Meetup feels the wrath of the crowd after radical changes

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Meetup, a long time go-to place to create local online groups, has undergone a major re-launch in the past day. However, it may have missed a trick: not consulting the meetup organizers who pay through the nose for the service. There now appears to be something of a revolt going on amongst some organisers, who are vociferously protesting about the changes.

The reaction of annoyed organisers and members has turned into two, count-em, Twitter hashtags: #newmeetup and #meetuporganizersunite.

Alternatives to Meetup like BigTent are being touted, as is GroupSpaces – a startup which last year raised $1.3 million from the likes of Index Ventures and Angels like Dave McClure and Chris Sacca. It is is already gunning for “FormerMeetupOrganizers” with its own group and a blog post on the subject.

Meetup users are also a little annoyed about the site possibly closing discussion threads discussing the changes and a Facebook page titled “Mark Zuckerberg, help! Please create Meetup event functionality on FB” has been set up.

Now some organizers are now blogging about alternatives and it’s significant that an arts and craft meetup organiser, typical of the average Meetup groups, is thinking of going elsewhere.

The complaints appear to be about the new layout, the design (“truly tacky and cheap looking” says one organiser), the downgrading of photos, and the fact that anymeetup member of a group can now organise an event. Normally that would be fine, right? Except it rather removes the point of an lead organiser paying the monthly subscription fee.

A one writes: “I did everything I was supposed to. I built a successful group that is of benefit to many people, to the community, and represents the Meetup idea well. And, still, it’s been damaged and diminished by forces outside my control.”

Meetup appears to have made more of its ‘sponsors’, which offer 10% off local coupons (a la Foursquare or Groupon), but complainers say these bear little relation to the groups themselves.

So far Meetup says there are no plans to revert back to the old version of Meetup.

Now, of course, it’s often the case that long-time users of a site might complain – remember when Facebook created news feeds? Meetup appears to be radically shifting towards a more Web 2.0-ish approach where there is no one single meetup leader, any member can suggest a meetup, and things are just supposed to bubble up from the crowd. Borrowing from Plancast, Meetup is now using “Count me in” instead of RSVP. But the fact that maps are replacing photos is also concerning members, since these might reveal some people’s home addresses.

As GreenTechGirl blogs, organisers “don’t want their Meetup turned into a Twitter feed or a Facebook page.”

Let us know what you think of the Meetup changes in the comments.

  • http://jetlib.com/news/2011/01/28/meetup-feels-the-wrath-of-the-crowd-after-radical-changes/ Meetup Feels The Wrath Of The Crowd After Radical Changes | JetLib News

    […] Read the rest of this entry » […]

  • Dee

    As a group orginzer who uses meetup.com – I like the changes!!!

  • Hello

    there’s usually a revolt when a website changes its design

    • Julie

      Agreed, most people don’t like change, but this is different. Full of bugs, not warning organizers they were about to be inundated with emails and complaints since a new format was coming (I got the email about the new format at 1:45PM LONG after the thing has gone live), inundating people with worthless emails, making it completely frustrating for organizers to post events in the postage size editing box they now have, invasion of privacy with maps leading right to people’s doors and map that are WRONG misleading members, distorted user pictures, unreadable text, BUGS BUGS and more BUGS (don’t try using it on an iPad) and that is just the surface issues. We PAY for this service and have been providing meetup with feedback that was COMPLETELY ignored. They have an agenda that is not in touch with their user base and the organic growth meetup has taken and then literally personally insulting their user base that PAYS THEM is inexcusable. Zuckerberg may be an ass, but he is a visionary. meetup….they are just asses.

  • http://twitter.com/DeWayneLehman DeWayne Lehman

    $19 a month was too costly for the functionality that I just didn’t need for my group.

  • http://twitter.com/upright Brent

    As an Internet nerd who has experienced significant user backlash on sites that make even minor changes without first consulting the people who populate the site — that was a way stupid thing to do, Meetup.

    • http://twitter.com/galinahelpme Galina

      I Organize three groups on Meetup.com and pay to do so. This New Meetup transformation is causing a major headache for me. What the …………. where they thinking?

  • http://twitter.com/upright Brent

    As an Internet nerd who has experienced significant user backlash on sites that make even minor changes without first consulting the people who populate the site — that was a way stupid thing to do, Meetup.

  • http://sidburgess.com Sid Burgess

    I too love the changes. Good job Meetup.

    • Onizukajwb

      I think you are missing the point Sid. The majority of us “Organizers” who use pay to use meetup.com do not like the changes or the way they were dumped on us without warning. It was a bone-headed move to make such drastic changes without consulting paying customers. The general idea of a more streamlined interface, and finding ways to involve more members in the meetup event process are both good ideas. However, the idea of replacing/removing features that current organizers use to run successful meetups willy nilly without any regards for their opinions just sucks. I know of very few organizers or members for that matter who feel the way you do about it. Yet, we are supposed to sit back and take it because a very small minority think it is a good idea. Get real!

