Date   

locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

 

ken,

Apparent list target sizes :
Free - 100 members
Premium - 400 members
Enterprise - 1000 members
I don't believe these are targets. Merely the number that are included in the base price of the plan.

The new pricing policy effective Jan 18th establishes that list of
2000 members should be an Enterprise subscription at $4400 per year.
Again I don't think that's what is intended. There's no reason a group of 2000 members should bump up to Enterprise unless they want the extra Enterprise features.

In the current pricing they would pay $220 + $0.55 * (2000 - 400) = $1,100/yr as a Premium group.

The implication is that a grandfathered Basic list of 2000 members is
costing (lost revenue) groups.io $4400 a year. That is not a tenable
plan.
I think you're reading the figures incorrectly.

I don't know how Marks' cost break down, but remember that even the grandfathered basic groups have less storage, fewer features, and no (official) support available to them as compared to Premium groups. And I doubt the operational costs of even a Premium group are as high as the fee - that would defeat the whole point of the new pricing structure.

Shal


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

M K Ramadoss
 

TechSoup does the verification legwork and maintains a file copy of the IRS determination letter. Tech Soup is a company that handles the verification process for small US based business as well as the larger, global businesses such as Microsoft, Adobe, Zoom and Google. Where verification costs are concerned, those are typically built into the pricing model and admin fees of the company offering a discount. 

No need to use third parties to verify tax exempt status. Applicants can be asked to provide a copy of the IRS determination letter. In addition, using EIN  current tax exempt status can be verified online at IRS.GOV.
I prepare tax returns and need to verify if contributions are qualified and do no use any third parties.

With so many pricing suggestions received from customers, the simplest approach is for keep current pricing plan for next six months and review the bottom line is as well as growth of customers.

MKR



On Sun, Dec 20, 2020 at 6:38 PM Sandi D <sandi.asgtechie@...> wrote:
Mark, thank you for finding a way at this time to grant legacy groups a free service. I volunteer for a few GIO groups covered personally with the current grandfathered option and I know first hand what a valuable resource you are providing for 501c3's with memberships in the 100-300 person range. I remain hopeful that someday a Premium discounted level might one day be offered to accommodate their minimal needs. 

Since 2018 I have encouraged "child NPs" to use GIO. It's been a slow process for the 3 "Parent-Child" 501(c)(3) organizations that I volunteer for. Likely because their "child chapters" located throughout the US consist of the elderly, those with special needs and those with accessibility needs. 

I have brought perhaps 10-15 small NPs over to GIO. Their forum feature expectations are modest. Posts range about 10-80 times a month. They don't use storage for attachments and photos.

The Premium model holds an attraction because of the ability to have a main group for their members and a subgroup for their governance board and committee chairs. Without a NP discount for the Premium group some are creating 2 or 3 free groups: one group for their Board and/one for their Chairs and/or Volunteers.

These NPs do not have the revenue to pay the $20 a month needed to bring their 100+ members into one GIO group. I will continue to recommend the free GIO tier for their board members, chairs and volunteers if they are not in need of a general membership forum.

I am involved with three different US based 501(c)(3)s who operate under an Umbrella framework. In other words the "Parent" is the fiscal sponsor in regards to the IRS "paperwork" and the local "Child Chapters" of the "Parent" operate under their own EIN and within their own budget. 

The "Child-Chapters" I am familiar with vary in size from 20 members to 200+ members with the average being around 125 members. They fall into the educational category and their members offer services free of charge in their local communities. Revenue for operations is most often met soley by a handful of membership making donations to meet their expenses as 80% of their members are on a fixed income.

TechSoup does the verification legwork and maintains a file copy of the IRS determination letter. Tech Soup is a company that handles the verification process for small US based business as well as the larger, global businesses such as Microsoft, Adobe, Zoom and Google. Where verification costs are concerned, those are typically built into the pricing model and admin fees of the company offering a discount. 

I welcome suggestions from others who may know about simplistic, private, free or budget friendly forum services that are available to non-profits having 100-300 members operating on a shoe string budget. I've also posted this need to the forum on Tech Soup in the hopes that other suggestions will turn up.

Workgroup Google Groups seems to be the only affordable option I can find for the NPs with 100+ members at this time. I will return to what I did prior to 2018: Help them get their domain set up on Workgroups (formerly G-Suite for non profits) and then use a Google Groups domain set up. (Workgroups offers the privacy and security not available to those using a Google Group tied to a free Google account.)

