locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Linda Hamilton

I may be misunderstanding, but I gather that my 20-year-old group of 950 members that was migrated to in late 2019 and is now a basic rather than a premium group would not immediately be affected. I know though that it would need to be removed if there was a charge of $2,000 USD annually. 

moderated Re: #bug #bug


It also blocks the next page arrow:

locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Herb Gellis

BTW, the idea of charging extra for "premium" features over an otherwise free use-of-product goes by the name "freemium", according to Wikipedia, been around since the 1980's. I see this as being most attractive to the groups that have no sponsor or organization behind it, no dues, no monetization of any kind - just a group of folks chatting.

Vis-a-vis the idea of moving towards industry practice, there are website hosters that nickel and dime you for every little addition. Of course others, more like GIO now, have well defined plans at fixed costs, but often allow a few items to be added at cost, such as more storage. The GIO analogy would be more likely more members, though sometimes more storage might be needed if the group is more than just chat.

moderated Re: Allow members to mute other members #suggestion

Glenn Glazer

On 12/18/2020 15:54, Glenn Glazer wrote:
On 12/18/2020 15:47, Patrick Dell'Era wrote:
On Thu, Dec 17, 2020 at 08:02 AM, Glenn Glazer wrote:
Couldn't they just use whatever MUA they are using to filter out mail from the other person?
Of course that technique fails for members using digest subscriptions.

That's a fair point. I hate digests personally, but I recognize that others find value in them.



But on further reflection, I think this leads to madness.

Alice and Bob don't like each other and mute each other. Both are on digest, so the system has to figure out, on a member by member basis, which subset of messages go in each digest. This is horribly complicated to implement and almost certainly not performant.

But let's say Mark gets it working.

Now, we have Charlie, another digest user who is agnostic to Alice's and Bob's little spat. He's also an email user, not a web UI user. He does the thing that digest users do that bothers me a lot: he responds to one message in the entire digest by including the digest in the body of the reply. But look! The digest contains messages from Alice and/or Bob for all to see. Is the system supposed to detect this for each mute and filter it out of replies as well?

More subtly, Charlie could easily punk them by just quoting them in his email and the system wouldn't have any To: fields to go by, for the same reasons that a MUA filter wouldn't either.



PG&E Delenda Est

locked Re: Pricing Changes #update


On Thu, Dec 17, 2020 at 03:54 PM, Mark Fletcher wrote:
I do appreciate all the feedback, please keep it coming.
My biggest concern is the "low" limit on the number of members for each level of groups.  I currently have 5 groups, one a test group.  All except the test group were started almost 6 years ago.  The other 4 have memberships of 29, 173, 1445, and 2118.  The 29 member group is for a club and likely won't get much larger.  The others are related, were all started with me as the only member, and have grown by referrals.  Most of the members have never met each other since they're scattered all over the world.  If I were starting out on GIO now (actually after the change), I'm not sure I'd even consider it as a platform for us.  I might consider paying for one group and using subgroups, but even that would run around $1700/yr (possibly more) for Premium.  I know I would get contributions from some members, but I doubt that it would cover the total cost.

As grandfathered Basic groups, we do our best to minimize storage usage with no attachments allowed.  Right now, the total for all groups is less than 200 MB.   About 25% of the members read online, thus no email usage.  The total number of messages for all groups is about 43,000.

I realize my groups may not be the norm, so this is for informational purposes as a comparison.  Not knowing the costs to provide the service, I don't have a suggestion for what I would consider to be a more reasonable member limit.  It may be that what has been proposed is the only option.

On a more devious level, I've come up with a plan that would minimize payments and possibly keep the membership more current.  I'd remove all members just before a payment is due, pay the minimum amount, then add them all back using Direct Add.  No, I'd never actually do that, but it's a distinct possibility with the way things are defined now.