      Yeah, great job meetup for completely alienating your customer base and making Meetup look like someone vomited up a layout overnight drinking spree!

      • http://sidburgess.com Sid Burgess

        Onizukajwb,

        First, I am an organizer. I have been using Meetup since 2007; so I am not a newcomer to the platform.

        Second, where is your proof that a “majority” of all organizers do not like the changes? I know several and all of them like the changes. In my experience, the vast majority of them do. They have been making changes, well since they started and I haven’t once been disappointed. This time they chose to release more changes than usual.

        Next, they did most certainly test it on users. You just were not part of that group. Sorry, tough luck.

        Have you ever been consulted by a company before they make changes to their product? It is odd, Chevrolet didn’t call me to ask me if they should change the way my back seat folds down. BOY AM I PISSED!! /sarcasm

        Well, they didn’t alienate their base. Tens of thousands of Meetups are going to occur this weekend.

        Did they make some people upset? Sure did. Is that avoidable… well, not as long as some people are allowed on the internet. Were all the changes they made great? Probably not, but they certainly were not “willy nilly”. You are making accusations that are quite false.

        Again, well done Meetup. I really do enjoy some of the new changes. Keep it up!

      • Tylenol7

        Sid – The Proof is on The Forums at meetup – its a closed thread that had over 7000 views and 70 pages of Organizers letting meetup know how much they hate the new home page, I have had a group fro 2 years, Its a Photography Group – unfortunately I am now unable to attach Photos to my meetups – please take a moment to research before you think that people like the change, I suspect you work for HQ – as I have not seen one perosn on the forums that likes the changes.

      • Tylenol7

        Correction – 57 Pages – 13,000 views – all in about 6 hours

      • Tylenol7

        Sid – last I checked – Facebook was free, I pay for Meetup

      • Tylenol7

        Oh and Sid – You are a Assistant Organizer as far as I can see, why did you say you were a Organizer?

      • http://sidburgess.com Sid Burgess

        Lol, you guys are priceless. I have been an organizer several times.

        Keep digging… this isn’t my first rodeo.

      • http://sidburgess.com Sid Burgess

        Nope, don’t work for HQ. I didn’t say that there aren’t people that don’t like it. Do you not realize that there were hundreds, if not thousands of groups on Facebook complaining about the changes at Facebook? Heck, over 30k people signed up to “quit” Facebook.

        Look, I am not here to convince you to like it. I simply stated that I liked it, was attacked and then tried to be forced to believe lies. I stated the FACTS and that is that. If you don’t like the changes, I encourage you to try another platform. Don’t piss on those of us that do like it. We are happy to pay them to continue to do what they are doing.

      • Anonymous

        I think you’re being attacked because it’s hard to believe that with all the 60+ changes all at once you can say you like everything. It’s also politics. If you show support for meetup then people who are asking for change wouldn’t get it because meetup can just say “hey we have people who like it too.” Anyway, in my case I’m not going to attack you since I get that there will be some people who will like it not not.

        In my view though I don’t like how meetup implemented the site. With the 60+ changes organizers are playing catchup and are even shocked with the changes. We used to run the site differently before. With the changes, we are still figuring out the changes and rethinking how we do things and we still are. Worst of, some of these changes we have no option of changing such as the wording of “don’t flake.” And that is frustrating for me and many of the other organizers.

        It’s really hard to determine the number of people of who are displeased with meetup but if this is an indication http://meetup.uservoice.com/forums/37079-ideas-and-suggestions-for-meetup/suggestions/1417609-please-give-organizers-the-ability-to-restore-the-?ref=title then it may be really big (since we’re not even considering members here)…but who knows.

      • Tim76239

        Facebook didn’t charge $45.00 every quarter

      • Nyan

        I still do not understand when people compare this to the Facebook or Myspace changes. Those sites are free.

        The argument made about “Chevrolet changing the way the back seat folds down” is irrelevent, since changes made to such products aren’t applied to those already sold and owned. I bet you would be annoyed if they decided to change the way it folds down in your current car and then forced you to comply.

      • Josh

        The reason you haven’t seen anyone that likes the changes on the forum is because they aren’t there complaining. The few that are there trying to figure things out, like me, get harassed. But I bet you didn’t see that either.

        It amazing how so many people can’t understand that there are some people that either like the changes or simply aren’t that upset about it and are willing to figure it out and move on, just like the last round of changes.

      • madmeetuporganizer

        Sid, are you serious? You must be oblivious to the twitter insanity right now regarding this issue, just search #newmeetup #duesstrike. Or perhaps read the 200+ complaints on their Facebook page? Or any of the threads on the meetup organizer’s forum – oh, wait, sorry, meetup keeps closing the threads. And they shut down their customer service phones today. Great job, meetup!

      • http://sidburgess.com Sid Burgess

        Nope, I just ignore every fleeting group of complainers that ascends on every website that changes anything. Maybe all your calls will have the desired affect. I for one don’t want them to change things, but hey, that’s me.