It's a more complicated process than creating a GIO group and requires ongoing Administrative tasks. I don't mind the extra work on my part for the set up but the ongoing Admin role is something I can't do for them. Finding an easy to use, forum service that respects privacy is getting more difficult. People today are asking for more forum "bells and whistles" than I ever could have imagined. And that rasies the learning curve of how to use it. 

I know of one other free forum service called Group Works. While private and secure, it does not offer topic discussion over email. They are strictly web based. 

I appreciate the discussions of GIO operational costs. Until recently I did not know that the email communication component was one of the most significant costs. It makes sense that to be sustainable, GIO pricing structure has to change. I don't envy any business (or non profit) having to make these difficult revenue-expediture choices. 

-- 
Sandi Dickenson


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Charles Roberts
 

I think Mark is smart enough to figure out how to set his charges.  I just think he needs to see how many different TYPES of groups there are. Some types can easily bear charges, some not so easy..  

I've not seen my type described yet so here goes.
We are a gathering of front line Cold War Veterans, both military and civilian that served years on the remote Radar and Communication sites all over Alaska.  The system has changed now and many of the facilities no longer exist...except in our memories and in our groups.  We have many pictures and files for future generations to peruse, and a fair listing of messages and stories from Members who have passed....for those interested in the future to see......an actual picture or message written by your Great Grand Father....think about that.
Well, most of us are 80+, not really in to too much high-techie stuff, and certainly not looking for new ways to spend what money we have left.  So, high fees, however derived, exceeding what one person (owner) can reasonable come up with to support his group will surely signify the end of the group, or prevent a similar type from ever signing on.  Ours is a labor of love. 

Just saying......
Chuck, CABGx3



On Dec 20, 2020 1:09 PM, PurplePenny <purplepenny@...> wrote:

I understand that this service has to pay for itself, and luckily my group is grandtfathered so this won't affect it.  However, if I were just thinking of moving to G.Io this would cost me nearly $2000 a year which would be prohibitively expensive for me.  I can' ask members for contributions: many of them are struggling finacially as it is.  One member sold her car to pay her vet bills, others do without their own healthcare to pay for their cats.  They just couldn't afford to donate, and I couldn't afford to pay $2000 from my own pocket.

As other have asked, I wonder which aspect is the most costly.  Could a lower cost per member with a tiered system for added benefits work?  For instance, my group only averages about 5 messages a day, but we do need to use photos and files. We do need occasionally need the message archive going back to the start of the group in 1999 (I had to do one just today!), but I think most message searches are within the last 5-10 years.

Penny



locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Sandi D
 

Mark, thank you for finding a way at this time to grant legacy groups a free service. I volunteer for a few GIO groups covered personally with the current grandfathered option and I know first hand what a valuable resource you are providing for 501c3's with memberships in the 100-300 person range. I remain hopeful that someday a Premium discounted level might one day be offered to accommodate their minimal needs. 

Since 2018 I have encouraged "child NPs" to use GIO. It's been a slow process for the 3 "Parent-Child" 501(c)(3) organizations that I volunteer for. Likely because their "child chapters" located throughout the US consist of the elderly, those with special needs and those with accessibility needs. 

I have brought perhaps 10-15 small NPs over to GIO. Their forum feature expectations are modest. Posts range about 10-80 times a month. They don't use storage for attachments and photos.

The Premium model holds an attraction because of the ability to have a main group for their members and a subgroup for their governance board and committee chairs. Without a NP discount for the Premium group some are creating 2 or 3 free groups: one group for their Board and/one for their Chairs and/or Volunteers.

These NPs do not have the revenue to pay the $20 a month needed to bring their 100+ members into one GIO group. I will continue to recommend the free GIO tier for their board members, chairs and volunteers if they are not in need of a general membership forum.

I am involved with three different US based 501(c)(3)s who operate under an Umbrella framework. In other words the "Parent" is the fiscal sponsor in regards to the IRS "paperwork" and the local "Child Chapters" of the "Parent" operate under their own EIN and within their own budget. 

The "Child-Chapters" I am familiar with vary in size from 20 members to 200+ members with the average being around 125 members. They fall into the educational category and their members offer services free of charge in their local communities. Revenue for operations is most often met soley by a handful of membership making donations to meet their expenses as 80% of their members are on a fixed income.

TechSoup does the verification legwork and maintains a file copy of the IRS determination letter. Tech Soup is a company that handles the verification process for small US based business as well as the larger, global businesses such as Microsoft, Adobe, Zoom and Google. Where verification costs are concerned, those are typically built into the pricing model and admin fees of the company offering a discount. 

