AvantGo Removes Limits on Custom Channels

Last month, AvantGo announced a new policy under which it limited the number of subscribers to custom channels to just eight people for each channel. It has now discarded this policy and announced a new one. AvantGo will still limit access to some custom channels but the company will look at each channel individually before making a decision on it. Channels that become popular by word of mouth will not be restricted. Channels that advertise for subscribers and offer products or services for sale will need to sign a contract with AvantGo.

However, AvantGo will still require an agreement for all channels with more than 1,000 subscribers. The owners of these channels will be notified when they reach the limit.

The company has removed restrictions it placed on some channels while the old policy was in force. If a user is still subscribed to to a previously blocked channel, the contents will show up on the next HotSync.

From AvantGo's perspective, commercial sites that don't have a contract with AvantGo are using AvantGo's servers and networks for their own commercial gain without paying for it.

Like most small, high-tech companies, AvantGo has been struggling to remain afloat. In its most recent quarter, the company had a pro forma net loss of $4.7 million, or $0.14 per share, on revenues of just $5.3 million. Therefore, the company can't afford any unnecessary expenses or to pass up any sources of revenue.

For commercial sites with between 1 and 100 subscribers, the annual fee is $1,000. For those sites with less than 500 subscribers, the fee is $4,000. Between 500 and 1000, AvantGo charges $6,000. All sites with more than 1,000 subscribers are supposed to work out an individual contract with AvantGo.

Thanks to wilco for the tip. -Ed

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OK, sure

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 10:14:32 AM #
Sounds reasonable. I love Avantgo, so I'm heartened to see that they've reconsidered a policy that was not customer-friendly. I don't use custom channels myself, and I also believe Plucker, or a more user-friendly version of same, will chew up AvantGo in the long run.

RE: OK, sure
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 11:58:48 AM #
They are too late, I switched to Plucker after a channel that I like had to shut down. For me, Plucker does anything I need it to do.

Marco Schouten

I agree...
eKennedy @ 3/29/2002 1:41:01 PM #
I myself took a closer look at Plucker because of AvantGo's prior decision and am absolutely amazed that I had never used it before.

Although I don't really use it for content that updates regularly, for sucking in an entire site, you can't beat it.


I know only that I know nothing...

RE: OK, sure
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 6:35:27 PM #
Why do people always say that Plucker is not as useful as Avantgo for syncing on a daily basis? Try syncing PIC/palm with Plucker and tell me it is slower than Avantgo.

RE: OK, sure
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 7:55:45 PM #
for us newbies could soemone refer a link to plucker?

RE: OK, sure
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/30/2002 4:29:12 AM #
Go to http://www.plkr.org for Plucker. Don't worry about the last updated version. The mailing list (archived on the site) will clue you in as to real development in progress.

A sony version (for testing) was recently released. It supports 320x320 hires (much like Handstory) except that the table formatting and content control (like exclude all links that look like this: etc. etc., or don't look beyond current site or directory)

Make sure that you grab a copy of Plucker Desktop. (check the developers mailing list archive) Makes it that much easier...

Sony viewer can be grabbed separately here -->
(It can be installed alongside normal Plucker)

Have fun!


RE: OK, sure
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/30/2002 4:33:09 AM #
I meant that table formatting and content control are BETTER. Thank you. thank you.


Plucker version of AvantGo Connect
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/30/2002 9:38:44 AM #
Does Plucker have something like AvantGo Connect to sync channels by modem?


RE: OK, sure
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/30/2002 1:43:59 PM #
You can sync channels however your computer connects to the internet. If you are talking about having a centralized web hub for your channels that you can access anywhere, there is http://my.plkr.org ... not sure on the sync by modem exactly (???)


$1000 for 100 ppl?

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 10:19:59 AM #
so just 100 ppl subscribe and it costs $1000?? thats $10/person, a pretty piece of change!

RE: $1000 for 100 ppl?
Ed @ 3/29/2002 10:27:23 AM #
Don't forget that this an annual cost only charged to for-profit sites. Hopefully, these sites will be able to make 83 cents off each subscriber per month.