      • Tim76239

        Look at the numbers for proof, and they did piss off theri base…..your a plant for Meet UP Management

      • Onizukajwb

        Okay well, perhaps “willy nilly” was not the right word for it. However, I doesn’t make sense to make these changes when they did in fact alienate and upset an “an overwhelming portion” of paying customers. As far as the “majority” comment I was referring to the overwhelming majority of comments on the message board that were unhappy with the changes (as compared to your anecdote about “several” people you know who like it).

        Perhaps my comments were somewhat aggressive in tone (due to my inability to understand why meetup would make these changes without better research in how it affect their paying users).

        However, yours most certainly came off snide and condescending and rather ridiculous ( making you appear to be some kind of jerk). I hope this is not true though and you are read worse than you are and would like to give you the benefit of the doubt. However, comments you made really make me wonder.

        As far as not being part of a test group, I suppose you or your friends who actually like the changes were? If so it seems interesting that they chose people who are such die-hard supporters. In my opinion, they should have giving everyone an opportunity to try it out to gauge the response and work out bugs before going live on everyone. Just saying.

        Also, what do you mean by “not as long as some people are allowed on the internet”. Wow, that is really arrogant and elitist bro. Everyone should be entitled to have access to information and inform others as to their views and the best ones should win out in the free marketplace of ideas. Everything else will end up on the ash heap of history.

        I hope I am not right, but you certainly come across as one of those people who think their ideas and thoughts are best for people and if they just accept it then they will be better off (despite what the majority wants).

        Nonetheless, Sid you are free to your opinion, however I really do believe you are in the minority (based on observing how such a large number of responses are in fact critical of the new layout).

        By the way, I have supported all of the previous changes in meetup and did assume the new ones were mostly going to be positive and not going to be bad enough to affect me in any meaningful way. That was before I got a chance to look at them in depth.

      • http://sidburgess.com Sid Burgess

        So, “Get real!” and “willy-nilly” and “bone-headed” and “vomit” and “dumped on” and “sucks” were all just mistakes you made in your response to me? Were they just typos? You actually didn’t mean to say them because, after all that would mean that you were being the aggressor here and that can’t be… Sid is the elitist. A real jerk. Ha! Nice try. How can I rebut what you said without being a little snide? Sorry, I will do my best to not stoop to your level in my replies.

        Next time if you want to have a civil conversation, try leaving out the massive generalizations and the garbage talk and perhaps people wont turn on their heel and snap back. I wasn’t missing the point. [again your claim] Not at all. I have seen the response, been reading the blogs. I am quite satisfied with my opinion on the matter.

        Neither I nor my friends had/have anything to do with meetup. I am not a die-hard supporter. Again, you are drawing conclusions that are not true. I love the new Twitter layout… but I am not a die-hard supporter and is it possible for me to say something positive about the changes without having to have some affiliation? Do you not see/hear the absurdity of what you are saying? With each reply, you make leaping generalizations about meetup and now me.

        My “some people” remark had a simple meaning. There are people that always complain. I know some of them. I can count on their invitation to some “Fail” group every time Facebook changes their UI. I am not implying that you are in that group, but I am implying that it does exist and they are a large portion of the troll crowd that comes out after changes.

        For fear of coming off any more as an elitist and also so I don’t waste anymore of my time, I respectfully give you the win…. or whatever I have to do/say to keep my email inbox from filling up with more absurd accusations.

        I wish you all the best with your organizations/business and hope you find what you are looking for in an application.

        Peace.

      • Julie

        I’m sorry, but how long have you worked for meetup?

      • http://www.RohanJayasekera.com/ Rohan Jayasekera

        I suppose you think you’re being “clever” by saying something totally unwarranted like this. But all you’re demonstrating is that you don’t understand that it’s possible for anyone to have an opinion that’s different from yours.

      • Linda

        I really do enjoy some of the new changes. Keep it up!

        Could you please name 5 of these changes you enjoy. I can’t come up with one.

      • Mike

        Chevrolet doesn’t sneak into your garage in the middle of the night and repaint your car neon pink without your permission after you purchased it.

      • http://sidburgess.com Sid Burgess

        You are right, the Chevy analogy was weak. Rather use, Basecamp, Freshbooks, BatchBook. Those are services I pay for and I have never once been asked before they launched new features. The premise that they should consult everyone is flawed. Plain and simple.

      • Anonymous

        Sid Burgess: “I know several and all of them like the changes. In my experience, the vast majority of them do.”

        As has been pointed out, the majority of posts on the “Help and technical assistance” forum are negative, and it goes on for page after page. Many are ranting, sure, but there are constructive criticism threads, as well as complaints of bugs and usability issues. I’ve seen very, very few positive posts. How many organizers have you spoken with?

        “Next, they did most certainly test it on users. You just were not part of that group. Sorry, tough luck.”

        You would have thought Meetup would have mentioned that in their announcements? – ‘we beta tested these layouts on a group of x meetup organizers, who gave us feedback and liked our upgrade.’ Were you part of the user group?

