Those of you who have followed us for a while will be keenly aware of our love and usage of Meetup.com, a website which brings people together via very clever marketing. New groups get great emphasis and you can see all Meetups people have signed up to, giving much needed exposure for all groups. However, in December 2017, Meetup.com took an interesting turn in design and methodology.
I’ve been an avid user of Meetup.com since January 2014, when GeekOut South-West jumped from a few friends, to a community. We loved the sheer number of people we got from Meetup.com, along with all of the features it provided. I loved how my Meetup could be branded with my personal touches; I loved how my logo was displayed prominently. We adored how it looked, felt and most of all, how it brought us all together.
I remember when the beta came around for paid Organisers, such as myself, I took a look at it and offered my feedback. In fact, my feedback was in line with that of other Meetup.com organisers at the time, that it felt like a lot of the design wasn’t what we originally had signed up for – We lost something that made us feel unique. In June 2017, when this was in Beta, I actually emailed them, airing my grievances.
“1436983 is your incident number. Please do not remove this number from the message.”
It’s so frustrating that they’ve not listened to the concerns of not just me, which I raised so long ago, but they have also not listened to many other Organisers. By trying to make it more engaging for those on mobile (at least supposedly), the web format for Meetup.com has taken a serious hit. Now, an Organiser is met with lacking features, including forcing all images in one place (in a little ‘gallery’ format) and, the lack of front page branding.
Before we continue with this article, please note, I do not blame any one person at Meetup, but I feel like the organisers and staff at Meetup have lost something along the way. This update was a serious step back for those who pay for the service, GeekOut South-West included. We cannot keep running events this way, as our events aren’t getting as well noticed as they used to be. In fact, in the past few months, people have told me they don’t even look at Meetup, or they do it out of a sense of obligation. Instead, the info is easier to access via Facebook. We cannot keep paying for a service that we, including our members of over 1,900 people, just aren’t enjoying as much as we used to. Our users typically are not using mobile for anything more than keeping up with the Meetup comments section.
Please note, whilst I have written this relatively scathing review of what has happened with Meetup.com, I’m not yet leaving it. I am hopeful that either the end product will be good – Or they’ll do what we all wish and let us have the old version back. I’ll be happy to wait it out a bit longer, but really, it’s time for us to start considering our future. If the concerns are not addressed, then perhaps it’ll be time for us to jump ship after 4 years of, what I’ll be honest – Has been really good. I really hope this isn’t the case, as Meetup has been fantastic up until this point.
But the vast majority of people who join us are aware of us through Facebook, word of mouth or other places (including Reddit). We are known in our area, so we’ll see what time does. Meetup, if you read this article, please do reconsider this design process, or respond formally. The people who have paid good money to host events through your service wish for a more adequate response, rather than telling us how your client-base are all mobile. Release a mobile view and a web view – That’ll probably solve the whole problem.