Very often readers ask me for advice about starting an online business — when I started in 1994, there wasn’t anyone to ask, and I’ve learned a lot in the nearly 15 years since. Obviously one can learn some things by watching what I do, but there are others who are in the business of teaching such things, and that’s faster (and more generic).

The problem is, a lot of those in the business are fly-by-night know-nothings who will gladly take a lot of money from you, and may or may not deliver actual value for your investment.

My Own Go-To Guy

One of the guys I’ve known for many years really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to online biz. Well, “know him” isn’t really accurate: he’s an actual friend. We’ve gotten together “in real life” many times. Talked for hours over beers. My last phone call with him lasted about two hours. So I really know Paul Myers.

He used to be a very high-priced copywriter for heavy-hitting marketing types like Jay Abraham (yeah: Jay hires professional writers for those big pitch letters he sends out). Paul’s mostly retired from that now, and is concentrating on his own email newsletter that teaches best practices in online marketing.

His lessons pretty much apply whether you’re wanting to do an email newsletter like me, an e-commerce site, affiliate sales, whatever. And because he cut his teeth as a very successful writer, his stuff makes for very good reading.

I particularly like his rants at the stupid things people do in trying to make money online. I’m not sure if I influenced him, or if he influenced me, or if it’s just that we both delight in the simple joy of taking stupidity apart to show others How It’s Not Done (whatever “it” may be).

The bottom line: you don’t just learn stuff, it’s a fun read, too.

The Best Things in Life Are Free

The best part: he doesn’t charge big bucks: his newsletter is free. He makes money by finding the best products that his readers might be able to use, and offers them for reasonable prices. And, of course, if you try his newsletter out and decide it’s not for you, it’s easy to unsubscribe.

Paul recently added something cool for everyone that signs up for his newsletter: a book that distills what you “Need to Know” to start an online business. The value to someone just starting out is staggering; I even learned a few things from it, and I’ve been doing this gig since the Internet’s Dark Ages. As soon as you sign up, you get a link to download it as a PDF file — for free. Had I been smart in 1994, I would have paid $5,000 for it. Only it didn’t exist then….

Obviously, it’s also valuable to anyone who already has an online biz. The book and newsletter together? They’ll increase your odds of actually being successful online many, many fold. All for free. Tell him Randy sent you: Talkbiz News.

What Sort of Rant?

What prompted my recommendation, which I wrote on Monday for the Premium subscribers, was a great screed Paul published on Monday.

Since you won’t get it if you subscribe to the newsletter now (since it already ran!), Paul gave me permission to publish it here for you, as a sort of sample.

It is a rant, but it has a real business lesson in it. See, Paul likes to make his readers think too! It’s lengthy, but I think it’s worth it.

So with that, I host my blog’s first Guest Post.

“TANSTAAFL, baby.”

by Paul Myers, Talkbiz News

“I hate these email opt-ins”

That is what someone just filled in as their name when signing up for this newsletter. The intent is obvious. They wanted the book they get as an incentive to subscribe, but they didn’t want the newsletter itself.

That’s fine. Hundreds of people have signed up, gotten the freebie, and unsubscribed, just in the past two weeks alone. No surprise there. It’s a known part of the business. It’s part of the cost of finding people who are serious about getting more out of life.

Besides, you never really know why any one of those people in particular chose to do that, unless they tell you. Some may have legitimate reasons.

This guy was different.

This guy told me.


Why should I ask you to spend time reading about this guy?

You’re going to run into him – a lot – as you develop your business online. You need to know how to recognize him, and how to handle him. Otherwise, he will suck time and resources from you that would be better spent doing something productive.

Like watering your driveway, or mowing the dog.

If you haven’t been at this online thing for more than a couple of years, you want to read this. Seriously. Even if you’ve been at it a long time, there’s a chance you’ll find some explanations in it that will help.

So, bear with me. There really is a point to this.


Remember: The name field in the form is clearly marked as optional. If he didn’t want to give his first name, he could have just left it out, or used a fake one. (“Herman Munster” gets this newsletter, and has for years. I’m cool with that.)