I welcome suggestions from others who may know about simplistic, private, free or budget friendly forum services that are available to non-profits having 100-300 members operating on a shoe string budget. I've also posted this need to the forum on Tech Soup in the hopes that other suggestions will turn up.

Workgroup Google Groups seems to be the only affordable option I can find for the NPs with 100+ members at this time. I will return to what I did prior to 2018: Help them get their domain set up on Workgroups (formerly G-Suite for non profits) and then use a Google Groups domain set up. (Workgroups offers the privacy and security not available to those using a Google Group tied to a free Google account.)

It's a more complicated process than creating a GIO group and requires ongoing Administrative tasks. I don't mind the extra work on my part for the set up but the ongoing Admin role is something I can't do for them. Finding an easy to use, forum service that respects privacy is getting more difficult. People today are asking for more forum "bells and whistles" than I ever could have imagined. And that rasies the learning curve of how to use it. 

I know of one other free forum service called Group Works. While private and secure, it does not offer topic discussion over email. They are strictly web based. 

I appreciate the discussions of GIO operational costs. Until recently I did not know that the email communication component was one of the most significant costs. It makes sense that to be sustainable, GIO pricing structure has to change. I don't envy any business (or non profit) having to make these difficult revenue-expediture choices. 

-- 
Sandi Dickenson


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Marv Waschke
 

I think 2020 will mark the beginning of the great free online services shakeout. The services aren't free and the current methods of paying for them are all pretty flaky: selling ads that most people regard as annoyances, selling information for targeting ads, subsidizing free services by paying for them out of paid services. This last is the Groups.io model.

The economics of online services are unfamiliar and strange to most folks. The biggest costs are upfront development before the first customer signs on. Next comes infrastructure rollout and system maintenance. The marginal cost of adding a new group or member to  Groups.io is probably very low, almost zero, which makes it tempting to offer free services. But when enough new groups or members are added, a breaker trips and a new round of software and infrastructure is required and that costs big. I suspect this is happening all over the online services industry as covid has driven everything online.

My guess is Groups.io is facing this now with the rush from Yahoo Groups.  I've been concerned about Groups.io's business model from the day the groups I work with moved here and it appears a day of reckoning is on the horizon. I hope Mark can come up with a sustainable plan under which users pay their fair share.

My preference (wishful thinking?!) is for a pay-as-you-go business model under which there is always an adequate reserve fund to pay for required expansion. Perhaps a relatively large entry fee, which would be designed to fund future expansion and modest monthly fees based on usage, which would be designed to keep the lights on in the data center.

I recognize that there are many many deserving groups that have no means to pay for the services I envision, but I would not saddle Groups.io with deciding which groups deserve what. I'm not sure Groups.io is in a good position to judge. Keeping a service running, paying the bills, planning and implementing for the future is a hard job, and the skills to do that are not the same as the skills necessary for equitably managing a charity. Maybe there should be a Groups.io Foundation for managing free services to deserving groups. The foundation would raise and manage funds to pay Groups.io fees.

So, yeah, a switch to a model like this would be rough, but from my vantage point. we're already in rough times that could get rougher if this stuff is not sorted out. I'd hate to see Mark throw up his hands, shutter Groups.io, and take a signing bonus to go to work for the big three.

Best, Marv Waschke


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

 

On Sun, Dec 20, 2020 at 04:08 PM, J_Catlady wrote:
What does the new pricing structure have to do with the members of a group needing to be informed of whether the group is basic or premium or whatever?
I would be extremely opposed, as I was the last time around, to groups having to state on their home page whether they're premium or basic.
 
--
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

 

On Sun, Dec 20, 2020 at 03:59 PM, SP4149 wrote:
Now that the pricing structure is radically changing to a fee per member. I feel that the Home page should be changed to show if a list is Basic (Free), Premium or Enterprise.
What does the new pricing structure have to do with the members of a group needing to be informed of whether the group is basic or premium or whatever? Nothing. Maybe you are thinking about the suggestion that the members themselves are charged per group. But I doubt that idea will go far. If the members themselves are charged (which I highly doubt will happen) AND if they are only charged to belong to basic groups (even more unlikely), then of course the groups need to state what kind they are. But that all of that is so extremely unlikely that we don't need to worry about it.
 
--
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

SP4149
 

Now that the pricing structure is radically changing to a fee per member.  I feel that the Home page should be changed to show if a list is Basic (Free), Premium or Enterprise.