      • Courtney

        You are an ASSISTANT ORGANIZER. You don’t pay a dime.

        Nice try.

        http://www.meetup.com/members/4169042/

    • Anonymous

      “I too love the changes. Good job Meetup.”

      What specifically do you love about the changes? What benefits are you seeing from the new design?

      I’m not challenging you; I’m just curious because so far I have received 100% unanimously negative comments from my group members — and there are a lot of them. I have also not seen anyone really defending the site changes against the complainers on Meetup’s message boards.

      I’d actually be interested in seeing a list of specific benefits from someone who has found the changes beneficial. Maybe I’m missing something — although so far I don’t really think so. But, maybe.

      • Anonymous

        *Crickets*

  • http://twitter.com/DeWayneLehman DeWayne Lehman

    I was paying $19 a month, and honestly, it just wasn’t worth it for the small group was running at no cost to other members. We created a FB group page, and that was that. I quit just before the changes after long consideration. But if it is true that any member can now create events, that would have made me quit immediately. If I PAY, then I CONTROL. It’s as simple as that. If I pay for a group, any group, on any site, then I control members, events, widgets people use, moderation of comments and forums, etc. If I can’t control that, I won’t pay. And I think most organizers would agree with that. I run my own website and domain for less than a Meetup group, and I have “god-like” control there over everything. When anybody regardless of skills can go to GoDaddy or SquareSpace and create a fully functioning site cheaper and have full control with point and click design, only the foolish would pay more for less that is actually harder to maintain.

    • Emily

      I might consider something like GoDaddy or SquareSpace, but the thing I can’t get without a site like Meetup is members. Any member who indicates interest in a French-speaking group gets emailed by Meetup about the existence of my French group. I don’t know what the user base of sites like groupspaces and bigtent are, but if they are sizeable, I may go there. Right now I’m waiting to see how Meetup responds to all the complaints, if they give us back any of the features they just stole from us, and also to see what other organizers do. If I decide to move, I will have to see if my members will follow me to another site.

      • http://twitter.com/GroupSpaces GroupSpaces

        Hi Emily, it’s David, one of the founders of GroupSpaces.

        We have a user-base of over 1 million group memberships and recently wrote a blog post welcoming unhappy Meetup users, explaining what Meetup features we do have, which we don’t but are planning to add and additional functionality which we offer. You can find it here: http://blog.groupspaces.com/a-free-alternative-to-the-new-meetup

        I hope this helps you in finding a new home for your Meetup and if you have any other questions, please feel free to get in touch with us at helpdesk@groupspaces.com

      • http://www.facebook.com/aliviah1 Alivia Smith

        That is how you draw in new customers to your business.

        MeetUp – ouch.

      • http://www.bauser.com Michael Bauser

        You understand what a lot of organizers don’t. Organizers aren’t paying Meetup just for things like messages boards and calendars, they’re paying for matchmaking. Creating a group on Meetup gives organizers easy access to a userbase of people who are looking for reasons to meet strangers, and presorted by interest and location. Facebook or a stand-alone site won’t have the “warmed up” userbase to recruit from.

      • Mark Mc Donnell

        Sorry but their recruiting tools suck.

      • Listerpaul

        ‘Organizers aren’t paying Meetup just for things like messages boards and calendars, they’re paying for matchmaking’ Not in my case.

        I have a group of 700 boardgamers – meetup is just a tool we use. Maybe 5% of members find us through Meetup – the rest from the boardgameing community. I would argue that a lot of boardgamers find Meetup through my community i.e we are doing a meetup a favour. And I am v unhappy with the changes, the lack of cinsultation and the attitute since – so much so that if Meetup don’t restore the old meetup i will use another tool to organise my group and Meetup will be the loser in this

      • BRP

        Emily – This is the marketing aspect of the previous Meetup service that I commented on on the GroupSpace page. Prior to the change, Meetup skillfully interwove two services and had struck the right balance:

        1) Marketed to affinity-interested local people
        2) Gave group event management tools

        Meetup seems to have become confused about the relative importance of these two roles in trying to embrace “Web 2.0,” where user-generated content is king. Unfortunately, they also alienated the paying sponsors (the organizers) and simultaneously shifted the focus from the marketing to the events (which are only one aspect of a group’s community). And they did it badly, compounding the error with managerial and customer service arrogance.

        But it does not represent a great opportunity for a competitor, such as GroupSpace, BigTent, or even Facebook.

        If you relied on the marketing features, let both Meetup and GroupSpace know. As nice as the GroupSpace presentation is, it doesn’t yet have these features.

      • http://www.facebook.com/depodol Christine Marie Bryant

        Hi Emily ~ this is just an idea but if you are on facebook, you can create a “fan page” for “speaking french” …. invite all your friends to it and they will invite all there friends to it and so on and so on then you can post a link to where ever you put your group on the website and streamline your own new members to your group :) if you hit over a 1000 fans your facebook fan page will even come up on google …. that’s how meetup finds most of it’s members in general … people “google” something like “speaking french groups” on google and meetup.com pops up … you can do the very same thing for free on facebook and then put your group somewhere else … I’m in the same boat right now and researching other group sites to put my group ….

