The answer to this question depends on what feature of Meetup you are focusing on in your search for a better alternative.
There is no doubt Meetup is the king when it comes to attracting new members to a meetup. They have been operating for over 15 years and have become a household name. Thousands of groups hold meetups across the world every day, and people know they can probably find a group near them that suits their interest.
So why would you even be interested in using something else? What could another site offer that Meetup cannot?
Here is a list of current alternatives that compete with Meetup. You can research each one before reading any further to see what they offer, and at what cost:
- Far or Near
As you may have noticed, some sites are free, some take a percentage of ticket sales, and some are even more expensive than Meetup. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. What suits one person, may not suit another.
There is no right or wrong reason for choosing one site over another. It all comes down to what you want to use it for, and what features suit you.
I started Eventpeg as another alternative to Meetup. An ambitious idea to say the least, considering the competition already out there. So why did I bother?
Firstly, I only wanted to focus on Meetup, not any of the others. What could I offer that Meetup doesn’t? Or looking at it another way, what is Meetup lacking that Eventpeg could overcome?
There were two main things that stood out for me. Firstly, Meetup is forever modifying their platform, adding or removing features that Organizers have spent time and money learning to use. Usually there has been no consultation or chance to offer feedback – they just do it. Secondly, the number and heavy-handed nature of restrictions they place on Organizers and groups themselves, stifles any freedom to run groups the way you want.
When you add the high cost of the Organizer fee, at USD 180.00/yr, you are paying a lot of money for something you have little say in. You are very much at the mercy of a huge organization that is not really that interested in what its Organizsers want.
Eventpeg has been designed to put Organizers first. At $24/yr, it is much more affordable. But more importantly, there is a lot more freedom to run your group the way you want. There are very few rules, and a lot of flexibility in how you display your group. Most of the features that Meetup have removed are back, and Organizers are much more in control of group layout and additional pages. In short, the site is what I would call Organizer-friendly.
I have covered what you can do on the site in other posts, pages and the forum. What this post is about is why you would want to use an unknown platform, when most people automatically go to Meetup. The simple answer is, because it provides the features you want and need, at a fraction of the price.
The obvious question is, how is anyone going to know it even exists? Unfortunately there is no easy answer to that. All websites start out unknown. They gain reputation as people discover its benefits and tell other people. The other option is pumping large amounts of money into promotion. But for a one-man operation, which is offering low fees, that is not viable. So it comes down to people being willing to get in on the ground level, setting up groups, and seeing the benefits for themselves.
We all know how things can go viral on the internet. If what is being offered is considered of value, it takes on a life of its own. You can run a group in parallel with your Meetup group and gauge the difference for yourself. If you feel it works better here, then you let others know. Word-of-mouth will be much more effective than paid advertising, and is free.
For $2 a month, you can experiment with something that may very well surprise you. If you are happy, then chances are others will be too. Word will spread and Eventpeg will become better known. What is it they say? From little things, big things grow? Why not give it a try, the most you can lose is less than the price of a coffee once a month! And you can say, “I was there when it all began”.