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locked Notice of Pricing Change

 
Edited

Like everyone, we were taken by surprise when Yahoo announced they will be shutting down Yahoo Groups in just a few short weeks. Groups.io runs a world-class email groups service and has quickly been recognized as the best migration option for Yahoo Groups users. We are flattered by this recognition, and have been overwhelmed with traffic and group transfer requests as a result. We have spent the days since Yahoo's announcement diligently adding new server capacity and starting to work through an unprecedented number of transfer requests.

Fortunately, Groups.io has always been built to scale and already has a user base in excess of 1 million users today. In order to accommodate this major growth phase while maintaining our excellent service levels and industry-leading functionality, we will need to adjust our pricing as follows. As of 9AM Pacific Time, October 22:

  1. The annual fee for premium groups is $20/month or $220/year. (Premium groups in existence before that date are grandfathered in at their current fee.)

  2. As is already the case, all transferred groups are required to be premium groups for the first year. The $220 transfer fee counts for the premium fee, so once having paid the transfer fee, transferred groups are exempt from paying the premium fee for the first year.

As you know, Yahoo has given us incredibly short deadlines. New content cannot be uploaded to Yahoo Groups after October 28 and all user generated content will be deleted from Yahoo Groups on December 14. To ensure that we have enough time to export all data off of Yahoo, we have set a deadline of midnight, December 1 Pacific Time for all new transfer requests to be received. Assuming that Yahoo doesn’t have any server issues, we believe that we’ll be able to export all data out of Yahoo before they delete all the data. However, in order to maintain a high level of service to our existing customers, we cannot import groups into our service as fast as we can export them out of Yahoo. There may be some delay before we can import all groups. If you wish to have your transfer prioritized, the group transfer page allows you to pay an additional one-time fee of $200 (this will go live at 9AM Pacific Time, October 22).

We welcome the opportunity to elevate the groups email experience for Yahoo users. We are committed to making the migration process as seamless as possible. Thank you for choosing Groups.io.

Thanks, Mark

Note: The original message specified changes in new free groups. Those changes have been rolled back.

 

On 21 Oct 2019, at 22:28, Mark Fletcher <markf@corp.groups.io> wrote:

We welcome the opportunity to elevate the groups email experience for Yahoo users. We are committed to making the migration process as seamless as possible. Thank you for choosing Groups.io.

Well, top marks for being able to respond as you have. I think that’s pretty excellent and testimony to the success of the groups.io platform that as many as have, wish to move over to it.

Thanks for keeping on keeping on.

kind regards

Nick
__

dUNMUR | member of the Association of Photographers

Drew
 

Mark,

1) Will there be a Premium group discount for non-profits? (Currently I believe there is only a non-profit discount for Enterprise groups.)

2) Will grandfathered premium groups continue at $110/yr; or be changed later to the new per-member cost?

Drew

On 10/21/19 17:28, Mark Fletcher wrote:
Like everyone, we were taken by surprise when Yahoo announced they will be shutting down Yahoo Groups in just a few short weeks. Groups.io runs a world-class email groups service and has quickly been recognized as the best migration option for Yahoo Groups users. We are flattered by this recognition, and have been overwhelmed with traffic and group transfer requests as a result. We have spent the days since Yahoo's announcement diligently adding new server capacity and starting to work through an unprecedented number of transfer requests.
Fortunately, Groups.io has always been built to scale and already has a user base in excess of 1 million users today. In order to accommodate this major growth phase while maintaining our excellent service levels and industry-leading functionality, we will need to adjust our pricing as follows. As of 9AM Pacific Time, October 22:
1.
The annual fee for premium groups is $20/month or $220/year.
(Premium groups in existence before that date are grandfathered in
at their current fee.)
2.
As is already the case, all transferred groups are required to be
premium groups for the first year. The $220 transfer fee counts for
the premium fee, so once having paid the transfer fee, transferred
groups are exempt from paying the premium fee for the first year.
3.
All new basic (non-premium) groups are required to be premium groups
if they have, or acquire, more than 500 members or more than 3
subgroups. (Basic groups in existence before October 22 at 9AM
remain unlimited for now; however, next year we will be looking at
readjusting our pricing structure and moving away from a flat rate
fee and towards a more equitable per-member cost. We will keep you
posted about all of this as we work through the process.)
As you know, Yahoo has given us incredibly short deadlines. New content cannot be uploaded to Yahoo Groups after October 28 and all user generated content will be deleted from Yahoo Groups on December 14. To ensure that we have enough time to export all data off of Yahoo, we have set a deadline of midnight, December 1 Pacific Time for all new transfer requests to be received. Assuming that Yahoo doesn’t have any server issues, we believe that we’ll be able to export all data out of Yahoo before they delete all the data. However, in order to maintain a high level of service to our existing customers, we cannot import groups into our service as fast as we can export them out of Yahoo. There may be some delay before we can import all groups. If you wish to have your transfer prioritized, the group transfer page allows you to pay an additional one-time fee of $200 (this will go live at 9AM Pacific Time, October 22).
We welcome the opportunity to elevate the groups email experience for Yahoo users. We are committed to making the migration process as seamless as possible. Thank you for choosing Groups.io.
Thanks, Mark