  • milrtime83

    People just like to complain when there is change. It happens all the time.

  • http://www.bauser.com Michael Bauser

    I’m an assistant organizer of a meetup in Detroit, so I pop into the Meetup Organizer forums from time to time. One thing I’ve learned: Meetup Organizers rival Wikipedia editors for the title of Internet’s Biggest Control Freaks. They overreact to everything.

    They especially overreact out about changes that encourage users to take action (like suggesting a meetup) without moderator approval. Every time Meetup adds a user-centric feature, their blog is attacked by organizers demanding the ability to turn it off, and threatening to quit Meetup.

    Meetup always ignores those complaints, and you should, too.

    • Tim76239

      Oh, so calling the organizers trolls is ok? Over react…assistant organizer do you pay the bill? Do you supply the roof over the meetups head, electricity to keep the lights on?

    • Anonymous

      I will agree that some organizer reactions are too much. But to imply that all organizers just complain and have no valid issue here is very unfair to us organizers. I have never complained before when meetup rolled out changes to the site but this one is just too big. I wonder as an assistant organizer how much you have invested in your group to not even care for the major changes? Or if you are aware of all the changes such as the inability to remove the lines “don’t flake” in our approval letter.

      As for your other comments, organizers want the option to turn off a feature because they never paid for it. Secondly, they want to control the site/group because it’s our way of preserving and taking care of what we have built up. Let’s look at this in retrospect. If you bought a seed, planted it, took care of it and it eventually becomes a tree that bares a lot of fruits what will you feel if the guy that sold you the seed came and told you what you can and can not do with that tree?

      Finally…you, just like meetup, is an a-hole to simply say ignore the many valid complaints that organizers have. I’m all for dialogue and having a logical discussion but ignore? Yeah – that solves everything in the world don’t it?

    • Iamme

      Hey MEETUP troll,

      What don’t you understand about the outrage? The organizers have every right to be control freaks. They paid for that right.

      • Iamme

        Let rephrase it. when meetup organizers paid their dues, there’s an expectation of services rendered, whether there is a formal contract or not, and that expectation is built on the existing functionality of the site.

        When the functionality is altered, unilaterally and deleteriously, it is tantamount to a breach of contract.

        The outrage is totally justified.

  • Andres

    The Google Maps do not reveal the exact location of a Meetup to people who are not members of the Meetup Group. Privacy settings on Meetup remain exactly the same. If you are not a group member they are zoomed out to the city level (it’ll show Chicago not 123 Lakeshore Dr).

    Also important to note that options to crowdsource Meetups can be turned off for Meetup Groups that would rather have the organizers plan all the Meetups.

    You see more about how it works here: http://meetupblog.meetup.com/2011/01/new-meetup.html

    – Andres Glusman
    VP, Meetup

    • Tim76239

      Your Admin Andrea still called upset customers “trolls” explain that. Is this how you think we should be treated. This company has treated this entire affair with total disdain for the customers who pay for the service. You fixed what didn’t need fixing and talk to your organizers who are upset like we are just silly children…or crazy internet “trolls”. Well I pulled my funding and I will be moving somewhere else. I will remember this and I will “troll” every forum till hell freezes over telling everyone just how arrogant and uncaring MeetUp management is.

      • http://www.facebook.com/thecopywriter Christine Alexander

        So dissapointed that Meetup does not care about us:-(

    • Alienated by Meetup

      Mr. Glusman,

      You should be aware that under certain conditions Google Maps is inaccurate. Now, because “New Meetup” made the maps are SO prominent, and not removable, it will be a huge hassle for me as an organizer to continually have to deal with Meetup participants being led astray. Not that you are inclined to care, I’m sure that addition of these Google Maps plastered all over the “New Meetup” pages is earning you a pretty penny, or two, or three.

      P.S. And this is just one of the MANY functionality issues associated with “New Meetup.”

    • Dis Gruntled

      Andres, you’re not getting it. The new format is horrible. And saying that only Meetup Group members get to see the location is missing the point entirely. It is an ugly interface now. It is not inviting. If you had studied good business practices, you’d know that customer satisfaction is primo. Business 101: Don’t Tick Off the Customer. MU’s grade: EPIC FAIL.

    • An organizer

      Maybe, Andres, but if we turn off the functionality we can no longer get Ideas from our members. Can we have Ideas back, then, if we choose to turn off
      Meetup in the making”? (My only problem with the Ideas feature was that some of my members were using it as a way to advertise their own private events without paying any of my Meetup dues, which made their advertising possible to my group members. However, in that case, I just deleted their ideas, so it was doable.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/Maddman75 James Justice

      Strange. I opened my group’s web page in another browser, logged out, and it showed me a google map leading to my front door.

