Meetup.com is the world's largest network of local groups. Users can find groups to join, or start a new group on the site. Users can find local groups by using the site's search facility, which is based on keyword and zip code. The search returns a list of groups matching the keyword in the user's area. Users can see an overview of the group, its calendar of scheduled meetings, members and photos. Users can also see the group's mailing list, message members of the group, or join the group. For users wishing to start a group, the site offers features to promote the group, schedule and manage meetings, post the group's calendar, maintain a group blog, manage the group's mailing list, conduct polls and collect membership dues. Joining a group requires only name, email address and password. Starting a group involves providing all the basic information about the group, choosing a theme and web address (a subdomain of Meetup.com), finding new members to start the group, paying the subscription fee and scheduling the first meeting. The meeting scheduling facility takes care of emailing members about the meeting and collecting RSVPs from members. The group blog can be used to keep the members up to date about upcoming events and the subject of meetings. Photos from the meetings or events can be posted in the Photos section. The site takes a lot of the work out of organizing and maintaining a local group.
New York, NY-based Meetup.com was founded in January 2002. The site is currently headed by CEO Scott Heiferman. Greg Whalin is CTO and Brendan McGovern is CFO. The site has undergone continuous growth since launch, and currently serves 6 million monthly visitors. The site has 5.7 million members who attend 179,000 monthly local meetings. Over 50.000 groups hold meetings in over 10,000 cities.
Competition to Meetup.com comes from sites such as Scheduleonce and Doodle. Both of these sites have an emphasis on scheduling meetings for groups, but do not have the group management features offered by Meetup. Meetup.com is the most complete group management solution on the web.
The Meetup.com site has a very clean and uncluttered look and feel. The site is quite responsive, and page loads happen quickly. Navigation is intuitive, and the search facility works quite well. The tools provided for maintaining a group are very easy to use. The user interface is very user friendly. Advertising is displayed on the site, but it is relatively unobtrusive.
Registration to Meetup.com is free and is not required to search and join a group. Registration is required to start a group. The registration process asks for first and last name, email address, country, password and zip code. Validation of the email address is required.
Subscription fees to start a group on the site are $12 per month.
The Meetup.com site is recommended to anyone who is searching for a local group to join in a particular area of interest. It is also recommended to users wishing to start a group centered around a particular topic or interest. The site provides a very ease to use management solution for group leaders, and provides an excellent vehicle for adding new members.