 

On Mon, Oct 21, 2019 at 4:27 PM Drew <pubx1@...> wrote:

1) Will there be a Premium group discount for non-profits? (Currently I
believe there is only a non-profit discount for Enterprise groups.)

There are no changes for the non-profit discount.

 
2) Will grandfathered premium groups continue at $110/yr; or be changed
later to the new per-member cost?

Short answer is that I don't know because I haven't figured out that policy, and won't even be thinking about it until at least the new year. I mentioned that in the message because I wanted to give a heads up that it's something that I'll be thinking about. The current flat-rate pricing really isn't fair to smaller groups. We are having these massive 5k-10k member groups transfer over right now (or groups with 400k messages), and they're paying the same price - but using a lot more resources - than the 40-50 person groups. My top priorities with Groups.io are keeping the site up and making sure it has a sustainable business model (and also occasionally showing some cat pics). Each of those priorities are challenging in their own ways...

Thanks,
Mark

Kent B. Lewis <lewis.kent@...>
 

...especially getting the cats to cooperate...

Robin Siegel
 

So far all I see is elephants. But I did find this today.

IMG_4708.jpg

Robin Siegel


On Mon, Oct 21, 2019 at 10:54 PM Mark Fletcher <markf@corp.groups.io> wrote:
On Mon, Oct 21, 2019 at 4:27 PM Drew <pubx1@...> wrote:

1) Will there be a Premium group discount for non-profits? (Currently I
believe there is only a non-profit discount for Enterprise groups.)

There are no changes for the non-profit discount.

 
2) Will grandfathered premium groups continue at $110/yr; or be changed
later to the new per-member cost?

Short answer is that I don't know because I haven't figured out that policy, and won't even be thinking about it until at least the new year. I mentioned that in the message because I wanted to give a heads up that it's something that I'll be thinking about. The current flat-rate pricing really isn't fair to smaller groups. We are having these massive 5k-10k member groups transfer over right now (or groups with 400k messages), and they're paying the same price - but using a lot more resources - than the 40-50 person groups. My top priorities with Groups.io are keeping the site up and making sure it has a sustainable business model (and also occasionally showing some cat pics). Each of those priorities are challenging in their own ways...

Thanks,
Mark

Duane
 

On Mon, Oct 21, 2019 at 04:28 PM, Mark Fletcher wrote:
As of 9AM Pacific Time, October 22
I think one of the biggest complaints on GMF is the extremely short notice.  Less than 24 hours seems like price gouging to some...

I'm looking forward to seeing the plans for next year to determine if we can afford to keep our "free" groups here.

Duane

deborah75001
 

Hi Mark and everybody

I am Deborah from france and I am speaking for several groups for international adopted children and handicapped children in French language.

Of our groups, only AdoptionENSOLO (adopting a child as a single mother) has transfered already over a year ago, on behalf of my advise and translating all the English language information to them, and doing great on io groups since then.

Other groups were waiting and now are caught in the turmoil. 

On October 21st, I created mirror groups adoptionUKRAINE (adopting from Ukraine) and DYSPRAXIE -a group of parents helping each other with children who have developmental dyspraxia and learning disabilities. But I havent "bought" the package for 110 dollars yet because on each of these groups, we are having trouble collecting the 110 dollars !

and there are other groups of which I am not a moderator, who havent yet created a new group on io groups because I have just spend the last days getting in touch with their moderators,  explaining and translating to them the English explanations into French...

I have tried to explain to these groups that someone in the group would have to lend their credit card to be charged 110 dollars (they are already afraid of a transaction with a foreign currency...), and then try to collect the money from willing members of the group that could send them each 10 euros or so... not easy. Our groups do not have wealthy associations behind them and are just parents who have tried to self help through yahoo groups founded mostly in the early 2000... but have lost a lot of active members since yahoo has messed up with mail and forums so as of now they have only few active members and probably a lot of emails bouncing.

And now I have to tell them that the transfer is up to 220 dolllars and membership after that will be 220 dollars every year ?

This is a lost case.

We are about to lose everything thanks to Yahoo, and now all of a sudden while we were just about to make the move and get people to pay once for the transfer, we are told that this is a matter of 220 dollars every year... We feel trapped, to be honest.

