Date   

locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

John Wirtz SF
 

I think what would be really useful as the thread now becoming slightly confrontational is that Mark bring this discussion to a close with a statement either re-iterating his pricing structure going forward or letting us know it is still under review.

 

If I worked for Mark, and I was tasked with sorting this out, this would be my approach:

 

Groups.io isn’t in the business of assessing how much of a service each individual group provides to its subscribers.  It exists to maintain and improve the platform.

So collecting subscriptions from individual subscribers is a non-starter.

 

When one creates a group, it might be simple support group restricted to a number of subscribers of, as suggested up to a hundred who want an easy way to communicated. 

On the other hand, if you’re creating an interest group that is likely to attract 10,000, then you might need to reconsider the status of the group and make a small charge for membership.  That is the group administrators responsibility, no that of Groups.io.

 

I don’t think that beyond a hundred members, there should be free groups and I would recommend that an intermediate package – if commercially realistic – was offered to smaller groups who relied on member subscriptions.

 

But, it is up to group creators and owners to take responsibility for their groups and charge their subscribers, not the platform provider.

 

One final point about income.  Yahoo, Google, etc have many income streams, not least by sharing your personal data, so they can afford to offer free groups.  Group’s io have only one source, payments for premium and enterprise packages.  He needs more of the group to pay for the service.  Simple.

 

But, please kill or close this boring thread, there’s been enough opinion and it’s getting tiresome now.

 

John Wirtz

 

 

 

 

 

 

From: main@beta.groups.io <main@beta.groups.io> On Behalf Of Chris Jones via groups.io
Sent: 30 December 2020 11:37
To: main@beta.groups.io
Subject: Re: [beta] Pricing Changes

 

On Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 11:04 AM, Samuel Murrayy wrote:

I think we can be clear that the purpose of Groups.io is to make money,

And why do you go to work, exactly? I would argue that the purpose of Groups.io is to provide a service. At some point in the chain providing that service costs money, and the person coordinating everything (Mark) has to put food on the table. What is so dreadfully wrong with persons using a service being the people who pay for it?

Not many businesses survive very long by losing money.

Chris


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Chris Jones
 

On Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 11:04 AM, Samuel Murrayy wrote:
I think we can be clear that the purpose of Groups.io is to make money,
And why do you go to work, exactly? I would argue that the purpose of Groups.io is to provide a service. At some point in the chain providing that service costs money, and the person coordinating everything (Mark) has to put food on the table. What is so dreadfully wrong with persons using a service being the people who pay for it?

Not many businesses survive very long by losing money.

Chris


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Samuel Murrayy
 

On Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 12:29 AM, Mark Fletcher wrote:
My thesis [when I started Groups.io] was that I could create a good business around it.
...
The per-member pricing structure ... aligns revenue with costs.
Okay, well in that case, I think we can be clear that the purpose of Groups.io is to make money, and free groups have a limited and specific set of purposes, namely (a) it allows people to play around with the system without paying, (b) it serves as a bit of marketing in that it shows the groups.io brand to a few more people and (c) it offers a way for groups to temporarily go into a type of hiatus without the need to recreate everything when the group starts back up again. 

To put it differently, free groups are not the main reason for Groups.io, and the purpose of paid groups isn't simply to help subsidize free groups.

Having come to terms with the above, I would then suggest a different pricing structure:

  • Bronze group: no credit card required, 100 members max, 1 GB storage, basic group.
  • Silver group: credit card required, 100 members free, plus $0.05 per additional member per month, 10 GB storage, basic plus collaboration and donations.
  • Gold group: $10 per month for up to 250 members, plus $0.05 per additional member per month, 20 GB storage per 250 members, all premium features.
  • Platinum group (i.e. Enterprise, with an entirely different pricing structure)

Additional notes or ideas:

