locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Ellen Moody

I can't find the whole of my original message -- which Samuel Murrayy quoted a part of a sentence from (or it could be a whole sentence without a period at the end).  Yes I was suggesting that maybe Mark Fletcher had in mind charging the basic (now called free) groups.io all along but I didn't say he did because I cannot know that. I did not have any inference in mind beyond that, logical or intuitive or not. 

I don't understand many of the parts of Mr Murrayy's message. I gather from intuition insofar as I can understand he is saying that Mark Fletcher originally meant to build a new business model and saw groups.io as groups intent on business operations.  Really?

I am no businesswoman, have never worked in private industry except decades ago as an Executive secretary in a (I could see profoundly corrupt) corporation in the US for 2 weeks and just before that for 6 months in a business in the UK (not a bad place) where I was a personal assistant. In neither place did I ever have anything to do with any digital stuff: this was 1968-69.  My three groups are not businesses. We are groups made up of (it was originally hoped by me and is true in part) of friends reading books together.  No one is making any money, no one is making any profit; to participate in such a thing in the academy (where I used to  work) is infra dig, in fact it is looked up as useless and used to give you lower status.  Nowadays it depends on where it is coming from and who is in it.  But still tenured people think you are mad to do this kind of thing. The other lists I am on as a member are just the same -- all reading groups, or I know of knitting groups, or people sharing like opinions (feminist -- yes there are still feminists in the world -- lists about womens' problems)

 So if there are services given and taken away because they are business ones I don't recognize this. 

Some of Mr Murrayy's sentences floor me:   "I'll wager Mark's main problem isn't getting money from basic groups that are truly communities, but rather getting money from basic groups who are free-loading in a community habitat for non-community-like purposes ...:
What could this possibly mean?  I understand the individual words; I even know the usual meaning of habitat but what are "the non-community like purposes" he is impugning?  Who are the people who are "target users for paid services?"

How is the new pricing structure going to kill groups.io as a community? I don't understand. I was hoping and do think my three lists of active members (I concede that some maybe many of the silent members are not truly members of our community; they are mostly what's called free riders) are small communities. Yes to ask us to pay would destroy us because most of the people I fear would not pay.  Some might but not enough if the price were prohibitive for them.

In the antepenultimate paragraph (third from the last) I gather services seen as for businesses are in premium groups.  We still have files and photos in our basic/free group.  We never had any wiki that I know of.  I don't know what you mean by many of your words --  like database

I wish people would stop using the word "brand" and all its cognates -- rebranding and so on. Vague buzz noises.  Mark changed the names of things and yes that can stigmatize. To call a group hitherto named Basic to Free in our capitalist society stigmatizes the Free group.  I have heard a certain individual repeatedly call public schools "government schools" - wow does that stigmatize 200 years of progress for enabling all the members of our society to go to school, learn to read and write and many skills and gain knowledge of all kinds. It is a profoundly sickening stigmatizing.  But I am not a brand.  I am an individual with a name. 

I don't know what most basic groups have in mind if they have anything in mind. From the 3 I moderate/run and the 3 I join in on I think the people don't have the money to pay anything considerable. They probably already as individuals have enough monthly and yearly payments for what they may consider they need -- like water, electricity, gas ...

I have answered Mr Murrayy because his message distressed me:  it seems to impose on me and my groups ulterior motives we don't have and impose on Mark Fletcher various motives and goals I am not sure he has, all of which tend to corrode trust and belief in good decent motives. The worst thing in our society as to values over these past 4 years and more is the corrosion of trust and belief there can be good pro-social goals between individuals and groups of people.  

Ellen Moody

On Tue, Dec 29, 2020 at 5:10 AM Samuel Murrayy <samuelmurray@...> wrote:
On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 06:22 PM, Ellen Moody wrote:
I am told in this one these changes are "industry standard,"
so these pricing strategies were known originally.

Although Mark did mention a per-member or per-user pricing structure a year ago, I don't think your logic follows.   Mark's comment that per-user pricing is "industry standard" is just his personal opinion.  There isn't really an industry standard for services such as Groups.io.  It all depends on how you classify Groups.io.

If you classify Groups.io as a messenger service and further classify it as a business-to-business or company-internal messenger service, then yes: per-member pricing appears to be the norm, but that makes sense because the employer pays for his employees to be able to use the service, or because the group owner or group members make money from using the service (i.e. they will make less money if they don't use the service).  However, my impression is that in 99% of cases in Groups.io, group members are not the employees of the group owner, nor do the group owners or group members have any reasonably quantifiable financial benefit from their membership, so it can be argued that this classification is irrelevant to Groups.io despite it being a "messenger" service.

I have sympathy with Mark -- I speculate that he was hoping that by adding business-like services to Groups.io he could exploit Groups.io in that particular niche, but if he intends to go that route, then he needs to ensure that customers who can pay do pay, and this means reducing the value of free or basic groups to a level that makes it unsuited for any such commercial purposes except in the miniature.  The problem with Groups.io is that there is nothing that distinguishes the community use from commercial use (although Mark did try, by removing certain barely business-like features from the free groups), and you can't just rely on people's honesty that they will register a "business" account when they [start to] make commercial use of it.

I see a lot of posts here about donations this and donations that, but I'll wager Mark's main problem isn't getting money from basic groups that are truly communities, but rather getting money from basic groups who are free-loading in a community habitat for non-community-like purposes.  I mean, solving the problem of how to give donations isn't going to solve Mark's main problem of how to get money from people who are target users for paid services.

To get back to your original comment: while it may have been known to some that some kind of per-user pricing structure was in the pipeline, "these pricing strategies" were not "known originally".  I don't think many people here considered that Groups.io would change the pricing structure to one that essentially kills it as a "community".  But perhaps the writing could have been seen, if you look at the history of basic, premium and enterprise groups on Groups.io:

In 2015 and 2016, premium groups were essentially the same as basic groups, except 10 GB of storage instead of 1 GB of storage, and enterprise groups were envisaged as some kind of privately branded Groups.io service (own domain name, own home page, presumably own branding, essentially unlimited control, and more storage).  By 2017, business-like features began to be added to premium groups -- RSVP tracking, membership tracking, direct adding. By 2018, premium groups also got API access, locking groups, banning domains, reposting, editing members, so the shift was clear that while premium groups previously were simply community groups with higher limits, now premium groups got more aimed at business use.  2019 saw calendar sync, event summaries and "donations" added to premium groups.

Then came the whole Yahoogroups closure and with it some emergency pricing changes (the price for moving groups increased 20-fold, and this had [unintended?] knock-on effects on premium group pricing), but the nature of basic, premium and enterprise groups remained the same.  I suspect that this sudden increase in membership prompted Mark to rethink his business model and focus more aggressively on coaxing basic groups to choose to become premium.  April 2020 saw subgroups become a premium service.  May 2020 saw size limit increases for premium groups.  A big change came in September 2020 when files, photos, wiki and database got rebranded as a "collaboration suite" and removed from the basic groups altogether.

Perhaps Mark thought that stripping basic groups of services and making these same services available in premium groups would convince many basic groups to become premium groups, but the sad fact (that Mark must have realised in the end) is that most basic groups have no intention of paying... ever.


Disclaimer: I don't know Mark personally, and my conjecture about what he might have been thinking is just that: conjecture.  The same applies to my impressions about what other people might have been thinking.

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