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Herb Gellis

On Sat, Dec 19, 2020 at 09:48 AM, J_Catlady wrote:
Without getting too crazy one could also make it $25 per extra feature, flat price per year.
That idea occurred to me early in this conversation but it frankly seems like it would be even more maintenance headache/overhead.
Ah... I did scan much of the messages but there were so many ;-) Well, not for me to say what would be a maintenance headache. There would have to be some programming added to the group sign-up re maintaining what a group was defined as, and similar code in the display functions of a groups web pages to determine what to show as available. Up to Mark. In any case, I did notice people opining that they wish they just had a bit more storage, etc., so having the ability to have one enhancement (or two...) might be attractive for the low additional cost over free.

locked Re: Pricing Changes #update


On Sat, Dec 19, 2020 at 07:35 AM, Herb Gellis wrote:
Without getting too crazy one could also make it $25 per extra feature, flat price per year.
That idea occurred to me early in this conversation but it frankly seems like it would be even more maintenance headache/overhead.

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

Herb Gellis

Here's another way to slightly monetize a group that would be low pain, to help cover costs of running everything: Have two basic levels, one free as defined now, and one for $25 flat fee per year that adds a group-useful feature that perhaps is not cost-prohibitive to supply (e.g., polls or a bit more storage), or even allow the group to choose one of several (enumerated) "premium" features instead of just making it only a particular one. Without getting too crazy one could also make it $25 per extra feature, flat price per year.

There are probably a lot of free groups now that might be willing to pay the flat $25 fee to upgrade to "free+", paid for by the owner(s) of the group. Not a large barrier, but with a lot of groups participating would help the GIO bottom line. If I were to create a group that was small, it wouldn't tweak my brain much to pay $25 out of my own pocket to pick an extra feature and help GIO's bottom line.

locked Re: Pricing Changes #update


On Sat, Dec 19, 2020 at 06:56 AM, Peter Cook wrote:
To me, GIO is the Mercedes of online groups
That explains everything! I knew there was a reason I liked it. :)

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

Peter Cook

This is specifically in response to comments about not needing all of the features that GIO offers. I made this point during the "free to premium expanse" discussion a couple of months ago. I'm not trying to argue with anyone's opinions about pricing, just speaking as a former marketing and business development executive and stating what I see as the reality here.
GIO is specifically targeted to people who want a feature-rich, ad-free platform and are able and willing to pay for it. Period.
To me, GIO is the Mercedes of online groups - you can buy an entry-level CLA coupe or an S-Class or something in between. (Or you can pedal around in an old 2000 CLK430 convertible like I do.) The fact that there is a very limited free tier just means you have some place to go when your needs grow. And if you don't need what GIO offers, or can't afford it, there are plenty of excellent Toyotas around. You can always trade up later.
Straight-up listservs, Google groups, ad-supported platforms, etc. are simply not serious competitors to premium GIO. Either you're going to pay for the features or you're not.
PS. Yes, I know the analogy isn't perfect, and many here who know more about cars than I do will probably want to argue with my choices.

locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Dave Sergeant

Obviously some very different views on this issue.

Of the three groups I am owner of:

A national amateur radio group (with plenty of international members)
which has annual subs. 900 members of which around 600 subscribe to
gio. Clearly possible if necessary for the committee to pay an annual
charge to gio. They also use Wild Apricot for their membership
database, website and other things, costs a lot more than premium...
That also has a forum but we use gio because it is far better.

A group of TV engineers based in the UK, around 300 members. This is a
totally informal group and although many are employed in the trade they
operate individually and most would resent having to pay.

My local amateur radio club with 65 on gio (although the club
membership and annual subs is only 30 or so). Yes, could pay if need
be, but a year premium would be a significant part of our annual
turnover. No need for any of the premium bits.

Three groups, all very different, and all really hobbyists rather than
commercial organisations.


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update


On Sat, Dec 19, 2020 at 05:27 AM, Andy Wedge wrote:
I wouldn't want anything coming in to our members direct from asking for subscriptions to be confirmed.
Of course not. I would want it for my cats group but not my neighborhood block group, for example. This suggestion, at least the initial one I made, for this feature is that it would be optional, both on whether or not it's done at all and the timing of it. Mods could send the confirmation request at any point in time, or never. They would just click on a button.

