Cloudmark's plans to charge create row

Cloudmark, makers of a hot anti-spam product have announced that they are finally starting to charge a monthly fee for their service.

Normally, this wouldn't be an issue, especially as a product goes from beta to final release. However, testers and the media claim (as in this article from CNET) that the company had claimed that beta testers (at the least) would receive a free ride when the product goes GM.

The company claims this isn't the case, but CNET claims they were told in an interview last year that the consumer product would always be free and that the enterprise product (released last year as Authority) would be where they made their money.

Adding to the complaints is the feeling from the testers that they have contributed significantly to the database of spam that is used as the basis for SpamNet's anti-spam rules.

In part, the latter claim is reminiscent of the complaints around the takeover of the internet-wide CDDB (an information database of CD names and tracks) that was created using the sweat from thousands of participating users in the late 1990's. In that case, a private company bought what was perceived to be a public database from the guys who created it. The company (later named GraceNote) has seen become successful in licensing the annotated and expanded database under a draconian license agreement that requires that customers use no other services for deteriming CD information.