    • Julie

      Hey Andres, I’m with the other folks. The maps are leading people directly to front doors not general locations. Also, I host hiking events and google maps is wrong 75% of the time, so now you are deliberately misleading members with the maps and there is nothing I can do about it except post in the postage sized editing box I now have “DON’T GO WHERE MEETUP IS LEADING YOU TO” over and over and over…. And don’t get me started on the bugs (forget using meetup on an iPad). And now meetup is making up events and inundating all my members with emails. If you had a note on your calendar like “Time change”, meetup is now sending out an email to your group telling them there is an event scheduled. I am sure the “time change” event will bring them in in droves!

      Any, ANY usability expert would FAIL this design as all your paying customers are doing with even just the basic design 101 issues of unreadable text, distorted user pictures, pages so busy your eyes have no idea where to go, let alone making navigation a nightmare. You want to go in a different direction, fine. Directly to bankrupty will serve you right for so rudely telling your paying customers: “…it’s your prerogative whether Meetup is the right community for your Group. We’re building for the future.” Apparently you don’t care if you have any customers in that future which is remarkably short sighted and sad…..

    • Anonymous

      Andres:

      Nope. Wrong!

      Try this. Go into Incognito Mode in Google Chrome, or Private Browsing in Firefox. Go to Meetup.com and verify that you are logged out.

      Then find a meetup that has a location that is “shown only to members.” The Google Maps thumbnail will still pinpoint the exact address.

      I quickly found at least three examples of this. Won’t link them here because I don’t want to facilitate a further invasion of their privacy. But you can easily find some yourself.

      Get rid of these ugly Google Maps altogether. BAD IDEA.

  • Andres

    The Google Maps do not reveal the exact location of a Meetup to people who are not members of the Meetup Group. Privacy settings on Meetup remain exactly the same. If you are not a group member they are zoomed out to the city level (it’ll show Chicago not 123 Lakeshore Dr).

    Also important to note that options to crowdsource Meetups can be turned off for Meetup Groups that would rather have the organizers plan all the Meetups.

    You see more about how it works here: http://meetupblog.meetup.com/2

    – Andres Glusman
    VP, Meetup

    • Julie

      Hey Andres, I’m with the other folks. The maps are leading people directly to front doors not general locations. Also, I host hiking events and google maps is wrong 75% of the time, so now you are deliberately misleading members with the maps and there is nothing I can do about it except post in the postage sized editing box I now have “DON’T GO WHERE MEETUP IS LEADING YOU TO” over and over and over…. And don’t get me started on the bugs (forget using meetup on an iPad). And now meetup is making up events and inundating all my members with emails. If you had a note on your calendar like “Time change”, meetup is now sending out an email to your group telling them there is an event scheduled. I am sure the “time change” event will bring them in in droves!

      Any, ANY usability expert would FAIL this design as all your paying customers are doing with even just the basic design 101 issues of unreadable text, distorted user pictures, pages so busy your eyes have no idea where to go, let alone making navigation a nightmare. You want to go in a different direction, fine. Directly to bankrupty will serve you right for so rudely telling your paying customers: “…it’s your prerogative whether Meetup is the right community for your Group. We’re building for the future.” Apparently you don’t care if you have any customers in that future which is remarkably short sighted and sad…..

    • Emily

      But what purpose does it serve to have the Google maps front and center when they were already easily accessible? The give the groups a generic feel. All the groups look the same now. Already I have noticed less traffic on my site because people know there’s nothing interesting to see now.

    • Anonymous

      Andres,
      Your link does not work for me

      http://meetupblog.meetup.com/2

    • macdee

      Is that it?? See more about how it works by clicking here…????
      Andres…sorry but do you have a clue what MU Organizers are pissed about or are you just going to avoid the submit matter entirely???

      WAKE UP!!!

  • http://topsy.com/eu.techcrunch.com/2011/01/29/meetup-feels-the-wrath-of-the-crowd-after-radical-changes/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention Meetup feels the wrath of the crowd after radical changes -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TechCrunch, LolCrunch, Kristine Schachinger, Sue Anne Reed, Dj Nishant and others. Dj Nishant said: RT @TechCrunch: Meetup Feels The Wrath Of The Crowd After Radical Changes http://tcrn.ch/gqFKLu by @mikebutcher […]

  • David D.

    As a member and co-organizer of various Meetup groups, the recent redesign has left some gaping holes in the business model. There’s now no point in organizers paying a monthly fee of $12-19 when anyone can post an event. I would welcome the changes (except for the Google maps showing home addresses) if the monthly organizer fee were discontinued. Otherwise I’ll be out there suggesting alternative sites to my friends and associates.

    • Emily

      I would not welcome the changes, even if the organizer fee were discontinued because the reason I created my group was for my own creative outlet, to set up and run a group as I wished, and to be able to be a group leader. This is what makes it pleasurable for me and what makes it worth it (although barely) to pay the relatively high cost of organizing through Meetup. There are plenty of other groups with the same focus as mine within 25 miles of mine; if all my members can create events, then there would be no point to the group because the events they post will be similar to other events in similar groups. What makes my group special is the time I take to create a variety of different types of events, all involving French speaking or French culture in some way.