  • My reasoning for the silver group is to allow groups who might want to be come larger or use more features to be able to do so without a very sudden change in pricing.  Also, allowing donations for such groups would allow the owners to start gathering money for a potential switch to gold.
  • For silver and gold plans, allow owners to set a preferred maximum annual payment (e.g. $10, $20, $50, etc.) and then receive warnings when that amount is approaching (or the calculated average of it is approaching), and/or when the chosen amount is reached, the group is switched to no-mail (i.e. posting by mail allowed, but reading via web only) and no further uploads to files and photos are allowed until the owner updates the limit.
  • I suggest giving bronze groups a "limited" collaboration suite, i.e. 150 MB files, 150 MB photos, 150 rows database, 15 pages wiki, so that they can get used to using these tools and get to see the advantage of paying for it.  Silver and gold groups get the full collaboration suite (i.e. up to their respective maximums).
  • Another way to reduce bronze groups' cost is to always convert attachments to links (silver and gold groups can choose to have attachments delivered).
  • An alternative way of pricing gold groups would be $10 per month for every 250 members or part thereof (so that 300, 400 or 500 members would all be $20 per month).  The advantage of this for group owners is a more predictable cost at the end of the invoicing period.
  • Let users be counted as members only if they are members for more than 10 days.  This allows people to join a group, look around a bit, and then leave again, without affecting the group numbers or costing the group owner any money.
  • An alternative arrangement is to set the free number for silver groups at 50 instead of 100.  This means that you get money from silver groups quicker, but it is still advantageous for silver groups because they get more storage and they get collaboration and donations.  The fee structure should encourage groups that are willing to pay to start paying as soon as possible, without making it too expensive for them initially or when they're a small group.  Or make both the bronze and silver group's free limit 75 members (it's just simpler).
  • 10% discount for annual instead of monthly payments on the gold plan (I don't see how that can work on the silver plan).

Samuel


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Joseph Hudson
 

Well Mark, here's one for you. I wouldn't mind volunteering my time approving groups or answering support questions if I had the ability on my account. So please keep that into consideration. I manage probably seven or eight blindness groups plus I gave support to the blindness community I definitely see no problem giving you a little bit of support voluntarily to help your service. The only thing I don't have is the technical skills to transfer archives. So if somebody had that ability or the technical knowledge in order to be able to do that, we would have something up and off of the ground.

On Dec 29, 2020, at 5:29 PM, Mark Fletcher <markf@corp.groups.io> wrote:

On Tue, Dec 29, 2020 at 8:48 AM Samuel Murrayy <samuelmurray@yandex.com> wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean. I do have the distinct impression that Mark originally wanted to build communities, and there is nothing to suggest that his original motive was deceit. I have no idea what direction Mark is hoping that Groups.io as a whole should take in future. I do not believe that Mark thinks that non-business groups generally have lots of money available to pay for this type of service. However, do I speculate freely that Mark is aiming at increasing the use of Groups.io by businesses, and that he hopes that businesses who use Groups.io will choose to pay for it. I don't know of Mark's original motive for Groups.io was to make money or to have a nice hobby, but it doesn't affect my opinion of him or his venture.

I started Groups.io (my coding on it started 7 years ago as of next week) because I feel strongly that email groups have distinct advantages over web fora and other discussion mediums for some types of groups. But no one was investing in modernizing them (Yahoo and Google were just maintaining, at best, their email group services). My thesis was that I could create a good business around it. And I still believe that.

There are a few reasons behind the per-member pricing structure changes. It aligns revenue with costs, importantly. Also, the fact is that the business is not yet generating enough revenue for me to be able to hire help. I'm still the only guy running things (Nina doing a great job contracting on the manuals being the exception). You all deserve it to be a real business. It'd be nice to be able to provide better customer support. It'd be nice to be able to more quickly implement TODO items and fixes. It'd be nice if I could take some real time off occasionally; maybe get hit by a bus now and then. :-)


Mark


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

 

Mark,

I don't believe that relying on donations is the way to go, and I
won't be pursuing that.
I hope you mean that only in the sense Mike suggested (becoming a non-profit).

I think a simplified Donation mechanism (which doesn't require the group owner to set up an account at Stripe) could help many group owners find a way to support their group.
https://beta.groups.io/g/main/message/27410

I haven't used Stripe, but I have set up an account through Square in support of a PTA unit. I found that experience a bit fraught -- and I wasn't even putting my own bank account on the line (the unit, fortunately, has its own). I can imagine how the current Donation mechanism might daunt group owners who have no prior experience with CC merchant accounts.

