Does An Environmental Bully Software Licence Make Sense?

CarbonFootprint.jpg Reader Sovanna called my attention to the rather unusual licensing requirements for thesaurus and dictionary program Word Web You can use the program for free, provided that you "take at most two commercial flights (not more than one return flight) in any 12 month period". Otherwise, you have to pay up $39 for the Pro version after a 30-day trial. While it's nice to try and encourage everyone to reduce their carbon emissions, this seems to me a pretty ham-fisted way of going about it. For one thing, it makes no allowance for the fact that flying once a year is hardly the definition of excessive travel, especially in a large country like Australia (or the US, come to that). The claims in this context that the pricing is designed to "allow relatively non-wealthy people to use the program free of charge" seems disingenuous to say the least. Nor (as Sovanna points out) does the policy account for whether you try and offset your carbon credits from flights -- someone who flies regularly but does that is arguably more actively managing their impact than someone who only hits the skies once a year but spends the rest of the time using their car. So what's to be done? I'll grant you $39 isn't a lot of money, but with that kind of attitude I reckon there are better approaches. A freeware alternative such as previously-mentioned Enso Words leaves you able to donate those funds to the environmental charity of your choice. But have I got the wrong end of the green stick? Share your thoughts in the comments.


    I think what you see here is a brilliant bit of viral marketing / link-baiting. What better way to raise awareness of your product and your company as a whole? Nothing like pulling the environmentally friendly card combined with a little controversy to get the blogosphere yapping about your product.

    And if you are poor like me and would only fly once every two or three years would the author care to give me $39?

    I think that is a funny approach to climate change. But still cheaper than spending a few hundred offsetting your flight through . Maybe I'll buy a $39 license from now on instead?

    (Please note, I love climate friendly and use them a lot - the above is sarcasm). :)

    A childish thing to add to the license but as Dave pointed out, it's certainly got attention to their product.

    you have to take at most two commercial flights in 1 year,i.e is not possible for middle class people.

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