Groups.io [was How does your community handle internal communications?
From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)
Date: Sun, 18 Sep 2016 12:45:56 -0700 (PDT)
> On Sep 18, 2016, at 2:39 PM, Beverly Jones Redekop <beverly.jones.redekop 
> [at] gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> An hour away, at Groundswell Cohousing at Yarrow Ecovillage, we use a
> Google group email too. In the footer of each message is a link to the
> "cheat sheet" with links to everything (calendar, community dinner
> schedules, guidelines for using our wastewater system, members of
> committees, minutes, etc...). A lot of this will move to a new website or
> strata software "soon," but we've been using the Google group for seven
> years.

A new platform for group communications is Groups.io. They just transferred my 
~3000 member neighborhood list from Yahoo without a hitch. All settings 
remained the same. They also transferred the 12 years of archives — the list 
now receives ~900 emails a month. They can’t transfer files. We had watched 
YahooGroups decline in services and reliability for years but exploration of 
Google resulted in the conclusion that it was not much better and we couldn’t 
transfer easily.

Groups.io also sent a message to each subscriber explaining the change and only 
one person has asked me what the address of the new group was. 1 of 3,000. I 
assume I will get more questions later from people who don’t read or post 
often, but that was amazing. People love the new list. (I’m still looking into 
transferring our cohousing lists.)

I pasted in two messages below  that I sent to my list about why Groups.IO was 
better

ONE — THOUGHTS ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF CHANGING

Groups.io was recommended by a list member. I’ve been exploring it and am 
considering moving the list there. It has many advantages:

1. They will transfer the whole list and our archives. I have assurances from 
other groups that this has been done for their much larger lists without a 
hitch. There are no storage limits except for files and attachments. We don’t 
allow attachments and don’t use the files often. But the limit on those is 1 
GB. 

2. The list works very much like YahooGroups with many more features.

3. People can sign up using only their name and email address — no account set 
up. No email account. No phone number.

4. People can be automatically be removed from moderated status after a set 
number of approved messages. This will be a great service to moderators. (We 
moderate new members to prevent spam.)

5. We escape from the Yahoo mistake of making us a restricted group so new 
members are automatically approved. Removes the appearance of being a elitist 
list.

6. The list can have unlimited subgroups. An example is a travel list that sets 
up subgroups for those who take specific trips or have visited specific 
countries. Then the list members can find people who went on that trip or that 
country or ask questions. Anyone on the main list can also subscribe to 
subgroups.

On TakomaDC people frequently have set up separate lists for children’s issues, 
sales, crime, Metro Development. That would not be necessary they could be 
subgroups of the main list.

7. Each subscriber can mute a message thread. Like the recent gardening dispute 
or the nanny requests, one can select mute and not see any other messages in 
that thread. Your own groups page shows what threads you have muted.

8. For those who use #hashtags, they can be used in messages to make searches 
for those messages are easier. I once tried to search for Takoma Station 
Tavern, but it was impossible. There were too many messages for the Takoma  
Metro Station, Takoma gas station, etc. There were hundreds of messages. 
#Takoma Station Tavern would have been possible to search. Of course not 
everyone would use these, but … Hashtags that have been used are available on 
the group’s webpage.

9. A Wiki. A wiki is an organized information resource like Maggie’s List that 
all subscribers can update. If “all members” becomes a problem, a few can be 
authorized to do this. 

10. A calendar, where you can schedule events and send reminders. We haven’t 
used this often but did use it one year when we had few trick or treaters and 
wanted people to know where there would be treats. 

11. A poll feature similar to what we have now.

12. A full featured database, where we can define tables with different column 
types. 

13. Photos and files sections. 

14. A good business model. This ensures there will be no ads and that features 
won’t be withdrawn because Yahoo has a new CEO The focus of Groups IO is 
specifically making the best email list service available. For $10 a month more 
features are available including 10 GB of storage. It is unlikely that we would 
need this but I think we could easily get contributions from subscribers equal 
to $120 a year. 

More information:
https://groups.io/static/about


TWO-- WHY I TRUST THE CHANGE

I’ve received questions off-list about why Groups.io better than 
YahooGroups.com. If groups can be so clear and simple, why can’t YahooGroups? 
You would think they would improve themselves the same way.

The answer is that Yahoo is not focused on groups. No one knows what they are 
focused on, but it isn’t groups. They do the least they can, and even eliminate 
features, to retain enough group members to raise the most money possible. If a 
feature makes users happy, but doesn’t increase income over costs, it is 
eliminated. Does that hurt anyone? The day they summarily deleted all 
attachments to messages? To 10 years of the history of an organization?

Groups.io isn’t a charity or volunteer organization either. Instead it has a 
good business model that is focused on its key product. It offers free services 
to groups to attract and develop the possibilities of groups. As businesses and 
social groups become more developed and need more services, they pay an 
affordable fee for those services: $10 a month. In time, there will be more 
services, I’m sure, as the Groups.io founder, the staff, the moderators, and 
the users have more needs or see more uses for groups. There is active 
interaction between the founder, other programmers, moderators, and  users.

The founder of Groups.io, Mark Fletcher, is a programmer, not a CEO hired for 
management skills, although he has lots of  those and a history of leadership 
in software companies: founder and CEO of the news aggregator website, 
Bloglines, and the Vice President of Ask.com until June 2006. (Ask Jeeves 
acquired Bloglines on 8 February 2005.) He won one of the annual Rave Awards, 
presented by Wired magazine.  He has been a software engineer at Pixel, Inc.

Fletcher started the free mailing list service ONElist. ONElist merged with 
eGroups, which was later acquired by Yahoo! in June 2000. Fletcher wanted 
better. He loves mailing lists and saw more uses for them.

Announced in September of 2014, here is Mark Fletcher’s statement of purpose:

https://wingedpig.com/2014/09/23/introducing-groups-io/




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