If you really like a free app, make a donation to keep it around

image To manage the emails for this blog, I used an app called Mailbox.  I also subscribe to a lot of other blogs (pro-tip for bloggers: do this!)  with this email address and the nice thing about the app was when I was behind in my reading, I could forward an email to the future.  It wasn’t a perfect app and it left a bit to be desired such as having to deal with one email at a time instead of being able to select a batch.  Still it was a handy way to separate my personal spam email from my professional spam blog.

Unfortunately, Dropbox decided to shut down its email management application along with Carousel, a photo sharing app.  While not admitting it directly, I suspect Dropbox couldn’t figure out a way to monetize it.  The same thing happened with Google Reader, an RSS feed aggregator that many nerds including myself loved because it was so simple to use.

It always boils down to money.  Even if there was never any intent on making money directly off users, the development, maintenance and support didn’t come free even if you didn’t pay a dime for it. This is especially the case when you’re using something offered for free.  Because you never know when something will end.

Actually, you probably do know it’s going to end someday and are just in denial that someday will come sooner than you think if someone doesn’t keep paying to keep the lights on.

The same is even more true outside the virtual world of the internet as well.  Your favorite restaurant, clothing store or watering hole won’t be around for long if you don’t frequent them.

So if you have a favorite restaurant, bar or boutique store it might be smart to make it part of your routine to visit them as often as economically feasible and make a purchase.  As for the free apps, they usually and not so subtle  .ask for donations.  Sending them a $5 isn’t going to keep the lights on.  But if everyone who used the app did, they would be inclined to keep it around even if they pour the revenue into some other product.

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Filed under: Life Lessons, Tech Thursday

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