Taking it a step further, I think allowing Basic groups to use a simplified version could help them cross the threshold to a Premium plan.

Shal


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Barry_M
 

For whatever it's worth, I think M K really nails it.

Mark has built a wonderful platform here and without team. If anything, I'd like to see him grow it more rapidly...with outside capital or organically. More likely both.  But, from ethical or societal perspectives, this isn't the Salvation Army or local church. It is a business.  Businesses have to generate positive cash flow to survive.  Business with real growth potential, as GIO surely has, can also do a world of good for the many people who eventually may be hired to support that growth in different roles.  There is nothing wrong or less admirable about building an honest and successful business.  Non-profits are also wonderful and obviously do a ton of good in the world. Successful companies increasingly have CSR (corporate social responsibility) teams that support non-profits with whatever resources.  

MK really speaks the truth when (s)he writes "Whatever business model is chosen by [Mark], there are going to be users who will be unhappy for one reason or another."  You can take that to the bank and we've already seen that on this long thread.  That aside, the ethics and honesty behind this for-profit company are very evident to me and rather awesome.

Mark appreciates input/feedback but isn't asking for votes since businesses aren't democracies.  Still, my vote is "carry on!"  A great platform by a wonderful and accomplished entrepreneur with a big heart. That's what groups.io is to me.


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

M K Ramadoss
 

For many of us, groups.io is indispensable after Yahoo shut down.
We are getting outstanding support from him.
Unless it makes sufficient profit to keep Mark in business, it will fail and many of us will lose the invaluable resource.
Whatever business model is chosen by him, there are going to be users who will be unhappy for one reason or another.
Whatever Mark decides, I am going to support him. If I am not happy, I can always use any other service that I am happy with.

My 0.02

MKR


On Tue, Dec 29, 2020 at 5:29 PM Mark Fletcher <markf@corp.groups.io> wrote:
On Tue, Dec 29, 2020 at 8:48 AM Samuel Murrayy <samuelmurray@...> wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean.  I do have the distinct impression that Mark originally wanted to build communities, and there is nothing to suggest that his original motive was deceit.  I have no idea what direction Mark is hoping that Groups.io as a whole should take in future.  I do not believe that Mark thinks that non-business groups generally have lots of money available to pay for this type of service.  However, do I speculate freely that Mark is aiming at increasing the use of Groups.io by businesses, and that he hopes that businesses who use Groups.io will choose to pay for it.  I don't know of Mark's original motive for Groups.io was to make money or to have a nice hobby, but it doesn't affect my opinion of him or his venture.

I started Groups.io (my coding on it started 7 years ago as of next week) because I feel strongly that email groups have distinct advantages over web fora and other discussion mediums for some types of groups. But no one was investing in modernizing them (Yahoo and Google were just maintaining, at best, their email group services). My thesis was that I could create a good business around it. And I still believe that. 

There are a few reasons behind the per-member pricing structure changes. It aligns revenue with costs, importantly. Also, the fact is that the business is not yet generating enough revenue for me to be able to hire help. I'm still the only guy running things (Nina doing a great job contracting on the manuals being the exception). You all deserve it to be a real business. It'd be nice to be able to provide better customer support. It'd be nice to be able to more quickly implement TODO items and fixes. It'd be nice if I could take some real time off occasionally; maybe get hit by a bus now and then. :-)


Mark


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Peter Cook
 

On Tue, Dec 29, 2020 at 05:53 PM, Mark Fletcher wrote:
Also, I don't see how changing the pricing structure for future groups could be considered a 'bait and switch'.
Of course not - particularly since you raised the possibility on this forum just over a year ago.


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

 

On Tue, Dec 29, 2020 at 8:48 AM Samuel Murrayy <samuelmurray@...> wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean.  I do have the distinct impression that Mark originally wanted to build communities, and there is nothing to suggest that his original motive was deceit.  I have no idea what direction Mark is hoping that Groups.io as a whole should take in future.  I do not believe that Mark thinks that non-business groups generally have lots of money available to pay for this type of service.  However, do I speculate freely that Mark is aiming at increasing the use of Groups.io by businesses, and that he hopes that businesses who use Groups.io will choose to pay for it.  I don't know of Mark's original motive for Groups.io was to make money or to have a nice hobby, but it doesn't affect my opinion of him or his venture.

