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AvantGo weeds out custom channel ‘abuse’

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Avantgo, the PDA content provider, is to start charging for custom channels with more than eight subscribers, in a move to stamp out business use.

The change in Ts&Cs takes place tomorrow, February 20, and is expected to affect thousands of businesses.

John Stoneman, of Avantgo EMEA, said that many companies had registered custom channels specifically "as a way of avoiding having to pay for registering full channels," In their numbers were several big businesses which were using custom channels to "mobilise their own internal employees".

Custom channel charges for eight users and below remain free. From nine to 100 users, annual charges are set at $1,000 a year; 101-500 users $4,000; 501-1000 -$6,000.

For full channels, Avantgo charges $5,000 for up to 10,000 users. The next price break is $10,000 for up to 25,000 users.

Avantgo says it decided not to sue abusers as it has "no intention of antagonising customers".

But what about antagonising users? Capping readers for each custom channels at eight seems generous: tomorrow thousands of Avantgo subscribers will see links to their custom channels break. Avantgo advises users to email custom channels, asking them to provide a full subscriber service, but if the content providers don't play ball, the service becomes somewhat less necessary.

Pocket PC Thoughts, a forum site which estimates that it has 8,000 subscribers to its Avantgo channel, says it will no longer offer Avantgo, as the fees are too high. It recommends instead Mazingo. "Despite it's quirks and rough edges, Mazingo is the best solution for getting this site onto your device," it says. ®

Related links

Avantgo announcement
PocketPC Thoughts: Avantgo custom channels shutting down

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