This guy was delivering a message. The message wasn’t that he objected to the price, since he paid it, at least for a while.

The message was that he objected to the existence of a price.

The absolute ultimate in scarcity thinking. Not to mention that he outsmarted himself.

In his case, I doubt that takes much.


He’s a sneaky one, this guy.

One person like him wouldn’t really be noteworthy. Certainly not worth an editorial rant.

What’s interesting is that he’s just being explicit about something that a lot of people in this business say in less obvious ways. He’s unhappy about having to “pay” for something, and his unhappiness is somehow the fault of someone else. They’re “bad” for not making him effortlessly happy.

He didn’t “pay” and then decide it wasn’t worth the price. That’s an entirely different issue, and often a legitimate one. He complained because the price existed at all.

I see people on the forums, regularly, whining and griping about having to sign up for a list, or pay actual cash money, or spend time or effort, or whatever… To get something they want.

Their reality checks have bounced.


There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.


Nothing is free.

I give you this newsletter without a financial cost, but that doesn’t mean it’s “free.” You have to spend time to read it. You have to think about the contents and how they fit with your personal goals. And you have to apply what you get from it in your business and your life.

That’s your cost.

You get something from that investment. Real improvements in your profits and lifestyle, more time for the things that matter to you, and the occasional tidbit that applies to more than just business.

Hopefully, those will all be significant returns on your effort.

My investment is the time and experience to learn the things I give you, the effort that goes into writing them, and the financial cost of the servers and miscellaneous software I use to send the emails out and deliver products.

What do I get out of it?

I try to make sure I offer paid products that will actually help you in your business. Some of you will see occasional offers as being good investments and buy them. That pays some bills.

Plus, I enjoy what I do, which pays in other ways.

Some people don’t have the money for the products yet, but the information in the newsletter helps them to move forward. Those people get to learn without spending cash, but they still have to put in the effort, or it’s a waste of time.

That’s why I like email publishing, by the way. The more advanced people get the tools to get ahead even faster, and they help make it possible for guys like me to give the information to those who are not as far along in their situations yet.

It democratizes the growth process. It lets everyone get what they need as a base, from which they can earn more, do more, and be more.

Hopefully, everyone who puts something in gets a lot more out.

That works for me.


That is, by the way, where these guys outsmart themselves.

Many of them just do it to feel like they got something over on someone. A few will grab and run, read the book, and feel a little smarter. Almost none of them will do the work of thinking that “Need to Know” requires.

Better than 90% of them will probably never read it.

Plus, they miss the other free stuff.

For instance, for those of you who signed up since the last issue and those who missed it… The 42-page report on creating an effective sales process for an online business.

It’s called, “Why Johnny Can’t Sell.” You can get that here:

Why Johnny Can’t Sell [link removed: no longer available]

That’s good stuff. When you’re done here, go read it.


Back to the Entitlement Kid.

When I mentioned this on a forum, a few people equated this guy with pirates and spammers. That’s a serious mistake.

Yes, there are sometimes overlapping attitudes among the three groups. This guy, though, genuinely believes that complete strangers are somehow responsible for providing him with effortless success and happiness. He believes that anyone who doesn’t give it to him – free, now and perfect – is actively preventing him from being a fulfilled person.

He doesn’t understand the value of your experience, skill and knowledge because he doesn’t have any of his own to compare it with.

He doesn’t value your time because he doesn’t do anything worthwhile with his.

If you don’t give this clown what he wants, he may just wander off in a self-pitying sulk. He may also start to scream and whine, accuse and malign, and generally act like he’s been abused and victimized.

He may even get self-righteous about his ridiculous demands and foolish expectations.

That’s when this guy, who should be renting space from a woodchuck, rears his head and starts to act like he’s conquered the moral high ground.

He’ll prattle on at length, with warm-and-fuzzy sounding slogans and “humanitarian” cliches, in an effort to make the evil people who make him unhappy feel some guilt over their “greed.” If you don’t know what he’s really after, you might even be tempted to feel some sympathy for his position.

He wants you to feel responsible for making him happy.