And I understand the technicalities and need for more machines... Just changing the terms on a one day notice right when people are trying to save themselves from a sinking boat... This is a bit harsh.

I am trying to accept that we have lost our history, the history of our children, the files and databases of institutions where our handicaped children would be able to get helped over France, the files where we have stored the accommodations and therapies that work for them... HARD LOSS TO BE REALLY HONEST !

Deborah from PAris, France
groups adoptionUKRAINE and DYSPRAXIE et troubles des apprentissages.

Mark Irving
 

Mark has done a fantastic job of coping with the influx of groups from Yahoo! Groups, especially at such short notice. Thank you!

I am concerned, though, that the new prices will drive away a lot of basic groups. I'm co-owner of four related special interest groups (covering sewing machines), each with a lot of subscribers and a long history, but not much traffic. Sewing machines are a hobby, and one on which I spend about $30 per year in total. The prospect of paying a large share of 4 x $220 per year to transfer and run these would have me archive and close the groups, if I couldn't find a new owner prepared to provide financial backing or collect donations.

For such groups, where there is no organisation backing the group (just a few volunteers as group owners and moderators), membership thinly spread around the world, and no momentum or ethical need for the group, just a "nice to have," a fixed fee of more than pocket money will end them. Please work out a pricing system which does not cut in with a substantial cost as soon as a group reaches 500 members, at least for non-profit organisations or informal non-organisation groups.

(In the short term this does not affect me directly, since my groups are older than 22 October 2019.)

 - Mark

 

I fully understand the reasoning for the pricing plans, but I am concerned about how the per-member cost would work. Would people have to pay before they could join a group? How would it work with groups where you are only approved if you respond to a questionnaire, would you pay before or after?

Also, I run groups where people are being hit by sudden medical costs and even a small amount of money might be hard to find, plus it's another hoop to jump through when they are already distraught.

I'd also like to know about the admin side. Would groups.io be responsible for it all? I have a 5000 member group, and if somebody suddenly got locked out because they hadn't renewed their membership, in practice they would contact me, not groups.io. My job is to disseminate medical information, not administer a fees database.

Therefore, I would also like the option for the groupowner to pay for the group to continue (though even if it's as low as $1 a year per member, I could not afford it!).

Another option to consider might be for an individual to have a groups.io subscription, which allowed them to join as many groups as they wished.

HTH, and sorry you've got hit with all this, Mark, but thanks for stepping up to help yahoo!groups users.

Helen

 

Hi Helen,

On Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at 3:00 AM Tanya's Feline CKD <helen@...> wrote:
I fully understand the reasoning for the pricing plans, but I am concerned about how the per-member cost would work. Would people have to pay before they could join a group? How would it work with groups where you are only approved if you respond to a questionnaire, would you pay before or after?


Just to be clear, any future potential change to a per-member cost structure would mean that the price paid by *the group owner* would be dependent on the number of members. 

Thanks,
Mark

 

On 22 Oct 2019, at 11:00, Tanya's Feline CKD <helen@...> wrote:

I fully understand the reasoning for the pricing plans, but I am concerned about how the per-member cost would work. Would people have to pay before they could join a group? 

Unless I’ve misunderstood or missed a key post, surely that’s up to each group owner to work out for themselves?The person who sets up or ‘owns’ the group is responsible for and pays the hosting fee, no?

kind regards

Nick
__

dUNMUR | member of the Association of Photographers


 

Methinks you never sleep, Mark!

Presumably you mean the price would be set based on the number of members on the group renewal date. And if I have deep pockets, I pay myself, otherwise I would have to have a membership charging system set up on my group. Hmm.

Thanks.

Helen

deborah75001
 

Hello

I really do not agree with what is happening here.

We were told transfering would be 110 dollars and then return to a free plan.

Literally OVERNIGHT we are told the price is double as much for transfering AND groups will not be free.

OVERNIGHT. No advance notice at all !

Members of my groups have no money, no wealthy associations collecting dues, we are just trying to help orphans through adopting children basically nobody wants because of their troubles and then trying to help handicapped children.

At this point I dont see how we can keep up with such fees. People here do not make a lot of money as in the USA.

I feel we will have to go elsewhere. Sorry.

Deborah from paris, France.
  

Pablo Sanchez
 

Hi,

As a technical person, a recent Y!G migrant and one who has set up Open Source Email List software[1], I believe I have sufficient experience to comment on the Price Change.

The reality is it takes money to run servers and to pay excellent people.  The fact that the system has grown so much in so little time, and the system did not crumble means that Mark and his team has architected an excellent solution.   An At Scale solution.  Finding people who have this type of experience is difficult.  When you find them, they're not cheap.  I know, I'm one of those types of persons.  ;) 

Given my short time period on groups.io, the spirit of what Mark is doing is clear to me:  he's not trying to rip people off.  As I see it, he's continuing to build a scalable system, provide top-notch service and on top of that, maintain a family life.

