Monday, April 9, 2012

Meetup Groups: Be Cautious!

I have advocated finding groups in meetup.com and I have found some good ones, some that dissolved quickly, some that were boring or absurd, but I was shocked to find that you are on your own when you join a group. If you pay a fee and the leader wants to oust you right away, you are screwed. Meetup will not investigate it or the complaints about the character of the person running the group. You are on your own.

I have some tips to keep yourself safe if you're going to swim in that unprotected pool where anyone can run a group and do whatever they wish:

If the group is associated with a person's business, know that you will be bothered to perhaps join their yoga studio or purchase their DVD career guide package, or whatever else nonsense and you might be bothered a lot to do more business with their business. I shy away from any meetup associated with a business, spa, club, teaching group, or other organization that wants new customers. You are no longer a meetup member, you a client.

Be cautious of leaders who plan things and cancel often. They are flaky. If they constantly change location and date and guest speakers and cancel at the last minute, it's not worth playing tag with them.

Some leaders have a subtle agenda. They are looking for connections in a field, hoping to elicit free help for projects. If they want you to do work on a project together or something outside of meetup or give you business investment possibilities to consider getting in on, run--don't walk.

If you see members coming and going often and not staying, that's not a good sign. Either the group is disorganized or there are issues on the side that you don't know about. Some leaders use groups as a way to meet people to date, or people to befriend and then personal tiffs get in the way and members leave.

Take the necessary precautions to keep it only a meetup. That means, do not invest in their deals, give them a bunch of cash and if they have a fee pay by PayPal so you can dispute it, do not do things outside of meetup with them or help them with their own moneymaking schemes.


9 comments:

  1. well that sucks donkey doo... it sound like a waste of time and money. thank you for the heads up.

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    Replies
    1. The writer's meetup I belong to is exemplary, but there is not one tyrant running it. Sometimes, a meetup has only one leader with an agenda he doesn't tell you about until you're in. A good deal of the meetups are fantastic and even life changing, but you can't enter it thinking it's the fun math club from high school. These people are strangers and sometimes they make it seem like one thing and it becomes something different. So, use street smarts.

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  2. Very good advise. I had bad luck with one so far. The next time I will investigate it closer before joining.

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  3. Once again.. none of these groups (of anything I'd join) are close.

    But, thank you, now I'll go into one with a weary watchful eye.

    Love you.

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  4. I have been hoping to find a craft group on there for awhile now... Now I will think twice before joining one, and maybe I will just invite some of my current friends to make a group with me instead!

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    Replies
    1. Just be sure that the group is not associated with something like "Jane Doe's Bead Shop" and you should be fine. Always look for reviews members have made and see how long they've been with the group and then see how many people are signed up for events. If only a small number are showing and none of them are long-term members, wonder about it.

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  5. And now for some balance. I started a poetry meetup here in Tucson a couple of months ago. I paid the Meetup fees myself, and will probably continue to do so--so none of the members have to shell out anything but their time. We are a lively group that is growing slowly but steadily. Here's MY pet peeve. SOME people (usually fifty percent or more) sign up for meetup groups and never once participate or attend any of the meetings. It's like they do it on a whim, and they've probably signed up with other groups that they are not participating in as well. But having run a non-profit group in the past, I can tell you that this is typical of ALL such organizations. There is always a core group of about half a dozen dedicated people who do all the planning and all the work--even if you've got hundreds of members. A few of the others might occasionally help out, if you twist their arm!

    So for anyone who is interested in starting a meetup group, just be ready to shoulder the responsibility, and if you are cool with that, it can be quite fun and rewarding.

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  6. I joined a singles travel group meetup located in Milford MA run by Jacki Rose. She is running this as a business with a huge profit for herself. She planned a weekend trip to Maine and put on her site that the hotel rooms were $260 a night. But she got us a "deal" and if we shared a room we could get a 2 night stay for $239. Two days before the event I googled the hotel for directions. Imagine my surprise when I saw on the hotel site that rooms were only $110 a night! I have always thought her trips were expensive but I didn't realize why! You have to pay thru paypal to RSVP for an event so she had my money 2 months earlier. She also was charging almost $400 for the same 2 night stay if you wanted a room for yourself. Buyer beware! Do not join Brightside Travel Meetup in Milford MA!

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