I started Groups.io (my coding on it started 7 years ago as of next week) because I feel strongly that email groups have distinct advantages over web fora and other discussion mediums for some types of groups. But no one was investing in modernizing them (Yahoo and Google were just maintaining, at best, their email group services). My thesis was that I could create a good business around it. And I still believe that. 

There are a few reasons behind the per-member pricing structure changes. It aligns revenue with costs, importantly. Also, the fact is that the business is not yet generating enough revenue for me to be able to hire help. I'm still the only guy running things (Nina doing a great job contracting on the manuals being the exception). You all deserve it to be a real business. It'd be nice to be able to provide better customer support. It'd be nice to be able to more quickly implement TODO items and fixes. It'd be nice if I could take some real time off occasionally; maybe get hit by a bus now and then. :-)


Mark


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Chris Jones
 

On Tue, Dec 29, 2020 at 10:53 PM, Mark Fletcher wrote:
I don't believe that relying on donations is the way to go, and I won't be pursuing that. Also, I don't see how changing the pricing structure for future groups could be considered a 'bait and switch'.
Neither do I in both cases. My own preference is for Ken Schweizer's suggestion to be at least considered, i.e. making individual account holders liable for a subscription. I know that some have already written against that idea and I can understand why you might be reluctant to go down that route but given that a $5 per annum charge would raise a great deal of income for Groups.io and put it in a much more secure financial position; far more "future proof" than the current arrangements.

I'll set out more reasoning tomorrow as it's 2300 UK time and I need my sleep!

Chris


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

 

Mike,

On Tue, Dec 29, 2020 at 12:49 PM Mike Hanauer via groups.io <MGHanauer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

What I have suggested, not demanded, is a balance that I believe the present track lacks and reasons behind my thinking. If you are reading what I say, it is with closed eyes. How about considering the substance of my thinking?


I don't believe that relying on donations is the way to go, and I won't be pursuing that. Also, I don't see how changing the pricing structure for future groups could be considered a 'bait and switch'. Finally, Google Groups (or one of the other email group services) may indeed be a better fit for some groups. I have no issue with that, and it's one of the many reasons I make it as easy as possible for groups to export their data.

Mark


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Anita L
 

I have been in iogroups for a few years once I saw yahoo going down hill.
I and another owner of my group have paid for the group since the
beginning. I dont feel it is a burden at all and I have the features
that are important to me.
Mark has been wonderful and he deserves to be compensated for all
of his work. Why should he have to pay for all of this on his own.
I dont feel members should pay but as a owner I am willing to pay.

I always recommend iogroups. You can have a free group without many
features so do that if the cost is a problem.

Anita


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Mike Hanauer
 

I have demanded nothing J Catlady, including non-profit. Where do you get this stuff? 

What I have suggested, not demanded, is a balance that I believe the present track lacks and reasons behind my thinking. If you are reading what I say, it is with closed eyes. How about considering the substance of my thinking?

Consider Better, not Bigger. So many advantages. Just ask. USA adds a Chicago to our overpop each year.
"Still more population growth is not our way to a healthy community, a healthy planet, OR enjoyable cycling."

    ~Mike


On Tuesday, December 29, 2020, 03:40:40 PM EST, J_Catlady <j.olivia.catlady@...> wrote:


You don’t have to be a nonprofit to have an ethical company that makes a positive contribution to society. “Anything less” than a nonprofit is certainly not a “lose-lose.” 

To your repeated suggestion that we reread your message demanding that Mark become a nonprofit, my own personal response  is that I’ve already read it, thanks.


On Dec 29, 2020, at 10:16 AM, Mike Hanauer via groups.io <MGHanauer@...> wrote:


Please read again my main points about trust and common good.

Nobody is suggesting anyone work for free or anything less than reasonable wage. Nobody. Even those running non-profits and B corporations often do quite well. We can have a good platform that considers trust and the common good and rewards all involved -- in monetary and non-monetary ways. That is called a win-win. I believe anything less will turn into a lose-lose.

