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Meetup apologises for confusion around paid RSVPs

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Many start-ups are creating intuitive apps that help solve certain societal problems in creative ways. Like Meetup, which provides a platform for event organisers to better plan and keep track of big events and know who is attending and who isn’t. Unfortunately, as with most starts-ups of its ilk, it also needs to find a way of actually making money as they provide these services to the public for free.

Something which the company was trying to solve by testing a feature where people paid $2 to RSVP for an event, something which understandably didn’t go down well with the limited test group on which they applied this to. Needless to say there was a backlash when news of the test went public with people threatening to no longer use the app, leading CEO, David Siegel to release a statement apologising for the confusion, but reiterating that the company will continue to test for ways to make more revenue and how to “evenly distribute costs between organizers and members”:

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While we try to provide a lot of value to our customers, we know that our organizers have frustrations: the subscription cost; the burden of managing food, venue, and more; the challenge of getting members to show up at an event; and of course not innovating fast enough to improve our product.

The company finds itself in a difficult position as the more it grows and tries to add features, the more expensive it costs to operate as a business and with the company’s services being free, it provides them with fiscal challenges. I think over time, people that utilise the app will have to realise that things like this can’t just be used for free, but how exactly it tries to monetise it in a way that is fair and not burdensome to the organizers who utilise the service, will be an interesting challenge for them to solve.

Last Updated: October 21, 2019