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Happy New Year!

Another year has nearly passed. Today is is good moment to wish our team members, supporters and users all the best for the coming year.
Lets start with the positive facts:
- WG++, short for WebGrab+Plus, continues to be very popular worldwide. Without doubt the most versatile and most used EPG grabber in the world. It grabs epg data from more than 500 sites in 88 countries. And .. it is an integral part of several third party PVR systems.

What happened in 2017, some highlights:
- This website is visited by around 500 users daily, totaling to about 200.000!
- Nearly 80.000 downloads of the program and the siteini's
- More than 140 SiteIni updates were completed in 2017.
- 2 Major and 12 Beta releases of the program
- new improved installer with V2.0
- About 3300 registered users

Support and maintenance:
A small group of 'super-users' has taken the daily task to assist troubled users and develope necessary SiteIni updates. I like to mention and thank the most prominent and active 'super-users' by name : Blackbear199 and Mat8861. I also like to thank all the other active users for their contributions. Without their effort WG++ would be useless in no time! Francis and myself do the program updates and releases, based the bug reports and new feature requests provided mainly by the mentioned 'super users'.

Some facts I like to share about time spend:
On average, a SiteIni update takes about 2 hours to complete. A very rough estimate, some take days and several people, some are done within an hour. That alone took about 300 hours of work, most of it done by Blackbear199 and Mat8861. Beside that, they spend countless hours assisting troubled user on the forum.
For program releases, updates, documentation and site maintenance, Francis and me spend about 1 hour each daily. Another 700 hours.

All of the above, rather positive I think!

But there are also worries:
A grabber like WG++ with the capabilities to grab from so many completely different online guide websites needs continuous support for SiteIni and program updates and user guidance. Online TV guide websites tend to change regularly and, believe it or not, there are no two sites the same (with very few exceptions). To remain successful, WG++ depends on timely and sufficient maintenance and support of the SiteIni database, as being done by mentioned 'supe-users' and other active users. Unfortunately, not all visitors of our website and forum realize that. Some incidents of mal behavior have occurred, demotivating the support team. These people don't seem to realize that support is done voluntarily and unpaid! The users that contribute by assisting other users and updating siteini's do that because they enjoy it and for nothing else!!

Of course we have our (financial) 'Support Us' button.
The WG++ team, Francis , Paul and me, have introduced that years ago, not to make substantial money with WG++, but to at least cover our costs. Like there are, costs for running of and investment in the server and the computers needed for programing and site development and maintenance. We also intended to compensate mentioned 'prominent' supporting users for similar costs if possible. We also thought that most users that make daily use of the program or at least the ones that receive personal support in the forum, would do some reasonable financial contribution voluntarily.
Not really!! Ignorant us!! In 2017 we received contributions from only 21 users. With one exception all €5 or €10.

There is another matter related to this that needs to be mentioned. WG++ and all its resources are free. So everyone can use it the way he or she wants. Although the program was always intended for personal use, it can also be used in commercial settings. And, as long as such activities are legal, we won't object. But we consider it normal and decent that persons or organizations behind such activities inform us and offer to share with us. (As some of them do)
But, it really hurts us that some simply profit from our program and resources without any or only minimal contributions. The most striking example is someone who runs an epg service based on WG++, its SiteIni's and channellists for 14000 'customers'
paying €10 /year each. Besides the fact that reselling epg data, as this service does, is illegal, this person initially refused to even do any 'support us' contribution. (Why pay? Its free!) (Recently, he threw some coins to us though, about 0.15% of his yearly turnover!)

Believe me, it is not the money which concerns us here. What hurts us, and the vast numbers of users, is that it demotivates the contributing users and super users who dedicate so much time on support and development. I think anyone can understand how it feels to spend all those hours for free and see that people as mentioned above make big money with it?

This has become a major issue right now, Blackbear199 stopped supporting WG++ in the forum because of it! I get reports from others considering the same ..

Our support line is getting very thin!

It's for this that we will be forced to introduce some way of 'conditional access' in the near future. That will be the end of 'everything for free'.
This conditional access will limit either the access to new program and siteini updates or the number of siteini's and channels that can be run per day and per computer based on a user status. All of that still to be defined.

Jan and Francis

Brought to you by Jan van Straaten

Program Development - Jan van Straaten ------- Web design - Francis De Paemeleere
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