Date   

moderated Re: Changes to new basic groups #update

Dave Sergeant
 

Marv's ideas are good, thanks for writing them.

I belong to around 15 groups and moderator for 3. These are all
informal groups related to amateur radio and other subjects. Most have
no mechanism for organising payments and no membership fee at all. A
couple are tied to large societies with the own separate membership
rates so making a few (but not many) premium is a possibility. But our
local radio club, similar size to many others in the UK, has just 25
paying members. £200 or so per year for premium is around half what the
membership pays to be a member of the club. Premium is just not going
to happen with that sort of group.

We don't make extensive use of files and photos, but we do, along with
calendar alerts which presumably would also cease with basic.

Your changes are not as simple as they may seem to somebody who only
sees it from a business point of view. At the moment the changes have
not been publicised outside beta, when the rest of your groups hear
about them I doubt they will be happy.

Dave

On 12 Aug 2020 at 9:07, Marv Waschke wrote:

From day one of my awareness of groups.io. I have been troubled by
sustainability of its business model.

http://davesergeant.com


moderated Re: RE : [beta] Changes to new basic groups #update

Mahendra Bakshi
 

JediPirx said:
>>> ... and keeping "Basic" as is but adding a nominal monthly charge ($5/month ?).

My comment:
That is a terrible idea.  Many of the current Basic groups have no income stream to pay for those monthly charges.  They will then have to dissolve the group and will cease to exist.


moderated Thread reference when muting topics #bug

Andy Wedge
 

Hi Mark,

on the confirmation page when muting a topic, there is another reference to 'thread'.

Regards,
Andy

[Mod note: Changed hashtag to #bug]


moderated Re: Changes to new basic groups #update

Robin Whittle
 

Regarding Mark Fletcher's changes: https://beta.groups.io/g/main/message/25893

Stan/jp wrote, in part:

Just a thought, but, what about creating a "Free" plan that
is mailing list and possibly Wiki only, and keeping "Basic"
as is but adding a nominal monthly charge ($5/month ?). This
avoids legacy plan tracking.

Those on the Basic plan who only need mailing list can
downgrade to Free plan if they wish. The Wiki feature would
be used to document rules-of-engagement, and links to other
sites for files/photos/etc.

This seems like a good idea to me, but I can't anticipate how Mark wants and needs to run his business. 

The private group I run could exist as a current Basic group, but I chose to pay for Premium for three reasons:

1 - I greatly value the groups.io system.  In terms of pure time and motion, it is worth paying for a system like this which is very carefully thought out and, in my experience, beautifully implemented, without being infiltrated by the Googleplex's data vacuuming plumbing and without adverts and extraneous stuff like Yahoo Groups.   Also, I had enormously positive experiences 20 years ago with Yahoo Groups and am happy to support the guy behind it, whose social, programming and entrepreneurial experience and energies all came together to create what later became Yahoo Groups, and now this much improved Groups.io system which seems to work perfectly with HTML emails.

2 - I wanted to be able to directly add members if they had some difficulty navigating the normal system for joining.

3 - I really wanted at least one sub-group - for "Other Topics".   I used a separate Yahoo Group for this in the past and it was a vital part of maintaining the signal-to-noise ratio of the main group.   Discussion mailing lists are potentially wonderful, powerful, arrangements, but they are fragile.  Crap on the main list, in the eyes of the recipient, will drive people away very quickly.  This is especially so for some of the very busy academics and management people I want in the group.  In principle this could be done with a separate private Basic group, but I wanted it encompassed by the main group.

Some other reasons include being able to edit the archives to get rid of extraneous quotations (I never figured out how to train members to do this when replying) to make the archives easier to read and search - and the simple, clear, graphic design of the whole system.   Full integration of a robust mailing list system and web archives with web posting is a very difficult thing to achieve - and it even has measures against viruses.

The Basic group would have been OK, though I guess eventually we would hit the 1GB attachment limit.   I have left the Chat option open, but no-one has tried it yet.  I turned off Database, Calendar, Photos, Polls and Wiki to keep things simple.  Files are active and I guess we might use that someday.   I might enable the Wiki once we get more members.  I haven't looked into hashtags but I can imagine them being very useful if and when the discussions become more structured than in the current early days.


Some of us have out-of-date concepts of the value of money.  USD$220 a year is about Australian $1 a day - and its worth it to know I have a good, ad-free, long-term reliable system for running what is always going to be quite a time-consuming project. 

