I sent this to a mail list I'm on, but decided to blog it too. It was feedback on Meetup's new pricing structure which asks for $19 a month or approximately $240 a year from each group:
Maybe people *should* pay for Meetups, but the current structure and pricing does tend to encourage either loose groups or small groups to go elsewhere and not pay, and the fact that people are having more fun after they switch may be a problem too.
At the Flickr Meetup the other night, Mike, the organizer, introduced himself and then a bit into the conversation, mentioned that the usual Flickr Meetup had approximately 7 people show up each month.
Then he said that there was no way he was going to pay the $240 a year, for 8 people total, when an email list would do, or he could get a hosted website for $150, or better yet, a free google group for free, except that he doesn't like the interaction there. He was quite adamant about it, as were the other 5 or so people around him, nodding in agreement about the fees at $240/yr being a huge problem.
As it turns out, about 70 people went to this one (photos), and so I asked Mike about the increase in numbers, and he said most of the attendees Monday had never been on their Meetup list, but when it got posted to Upcoming.org, it became much more popular because you don't have to login to see the event location, people can leave comments about the event that resemble Flickr comments, and since everyone in this group was already into that mode... there was lots of activity that made the event look like it was going to be fun with a lot of different people.
I asked whether he would consider doing a tip jar, or asking participants each month to pay, and he responded that he just wanted to enjoy the event and not have to hit everyone up for money, (especially doing so monthly, though he like the idea of a yearly fee because he said it would be much easier to manage and ask for donations). Asking for money sort of ruined it for him, since he already had to put in the time to organize it. I also asked if he would pay $40 a year, and he said absolutely, but that $240 a year was ludicrous.
And he mentioned that no one asked him about the new fees, but as meetup has his contact info and he is a Meetup organizer, he though they ought to have asked organizers for input before charging.
There is one last problem: when and if structured blogging becomes easily searchable and reliable, people will list meetups on their blogs, and others will find them through Google, Pubsub, Technorati and Feedster. At that point, all of Meetup's current value will go out the window, because people will be able to find each other based on location, topic, tags, etc. much more easily than they can now, so Meetup should probably consider some additional services that structured blogging can't cover in order to remain relevant.
Also, see this photo of Flickr getting a massage.Posted by Mary Hodder at May 3, 2005 08:19 PM | TrackBack