back to article WeWork's Meetup slaps RSVP fees on events ‒ then tells everyone not to panic amid backlash

Netizens are scrambling to find or build alternatives to Meetup.com – after the event-organizing app maker indicated it would charge people $2 per-RSVP. Previously, it didn’t cost a single cent to click the tick mark to confirm that you’d like to attend a particular free event organized via Meetup. Earlier this month, Meetup …

  1. JohnFen Silver badge

    Escaped my notice

    Somehow, I was unaware that WeWork had purchased Meetup. I'm glad this was mentioned, because now I know to avoid using Meetup.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Escaped my notice

      It's okay, they'll likely have to sell it again soon anyway.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Escaped my notice

      Likewise. But then all the recent shittiness now makes sense.

  2. Chris Gray 1
    Meh

    choice?

    I've never been involved with Meetup or WeWork...

    but, maybe they should offer meet organizers the choice of how to pay for the service. Let the organizer choose how much the repliers pay to join the meet. There should be a minimum cost to the organizer before the meet can be registered. And, once the Meetup income from any cost of repliers exceeds some amount set by Meetup, Meetup no longer charges the organizer. Or, make it graduated - the organizer pays up front, and repliers pay, as chosen by the organizer, first paying down what the organizer paid, then the rest going to Meetup. Everyone should be happy with something like that. Assuming, of course, that it is implemented and described properly.

    1. Paul 25

      Re: choice?

      Under the new scheme the organiser has the option of covering the attendees fee. But as pointed out in the article, the radically increases the cost of running a meetup.

      It isn't just that the fee is applied to the attendee, it's that for organisers or all but the smallest or least frequent evernt this is a massive increase in total fees, whoever pays them.

  3. sbt Silver badge
    WTF?

    I was going to complain about being nickeled and dimed

    But it's two whole dollars. For a "tick". On an on-line platform. No truck roll. No CSR interaction. Not even a manual step.

    WeWork is clearly only masquerading as a "new economy" business.

    1. Ian 55

      Re: I was going to complain about being nickeled and dimed

      They don't do much for the organiser's fees either.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: I was going to complain about being nickeled and dimed

      Even two cents would probably be wildly more than it actually costs them per-click (but they presumably have overheads etc.)

      1. hellwig Silver badge

        Re: I was going to complain about being nickeled and dimed

        Pretty sure WeWork spent millions all all sorts of dumb shit (kombucha for EVERYONE!), so yeah, LOTS of overhead.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow

    A stock fraud bought a scam. What could possibly go wrong?

  5. IGotOut

    Next plan...

    ...charge the hosts for the meeting venue....even when it belongs to someone else.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Next plan...

      I wonder if they'll waive or discount the fee if you meet in the WeWork office?

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Next plan...

        If you want a good laugh take a look at WeWork's S-1 filing where they quote, "Among the approximately 255 million potential members across our 280 target cities globally, we estimate a total opportunity of $3.0 trillion."

  6. Sampler

    Good

    I can't wait for one of these alternatives to kick is as Meetup is an awful platform that I hate giving money to.

    They have a good position and give the best roi on getting new members but there platform is shonky and unreliable, half baked make-over still has old site pages in place and nothing's moved in a year, the mobile app is just the worst.

    In fact, I'm going to go sign-up to help build the alternative listed..

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Good

      It is a truly awful platform that unnecessarily removed Markdown support from event descriptions and still provides attendee lists as CSV files disgusised as XLS files, but it does have the reach. You can already opt to charge people for attending but this introduces additional complications. But something is needed because, frankly, the lots of people sign up to events and never turn up. This can lead to additional costs or exclusion of other people who would like to attend.

      If they would only bother to maintain and continue to develop the platform, such as adding support for public nicknames but private real names, required for insurance or workplace security purposes in many cases, I wouldn't mind paying the fees as much. It would also be nice to be able to ban "no-show" easier: I currently have to mark them as such and then ban them individually.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Good

        An option to turn off notifications about a regular meetup would be good too. I get emailed every bloody week about a football session for kids and I'm a grown adult!

      2. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Good

        A return of the discussion forums would be good too.

  7. Blockchain commentard Silver badge
    Pint

    It's good someone wants to make a free to use/free to RSVP but who exactly is going to pay for the server, infrastructure costs, wages, marketing etc.?

    And aren't you (el Reg) supposed to mention a conflict of interest considering where your free beer comes from?

    1. Ian 55

      Self-hosting would work for my community.?

      Commercially, sell ads? Being able to advertise to people singed up to go to a meeting on any given topic is worth something.

      The model works for Automattic.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Mushroom

        And for the rest of us?

        us? I mean us Grumpy's.

        If any of the events that I organise (not using meetup I hasten to add) started to get adverts for other things then many of my fellow grumpies would get even grumpier and simply stop going.

        There is a cause and effect (Thanks Issac) to everything. Far to many people only think about the former and ignore the latter.

