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Friday, April 15, 2005

MeetUp Says PayUp

The never ending saga of sites that were once free and eventually begin to charge a fee is always humorous to me. I received an email from MeetUp saying there was an important announcement, so I waited til I had time to read it [3 days later] and started laughing uncontrollably.

Here is the email I received
Hi Meetup Member,

We have some important news to share with you about new
features and a required monthly Group Fee paid by your
Organizers on behalf of your Meetup Groups.

To learn more, visit...

So then I reluctantly visited the MeetUp Announcement Link
Being fairly cynical and practical, I had an idea of what this "announcement" was all about but I read it anyway. Then I felt even more confident in my ability to spot phase II of Meetup's business model in full swing. Not that I can blame them or anything, I mean hey, nothing is free in life and they've gotta pay the bills somehow.

Here's the MeetUp Free to Fee Message
We have some news to share that we don't think you're going to like. There's no point in dancing around it so here it is. Starting May 1st, every Meetup Group will have to pay a monthly fee. Read on for the details...

How much? If your group starts paying in April, the charge is $9/month for the rest of the year. (If you wait until May 1st it goes up to $19/month). The substantial discount (more than 50%) is a "thank you" for being one of the first Meetup Groups.

Who pays? The group's Organizer will pay the fee on behalf of the group. While the money initially comes out of the Organizer's pocket, we're confident that when asked, the group members will reimburse the Organizer each and every month.

If you're an Organizer, and you're hesitant to pay, why not talk it over with your group? You'll be surprised how quickly people will be willing to pay their fair share.

Nine dollars?! To some, $9 every month may sound like a lot for an Organizer to pay, but remember, it's a group fee, not per person. If the Organizer splits the cost among the members who show up each month, it's probably $1 - $2 per person. (If your group's very small, we know it might cost a little more per person while we help you grow.)

Again, we know this may not be welcome news. Do know that we've spent countless hours exploring every possible option to avoid this. And we understand if you decide to leave. But when you consider sharing the cost among your members… when you compare us to other online offerings… when you think about how much you've enjoyed your Meetups so far… we think you'll realize that your Meetup Group is worth the price...

For more on the MeetUp business model migration to fee based, check out Olivier's post. He's been at it a while and has some good thoughts on the whole deal.

By Jason Dowdell at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

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