See below what I and other believe must be turned around. 

Consider Better, not Bigger. So many advantages. Just ask. USA adds a Chicago to our overpop each year.
"Still more population growth is not our way to a healthy community, a healthy planet, OR enjoyable cycling."

    ~Mike


On Tuesday, December 29, 2020, 10:52:09 AM EST, Mike Hanauer via groups.io <mghanauer@...> wrote:


Hi Mark and All,

First, thank you for creating a groups platform that has been a refreshing change from the usual. However,

I think the new model, and even changing the model in this way, will be good for Google and bad for Groups.io, Mark, and society. It's not just a model change - it feels like a signal of a changed philosophy and value system. It feels too like a trust issue.

Here are my concerns,
  1. Many have moved their groups to Groups.io because of the perceived notion that it can be trusted as offering a platform that truly values its customers and the common good. That trust is critical.
  2. Changing the model in itself creates doubt about trust. This feels like profit creep, like bait and switch.
  3. There are many groups of over 100 members that are wonderful community groups. Trying to charge these groups is a problem in many ways, especially with alternatives available.
  4. Groups grow. Going over 100 (or whatever number) now will become a burden.
  5. The fact that existing groups will be grandfathered is a recognition of this fact. 
I urge you to see the big picture here. 

Personally, I have been recommending Groups.io to potential moderators. With the new philosophy, I can no longer do so. It is feeling like bait and switch. It is feeling like just another business. I urge you to rescind the change, reconsider the values you really value, and get more creative. I think understanding customer values and trust is crucial.

I offered the following recently. It resulted in no comment, but I do feel that it should be discussed and considered as an alternative that will bring to credibility to Mark and the Groups.io platform

Mike Hanauer via groups.io <mghanauer@...>
To: main@beta.groups.io

Mon, Dec 21 at 8:23 AM

I believe Groups.io is an important resource for our society. 

How about considering becoming a non-profit and asking for donations similar to what Wikipedia does to fill in the shortfall, at least for those who are not profit making businesses?

    ~Mike

AllTheBest and thanks for listening.

    ~Mike


--
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


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

billsf9c
 

but the sad fact (that Mark must have realised in the end) is that most basic groups have no intention of paying... ever.
Samuel

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.

BillSF9c


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

 

You don’t have to be a nonprofit to have an ethical company that makes a positive contribution to society. “Anything less” than a nonprofit is certainly not a “lose-lose.” 

To your repeated suggestion that we reread your message demanding that Mark become a nonprofit, my own personal response  is that I’ve already read it, thanks.


On Dec 29, 2020, at 10:16 AM, Mike Hanauer via groups.io <MGHanauer@...> wrote:


Please read again my main points about trust and common good.

Nobody is suggesting anyone work for free or anything less than reasonable wage. Nobody. Even those running non-profits and B corporations often do quite well. We can have a good platform that considers trust and the common good and rewards all involved -- in monetary and non-monetary ways. That is called a win-win. I believe anything less will turn into a lose-lose.

See below what I and other believe must be turned around. 

Consider Better, not Bigger. So many advantages. Just ask. USA adds a Chicago to our overpop each year.
"Still more population growth is not our way to a healthy community, a healthy planet, OR enjoyable cycling."

    ~Mike


On Tuesday, December 29, 2020, 10:52:09 AM EST, Mike Hanauer via groups.io <mghanauer@...> wrote:


Hi Mark and All,

First, thank you for creating a groups platform that has been a refreshing change from the usual. However,

I think the new model, and even changing the model in this way, will be good for Google and bad for Groups.io, Mark, and society. It's not just a model change - it feels like a signal of a changed philosophy and value system. It feels too like a trust issue.

Here are my concerns,
  1. Many have moved their groups to Groups.io because of the perceived notion that it can be trusted as offering a platform that truly values its customers and the common good. That trust is critical.
  2. Changing the model in itself creates doubt about trust. This feels like profit creep, like bait and switch.
  3. There are many groups of over 100 members that are wonderful community groups. Trying to charge these groups is a problem in many ways, especially with alternatives available.
  4. Groups grow. Going over 100 (or whatever number) now will become a burden.
  5. The fact that existing groups will be grandfathered is a recognition of this fact. 
I urge you to see the big picture here. 