      • Arborlaw

        Emily, what you say is too true. I have run several interest-oriented groups since college, at a couple of points in time, organizing took as much as 40hrs/wk of my time. Each of my groups was active and thriving when I handed over the reins to the hand-picked, hand-groomed enthusiastic successor. None lasted more than one or two years when I was gone, despite my efforts. They were essentially *my* groups and others were enjoying being part of them. I was happy to do that for other people to enjoy, as long as I had control over the product. This is why Meetup relaunched (sorry, it’s not a redesign) as an event-based rather than group-based product — they can sell events and events information to advertisers. They can’t sell you.

      • Arborlaw

        Emily, what you say is too true. I have run several interest-oriented groups since college, at a couple of points in time, organizing took as much as 40hrs/wk of my time. Each of my groups was active and thriving when I handed over the reins to the hand-picked, hand-groomed enthusiastic successor. None lasted more than one or two years when I was gone, despite my efforts. They were essentially *my* groups and others were enjoying being part of them. I was happy to do that for other people to enjoy, as long as I had control over the product. This is why Meetup relaunched (sorry, it’s not a redesign) as an event-based rather than group-based product — they can sell events and events information to advertisers. They can’t sell you.

  • http://twitter.com/elqhomewood ELQ Homewood

    Guess they just had to get in on the fad and go Facebook with it..I don’t like it because nothing’s where I expect it to be, but I’ll live..if we really HATE it, we could always just make one of our own.

  • Scott

    Web User Motto: All change sucks … until you get used to it and its awesome … but then any changes to that suck!

    • Emily

      Will never get use to how meetup has bulldozed their site and my group. At the VERY LEAST I would have to get event photo capability back to even CONSIDER staying.

    • Mark Mc Donnell

      They should have tolled out the changes in small pieces and given the CUSTOMERS the right to use the new layout or old. They didnt, they bulldozed the whole thing and it sucks. Meetup sucks. I complained loudly and no response from them.

    • Tigerlibby

      I love change, I’ve never had any problem with any website changing because the basic functionality was there. Every thing that made meetup great is gone. Mainly the sense of community. They took my money and my hard work and threw it down the tiolet. I suspect you are not a meetup organizer.

    • Murphnothappy

      Sorry, Scott but that is not true. I work in the IT world and this company has not done their home work on the impact of changes the the user community. If I had gotten this kind of reponse from my customers after an upgrade I would be working on my resume and looking for a new job.

      • Arborlaw

        You’re assuming that they are working for their customers (organizers). They are working for their new customers (corporate sponsors). Their former customers (us) are going to provide them with the free, user-generated content that they will sell to their new customers.

      • http://www.facebook.com/thecopywriter Christine Alexander

        What they do not understand is that when leader go …. there is nothing for advertisers.

    • http://www.madinmelbourne.com.au/ MADinMelbourne

      inclusive change is how leading edge companies are headed, those that are switched on realise that we now live in a participatory world. Exclusive change, however, simply ages those that force the change….. and shows their true dictatorial colors.

      @MeetUp is supposed to be leading the way isn’t it… the way to include people????

    • Anonymous

      I’m not just a web user; I have developed software and have worked as a web designer. This Meetup train wreck is Exhibit A in how NOT to conduct a major software or web design rollout. They screwed up every single aspect of it, from not doing their homework with the users and organizers first, to not announcing plans for change in small increments and public-pilot-testing for feedback, to badly undermining their core business model, to not providing a sense of individual community to the groups and instead just creating sterile cookie-cutter monotony, to not respecting people’s privacy, to the non-aesthetic design, to inefficient use of screen real estate (SO much wasted space!), to failing to streamline functional design, and finally to utterly failing to provide meaningful and professional responses to customers’ concerns. Everything that they could possibly botch, they botched.

      If I had followed their methodology on ANY of the software/web projects my team worked on, we would have faced a similar firestorm as to what you see here, and would have surely lost our jobs.

  • Jasper

    I just created a group on Big Tent called “Fuck”

  • http://www.trishtech.com/ Trisha P.

    Actually, I have seen many people are moving to Facebook where you can start a group for free if you can handle all the organizing yourself.

  • Jill

    I’m a meetup organizer and I’m very unhappy with these changes for some very specific reasons, that have nothing to do with the fact that they are simply changes. There are real functionality and usability failures. For example:

    – Photos for events have been replaced by maps. For a photography or hiking site, this is disaster.
    – Every change to an event gets a wall post. This means if you correct a spelling error, it gets logged. Because of the way the events are displayed with all of their “wall posts”, it takes ages to scroll down to events.
    – People can’t post comments with their RSVP anymore. This is very useful for people communicating with each other.
    – The greeting that automatically goes out to new members sounds childish “Don’t flake out!” it says. That is inappropriate for a business-oriented group, but we have no choice.
    – The RSVP “Yes” and “No” have been replaced with “Count me In” and “No Thanks.” This too sets a tone that is not always wanted or appropriate.
    – Ideas were very helpful in brainstorming about new events. But, now an idea is an “event in the making” and appears as an upcoming event, even when its just a “thought.” There have been reports of people being confused about whether an event is actually occurring or not.
    – Organizers, who pay up to $144/yr for the site are now listed as “Helpers”
    – The font is light gray on a dark gray or green background — this is hard to see.