I think most people have no idea what it costs them to rely on advertising supported systems.   If you are not paying money  for it, you are the product.   Facebook is total brilliance in this regard - even better than network TV: there's no need to create any programs etc.  Just sell people back to their friends and then most people, to stay "connected" have to be a part of this advert-infested thing for most of their waking hours.   The cost of the advertising is far more than financial.  It is a pervasive suck on the psyche.


Thanks Mark!


    Robin       


moderated Re: Changes to new basic groups #update

Marv Waschke
 

From day one of my awareness of groups.io. I have been troubled by sustainability of its business model. During my career in software development I saw good products fail when finance directors insisted on charging more than the traffic would bear and used support as a bludgeon to drive dependent customers into line. Eventually, competition offers a better deal and the customers walk. Business models work in the long term when pricing aligns with value-- when the value of what the customer gets from a service aligns with the price they pay. Pay too little and the business goes bankrupt. Charge too much and the customers leave.

The public has gotten used to digital network services, like Google and Facebook, that are ostensibly free to consumers and are sustained by profits generated from the consumer's use of the service, a model that is okay, I guess, but invites exploitation and abuse.

The ostensibly free model has been aided by the dramatic decrease in cost of storage, network bandwidth, and compute cycles from large data centers. The cost decrease has made services like groups.io, which does not generate revenue from their consumers' use of the service, able to offer some free services, but without generating revenue from usage, the free services have to be paid for somehow. Most often, this is done by charging for "premium" services. The revenues from premium services pay for the free services and the free services are an advertisement for premium services.

From a business management standpoint, the challenge in the groups.io type model is to balance the cost of supplying the free service against the value of the advertising in promoting the premium service and the revenues generated by the premium service. This is complicated by the step-wise nature of digital costs. (Supplying a 1000 customers with a digital service often costs the supplier little more than the cost of supplying the first customer.) These factors are not easy to balance. I sympathize with Mark wrestling with this hard problem.

I have one observation: free groups.io services have tremendous value to society in general. As several people have pointed out, groups.io free plan helps many worthwhile causes that could not pay for premium services. As an independent businessperson, Mark is free to charge what he wants to whom he wants. He is not a government agency, a regulated public utility, and he holds no monopoly on email groups. He has no special tax status, he is not even a publicly held corporation. He can, if he wants, within the limits of civil and criminal laws, determine who gets free services based on any criteria he cares to use. I hope he keeps the interests of society at large in mind as he tunes his business model, but that's his business, not mine.
Best, Marv


moderated RE : [beta] Changes to new basic groups #update

JediPirx
 

Just a thought, but, what about creating a "Free" plan that
is mailing list and possibly Wiki only, and keeping "Basic"
as is but adding a nominal monthly charge ($5/month ?). This
avoids legacy plan tracking.

Those on the Basic plan who only need mailing list can
downgrade to Free plan if they wish. The Wiki feature would
be used to document rules-of-engagement, and links to other
sites for files/photos/etc.

Is there a plan that can be created for Non-Profits ? Are
there certain features that Non-Profits typically use ?

As an aside, does Groups.io track feature usage for each plan ?
This would help with developing plans in the future.

There are other pricing models, such as "Utility Computing" and
"A La Carte" but that is not the scope here.

Stan/jp

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject : [beta] Changes to new basic groups #updates
Date : Mon, 10 Aug 2020 13:05:33 -0700
From : Mark Fletcher <markf@corp.groups.io>
To : beta@groups.io

All,

I am making a change that will affect all new basic groups created
after Monday, 24, 2020 at 9am Pacific Time. Basic groups created
after that time will be limited to mailing list features only.

.
.
.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks,
Mark


moderated Re: Changes to new basic groups #update

KWKloeber
 

On Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 06:09 PM, Andy Wedge wrote:
On Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 08:25 PM, Ken Kloeber wrote:
jump to Premium
I'd rather more people jumped to a premium account than a price rise for existing premium customers.


Andy
 Well of course  - that’s optimum.  $$trength in numbers.

We did jump. Just now.  

Not “the ship”, of course. 


moderated Re: Changes to new basic groups #update

Andy Wedge
 

On Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 08:25 PM, Ken Kloeber wrote:
jump to Premium
I'd rather more people jumped to a premium account than a price rise for existing premium customers.