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

Jeremy H

The problem that Mark has, and is endeavouring to solve, is one that is - essentially - common to all (or at least most) internet based operations: how do you charge for - monetise if you will - a service whose unit of supply (for that is principally membership or post) costs very little individually (cents or fractions thereof), but in the bulk provided, a lot (kilo or megabucks): and is only practicable or valuable because it is in bulk. And which, often and traditionally, are free.

Groups,io service is primarily about members and posts - they are what I have set up groups for. Everything else (however worthwhile) is an extra (which isn't to say they're not valuable).

And, as a group owner (and I would think this the case for most), they (the number of them) are not really under my control - I can hope for many (in most cases - and this what has been encouraged) or few (occaisionally), but how many is actually down to people deciding to join, or post.

And so - because I would hope (or want to cater for) for 'many' (> 100) members - even if this is unlikely (but I don't want to be saying 'no' to applicants) - a free group is not something I am going to want in future. Ok, maybe excptionally, but not normally, for the long term. And as I am not geared up (or willing to become so) to collect (and account) for large numbers of small payments (even if I thought my (prospective) members would pay them) then possible future change to a 'premium' group is not an option.

A Premium group, for an organisation which already charges (or otherwise has funds), and could budget for the cost (including any increase through growth), certainly possible (but without a sensible free goups option, maybe off the radar), but not otherwise, (and similarly for an Enterprise group, if I'm ever in that league).

Thinking more positively - as to how to solve Mark's problem - possibly some sort of 'Donation' feature could be set up, for members of free groups to donate (direct to - preferably not tied to any particular group. With a message every so often, saying something like 'You are a member of so many groups, have made so many posts, and have receieved so many messages since ... which we trust you found useful - while free, and ad-free, and continuing to be so, there is a cost to providing the service, so please make a donation...'  . Perhaps frequency dependent on donations. And donation buttons liberally, on group pages, message footers, etc.


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Andy Wedge

On Fri, Dec 18, 2020 at 10:09 PM, Samuel Murrayy wrote:
A LISTSERV list that I'm a member of tells me once a year to confirm my subscription by replying to the mail.  If I don't confirm, I get unsubscribed.  This may be an idea for a feature to help trim lists of unnecessary members.

I co-own a group for a motorbike club. I Direct Add new members when they join and have paid their membership fee, and remove them when they leave or don't pay their membership fee. I wouldn't want anything coming in to our members direct from asking for subscriptions to be confirmed.  Therein lies confusion for members who have paid their fees and wondering what on earth is going on.


moderated #bug #bug


The return to top button blocks December message history links. This is on an iPhone SE 2020.

locked Re: Pricing Changes #update



Apologies as I haven’t read through the entire thread. 

I manage a group that I migrated from Yahoo Groups last year. We upgraded to a Premium subscription for 12 months to ensure we were able to take advantage of the migration tools. 

The group currently has around 150 members and we don’t expect much growth. We are consuming about 130M of storage and also don’t expect much growth. The group is ultra-low volume. We only have an event once a year so there’s a flurry of messages around the summer and that’s it  

Based on what I’ve read, it looks like it would be safe for us to cancel our Premium plan and revert back to the free plan despite our having over 100 members:

  • The 100 member limit for free groups only applies to groups that are created after January 18th, 2021 at 9am Pacific Time. Existing free groups will be unchanged.

I just want to confirm this before making any changes. We fully appreciate everything that has done in support of everything that our group needs.

Thank you very much!



locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Herb Gellis

Sorry about the extra messages... but for extra clarity, there are also lots of existing Forums, which are basically bulletin-boards, people log in and post and read the topics all online, no email. So, even though BBs are an old idea, they still live on all over the net, and many people find it perfectly normal. I actually prefer to be a member of some of these rather than having them send email in and out. List-serves and BBs are both valid ways for groups to communicate.