Don’t bother. This guy is incapable of more than thin, momentary pleasure. Real happiness is beyond him.

The closest he gets to happy is when he’s tearing someone else down.


It makes him feel powerful, which lets him think he’s competent, for just that little while. But then he sees that you’ve survived and are back to building something valuable, and that there are too many people in the world who enjoy life for him to tear them all down.

Most of them give up on a given target after a while. Some get obsessed, and become the virtual equivalent of stalkers. Some hide behind the game of serial-refunder.

Some find more clever ways of masquerading their real motives. They become “scam reporters” and “guru killers.”

Starting to see how this relates to you?

Do any of these guys look familiar?


One of the most common ways to spot these people is to look for any quote or comment that sounds like, “Information wants to be free.” It sounds profound, and most people don’t know how to argue the point.

They don’t know that what he’s saying is only part of the original context, and was stated by Steven Brand at a hacker’s conference some 25 years ago. Here’s the full quote:

“On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.”

Very different meaning than these intellectually destitute frauds would have you believe.

The tension Brand refers to, by the way, is visible in the process I call commoditization of knowledge. I’ve mentioned it here before, so I won’t get into that again right now.

Understand that Brand doesn’t mean the word “want” literally in his presentation. He’s using it as shorthand for a natural social tendency of valuation.

Despite what the Entitlement Kid believes, information has no desires, any more than his socks do.


When these guys complain, they’re not just venting. They’re actively trying to put pressure on people, and get others to give them some degree of moral sanction.

Do not do it.

Give them nothing.

Unless you’ve got a high tolerance for bull droppings, and a well-developed ability to dismantle spurious logic, just ignore them.

Surprisingly, that is your best defense against these leeches. Don’t ignore them in the sense of not responding. Ignore them in the way that says, “You do not exist, so you have no power in my world.”

If you can’t do that, laugh at them. Or, for fun, do both.

I didn’t bother wasting any time replying to this guy. I just got a chuckle at the idea that he thought he was accomplishing something. That his message was somehow going to convince me of some unstated belief, or annoy me, or whatever.

He’s powerful and clever in his fantasy world. I’m happy to let him play there.

Pleasant dreams, Kid.


There will be times when these ‘people’ will forcibly intrude on your existence. They just don’t always have the brains needed to keep their mouths shut, and they have to announce their idiocy to the world.

This is a small percentage of any group. There are some of them reading this email right now. Some others will have it shoved in their faces in the form of forwards or other reprinting.

This next part is addressed to these tiny creatures.


To every person out there who thinks about price and ignores value, I have some advice:

If you don’t want it bad enough to pay the asked price, or if you just can’t afford it… Learn to do without.

If you’re not willing to put in the effort and investment to have a business of your own… Get a job. Or starve.

If you’re not willing to invest the attention required for healthy relationships… Be alone.

If you’re unwilling to research, read and think to improve your understanding… Remain ignorant.

Those are all valid choices.

Just don’t whine at the rest of us because you don’t have what you’re unwilling to earn.


We don’t owe you a thing.

(©2009 Talkbiz News, Inc., from the 6 April 2009 issue, reprinted with permission.)

Paul’s newsletter is highly recommended. See Talkbiz News and subscribe for free.

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This page is an example of Randy Cassingham’s style of “Thought-Provoking Entertainment”. His This is True is an email newsletter that uses “weird news” as a vehicle to explore the human condition in an entertaining way. If that sounds good, click here to open a subscribe form.

To really support This is True, you’re invited to sign up for a subscription to the much-expanded “Premium” edition:

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Q: Why would I want to pay more than the regular rate?

A: To support the publication to help it thrive and stay online: this kind of support means less future need for price increases (and smaller increases when they do happen), which enables more people to upgrade. This option was requested by existing Premium subscribers.

19 Comments on “TANSTAAFL, Baby

  1. “If you don’t want it bad enough to pay the asked price, or if you just can’t afford it… Learn to do without.”

    That needs to be posted at the top of every CraigsList “Wanted” page and in the Freecycle “Wanted” instructions.