Personally, I have been recommending Groups.io to potential moderators. With the new philosophy, I can no longer do so. It is feeling like bait and switch. It is feeling like just another business. I urge you to rescind the change, reconsider the values you really value, and get more creative. I think understanding customer values and trust is crucial.

I offered the following recently. It resulted in no comment, but I do feel that it should be discussed and considered as an alternative that will bring to credibility to Mark and the Groups.io platform

Mike Hanauer via groups.io <mghanauer@...>
To: main@beta.groups.io

Mon, Dec 21 at 8:23 AM

I believe Groups.io is an important resource for our society. 

How about considering becoming a non-profit and asking for donations similar to what Wikipedia does to fill in the shortfall, at least for those who are not profit making businesses?

    ~Mike

AllTheBest and thanks for listening.

    ~Mike


--
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 Add optional view styles for topic/messages #suggestion

nijineko prismaticpsion
 

 #suggestion 
Requesting addition of feature which enables a forum-like view and a directory tree-like view of the topics/messages sections as optional viewing styles. 


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Mike Hanauer
 

Please read again my main points about trust and common good.

Nobody is suggesting anyone work for free or anything less than reasonable wage. Nobody. Even those running non-profits and B corporations often do quite well. We can have a good platform that considers trust and the common good and rewards all involved -- in monetary and non-monetary ways. That is called a win-win. I believe anything less will turn into a lose-lose.

See below what I and other believe must be turned around. 

Consider Better, not Bigger. So many advantages. Just ask. USA adds a Chicago to our overpop each year.
"Still more population growth is not our way to a healthy community, a healthy planet, OR enjoyable cycling."

    ~Mike


On Tuesday, December 29, 2020, 10:52:09 AM EST, Mike Hanauer via groups.io <mghanauer@...> wrote:


Hi Mark and All,

First, thank you for creating a groups platform that has been a refreshing change from the usual. However,

I think the new model, and even changing the model in this way, will be good for Google and bad for Groups.io, Mark, and society. It's not just a model change - it feels like a signal of a changed philosophy and value system. It feels too like a trust issue.

Here are my concerns,
  1. Many have moved their groups to Groups.io because of the perceived notion that it can be trusted as offering a platform that truly values its customers and the common good. That trust is critical.
  2. Changing the model in itself creates doubt about trust. This feels like profit creep, like bait and switch.
  3. There are many groups of over 100 members that are wonderful community groups. Trying to charge these groups is a problem in many ways, especially with alternatives available.
  4. Groups grow. Going over 100 (or whatever number) now will become a burden.
  5. The fact that existing groups will be grandfathered is a recognition of this fact. 
I urge you to see the big picture here. 

Personally, I have been recommending Groups.io to potential moderators. With the new philosophy, I can no longer do so. It is feeling like bait and switch. It is feeling like just another business. I urge you to rescind the change, reconsider the values you really value, and get more creative. I think understanding customer values and trust is crucial.

I offered the following recently. It resulted in no comment, but I do feel that it should be discussed and considered as an alternative that will bring to credibility to Mark and the Groups.io platform

Mike Hanauer via groups.io <mghanauer@...>
To: main@beta.groups.io

Mon, Dec 21 at 8:23 AM

I believe Groups.io is an important resource for our society. 

How about considering becoming a non-profit and asking for donations similar to what Wikipedia does to fill in the shortfall, at least for those who are not profit making businesses?

    ~Mike

AllTheBest and thanks for listening.

    ~Mike


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Ken Schweizer
 

Duane said:

 

>While the system may handle things well on average,

>it's the peak load that determines what infrastructure is

>needed to support the site, and that has a cost. 

>I'll continue to support Mark and GIO as much as I can.

IMO, not one of us using GROUPS.IO would build a network and work for nothing except the joy of seeing others use it. So why expect Mark to do so?