Actually, I believe any sucessful commercial site would need far more than 1,000 subscibers and would therefore need to negotiate an individual contract, in which the per customer charge will almost certainly be much lower.

News Editor

RE: $1000 for 100 ppl?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 11:35:47 AM #
Is PIC considered a commerical site because you make money from the Amazon links? And if so would it be worth it to PIC to pay for the mobile content (especially without the comments on the AvantGo version)?

Carl Brooks

RE: $1000 for 100 ppl?
Ed @ 3/29/2002 11:52:45 AM #
Yes, we're a commercial site and we pay AvantGo to display this site.

Carl, I'm afraid I don't understand your second question. Are you suggesting we charge the users to access the AvantGo channel or questioning whether it is worth it for us to have the channel at all?

News Editor

RE: $1000 for 100 ppl?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 4:23:35 PM #

My second question is: Is it worth it to pay $5,000 a year for the service that AvantGo is providing? Or is there a better way to generate traffic and provide a similar service for less than $1000-$5000 a year?

You site is mostly news (not products). I would assume that $ is generated by ads and afiliates. Is the services that AvantGo providing worth the money spent (in your opinion)?


RE: $1000 for 100 ppl?
Ed @ 3/30/2002 8:03:21 AM #
You'll have talk to Ryan's about business decisions like this. I'm just the News Editor.

News Editor

Stop Complaining, Its Still Free!!!

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 10:26:22 AM #
I can't believe all the people complaining about custom channel restrictions. This is a great service, which is still free. I use it everyday and is great for commuters (bart, bus, train, etc.). Look at Vindigo 2.0 and just hope that Avantgo remains a free service.

RE: Stop Complaining, Its Still Free!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 10:50:44 AM #
Yes, this is great news. Sounds like AvantGo is going to try to keep supporting all the little folks out there.

RE: Stop Complaining, Its Still Free!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 11:10:18 AM #
I concur. They offer a wide range of channels that are free for the average joe to use. If the company can't begin to make money -- and it sounds like they are bleeding cash at a very significant rate -- they'll go belly up very quickly. Then you won't have any access -- much less free access.

Aren't they backed by M$
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 11:13:07 AM #
Nothing new if it is true that AvantGo is backed by M$. GIve it away, make it a standard as the competition goes away and then charge charge charge.

RE: Stop Complaining, Its Still Free!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 12:07:00 PM #
Use Plucker. It is also free, but you don't have to relinquish what you are interested in to a 3rd party (read _3rd_ party).


RE: Stop Complaining, Its Still Free!!!
allen_goodman @ 3/29/2002 1:44:14 PM #
I use Avantgo almost every day. I just wish they allowed more space. I can't believe it is still free. I will probably be hated for this but I would be willing to pay for it. Then maybe I would be able to load this and all the data on my memory stick.

RE: Stop Complaining, Its Still Free!!!
LC @ 3/29/2002 2:56:36 PM #
I agree with above. I would gladly pay for it, just as I gladly paid for Vindigo 2.0. These two progs may not be essential to anyone but they sure make life easier.

I look at it like shareware, try it, if you need something for just a one shot deal, use it and uninstall it, but if you derive significant use from it then pay the fee and be happy that you are doing something 1) To reward the people who came up with the idea AND brought it to market, and 2) to ensure that the product is still a viable venture for these people.

Now as to using other progs. I find that everyone that I have recommended avantgo and vindigo to don't have trouble using them even if they are newbies, that counts a _lot_ in making a product useful to me, if people see me using it and I tell them what it is, I DONT want 20 calls on "Why can't I get this to work"

Anyway, hurray that they changed their minds on the channels, I used it to keep some friends updated on some events and switching them to Isilo was going to be a pain!

RE: Stop Complaining, Its Still Free!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 5:44:31 PM #
yeah - i also would rather pay for quality content than seeing content providers to stop publishing with avantgo.
this is the only newspaper i need:
avantgo gives me german news (spiegel, financial times deutschland); wired; i check my stocks with it; i also made a custom-channel using webcams to check the weather in my hometown and have a european weathersatelite image delivered to my handheld.
i would pay 50$ a year to keep avantgo going.

check my custom-portal with webcams:

RE: Stop Complaining, Its Still Free!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/28/2002 6:50:20 AM #
I too would pay for it - a yearly subscription like Vindigo would make sense. I would sooner pay for Avantgo then Vindigo, and I'm already a subscriber there!