From my experience (over 30+ years), you try your best at architecting and anticipating at-scale.  However, for every order of magnitude in growth (10x), there are things that you could not foresee.  My bet is that there's a lot of scrambling behind the scenes to ensure from the user experience, all is well.

I believe that Mark will come up with something equitable for the Basic plans.  It may be that you have to pay by volume of email sent (e.g. bytes) averaged over a period of time but I don't know.  ;)

References
  1. Mailman3 - see https://www.gnu.org/software/mailman/download.html

Herb Gellis
 

Hi, I just signed up to look around. We have an 1800 member group not associated with any business that is currently in YahooGroups, looking to move so as not to lose our history and digest capability. As such, though "large" we have very small amounts of posting traffic. Obviously Yahoo had bigger bucks behind them and until now was hosting all for free. As a non-business association of people all around the world, having to pay for email-list services will be an issue for many (I know this is obvious) and of course you are under no obligation to deplete your own personal accounts to support the many. One of the sticking points is the IRS will consider groups that ask for money to support their email listserves, or get donations for same, to be a business. You can't just get money and legally ignore the IRS. We would have to go through the usual methods to declare us as an association in order to legally ask for donations, get dues, or similar. Worse to have to declare us as a non-profit - far more complicated paperwork and applications to state/federal entities. Without going into details, yes, there are other ways to get non-profit status by getting "adopted" by certain types of non-profit organizations, but anyway, you see that many of us will be in a technically legal bind if we have to ask for money in order to support our listserve. YahooGroups was a "godsend" in being totally free. oh well.

Susan Fox
 

In 2009 my group started charging a fee. There was OUTRAGE!  How could a community built by it's members be forced to pay for that community?  As so many of you know, while running a supportive group is a labor of love, it's still labor. We went from 13,000 email addresses to 1400 members paying $25 a year. It was slow growing, but we're almost 7,000 members strong.  The dynamics of the group changed for the better-- a lot of the dead wood went away and people were more committed to the community. 

I know Mark hasn't built a membership fee platform, but I hope that he is able to do that in the coming years. A nominal fee can help a feeling of commitment and loyalty (and you can always have a reduced fee/free membership for people who can't afford it). 

Enough about membership fees.... Now on to the yearly fee...

I'm SOOOO glad we switched to Groups.io. Mark has been so thoughtful about the moderation tools and making it easy for people to use. While $20/month may be a stretch for some of you, and I UNDERSTAND the frustration of the overnight switch, being able to get support, the name of a specialist, saving calling around and visiting multiple doctors, and so much more is worth $.60 a day/ $4.25 a week. For the price of a cup of coffee a week, the WHOLE group can interact with other folks in a comfortable environment (yahoo was awful) and trust that Mark and Groups.io is going to be around for a while.  I think we all saw the writing on the wall with Yahoo-- it was a broken down car that no one was fixing but we (I still have groups on Yahoo) just kept the hope alive that it wouldn't go away. BLAM!  The broken car is now being picked up by the giant magnet to be put in the compactor. 

I bet a quick email to your group members asking folks to buy a cup of coffee/tea for the moderator on Venmo would quickly pay the price of the group for a year.
Many of the comments speak to the feeling a lot of us have -- being sideswiped by Yahoo.  I just want to urge people to take a deep breath-- We will ALL get through this and have over a month to make it happen! 

Apologies for all the car-metaphors... Interesting because as I haven't owned a car in 21 years!

Since you can never be told enough-- THANKS for all the great work you do with your groups. 

Susan Fox
Founder, Park Slope Parents
one of the largest membership-based online parenting groups in the world. 

 

Not to mention that it seems some people want to blame Mark for what YAHOO has done, and from what he has saved us from.
--
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

Chris Jones
 

On Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at 05:09 PM, Harm Selling wrote:
So I assume that when you are intended to break the agreements, I can cancel my subscription and get a full refund of my payment of  110 dollars
Did you sign up and set a transfer in motion before the deadline? If so then I suggest that you wait before accusing Mark of breaking any agreement. AUIU groups formed with a transfer booked before the deadline will have grandfather rights meaning that the "old" rate will apply. .

Chris

Duane
 

On Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at 11:09 AM, Harm Selling wrote:
I cannot afford a yearly payment
It may not be needed, depending on how many members and subgroups you have.  One excellent factor in completing the transfer is that it's super easy to export all of your group's information from Groups.io at any time.  At least your data would be safe until you could find an alternative, if needed, before renewal time.

Duane