“Every hackathon for the next year will be creating a free Meetup clone”
Updated 09:00, October 16, 2019 with Meetup comment.
Meetup is set to start charging $2 for RSVPs in a move that has drawn an outcry from users, including millions in the coding and broader technology community.
The social platform, which lets users create and manage groups for real-world meetings/discussion groups/hackathons, is widely used by non-profit groups, including freeCodeCamp, and says it has over 44 million users globally.
Just learned that (WeWork owned) Meetup is now charging attendees $2 to RSVP. One of the last pure parts of old accessible Web 2.0 is ending, really feels like the end of an era 🙁
— Danielle Morrill (@DanielleMorrill) October 14, 2019
New Meetup Charges Explained
Meetup, owned by troubled WeWork, said: “Beginning in October, members of select groups will be charged a small fee to reserve their spot at events.”
The company has yet to clarify its roll-out plan or what constitutes a “select group”: it currently has over 330,000 groups. It says the new charge will be accompanied by a fall in monthly subscription costs for group organisers.
Most were unconvinced, with busy groups particularly heavily penalised by the change, with few organisers seemingly willing to pass the cost on to attendees.
Meetup said: “The event fee can be paid by members or organizers can cover the cost of events to make it free for members. Your new subscription cost is only $2 per month, or $24 per year. That means you’ll be saving at least 80% annually on subscription fees. This will also distribute costs more evenly between organisers and members.”
Hey @Meetup, I just paid you $98.94 for 6 months. Our Thursday meetup this week has 139 RSVPs right now, so you're saying you'll want $278 additional for such an event. I'm obviously not charging admission. Either you're changing this or we're leaving you. https://t.co/W2vspzwoVs
— Bridget Kromhout (@bridgetkromhout) October 14, 2019
(Meetup currently charges $23.99 per month for Meetup group organisers paying monthly – a fee that applies across Canada, the UK and US. It also offers a “Pro” version with more tools like analytics and marketing plugins starting at $30 per month).
With most groups designed to be free for users – but group owners reluctant to take on additional costs for what are primarily community activities and enterprises — social media abounded today with alternatives, ranging from Google Calendar to GitHub, via agorakit.org, eventyay.com, eventy.io gettogether.community,and kommunity.com.
This makes me so glad that I moved @LeedsJS off of Meetup. They have such hostility for community groups and their members.
When I left, they wanted $95 for 6 months. To keep the events free (they always will be) it would cost us about $120 a MONTH!
That's a 657% increase! https://t.co/PQLO7p3zE4
— Luke Bonaccorsi 🏳️🌈 (@CodeFoodPixels) October 15, 2019
With owner WeWork embroiled in an ever-deepening scandal that has seen its valuation tumble and a planned IPO cancelled, users speculated WeWork subsidiaries have been set the task of becoming financially self-sufficient; fast.
How many users it has left by that point looks set to be an open question.
Updated. Meetup tells Computer Business Review: “The payment change is a small test with a few groups. Currently organizers pay to manage their groups and we’re exploring ways to reduce this cost. There will not be significant payment changes in the near term and we’ll provide notice about any future changes.”
Every hackathon for the next year will be let’s create a free meetup clone 😂
— Gregor Suttie – Azure Greg 🏴 (@gregor_suttie) October 14, 2019