Alternatives to

(Daniel Hollands) #1

While a lot of people are very happy to use (and thus pay for) (and, truth be told, it does do what it does very well), but I’m interested in hearing what competition to there is, and what people’s opinion of them is.

I know @jackweirdy is using Google+ Groups, and @joshy is using nvite for Codepen - how are that working out for you?

Is anyone else using anything else?

For my own part, I’ve used Eventbrite a couple of times, and is very good for one off events that need tickets, but I’m not sure it’s well suited for reoccurring things. also looks very good, but is also better suited for one-off things.

I’m keen on feedback on this because of the group that @Banford and I will be setting up.

(Jack Wearden) #2

I left meetup for a minor & major reason - the minor one was that it was not worth the money IMO, while the major one was that it was far too spammy and easy for people to RSVP yes and then not turn up.

So far, for all of the BrumJS’ we’ve had on google+, there’s been at most a ±1 person difference in turnout compared to the “attending” list. On meetup it was consistently more inaccurate than that - with often just 50% of people turning out.

I mentioned to you @LimeBlast when you were first pondering on creating this site that I wanted to build a better version of meetup, specifically for tech groups (and starting initially with usergroups within Birmingham) but I could never find the time/energy. Anyway, now I have a free-ish summer so some good things may come of it :slight_smile:

(Josh Hillier) #3

I’m part of the WordPress meetup on Meetup and it seems fine, i’ve never had much issue being an attendee. However one of the benefits of nVite is that you can easily set templates.

So for instance with Codepen, Chris Coyier set up a standard Codepen Nvite template, all I had to do was sign up using the Codepen URL and it instantly populated Codepen Brum with descriptions and sponsors - it was simple and great!

(Daniel Hollands) #4

That might have been me… :blush:

I may well be interested in being part of that project, keep me informed :smile:

@joshy I get the impression that nVite is better suited to one off events, what is it like for regularly occurring things? Is it easy for people that have attended something in the past to be informed of and attend upcoming events?

(Andy Henson) #5

@jackweirdy, interesting. we have a similar thing with the WMRUG group on meetup where often several people RSVPd but then don’t turn up. Can you pinpoint why you have less of an issue with Google+? What is it that you would do that might help to improve this. WMRUG would be a keen beta tester of a better meetup if you do manage to put something together.

(Daniel Hollands) #6

I think I mentioned this to @jackweirdy back when he sent the email about moving away from, but I think it’s worth saying here again. My experience with (having been an admin on the Open Code group) is that it’s good for promotion and exposure of your group.

To give you an example, if it wasn’t for, I’d not have known about Open Code, would not have went along to the first meet, and probably would not have started Birmingham.IO. I had joined back when I lived in Leamington Spa, and occasionally got emails about new groups, which is how I came to know about Open Code.

(Kath Preston) #7

I don’t love but it definitely does help people discover your group, does a bit of the marketing for you.

I kind of think the people RSVP-ing and then not showing up is a just a human thing, nothing about the platform they’re using - the larger the group gets and less engaged they are with each other & the group itself, the easier it is for them to just not show to an event they haven’t paid for when life gets in the way. Some event organisers try and avoid this by charging a deposit that’s refundable once attended, but that doesn’t feel right for a casual meetup and an admin hassle.

I love, but yeah I would agree it’s better for one-off events.

(Daniel Hollands) #8

Why is this?

This is why I charged a fiver for the Beginner’s Guide to Ruby, not because I wanted to make any money from it, but because I wanted to buy it, and to entire the limited spaces I had went to people that had a vested interest. I only had one (out of 14) no-show for that.

(Richard Cunningham) #9

As an attendee works great for me, often fewer people turn up than the number that RSVP, but that’s par for the course.

As an (co-)organiser of leamgeeks, seems expensive to me and they go to great lengths to hide the pricing. There is no pricing page and you have to fill details for a meetup before you get the pricing page. Currently this is $9.99/month for upto 50 members and $14.99/month for “unlimited”.