Mark has not indicated if in the future all lists will be charged a per member fee if their membership is over the target size for their type of list.

Apparent list target sizes :

Free - 100 members

Premium - 400 members

Enterprise -1000 members

I am co-owner of one list that has paid for Premium subscription but on the billing page - Group features shows image storage at 1 GB, same as it was when the list was Basic(Free)

Neither Owner is down as a payor, instead it is the moderator designated as the only payor.

Now that lists on groups.io are headed into a new pricing scheme, more transparency on list status is needed.


The new pricing policy effective Jan 18th establishes that list of 2000 members should be an Enterprise subscription at $4400 per year.  The implication is that a grandfathered Basic list 

of 2000 members is costing (lost revenue) groups.io $4400 a year.  That is not a tenable plan.  E.G I do not expect a twenty year old Basic list with 2,000 members to remain fee free more than a couple of years.

Now it would be more likely that a Premium (Paid) list might avoid a fee per member surcharge for a longer time.  So do I upgrade to Premium in the next couple of weeks to avoid the high fee per member

charges that could be coming in the future?

ken clark

www.shastasprings.com


1d. 
Re: Pricing Changes
From: J_Catlady
Date: Sun, 20 Dec 2020 09:29:12 PST

That won't work because a decision was made (which I strongly agree with) a long time ago not to let members know which groups are paid and which ones are not.


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

 

Thanks Bill. I was joking. This thing has gone wildly (but entertainingly) off track. 😊


On Dec 20, 2020, at 2:50 PM, billsf9c via groups.io <OOWONBS@...> wrote:

Google IPV6.
IP4 has fewer groups kf bits to define an  address.

IPV6 has significantly more, 
This allows more.addresses, and closer tracking too and.purportedly.serious beneficial ramifications for gov't surveillance, of a type... even suggesting backdoors.

BillSF9c

--
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
 

Google IPV6.
IP4 has fewer groups kf bits to define an  address.

IPV6 has significantly more, 
This allows more.addresses, and closer tracking too and.purportedly.serious beneficial ramifications for gov't surveillance, of a type... even suggesting backdoors.

BillSF9c


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

 

This was referring to Andy’s point about people using the same computer.


On Dec 20, 2020, at 2:41 PM, J_Catlady via groups.io <j.olivia.catlady@...> wrote:

Exactly right, another good point. Bad idea overall.
--
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


--
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

 

Exactly right, another good point. Bad idea overall.
--
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

txercoupemuseum.org
 

Penny said:  "I understand that this service has to pay for itself, and luckily my group is grandfathered so this won't affect it.”

Mark is obviously a talented and conscientious individual, and Groups.io is “his”.  He does as he likes, and likes what he does.  With no board of directors or stockholders to answer to, he is accountable to no one.  

Only he knows how much it costs to “pay for” day-to-day Groups.io operations versus development and maintenance of “service enhancements”.   Group owners can beat their gums to exhaustion here; but, in the end, what is done or not done is solely up to him.

It is quite possible after “rescuing” refugees from the Yahoo debacle at ever increasing price and overseeing the huge increase in groups here, that he feels he’s “done his bit”.  He has most graciously grandfathered a majority of groups that "came over” as free or one-year premium payers who were allowed to revert back to “free” status.

If he envisions a future for Groups.io that will provide ongoing revenues on the order of that he earned from the Yahoo migration, he needs more groups that can be depended upon to generate ongoing revenue.  Just as some doctors decide to eschew Medicare, Medicaid and even “normally” insured people to deliver a premium “concierge” level of “on demand” services the average American can only dream of for a substantial annual fee.

Until someone else “builds a better mousetrap”, human inertia is a powerful force keeping existing groups here.

Best,

WRB

— 


On Dec 20, 2020, at 12:09 PM, PurplePenny <purplepenny@...> wrote:

I understand that this service has to pay for itself, and luckily my group is grandtfathered so this won't affect it.  However, if I were just thinking of moving to G.Io this would cost me nearly $2000 a year which would be prohibitively expensive for me.  I can' ask members for contributions: many of them are struggling finacially as it is.  One member sold her car to pay her vet bills, others do without their own healthcare to pay for their cats.  They just couldn't afford to donate, and I couldn't afford to pay $2000 from my own pocket.

As other have asked, I wonder which aspect is the most costly.  Could a lower cost per member with a tiered system for added benefits work?  For instance, my group only averages about 5 messages a day, but we do need to use photos and files. We do need occasionally need the message archive going back to the start of the group in 1999 (I had to do one just today!), but I think most message searches are within the last 5-10 years.