        I hate ALL adverts. Anything that gets repeatedly advertiesed to me gets put on my 'Do Not Buy' list. That list gets longer almost every day. now where's the 'up yours icon?'

        In its absence, all advertisers and ad companies can 'eat this'

        You rank right up there alongside politicians, lawyers, lobbyists and Car Salesmen for the chop come the revolution.

  8. Oh Matron!

    There's plenty of events on meetup that DO charge.... I'm part of several groups that do walks in the UK, Europe and beyond, all which come at a cost.

    1. Paul 25

      Not sure what your point is? You are presumably charging because there is some cost associated with your event and you get that money. In this case the fee goes to Meetup, not the event organisers.

  9. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Popular among techies arranging confabs

    It mostly seems to be recruiters (and, indeed, workspace providers) finding new ways to reel in clients. And why do they always seem to provide pizza?

    I've just been looking at room hire for real-world social/educational activities and the going rate for a church/community hall seems to be around £20/hour for a room that would easily host 50 people. I think that puts WeWork's view of "what the market will bear" in some perspective.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: Popular among techies arranging confabs

      Yeah the database conferences and MS training workshops I went to who used Meetup were just recruiters. Hey where's my free pizza!?!

      /s

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Popular among techies arranging confabs

        You're clearly not in the provinces. Part of the WeWork problem is the assumption they can scale on a similar basis outside tech metropolises.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Popular among techies arranging confabs

        Free pizza? .... if WeWork are behind it then surely there should be free beer ... might make the $2 payment an acceptable payment for "I want an evening of free beer"

  10. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

    Can't imagine why WeWork is tanking

    and execs are jumping ship.....

  11. Korev Silver badge

    Liability?

    Would adding a charge to an event make the organisers liable? I'm sure that in some places being forced to hand over money would change things legally.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Liability?

      Yes, upfront payment almost certainly formalises a contractual arrangement between parties. This may or may not be something you want to do, but refunds are certainly a complication and Meetup allows people to cancel whenever they want. We do charge for our local events (rooms and equipment it turn out aren't free) but I'd quite like to keep Meetup and PayPal out of the payment handling.

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    What's wrong with organising a meeting by email or WoM? Been done before, can be done again.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      You need to find the people organising the meeting first. Meetup means that people can find your organisation easily.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        How does Meetup do this? There are probably people who browse though the Meetup site, but most don't -- so organizers still have to find their audience on their own, just as they would if they weren't using Meetup.

      2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        @Korev: I suspect that there are many people who have never heard of Meetup. I have often thought that something like this would be a good idea, but didn't know that anyone had crystallised the idea. It seems likely that the people I mix with have never heard of it either, or someone would have mentioned it.

        1. Korev Silver badge

          It's different here in expat land, there are a huge amount of activities organised.

    2. jtaylor

      What's wrong with organising a meeting by email or WoM?

      I help organize events for a small social group. Most of our members don't plan that far ahead, and even many of the regulars don't use email. We're also always looking for new faces, or for occasional members to join us at an event.

      Meetup gives us a calendar, email list, reminders, attendance tracking, event tracking (history and also comments and ratings), and visibility to people who might be interested but never heard of us.

      Before Meetup, we had a custom-written calendar on our web site. Our email list was on Yahoo Groups. On a good week, I would call a few people to tell them about the event. Attendance was tracked (or not) by whoever led that event, using whatever method they used.

      What other platforms could we use? Small social group, open membership, limited funds and time. I'd like to avoid Facebook.

      1. hellwig Silver badge

        I'd like to avoid Facebook.

        Well, there you have it. You'll have to pay somehow. I guess it's either ask people to create a Facebook account, or pay two dollars to attend your event. 99% of people (not counting this community) don't give a crap about what Facebook collects.

        Really, other than "Facebook is evil", what was Meetups selling point over Facebook?

        disclaimer: never used Facebook, but if teens can accidentally invite thousands of people to their birthday parties, seems like getting your event out to the masses is not difficult using Facebook.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          "Really, other than "Facebook is evil", what was Meetups selling point over Facebook?"

          Meetup was not started to compete with Facebook at all. In fact, Meetup began a year before Facebook's initial incarnation, FaceMash, existed.

  13. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Peering into the future of WeWork+MeetUp

    WeWork acquires line of musty, scruffy motels on the fringes of major cities.

    MeetUp now adds "Face2Face" option, massively increases RSVP prices for F2F.

    Executives busted for human trafficking.

    Really does NOT seem to be a reach on this lot.

  14. Kubla Cant Silver badge
    Headmaster

    RSVP?

    How did a request for a response ("Répondez s'il vous plaît" = "Please reply") become a response?

    And if an RSVP is now a response, shouldn't the abbreviation be changed to RSVPSVP?

  15. William Hay

    Not learning from others mistakes.

    Patreon tried something similar a couple of years back moving costs from creators to patrons. Didn't work out well.

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