It was, indeed, a false alarm.
If I hadn't been lazy & actually visited his support pages I would have found this:
Many of the existing customers are entitled to free replacement keys as long as:
You have bought a free lifetime upgrades warranty
or, you bought xplorer² during the last 12 months
All other people will have to purchase a replacement key, possibly with a discount as follows:
if you bought xplorer² up to two (2) years ago then you can upgrade with a 33% discount
All other (older) customers will need to purchase a license at full price
I think that's a fair policy with regards to who gets a free key or not. This file manager wasn't my style when I checked it out, but it's different enough from everything else out there that I can see where a lot of people like it. I hope everyone who wanted to was able to get in on the deal for a lifetime license at BDJ.