    These are just a few examples, and they’re enough to make me and many others want and try to leave Meetup. I have created an alternative page on GroupSpaces and I’ll switch in one week if Meetup doesn’t address these very real functionality issues.

    The other problem is that these changes were made one-fine-day, without any notice to organizers. And, Meetup’s response to Organizer concerns and frustrations has been terrible (ignoring, closing discussion threads, banning organizers — even when discussion has been respectful).

    If you’re curious to see more, check out:
    http://www.meetup.com/boards/thread/10358683
    http://meetup.uservoice.com/forums/37079-ideas-and-suggestions-for-meetup/suggestions/1417609-please-give-organizers-the-ability-to-restore-the-?ref=title

  • Dubnorix

    We are a group of rock climbers, and all the organizers are trained and experienced in taking people (also newbies) outdoors. Now, also newbies can organize a climbing trip, under the name of our group.
    What is someone gets hurt (or even dies) during one of these meetups organized by inexperienced people? Who’s going to be responsible? The organizer? The group? or the stupid people from Meetup HQ who allowed him to do so?

    What a stupid, stupid thing to do.

    Oh, and they way they said – changes are done, suck it up and keep paying us – is simply disgusting. Do they know we pay (paid??) for their salary?

    Now we are actively looking for another place to organize our group.

    • Emily

      Such a good point you make. I can relate what you say even to my group, albeit with nothing like the danger that could result in the case of your group under the New Meetup. My group is an intermediate- to advanced-level French group; I make a very serious effort as a non-native French speaker to post events using grammatically correct French because without that, what’s the point, when most of my users want to improve their French and speak it correctly? Well, many of my members are not at my level of French and would not in a million years take the time I take to write correct French, in which case I don’t want them to create the events.

      • Haley

        I think what Debnorix posted is such a valid point! We are a moms group with small children, we take our meet ups serious and have quality control on the brain when it comes to our meet ups. Recently we chose to stop having Mom’s Night Out at bars or bar like places because of liability concerns. So now what? Meet-up knows best? Meet-up will take the heat if a carful of moms are over served…… doubtful

    • JAWSnAZ

      I’m with you. We have a Tactical Shooting group. Hello…. ASSAULT RIFLES + UN-Controlled meetups = major liability and beyond that just pain unsafe. We pay our dues and volunteer our time to create a safe learning environment and to introduce / train people that already have guns as a “Favor” to the rest of the unarmed world. Changing things in mid-motion so to speak is Dangerous.

      The other issue is that we pay-for and bring people into Meetup.com. It is our effort and money that fills their membership not Meetups’ snazzy web site.

  • boot

    check out what the Organizers are saying/writing (before Meetup deletes more of their comments) at http://www.meetup.com/boards/forum/203829/

  • Blahblah

    The bubble’s gonna burst eventually — these web 2.0 companies with the technology that a group of college cs majors can make in 2 weeks with lots of pizza, will see that they can be replaced AT WILL by others.

    May the bubble burst soon, please.

  • http://www.meetingwave.com/ jb

    First time I’ve heard of Big Tent. It mentions it’s free. Thanks for the tip.

    Meetup used to be free and caught flack when started charging but seems to have worked out. Sounds like they may have to backpaddle on some changes (“reveal some people’s home addresses”) but most changes cause some complaints.

  • BH

    I have written enough about this horrible #newmeetup, our group has been thinking of having our own site and then EventBrite for organising events and Meetup’s changes and just push us that way.

    Meetup has never been perfect for us but now it’s bad enough for us to leave – the arrogance of the meetup HQ is also a disgrace.

  • Tim76239

    After complaining on online post it seems that upset organizers are referred to as “trolls” by the arrogant mangement. I find this insulting and I have pulled my auto pay.
    It seems big tent or groupspaces may be my alternative.

    • Jimbo the troll whisperer

      When you keep yammering on in comment after comment after tedious comment about being called a troll and vow to continue trolling “until hell freezes over” you have indicated that you actually are a “troll” after all.

      If you don’t like the service, quit and find and alternate.

      What is it about the internet that gives people such a sense of entitlement? Freakin’ crybaby troll, get over it.

    • Josh

      It’s not the complaining that gets people labeled as trolls. It is the manner in which they are doing so. As a meetup organizer myself, I am not too happy with all of the changes. However, I would never say some of the things that have been said. And I have even received an harassing message because I was trying to help figure out how to use the new interface that we are apparently stuck with.

      Some people are simply complaining. Others are being rightfully banned as trolls.

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