So it comes down to what does it cost to run something like this, would Mark be happy to include this type of plan, would there be enough groups interested to justify it. And even in this realm there are free Forums.

locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Herb Gellis

Ok, I'm going to answer my question because I thought of something, though my particular GIO group would absolutely not go for it any way whatsoever ;-)

If the email archives themselves can be handled without worrying about major costs (again, in a large group, usually few people are the posters), then the issue becomes the email itself. If one created a plan level which I will call Bulletin-Board, that had no email, but required all members to log-in to post and read same, that would solve the email issues. All posts would stay local to the GIO system in its archives, nothing sent in or out, all activity would require logins. If a lot of members logged in at a single time that would require server horsepower, but this seems perhaps not a real-life worry (?)

Yes, Bulletin-Boards are an old idea, and I suspect for many (including my group) they wouldn't want to go that way. But if it is palatable to both Mark and a number of groups, it would perhaps solve the cost of scaling up to large memberships. Not for everybody.

locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Herb Gellis

I first want to agree that Mark must be able to run GIO effectively and with appropriate funding, it's his baby to orient as he wishes. The crux of the new funding proposal has to do with number of members, which is not unlike other list-serve plans.

I think the fear and push-back is coming about due to conditions like groups that have migrated away from the (totally free) YahooGroups, now defunct, but were populated by an awful lot of unofficial groups (not businesses or monetized clubs) that just wanted the members to communicate with each other. I actually do such a one on GIO, currently over 1000 members, on Premium. Many groups just want to talk, don't need fancy other features.

So, I wonder what specifically are the relative costs associated with some of the classes of features to see if were possible to have perhaps two kinds of Premium groups (or give them different names), one that has all the bells and whistles but more limited free membership (then pay for extras), basically the proposed new Premium group structure, and secondly the other one which would have unlimited membership with email/archives but no bells and whistles (though polls would be a natural fit here).

I'm guessing (unfortunately) that email throughput and server-power to handle that, bounces, and all related, is a major cost (if not the major cost). The actual definition of each member has to be trivial. Email archives are important, though as many mention/wonder if older archives need be maintained. I think it would be difficult to characterize this well and groups would probably rather keep old stuff than try and have a cut-off date. So, if the costs directly scale up with membership no matter what I don't see a way to solve the problem for large groups:

Basically I'm trying to find a Mark-palatable alternative for larger groups that aren't official anything, just groups of folks who now have a mechanism to discuss and share information, but nothing official, no organization, no monetization exists. Is it possible to continue to support such groups, new ones in particular, by a plan with a different feature set - mostly email oriented, not file storage and other things.

I will mention that my GIO group, like many, has a much smaller vocal set of posters than the full membership, and posts could easily average less than 10 a day. Since I wanted to keep us on the Premium level, yes to help pay for GIO, I put out a voluntary ask for small donations. I received enough this way from a sufficient small group (two-hands-full?) to pay for a year, and a bit more for next year. I can't possibly imagine any way to ask everyone to put in 55 cents per year, if we ever got un-grandfathered.

Of things mentioned in these posts, it seems reasonable to ask the entire membership once per year if they are still interested in being a member and if no response is received (after at least one more try), then delete them, to help trim membership and keep email handling down for the GIO system.

The whole issue of 501(c)(3) brings up entirely different stuff, and is not as simple as some posters may think (and then there is that question about non-US groups). I suspect that most groups are logically "non-profit" as they are just folks communicating with each other, no goods or services are sold. For companies that want to use GIO it's of course a different story, but then again they are monetized, "non-profit" or not.

locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

There’s a very effective (if morally bankrupt) negotiating tactic that completely excludes any traditional presumption of “good faith.  One simply puts “on the table" an obviously unacceptable figure with the expectation that almost anything less will appear to be a “reasonable compromise”.  

I deem this  the moral equivalent of “bait and switch” business practices, illegal in most states.  Such negotiation is not yet illegal, although it most certainly should be.

I’m quite confident Mark won't kill the “goose that lays the golden egg”, but he must determine in some manner  consistent with his personal values “what the market will bear” in advance of final action.




On Dec 18, 2020, at 4:44 PM, Larry Finch <Finches@...> wrote:


So I'm a little concerned that may be pricing themselves out of the market.


Larry Finch

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