Andy


moderated Re: Changes to new basic groups #update

KWKloeber
 

On Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 01:04 PM, Mark Fletcher wrote:
We have a long standing policy of not changing things for existing groups.
Mark
Would this include current pricing for premium groups? As in jump to Premium before the rollback for new groups and the price will be held.  I’m trolling for a reason(s)/benefit(s) to get our group  owner to go Premium (which I believe we should and have lobbied for that. 


moderated Re: #bug #bug

 

On Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 10:16 AM admin fali.org <admin@...> wrote:
For about 3 days now I have been getting multiple message, 20+ as a guesstimate,  for some of our messages that are posting. I am the group moderator but some of our members are complaining of the same problem. This could be a major deterrent to them remaining with this group which is an important part of our membership. Please help as soon as possible. Our email boxes are filling up with messages that have already been handled.


The problem is with Network Solutions, your email provider. After we send the body of an email to them, we have to wait for a response, indicating that they got the message ok, or if there was an error. The issue is that they're not responding back to us in a timely manner. We timeout and have to try sending the message again, because we're not sure they received it. Normally this shouldn't be a problem because email providers can tell if they've received a message more than once, because each email has a unique identifier, called the Message-ID. Get two emails with the same Message-ID, and you know you've gotten a duplicate and can throw one away. But it appears Network Solutions is not doing that. So the combination of those two things means you could end up with a bunch of duplicate emails.

I just changed how long we wait for an answer after sending the email body. So maybe that will fix it for you. But my suggestion is to complain to them, because they're having problems and need to fix them.

(Also in the future, please try to use a more descriptive subject line. I normally edit them if they are not descriptive before I approve the messages, but this one slipped by).

Thanks,
Mark


moderated #bug #bug

admin fali.org
 

For about 3 days now I have been getting multiple message, 20+ as a guesstimate,  for some of our messages that are posting. I am the group moderator but some of our members are complaining of the same problem. This could be a major deterrent to them remaining with this group which is an important part of our membership. Please help as soon as possible. Our email boxes are filling up with messages that have already been handled.

Amy O'Rourke
admin@...


moderated Re: Changes to new basic groups #update

 

On Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 9:58 AM Ken Kloeber via groups.io <KWKloeber=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
On Mon, Aug 10, 2020 at 04:07 PM, Mark Fletcher wrote:
This change will not affect existing groups.

Mark what about groups that went premium for a YahCHOO! transfer intending to drop back after the year?  They are “existing” groups that get full benefits?


They are existing groups, so will not be affected. 

I understand that things change over time, but other than this change  will “things” (whatever they may be) remain status quo for all groups as to whatever the “things”/policies that were in place when they signed up?  The drop-backs would be one of those type policies but I would imagine that there’s other ones as well.  


We have a long standing policy of not changing things for existing groups. Of course I cannot predict the future, but I don't anticipate that changing anytime soon.


Cheers,
Mark


moderated Re: Do not delete pending messages after 14 days #suggestion

Chris Jones
 

On Mon, Aug 10, 2020 at 04:40 PM, Ondřej Čertík wrote:
Would it be possible to add an option to never delete pending messages automatically?
You probably won't thank me for saying this but the problem is not the automatic deletion after 14 days but the fact that you left your Spam Box unchecked for 2 months.

I would argue that a message is likely to lose its currency after 24 hours, never mind 14 let alone 60 days; on top of that I am slightly surprised that after that amount of time your ISP had not automatically cleared your Spam Box.

If you had just set your group up then I suspect that you never checked the web UI and did not have any other person appointed to moderate messages.

As a matter of principle spam boxes ought to be checked far more frequently than every two months whether or not this is to find any messages from Groups.io. There are ways of setting your email service up so that the risk of Groups.io mails being shunted off is minimised; one common one is to ensure that the address that Groups.io uses to send messages to you is listed in your service provider's contact list.

In asking for a "never delete" option you are IMHO seeking to address an incorrect diagnosis of the problem.

Chris


moderated Re: Changes to new basic groups #update

KWKloeber
 

On Mon, Aug 10, 2020 at 04:07 PM, Mark Fletcher wrote:
This change will not affect existing groups.

Mark what about groups that went premium for a YahCHOO! transfer intending to drop back after the year?  They are “existing” groups that get full benefits?

It doesn’t affect us, but it would seem to be akin to a bait n switch for those folks.