For leamgeeks we have a website hosted on github [originally it was dynamic and on heroku, but was slow, so we moved it] with Javascript on the page telling you when the next meetup is (also degrades well without javascript). Also we have a google calendar (based on a repeating event) and we use Zapier to push automatic reminders to Twitter (@leamgeeks)

(Kath Preston) #10

Mainly the pricing/billing info you can get, don’t love the look of it, and just don’t think it looks as nice as things like!

(Jack Wearden) #11

I just realised I wrote this reply but never sent it! Oops

Can you pinpoint why you have less of an issue with Google+?

I think it’s the fact that meetup emails a lot about related groups, and pushes you to join and RSVP. There’s a big shiny red button in your inbox with no tangible commitment attached to it, so people are encouraged to push it.

I think when you have to seek out the meetup (or see a tweet/post etc) and say you’re attending, it carries much more weight than just acknowledging the suggestion. Google+ understands that the individual events are part of a broader community but doesn’t necessarily push you to join a following one. I don’t like it that much, and it’s not a significant improvement over meetup in terms of features, but it at least has that going for it.

What is it that you would do that might help to improve this.

That’s still unclear, and the features & purpose of what I want to build aren’t really fleshed out yet. I was thinking of something that helps with the extra stuff as well as “ticketing” for events. So logging IRC channels, helping with automated tweets reminding about the event, mailing lists and so on. In terms of the features I’d use for Brum.js it’s ticketing, tweets, website and possibly mailing list.

If anyone has suggestions I’d love to hear them!

(Steve Pitchford) #12

Hah, I had a thought to do a similar thing.

I dislike meetup for two reasons:

  1. The huge cost for what you get ( it feels more like a tax than a benefit )
  2. The messaging seems increasingly like you are paying them to organize their meetup.

It doesn’t feel like a sustainable model, IMHO.

Fancy a chat on the practicalities and challenges on building an alternative at some point ?


(Jack Wearden) #13

Sounds good! If you’re around for Brum.js on Thursday we could chat then? Otherwise I’m not sure how much I’ll be around this week :smile:

(Steve Pitchford) #14

I’ve just signed up.

(Richard Cunningham) #15

I don’t like the pricing of either, however most attendees won’t pay to go to a free meetup or become a member of, so charging the organizer seems like only thing left. Google doesn’t need to charge. Other sites are mostly targeted at one off events ticketed events for which they can take a cut.

Another SaaS site would have the same problems as - and would run at a bigger and bigger loss as it got bigger. It would be nice therefore, to have a self hosted, open source solution that you could run your own server or even github pages/static hosted - is that what you were thinking of?

(Etewiah) #16

It seem like there really are quite a few people interested in building some kind of alternative to The interesting thing is the variety of reasons people want an alternative.

My take is that the area really underserved by current tools is the ‘long tail’ of casual meetups between groups of people who don’t want to create accounts and jump through hoops just to participate. I remember for years the Ruby user group in Madrid just had a wiki page which anyone could edit and confirm attendance by adding their twitter hashtag. For many people something as simple as that works well.

I don’t know of any tool that does that well which is why I created . I think it does a half-decent job of letting people create informal meetups (which I call meetdowns) with as little hassle as possible.

If any of you guys thinking of building something would like to collaborate in expanding it to cover more use cases, I’d love to speak to you. I will be at the JS meetup on thursday too so that would be a great chance to talk.

(Daniel Hollands) #17

I know that @jackweirdy had something like this for brumjs before he tried His approach was that creating a github repo to which people submitted pull requests to confirm their attendance. Part of me loves this idea, and for someone like me who understands how git works, this is childsplay, but I’m aware that not everyone is, and may find this a bit intimidating. I guess using a wiki would make this process easier.

(Jack Wearden) #18

Yeah - the only reason I was comfortable with it was because GitHub has the web based editor. If it weren’t for that, I’d have found another solution sooner.

(Etewiah) #19

I think for geeks there a quite a few ways of finding a solution that we see as simple.

For a non-techie person who wants a super simple way of creating a meetup though, I think there are very few solutions.

(Omar Qureshi) #20

I’ve given this some thought

What about making it entirely based around the tech community, but, don’t charge.

Instead, you make money through different means. Mainly job postings and being a payment processor / ticket allocator for large conferences?

Or does that seem too saturated by eventbrite?