April 12, 2005
Meetup.com Ends Free Meetups

It was probably only a matter of time, but it’s still a bit sad to report that Meetup.com has dropped free meetups. From now on they’re going to charge the designated organizer of each meetup a $19/month fee.

I don’t have a problem with charging people for useful services, and Meetup is definitely that, so if this is a direction they feel is good for the service, mazel tov, more power to ‘em.

My only concern is that it seems like it’s a model that closes off a lot of the avenues from which successful meetups could spring. When starting a meetup was free, people would start them for all sorts of weird things. It was like throwing spaghetti to the wall to see what would stick. So people would start up a weird meetup and see if anyone came out. If people did, the meetup continued. If they didn’t, it didn’t.

Now, though, the organizer of the meetup has to put some skin in the game, which changes the equation considerably. Many fewer people are going to go out on a limb organizing “speculative” meetups — which means that the “meetup menu” is going to get more stale, more predictable.

If it had been me — and maybe they ran the numbers on this and they didn’t work, I dunno — I’d have looked at leaving an option for “Free meetup, one city” or “Free meetup, x months, then converts to pay” or something. You want to incubate new meetups, after all since successful new meetups == more monthly fees. Putting a $19/month gate around any experimentation with the service at all will tend to discourage that.

Of course, I once told Scott Heiferman at dinner after a conference that Meetup was a great idea but it would never be very interesting in politics. So maybe the thing to do is listen to what I suggest, and then do the opposite… :-)

Posted by Jason Lefkowitz at April 12, 2005

Yeah right on, fuck the meetup.com. I worked my ass off getting people to their fucking web and what did I get? A bill 9 Dollars a month???? Later on it's 19 Dollars??? Buenas noches fuckers. Who's is going to pay that. Appart from the Western world I can't imagine people paying for this shit in for ex. China (where I live). For that money I get my own website and push it on google. Meetup.com??? Let's write some protest letters to them. Maybe together it works. Their managers must be nuts. Classical lose-lose situation. Let's protest!

Posted by: meetup.com a company that died 2005 on April 14, 2005 2:08 PM

Sounds like the MeetUp team wasn't capable of coming up with a better business model. This one sucks and spells their doom. Nobody is gonna pay $19/m to organize a meetup. Too bad.

Posted by: Randy Charles Morin on April 14, 2005 5:23 PM
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Ant's Eye View is edited by Jason Lefkowitz, a consultant and Web developer in Alexandria, Virginia. Got a question, comment, or concern? Let me hear it!

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