  2. Wow!! Mr. Myers just slapped me silly via cyberspace. This should be required reading for all the spoiled ‘babies’ of the family (myself included), or anyone who believes they are owed something for nothing. Thank you for passing this on Mr. Cassingham because its well worth the short time it took to read not just once, but many times.

  3. Sometimes the “Wanted” on Craigslist are items that I might want, but haven’t found listed for sale. I am willing to pay for them, just want someone to know I am looking for a certain item. As for Freecycle, the group was designed for finding homes for good stuff that might otherwise be thrown away. Just because someone posts a wanted ad on FreeCycle, doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t willing to pay for the item. Stop generalizing, it doesn’t become you.

    You know Phil in Texas, Tom? Because it’s quite clear that I didn’t write that! So please be sure you address your comments to the person who did. Thanks. -rc


    How many realize where that came from? The saying – it means: “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch” – as far as I know first appeared in the novel “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress”, by Robert Heinlein. However it got started, though, it’s as true now as it was then – and is probably the best one-word life-instruction anyone could give – or get. EVERYTHING has a cost associated with it. Speaking of which – I wish I could afford the Premium “This Is True”… but it’s a luxury I can do without, for now; while I do have a few non-essentials that I’m paying for… I need to trim a couple of items (read pay them off..) before budgeting any more “extras” – because there really ain’t no such thing as a free lunch – TANSTAAFL!

  5. I found the article right on target, even though Tom is correct to advise against generalizing. Thanks for posting it, and for recommending Talkbiz News.

  6. I was struck by how closely Paul Myers’ article describes the shenanigans of those who seem to be supporting the political excesses of the ones in Washington, D.C. today although I don’t feel he was attempting a political statement in any way. Bravo!!

  7. Great post! I wish to comment on what is probably intended as a minor point, but hits close to home:

    “…He’ll prattle on at length, with warm-and-fuzzy sounding slogans and “humanitarian” cliches…”

    As a bleeding-heart, fuzzy-headed, total and happy liberal humanitarian, I suffer near-terminal embarrassment at people who don’t need something-for-nothing but use warm-and-fuzzy slogans to demand something-for-nothing.

    I’m not talking about people genuinely in need; the world has plenty of real problems and real people with problems; but most people with problems are happy to do what they can (however small), and to take only what they must ( which is sometimes a lot.)

    But it’s just a fact that there are those who use humanitarian slogans for personal profit; this is analogous to the North American Cowbird; although physically capable of building its own nest, the cowbird lays its eggs only in the nests of others, often displacing their host’s young. Human cowbirds, although capable of fending for themselves or at least chipping in their share, parasitize resources intended for persons actually in need and use the many genuine cases of need as cover for their parasitism.

    Fortunately, on the internet, ignoring them is an efficient anti-parasite defense. An alternative may be demanding SOMEthing in exchange, however tiny, to demonstrate bona fide interest, e.g. subscribing to your email newsletter so your advertising is just a little bit more valuable.

    I wish it were so easy to figure things out in physical reality, but what the heck, it’s an imperfect world … it just galls me to have cowbirds misappropriate humanitarian talk. Thanks for enduring my rant (…which, being on the internet, can easily be ignored… everybody wins! 😉

  8. I am a successful entrepreneur. I am not a whiner or a clown. And you know what? I hate email opt-ins, too. Not because I object to paying (in time or money) for things of value; I do that all the time. But because the vast majority of sites which want me to opt in to something are actually scammers themselves.

    Randy has vouched for Mr. Myers, so I will assume he’s the real deal. But he seems willing to pile an awful lot on the back of someone based on a single anonymous complaint. Perhaps he’s earnest, but has just been burned more than once. He wouldn’t be the only one.

    Now, I know the point of the article is that there are people out there who expect something for nothing, and they will be a drain on your business if you waste time on them. This is a good lesson. But, I spent the whole article thinking “I hate opt-ins, and this isn’t me. The guy saying this is pretty judgemental.” Enough so to make me bother to write this.