I understand that things change over time, but other than this change  will “things” (whatever they may be) remain status quo for all groups as to whatever the “things”/policies that were in place when they signed up?  The drop-backs would be one of those type policies but I would imagine that there’s other ones as well.  

No argument you need to and hope you make this sustainable, and well, maybe the model wasn’t projected out far enough or invalid assumptions used.  On the other hand there’s groups who may have jumped here expecting that, say, after 2-3 years the growth in membership would push them to a premium due to storage. The problem is (and this example is exaggerated simply to make the point clear) if they knew the premium was $100 but 2-3 yrs later it’s “Sorry, it’s now $1,000,” that’s a hard pill to swallow having made sacrifices to go G.io, only to find they’re now under a rock pile. 

i try to tell people there ain’t no free lunch and if something seems to good to be true, well yes, it’s probably too good to be true. 

thx, ken


moderated Re: Changes to new basic groups #update

 

On Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 5:13 AM Alan N <amnast@...> wrote:
Very sorry to hear this.  IMHO, Groups.io would be a more sustainable business model if Mark reduced the Premium tier to $10/mo (or a flat $100/yr paid in advance).  That would be a lot more palatable pricing model for the majority (I presume) of groups that have no revenue stream or dues structure.  Otherwise, I fear Groups.io will not be sustainable for the long run.


Groups were priced at $10/month for 2.5 years before the price increase last October (and that's still the price for those legacy premium groups who have been paying all along). The data does not agree with your assessment.

Cheers,
Mark


moderated Re: Changes to new basic groups #update

 

Ok. Points well-taken. I won't worry. :-)


On Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 9:40 AM Mark Fletcher <markf@corp.groups.io> wrote:
On Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 7:13 AM J_Catlady <j.olivia.catlady@...> wrote:
I have to admit that I, too, felt some panic about the sustainability of groups.io when I first read this announcement. My premium group (for cats) is grandfathered in for pricing and my basic group (for my block) is grandfathered in for features, so I personally made it under the wire. But this does have the smell of yahoo groups, and although I am hanging onto trust that the combination decided on for pricing and features was the best combination possible, I worry that groups.io will have trouble distinguishing itself from yahoo going forward, and that instead of making things more sustainable, it might have the opposite effect. 


Not sure I see the comparison. Yahoo doesn't even offer most of the features we have. If someone goes with Y Groups these days (or Google Groups for that matter), then I have either not marketed the Groups.io advantages well, or they would not be a good customer fit for us.

Thanks,
Mark


--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


moderated Re: Changes to new basic groups #update

 

On Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 7:13 AM J_Catlady <j.olivia.catlady@...> wrote:
I have to admit that I, too, felt some panic about the sustainability of groups.io when I first read this announcement. My premium group (for cats) is grandfathered in for pricing and my basic group (for my block) is grandfathered in for features, so I personally made it under the wire. But this does have the smell of yahoo groups, and although I am hanging onto trust that the combination decided on for pricing and features was the best combination possible, I worry that groups.io will have trouble distinguishing itself from yahoo going forward, and that instead of making things more sustainable, it might have the opposite effect. 


Not sure I see the comparison. Yahoo doesn't even offer most of the features we have. If someone goes with Y Groups these days (or Google Groups for that matter), then I have either not marketed the Groups.io advantages well, or they would not be a good customer fit for us.

Thanks,
Mark


moderated Re: Do not delete pending messages after 14 days #suggestion

Duane
 

On Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 09:31 AM, Linda Perry wrote:
Is this the same with pending members?
Yes.  With either, you can go to the web site and Claim them so they won't be automatically deleted.  (To Claim a message, you can choose to Edit it, then select Cancel.)

Duane


moderated Re: Do not delete pending messages after 14 days #suggestion

Linda Perry
 

Is this the same with pending members?  I find they are disappearing as well. Is there a way to change this?

Linda Perry
Linda@...
www.peachhead.net
Twitter:  Peachhead


moderated Re: Changes to new basic groups #update

 

I have to admit that I, too, felt some panic about the sustainability of groups.io when I first read this announcement. My premium group (for cats) is grandfathered in for pricing and my basic group (for my block) is grandfathered in for features, so I personally made it under the wire. But this does have the smell of yahoo groups, and although I am hanging onto trust that the combination decided on for pricing and features was the best combination possible, I worry that groups.io will have trouble distinguishing itself from yahoo going forward, and that instead of making things more sustainable, it might have the opposite effect. 
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu