Today I got an email titled ‘Your Manuscript Account Balance’ which said:
Your Manuscript account is now in arrears in the amount of $31.25. Use this link to specify a credit card for your account and we will use it to settle your balance: https://****.fogbugz.com/default.asp?pg=pgEditCC You can prepay for a year in advance using a check, corporate purchase order, or credit card: https://shop.fogbugz.com/FogBugz/?sCategory=prepayfb&nUsers=0&ixOrderCoveredBySupport=***** Thank you, FogBugz Customer Success firstname.lastname@example.org
Fogbugz was an online bugtracker developed by the much respected Fog Creek Software. They sold it some years ago when their company headed off into the stratosphere (Stackoverflow, Trello etc). I think I might have had a free Fogbugz account 10+ years ago. I asked around on Twitter and quite a few people seem to have got the exact same email. It appears that:
- The venerable FogBugz application was recently sold on to https://ignitetech.com and they appear to be trying to demand money from anyone who ever used FogBugz. Which is likely to be thousands of people.
- IgniteTech describe themselves as “Where software goes to live”, but “Where software goes to die” might be a better description.
- FogBugz was renamed to ‘Manuscript’ at some point.
I tried replying to the email, telling them in no uncertain terms that they weren’t going to get a penny from me. This is the reply I got:
Hi, In an effort to provide a better experience to our existing customers, we are consolidating our email support channel into our Help-Center. In case you need technical support for FogBugz you will be able to submit a case from our 'FogBugz Support Page'. Replies made to this mailbox are routed to an unmonitored mailbox. Please do not reply to this message. Thanks, FogBugz Support Team
It is sad to see someone using dark business practices to try to wring a few pennies from the corpse of a once much-respected product. Does Joel Spolsky know? I don’t think he’d be impressed.
** Update 24-Sep-2022 **
I got this email late on the 22nd:
Dear FogBugz User, Mea culpa — sincerely. We’ve become well aware of the maelstrom of concern and comments caused by a series of emails that some of you received, but to explain, we were just as surprised as you when multiple emails were sent. Our original and only intended email, which was controlled by humans, was to inform you that the “free,” non-expiring version of FogBugz is being phased out on October 17, 2022. Additionally, we wanted to offer you the option to continue using FogBugz by updating your account to a paid subscription. This was the entire, planned effort. However, once we updated the accounts that had been identified as free and non-expiring in the internal FogBugz accounting system, the software automatically generated a form email, notifying you that we had summarily converted you to a paid account, and worse, actually triggering collection/dunning notices to some. This was unintended and is not accurate. Yes, we’ve owned the software for some time and should know all of the nooks and crannies by now. We don’t know if this was a nook or a cranny, but it decided to act on its own. Truth. It’s embarrassing, and we’d react the same way as many of you have. So this email is to set the record straight. We do not automatically charge any customer for usage of the software unless a subscription has been expressly elected, despite what the erroneous auto-email stated. Here’s what you need to know: All free subscriptions for FogBugz will expire on Oct. 17, 2022. If your FogBugz subscription has already expired, and you do not want to continue using FogBugz, you don’t need to take any further action. Your data will be deleted from the system; you will not be billed and you will receive no further emails from either the nook or the cranny. If you were erroneously charged because your free account still had your credit card on file (e.g. some users were on paid accounts and had downgraded), we will ensure that you are promptly refunded. Please use the email email@example.com if you have not seen the refund already posted. Despite this mishap, we hope the benefits of the software will encourage you to continue. If your FogBugz free-account subscription is currently active, and you would like to continue as a subscriber, please authorize your paid subscription by following these instructions. Please note: When you upgrade, your account will qualify for 50% off any subscription tier. If you need any assistance while upgrading, please contact us at support.fogbugz.com. We sincerely apologize for the confusion that was caused and are working hard behind the scenes to resolve all issues related to this action. Sincerely, The (humbled) FogBugz Team
So Fogbugz became sentient and started demanding money? And this first happened at least a week ago, but the new owners didn’t notice and a whole load of emails went out days later (including the one I got several days after the first post on HN)? Hmm.