Penny

_.


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

Andy Wedge
 

On Sun, Dec 20, 2020 at 04:52 PM, J_Catlady wrote:
Don't think so. Groups.io would presumably track the IP address.
And how do you distinguish between different people the same location (and therefore the same public IP address) legitimately belonging to different groups?  Those who house share or family members under one roof would typically have the same public IP address.

Andy


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

 

On Sun, Dec 20, 2020 at 10:36 AM, Duane wrote:
IPV6 helps
What I meant to say, was of course! IPV6 helps. That's a given. (nods head sagely....) What's IPV6? ;)
 
--
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

 

Of course. But we’re talking about a workaround to a workaround to a bad idea (IMO) in the first place. The whole debate is just an intellectual one anyway. None of this is going to happen.


On Dec 20, 2020, at 10:36 AM, Duane <txpigeon@...> wrote:

On Sun, Dec 20, 2020 at 10:52 AM, J_Catlady wrote:
Groups.io would presumably track the IP address.
IP tracking is inherently unreliable.  Anyone that has a dynamic address may have a different one every time they connect.  That's most of the world since there are a finite number of public IP addresses available.  IPV6 helps, but there are still many sites/browsers/etc. that are limited to using IPV4.

Duane

--
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

Duane
 

On Sun, Dec 20, 2020 at 10:52 AM, J_Catlady wrote:
Groups.io would presumably track the IP address.
IP tracking is inherently unreliable.  Anyone that has a dynamic address may have a different one every time they connect.  That's most of the world since there are a finite number of public IP addresses available.  IPV6 helps, but there are still many sites/browsers/etc. that are limited to using IPV4.

Duane


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

 

On Sun, Dec 20, 2020 at 10:09 AM, PurplePenny wrote:
others do without their own healthcare to pay for their cats
yes
 
--
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

PurplePenny
 

I understand that this service has to pay for itself, and luckily my group is grandtfathered so this won't affect it.  However, if I were just thinking of moving to G.Io this would cost me nearly $2000 a year which would be prohibitively expensive for me.  I can' ask members for contributions: many of them are struggling finacially as it is.  One member sold her car to pay her vet bills, others do without their own healthcare to pay for their cats.  They just couldn't afford to donate, and I couldn't afford to pay $2000 from my own pocket.

As other have asked, I wonder which aspect is the most costly.  Could a lower cost per member with a tiered system for added benefits work?  For instance, my group only averages about 5 messages a day, but we do need to use photos and files. We do need occasionally need the message archive going back to the start of the group in 1999 (I had to do one just today!), but I think most message searches are within the last 5-10 years.

Penny


locked Re: Pricing Changes #update

 

That won’t work because a decision was made (which I strongly agree with) a long time ago not to let members know which groups are paid and which ones are not.

On Dec 20, 2020, at 9:27 AM, Drew <pubx1@af2z.net> wrote:

The option for group owners to directly pay for their group (Premium, Enterprise) would still be available. In that case membership would be a freebie for subscribers, regardless of their individual subscription level.

In other words, subscriptions in "paid" groups would not count toward individual subscribers' maximum groups limit. Only subscriptions in Basic (i.e., free-to-owner) groups would be counted.

Drew




In the case of an organization (club, business, etc) the owners of the group would have the option of paying for it and inviting y still have the option of paying for the group

On 12/20/20 11:49, Andy Wedge wrote:
On Sat, Dec 19, 2020 at 11:43 PM, Drew wrote:
I wonder if Groups.io has considered charging subscribers directly
instead of charging group owners. It could be a multi-tier system,
for example:
- FREE: Subscriber can be a member of up to three Groups.io groups;
- $5.00/yr: ... up to ten groups;
- $10.00/yr: ... unlimited groups;
or whatever numbers make sense.
I can see issues with this where someone is subscribed to (using your example) 3 groups and then joins a club that has a membership fee and uses Groups.io for its communication. As a paid-up member of the club, that person should expect the same level of communication as every other member. If a club is prevented from adding (or inviting or approving a subscription request from) a paid-up member because that person already belongs to 3 other unrelated groups it creates a bad impression about Groups.io and a potential headache for the group admin.
Subscribers could always try and work around this by having multiple accounts from different email addresses but being pushed into that when they perhaps they don't want to create a new email address or are not technically capable of managing multiple addresses is not a good situation.
Andy



--
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

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