    One such complaint doesn’t create a rant; the provocateur is simply a launching pad for the type. I get them too — people who put in “fuck you” where it asks, “(Optional) Where did you hear of us?” Note it even says “Optional”, yet they take the time and opportunity to be a jerk.

    The bottom line is, there’s a stated price for a stated benefit. That’s the deal. One either chooses to accept it or not. If you don’t want to register at Yet Another Web Site, I understand and support the decision. But to *whine* about the stated price is indeed worthy of derision. -rc

  9. “I was struck by how closely Paul Myers’ article describes the shenanigans of those who seem to be supporting the political excesses of the ones in Washington, D.C.”

    You have it exactly backwards. It is those who want all the benefits of society but don’t want to contribute their fair share to the kitty who are leeches. And they will be the first ones to subscribe to government benefits, or go to court, if they ever suffer misfortune. Compare them to someone like Warren Buffet, who not only gives huge amounts to charity but favors a high inheritance tax and progressive taxation and complains that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.There’s a man who understands just how much of his well being is due to a well regulated society, an educated man who knows that the nations with the highest quality of living have the highest top tax rates, a man who understands the meaning of the word “civilization”.

  10. I’d like to add to what Jay says, with a minor correction. The higher tax rates of other developed countries are not, in fact, higher than those in the U.S. The difference is between direct and indirect taxation. In fact, in the U.S., we pay MORE for healthcare, MORE for education, MORE for infrastructure, MORE for electoral processes than ANY other developed nation, AND WE RECEIVE FAR LESS (e.g., worse healthcare outcomes except in the highest 5% income bracket). BUT, we pay in taxes AND privately. If one adds the per capita or per household or per family (any of those calculations will do) costs in the U.S. for healthcare, education and government, we pay MORE than everyone else, not LESS. I, too, agree with Warren Buffet.

  11. Randy mentioned that there were some replies here I might find interesting. He was right. All of them are, which doesn’t surprise me. I’ve found True readers tend to be among the more thoughtful groups I’ve encountered online.

    A few comments…

    Ted – Nope. I don’t discuss my political views in the newsletter. That’s not what people sign on for. I did a series on the marketing lessons to be had from observing political campaigns and, despite it topping out at 35 pages, there wasn’t a clue in it about my preferred candidate. And, as Randy knows, I had a very strong preference.

    I try to make people think, but it’s not my job (or desire) to control where that ends up taking them.

    Leonard – You may have some habits in common with The Kid, but you’re not him. That person wouldn’t have responded the way you did here.

    Marc – Yes, I am very judgemental. So are you. So are we all.

    Making judgements is something we have to do to operate effectively in the world. The trick is to try not to judge beyond your reasonable odds of accuracy, and to avoid harming people where you might be wrong.

    I didn’t name the guy, or give his email address. Other than some private embarrassment, my comments could not possibly have done him, or anyone else, any harm.

    Consider: The vast majority of the people who went to that subscription page got there because someone recommended that they sign up for the newsletter and get the book. They knew what they were going to be asked before they ever clicked the link. I’ve just re-read the email to which this gentleman was responding, and he is no exception. He knew the price before he went to the page.

    He also knew the way this works. The book is “free,” in the sense of not having a monetary price tag attached. If he’s not willing to pay the price in effort of reading, he shouldn’t bother in the first place.

    There’s a working unsubscribe link in the email which contains the download URL. Based on the source of the referral, this guy could easily have been sure that would be the case, as he’d know that my list host – Aweber – always includes that, and it always works.

    Hundreds of people have signed up, gotten the book, and immediately unsubscribed. No big deal. I didn’t slam those people, since some of them probably had legitimate reasons for their choices.

    I don’t hold people hostage.

    Given those circumstances, I suspect that you’d have simply decided whether you were willing to pay the asked price and, if so, for how long, and then taken action based on that decision.

    This man was delivering a message. I rejected it, and the thinking behind it.

    Your objection to the way some people use the data collected through opt-in forms is entirely valid. I’ve gone off on more than a few tirades about such abuses myself. It seems to me that you hate the risk you associate with the form, rather than the fact of having to use it to get something you want. That’s a very different objection than the one voiced by The Kid.