AvantGo vs Plucker

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 11:27:18 AM #
What does AvantGo do that Plucker doesn't?

RE: AvantGo vs Plucker
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 11:49:53 AM #
Well, online browsing would be the first thing that comes to mind.

RE: AvantGo vs Plucker
kaosfury @ 3/29/2002 11:50:53 AM #
Forms. I use an Avantgo channel to update my Livejournal. Plucker can't handle that.

Karl Browning
RE: AvantGo vs Plucker
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 1:56:51 PM #
Not true. You can accomplish the same with Plucker.

[From Help File]
5.1 POST Requests
Plucker can send POST requests to a host, just like an HTML form does. It will store the resulting page in the document. ...

POST requests take this form:



RE: AvantGo vs Plucker
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 3:13:11 PM #
Can someone list the URL for Plucker? I want to try it out. THX

RE: AvantGo vs Plucker
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 3:42:14 PM #
Don't forget about HandStory 2, which can also download sites to your palm.


RE: AvantGo vs Plucker
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 4:59:21 PM #
Somone asked for Plucker URL:


RE: AvantGo vs Plucker
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/30/2002 8:25:30 PM #
I prefer Plucker myself as it has many more feaures. But Avantgo does have one really important one that Plucker is missing: tables.

Plucker converts tables to a text format, which in many cases make the information difficult if not impossible to read. Avantgo has a tag for enabling handheld friendly tables while also disabling normal HTML tables (which are often too large for a PDA's resolution).

Also, Plucker doesn't have jog-dial support (it works, but only scrolls one pixel at a time, making it useless).

Too Late

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 12:04:56 PM #
I removed AvantGo when they started this nonsense, and you know what? I realized that I didn't use it anyway! I don't miss it!

It freed 500k on my Palm, I'm not putting it back.

RE: Too Late
skytraveler @ 3/29/2002 1:12:55 PM #
I also removed mine when I needed space on my Palm. I also found out I didn't use it that often.

The SkyTraveler
RE: Too Late
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 3:36:21 PM #
I also removed avantgo from my Palm. I'm not going to install it back, I use Isilo for everything I used to have Avantgo for and more..

RE: Too Late
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/30/2002 11:07:30 AM #
I deleted AvantGo off my Palm to free up space TEMPORARILY, but then it never got installed back on. I like having the extra space a lot more than I like having AvantGo on my Palm.

Avantgo v.s. iSilo

james_sorenson @ 3/29/2002 12:22:43 PM #
I use to love Avantgo. Each morning, I'd sync my Visor, then I'd read my news on the train. Then Avantgo removed my custom channels. Fine. Let's try out that web-feature in iSilo I never got around to setting up. You know something? iSilo provides much better customization of websites (how it handles tables, graphic sizes, link-depth, etc). Now each morning, I tell iSilo to update, then I sync. Same news (a little better formatted, even), and I don't have to clear space for both a doc-reader AND a web-news reader. (As for online browsing, I use the far-superior, Blazer, anyway). Sorry, Avantgo, but I've realized that you are not the only game in town. I might as well tip my hat to Plucker, too. It's not quite as nice as iSilo, but you sure can't beat the price!

James Sorenson
RE: Avantgo v.s. iSilo
big_raji @ 3/29/2002 3:38:44 PM #
Does iSilo have an auto-update feature?

If you sing in french while hopping on one foot, the evil birds won't come out of your bathroom mirror.

RE: Avantgo v.s. iSilo
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 4:02:49 PM #
if you got your computer connected to the internet (and on) overnight, you can schedule the update at 6:00am or something like that......
this could speed up your hotsync process as you have your channel pre-converted at the time you perform the hotsync operation....

RE: Avantgo v.s. Handstory
eke @ 3/29/2002 4:15:51 PM #
I installed Handstory 2.0 and ten minutes later happily uninstalled AvantGo. The way Handstory handles getting Internet content into my handheld is much more efficient.

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