> but the sad fact (that Mark must have realised in the end) is that most basic groups have no intention of paying... ever.
Another method, albeit minor,) just occurred to me. GemCo used to have a $1 membership requirement. It indirectly became CostCo. Membership runs ~ 50-150$US, with various benefits.
However, many cannot afford it and would be hard pressed to see break-even, over a year's time.
Basic/Free may need to be that in the eXtreme, with smaller costs & far fewer benefits, in order to get them to upgrade to upgrade even a bit. Chat? 20$/yr. A database? Maybe the same. Maybe only (?) a member roster would exist at Free/Basic. Maybe allow 10-20 limited (10 photo) albums.
And future new groups may need to understand that grandfathering of prices, is over. That said, existing "renters" experience smaller price increases than a new renter would experience.
Austerity sucks, but it can mean survival for Free/"poor" groups and groups.io... "the boat." For whatever size, the anchor, somewhat vital, must be right-sized.
The solution may be a combination of more things than anyone wants. Metro-phone users give way a bit when the network is burdened - TMobile users get a small bandwidth preference over Metro("ghettro"-economy users.) MOST phone users are throttled back past some point. OWNERS (limit 3 or 5 or 1/100 members,) need to be cut some slack.