    That rant served a useful purpose and accomplished the desired end, without directly or unjustly harming anyone. I’ll take that outcome any day of the week.

    Tom – The phrase actually pre-dates Heinlein’s book, but that’s where I first encountered it, too.

    rewinn – That was one of the more important parts of the piece, and you’re the only person to comment on it so far, anywhere.

    Fear not. Liberals are hardly the sole purveyors of warm and fuzzy, humanitarian sounding stupidities. Nor are such things the bulk of their – or any other – serious political philosophy.

    One of the things that disturbs me most about modern society is that we’ve gotten so addled by the constant demands on our attention that we’ve become easily, and often cheerfully, polarized. Showing respect for an honest and intelligent disagreement seems to have been lost as a requirement for being taken seriously.

  12. @Tom:

    There are folks who post “Wanted” ads on CL like this:

    “Wanted, iPhone, new in box preferred, only willing to pay $100”

    Or folks who post the same on Freecycle but wanting a brand new item for nothing.

    I have nothing against either of these systems. I have contributed to FC as well as received, and I watch the wanted posts on CL to see if I might have something Someone else is needing. It just rips me that there are people who “need” brand new and/or high dollar items but are not willing to pay the price. Sure, you might have a student who needs a laptop to get through school, but not a Dell Adamo!

  13. Hey, this guy has a nice idea. I think the next time I subscribe to something, I’ll use the name “Will switch to RSS feed”. (Unless they don’t _have_ an RSS feed, in which case that’s not really an appropriate way to ask them to add one.) Or maybe I’ll use the name “Lord Delpus” just so he has a laugh.

  14. A minor correction for David in Los Angeles. Without dwelling on the creative valuation of monies issued by central banks in Europe or here and, thus, the relative costs of health care, education or other services or questioning the intelligence of supporting a system that has governmental taxation at the core of these services, I would just like to point out one thing that David overlooked. The United States pays for the largest military in the world. We provide defensive and offensive capabilities for most of the world’s people. All those wonderful services or benefits that Europeans or other peoples have the luxury to provide to their citizens comes at a price that we Americans pay by taking off from them both the necessary burden of realistic self defense and the imposition of offensive military expenditures by aggressive and expansionistic leaders like those they had to fund in the past. The last time America enjoyed an abundance of wealth and general prosperity was prior to the first world war, prior to that century when we began to shoulder the burdens and expenses of other people who did not, have not and will not ever pay taxes to us to cover those costs. Even so we carried them for a century. The answer is not to emulate people who have only been able to provide basic education or medical care when the serious costs were paid by someone else, but to stop paying them to be safe and free and bring our military and our treasury back home where it will once more be more than enough to go around for the people who actually pay to provide for services.

  15. Hmm, Randy… In response to “Marc, MA” on April 11, you explained that some people put in “fuck you” where it asks, “(Optional) Where did you hear of us?” There are situations in life where rude talk is entirely appropriate; this, of course, is not one of them.

    If this is done when people sign up for the newsletter, I hope what happens is this: go ahead and add them to the mailing list, but use “fuck you” as the plaintext name. At the bottom of their copy of TRUE it would say,
      This copy sent to: Fuck you [Yourname@yourISP.com]

    My guess is that this is NOT what happens… but it would be poetic justice! If anybody ever asked why your newsletter includes those words, you could explain, “somehow that’s what was automatically processed; perhaps you typed that as your name when you signed up?”

    It is actually fairly typical to include the person’s name (when they enter it) in such situations, but I don’t do that, as you may have noticed. Even if I did, though, it still wouldn’t show: they put such messages in the block “(Optional) Where did you hear about us?”, which of course is a different matter entirely. But yes, it’s an amusing thought! -rc

  16. Thank you for posting this. I just got into this very subject with another blogger who was upset that a free service was turning to paid advertising for support. Silly me to assume that all bloggers are mature people who can gracefully handle a commenter having a differing opinion. This blogger, when confronted with the concept of TANSTAAFL, chose to lash out and call me some pretty nasty names, all without being able to intelligently dispute a single one of my points. I know I shouldn’t let such things get to me, but I have not been able to put it out of my head for days. I think now that I’ve read this, maybe I’ll start to feel better.

