My theory is that you started this app when Google Reader was discontinued. You then hastily put together whatever you could as fast as you could. Perhaps outsourced on elance or a similar website. Then slapped on a yearly price of 18.99 a year to capitalize on a hectic time.
I'm generally pretty nice with my comments on here, but this is ridiculous.
He talked about FeedWrangler on his Podcast, Developing Perspective, and while I can't verify his claims that he already had started the project he really seems to be a very nice guy and a competent developer.
The reviews seem to back this up. Also, he will offer a refund in case you are not happy with the result.
- I want a backup so that I still have my data if FeedWrangler crashes.
- I want a backup so that I can pack up and leave if FeedWranglet leaks my password or other user data
- I want a backup so that I can switch to a different service in case FeedWrangler goes bankrupt or is acquired.
The average RSS "user" doesn't spend $19 per year on an RSS reader. Most used Google Reader or another free version. Some, like me, spent $30 on FeedDemon (one time cost). I would put myself in the "addicted to RSS" group for sure.
Your hard core, addicted RSS people in 2013 have spent 5+ years, I bet, using RSS. So when someone who is an RSS junkie looks at the price point, they think, "I've used Google Reader for ten years and it's been free. I'm looking for a replacement that will hopefully last at least five years, maybe ten. This service is $19 per year - that's almost $100 over the next five years..." If you are charging someone $100 for the service, then you'd better "bring it". This page/site just doesn't do that, and it doesn't do it so spectacularly that it calls into question the entire product. Sorry but I think this needed a few more weeks to really get it together before launching it.
* Oh sure, there are always some who don't take such a long term view - "I'll just try it for a year." If that's your approach to marketing, cool. You'll miss out on the really smart and technical users, I think, but that may be best actually. It's fairly logical to think "Things that appeal to the really hardcore users" and "Things that appeal to the mass market" are quite different.
For those still seeking new RSS reading experiences (and because I think HN tends to be OK with self-promotion in comments) I'd like to suggest my product - http://www.rivered.io. It's a bit different - focusing on a clean 'river of news' rather than inbox style or categorising. To directly answer some of the questions around FeedWrangler:
- it has an OPML export feature.
- it has a free 30 day trial, and you can at least see what it looks like without dropping your card details.
- there's a screenshot.
I still think there's a lot of innovation to be done around RSS feeds...
Sure, the pricing model makes it easy to see where the money is coming from, but that doesnt immediately make it sustainable.
There's still a critical mass of people that are needed to make the service first pay for itself, and then profitable, and then profitable enough for this guy to maintain it for the next X years.
If it makes 'ok' money and he gets bored of it and shuts it down in a year, that's not sustainable to me, and I can't see evidence otherwise why this might not happen.