 

I am not a mind reader, so I would not speculate on why Mark set up GROUPS.IO. I do know if it were me I would make sure the endeavor would be self-supporting and would support my efforts and my family's needs if GROUPS.IO took 100% of my time.

 

As a member and co-owner of a "BASIC" group that doesn't receive anything except e-mail from our members, I understand Mark's needs and thank Mark for "BASIC GROUPS". If Mark decides he needs to change his pricing to support himself and his family, so be it. Then each of us must put on our adult pants and decide if we can afford to continue using his services.

 

My only suggestion is a simpler and better way for owners and members to make support contributions. Temporarily Upgrading a group or setting up a temporary dummy upgraded group just doesn't make it.

 

Ken

 

"Simply put, Socialism rewards sloth and penalizes hard work, while Capitalism rewards hard work and penalizes sloth."  C. Bradley Thompson

 

 


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Samuel Murrayy
 

On Tue, Dec 29, 2020 at 02:17 PM, Ellen Moody wrote:
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 apologise if I had misunderstood what you meant.  Looking back, I think it must have been the word "so" that threw me off :-)  Anyway, it doesn't matter.  My reply basically speculated about (a) whether this pricing is truly 'industry standard' (my conclusion is that they are not) and (b) whether they must have been known originally (my conclusion is that that could be argued).

I gather [that Samuel Murrayy] 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'm not sure what you mean.  I do have the distinct impression that Mark originally wanted to build communities, and there is nothing to suggest that his original motive was deceit.  I have no idea what direction Mark is hoping that Groups.io as a whole should take in future.  I do not believe that Mark thinks that non-business groups generally have lots of money available to pay for this type of service.  However, do I speculate freely that Mark is aiming at increasing the use of Groups.io by businesses, and that he hopes that businesses who use Groups.io will choose to pay for it.  I don't know of Mark's original motive for Groups.io was to make money or to have a nice hobby, but it doesn't affect my opinion of him or his venture.

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?
In that particular part of the argument, I mentally classified Groups.io users into two groups, namely (a) those that don't make money from having a group and (b) those that that do make money from having a group, and I tried to imply that users who do make money from having a group should be wiling to pay for having a group (and if they don't, they are "free-loaders").

How is the new pricing structure going to kill groups.io as a community? I don't understand. ... We [Ellen's groups] still have files and photos in our basic/free group.
Remember, my comments relate to the future, not the past.  Grandfathered groups are a special case, a group of users who will over time become smaller and smaller.  My comments about what such a pricing structure will do to basic groups relates to what it will do to *future* basic groups.  Your current three groups are fine.  My comments relate to what will happen to your next three groups (if any).

(In case you don't understand what "grandfathered" means, it means that existing groups or users are not affected by changes in policy.  In this particular case, it means that your existing three groups will continue to enjoy all the privileges that they had previously, despite the fact that new groups no longer have those privileges.  When you tell your friends about how fantastic Groups.io is, and they join and create their own groups, their new groups will not have all the features that your existing groups have, even if they pay the same price as you do, because your groups are "grandfathered in".)

To call a group hitherto named Basic to Free in our capitalist society stigmatizes the Free group.
I don't have an opinion on that, but I can point out that since 2015 the names of the three tiers have not changed.  They have always been called "Basic", "Premium" and "Enterprise", and the Basic tier has always been free (until now).  This is probably why people refer to the Basic groups as "Free" groups and why people use the terms "free" and "basic" interchangeably here.

There is nothing about the design of these three tiers to suggest that a Basic group has to be free.  For example, it would be fine to say that e.g. Basic groups are free if they have fewer than 100 members but not free if they have more than 100 members.  We're not entirely sure what Mark has in mind -- so far, he has resisted clarifying whether Basic groups that exceed 100 members would be forced to become Premium groups.  I would encourage him to consider having paid Basic groups that are much cheaper than Premium groups (e.g. $10 per year per 1000 members exceeding the initial 100 members).