    And from now on I will only comment with differing opinions on blogs where I know the writer is intelligent enough to debate cleanly and maturely. :-\

    Hey! I resemble that remark! You …you …you… you THINKER, you! Sorry, but that just had to be said. -rc

  17. I read the whole article, looked up the definition of “email opt-in”, and still can’t understand what is wrong with the guy. Is he so desperate for something free that he must participate in something that he “hates”? If so, what a miserable human being.

    I think you hit the nail right on the head, Charlie. -rc

  18. What a coincidence that I just ran into the guy he is describing last week (I really wish they would stop making that guy)! I provide a free shopping cart internet application on my website for which I receive dozens of compliments a week and thank-you notes for putting in the time to make it available. The application has about 6 years of work into it, and, as with anything, it’s not perfect and maybe never will be– it won’t fit the needs of everyone. I am constantly working to improve on it and add to it, and most people that download it understand that and appreciate it. While I give it away free, I do not provide free support. So if someone wants support they have to pay for a license, which is reasonably priced, or they can sign up for low-cost hosting. Basically, I leave it up to the community to provide financial support for the continued development of the software and leave it open for other programmers to contribute to it.

    This guy never bought a license, and he didn’t sign up for hosting either. I never heard anything out of the guy and didn’t even know he existed…until last week. I was reading a post on another forum and saw someone asking about my software. This guy decided that he was so unsatisfied with the free software, so upset by the fact that he had to put some effort into making it work for his needs, and so unhappy that it took a few days for another user to respond to him on a free forum the community provides, that he just had to rant about it. He told everyone who read his rant they should avoid my software at all costs, basically because he had to spend a few months of his time getting it up to his standards. Worse yet, this leech never bothered to share his changes/improvements with the community. All the community got in return for him downloading the software was a public display of his idiocy.

    As I read this I laughed as Paul described this guy to the letter. I am definitely subscribing to this newsletter right now! Thanks Randy for sharing! 🙂

    You’re most welcome. And I appreciate that you simply wanted to share the story, rather than use it as a vehicle to link to your cart. So I will: CF Shopkart. -rc

  19. They are everywhere sadly.

    I am not in business, online or off, having come to this link thru Randy’s This is True site but I still recognized your idiot as some of my idiots.

    In my off time I have taken part in and run online RPG and story telling sites (since late 90s). Basically the site Owner or assigned storytellers set up scenarios and the players create personas from imagination (when we’re lucky) or from books (not too bad) and movies (ummm right) to react to them. Its Grown-up cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, lets pretend. No problem, I LOVE to write, to create fun events for the various groups to go thru. I however have serious medical conditions which means I sometimes have to take a day, -occasionally- more than one day, off. I am VERY up front about this happening, and no one has to post replies with me I always have an assistant storyteller doing a different story line so no on has to be waiting on me. I try to make up for it with descriptive posts, 500+ words most of the time, after all when not in so much pain that only morphine will handle it I adore writing, finding the right word for the right mood, and happily find most people enjoy writing with me.

    Have you guessed the punch line yet?

    Not only does that idiot you mentioned have the nerve to bitch that I haven’t answered in a ‘reasonable’ amount of time (one, lets call her a female, not my first word choice, had the nerve to complain TWO HOURS after she answered me) but they are almost always the ones who themselves hold up the entire storyline for days, then they post ‘two liners’; at its worse literally a sentence, double return and a second sentence which THEY call two paragraphs.

    I’ve even had lookie-lous (there to read not role play) have the gall to complain, their mistake. NOW I banned anyone who hasn’t joined a story line within a week of joining the group; luckily I am not in business, and been around since late 90s in gaming community so my rep is fairly safe, and, thankfully, complaints outside the community aren’t something I need to worry about like the business community.

    There will always be people who think ‘free lunch’ is their inalienable right. And maybe its only my age and looming ‘grouchy old lady’ years, but it seems like there are far more of them than when I was growing up.


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