For information to the list, as promised.
I think this means that Birdingpals are not charged if they contact other
Birdingpals, but that non-Birdingpals (ie regular birders looking for a
Birdingpal) are now being asked to pay $10 (Canadian/US/Australian??) annually
to use the service.
Knud doesn’t seem to have responded to my enquiry re whether there was any
announcement or advice regarding this change in policy, nor has he made comment
about the apparent absence of any reference to the new arrangement on the
It will be interesting to see how this new “commercial” arrangement (with its
attendant administrative requirements) affects the popularity of Birdingpal. It
would be unfortunate if it significantly altered the appeal of what is really a
wonderful resource for birders worldwide.
PS I wasn’t aware of the existence of the ContactPal software until I read
PPS I’ve copied this letter to Knud for his information.
From: Knud Rasmussen
Sent: Saturday, 31 August 2013 12:16 AM
To: Richard Nowotny
Subject: Re: Birdingpal news
Thanks for letting me know
As you properly know my web guru developed the Spam free software ContactPal a
couple of years ago to protect Birdingpal’s privacy, and he is now on Version
2, which is much more user friendly than the first one.
Vince never charged me for this, and I know it saved Pals for thousands of
unwanted emails and stolen addresses.
As a Birdingpal you are automatically signed up as a ContactPal, and you
control your privacy as you see fit without any fee, and you do not need a
passphrase. Mind you a number of Pals has since volunteered to pay the fee
A couple of month ago I told Vince, he could ask a non Pal contacting a local
birder using our software to sign up for a yearly $10 fee to help with further
This was an experiment to see if birders would accept it, and I think most
people did so far. We had a few complaints, but since Vince control this, he
has been very flexible to people in some countries with no credit cards,
students using Birdingpal and so on.
Next month we will review all the details, decide if we continue and if so my
next newsletter to Pals will spell this out in details.
As you know I started Birdingpal more than 12 years ago and Vince helped me
with the technical end from the beginning.
Personally I spend many thousands of hours designing, maintaining, updating,
redesigning etc. and I know Birdingpal is a great recourse for travelling
birders, and I have used it many times myself.
For someone traveling to Australia from North America or Europe, one would
think $10 is a small price to pay for finding a local birder to go birding with.
Anyway I hope this clears things out a bit and you are not giving up on
Have a nice day
From: Richard Nowotny <>
Sent: Friday, August 30, 2013 4:09 AM
To: 'Knud Rasmussen' <>
Subject: Birdingpal news
Hi Knud. There seems to have been a surprising development here in Australia re
Birdingpal. A soon-to-visit overseas birding couple have reported the following:
We had tried to contact some birdingpals but found that it is now a business
charging fees to make connections.
Is this correct? Was there any announcement or advice to Birdingpals that this
was to occur? If so, where? There does not seem to be any reference to a new
fee on your website.
There is a bit of negative chat about it starting on BirdingAus. I would like
to be able to provide our chatline with accurate information.
All the best. Richard
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