I have heard a certain individual repeatedly call public schools "government schools" - wow does that stigmatize 200 years of progress...
I suspect some people are simply less sensitive to how their choice of words can be seen as stigmatizing and do not mean to stigmatize.  For example, unless it is explained to me, I would not know how calling a government-funded school a "government school" could be seen as stigmatizing.  Saying "government school" is simply shorter than saying "government-funded school", and if I were to use the shorter term, it would be for reasons of brevity and nothing else :-)

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...
I was not my intention to imply that any groups of communities that make use of Groups.io or Groups.io itself or its management have ulterior motives.  My speculation about Mark's motives are based on googleable facts, but it remains speculation, and it is intended as neutral speculation, and not to make any value judgement on anyone.  It would make no difference to my opinion of Mark whether he chooses to run Groups.io as a for-profit or non-profit concern.

The fact that he offers grandfathering every time there is a pricing or feature change clearly shows that his heart is in the right place.

Samuel


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

John Wirtz SF
 

Unfortunately, this thread is only showing what individuals think based on their own circumstances.  The company owner isn’t commenting, not to say he’s not reading.

 

We will just wait and see.  If Groups io becomes too expensive, we might look at alternatives.  We pay for a premium group and I hardly use any of the added facilities. 

To me it’s a flexible mailing system and that I think is its core purpose. 

 

Sore Fingers Summer Schools is a small business so we expect to pay for services and we joined groups.io and chose to pay to avoid what is going on right now.  Every year, we review our expenditure and we assess the benefit of the services we subscribe to.  Groups.io will be part of that assessment and if it is a benefit, then we ‘continue with our subscription.  If that changes, we will review.  Simple management decision.

The list is for general communications.  We don’t use it as a repository for files, databases, etc.  The messaging service is the core service in my view.

I don’t believe in “free”, it just about always come s back to bite you, or Mark in this case.

 

Maybe a modular would help, free up to a small number of members (100 seems fine to me).  Then as one want’s additional services pay for them.  I really feel there is a need for a package which sits between Free and Premium.

I think when groups reach over a 1000 people, there’s the need for a more structured organisation.  Many interest groups do this and there is a subscription cost, same a joining a small society.  Why would some be against paying £10 a year to support their group interest.  The moderator then can pay for their groups.io service and even perhaps recover their own expenses, admins and moderators consume electricity and have to maintain a computer to manage these things.  These costs are real.

 

Anyway that’s where I am.

 

John Wirtz

 

 

 

 

 

From: main@beta.groups.io <main@beta.groups.io> On Behalf Of Mike Hanauer via groups.io
Sent: 29 December 2020 15:22
To: main@beta.groups.io
Subject: Re: [beta] Pricing Changes

 

Hi Mark and All,

 

First, thank you for creating a groups platform that has been a refreshing change from the usual. However,

 

I think the new model, and even changing the model in this way, will be good for Google and bad for Groups.io, Mark, and society. It's not just a model change - it feels like a signal of a changed philosophy and value system. It feels too like a trust issue.

 

Here are my concerns,

  1. Many have moved their groups to Groups.io because of the perceived notion that it can be trusted as offering a platform that truly values its customers and the common good. That trust is critical.
  2. Changing the model in itself creates doubt about trust. This feels like profit creep, like bait and switch.
  3. There are many groups of over 100 members that are wonderful community groups. Trying to charge these groups is a problem in many ways, especially with alternatives available.
  4. Groups grow. Going over 100 (or whatever number) now will become a burden.
  5. The fact that existing groups will be grandfathered is a recognition of this fact. 

I urge you to see the big picture here. 

 

Personally, I have been recommending Groups.io to potential moderators. With the new philosophy, I can no longer do so. It is feeling like bait and switch. It is feeling like just another business. I urge you to rescind the change, reconsider the values you really value, and get more creative. I think understanding customer values and trust is crucial.

 

I offered the following recently. It resulted in no comment, but I do feel that it should be discussed and considered as an alternative that will bring to credibility to Mark and the Groups.io platform

 

Mike Hanauer via groups.io <mghanauer@...>

 

Mon, Dec 21 at 8:23 AM

 

I believe Groups.io is an important resource for our society. 

 

How about considering becoming a non-profit and asking for donations similar to what Wikipedia does to fill in the shortfall, at least for those who are not profit making businesses?

 

    ~Mike

 

AllTheBest and thanks for listening.

 

    ~Mike

 

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