have been less than impressed with the way the are going. I’d be very interested to know if you find another RSS reader that compares favorably to NNW. So far I have felt that, although I am not crazy about NNW, I don’t want to change to a lesser RSS reader simply to show my dissatisfaction.

    • kirk says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. I tried Vienna a couple of years ago, and didn’t like it (though I don’t recall why). I just downloaded it and imported my feeds, and I may stick with it this time. It has a built-in browser; something that I like, and it seems to reproduce most of the features I liked from NetNewsWire. I’ll try it for a few days and see if I like it.

  3. WaltFrench says:

    Miss memos much? NNW announced a year ago — almost exactly! — that it was (a) relying on Google Reader for synchronization, and (b) going totally free. The developer was moving on but trying to make the product as functional as possible.

    As for your little bug, better get used to it. I had that issue long before NNW converted to synch with Google, and the developer was courteous and put a fair amount of effort into resolving my issue (this, BEFORE I upgraded to the then paid version!) but concluded it was an issue with my RSS source (one of the Wall Street Journal feeds, which continues to occasionally reset all its feed identification info).

    And better also get over the notion that you imply: that because you sent somebody $20 sometime, he is your slave for life. Not part of the real world these days. Take it for what it’s worth (and I practically LIVE by the feeds I see thru NNW) and move on when you see something that suits your fancy better.

  4. kirk says:

    Huh? I’m not talking about synchronization; you didn’t read my article. And I don’t want a “slave for life.” I simply want technical support without having to create a Google account.

    And, btw, it’s not free, I paid for the program when the new version came out with the ad-supported free option. I didn’t want ads, and was happy to pay.

    Dude, you’re mighty confused…


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