Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Response from Mark Robins, Co-founder/CEO, Grouply

To All Second Life Bloggers:
The following is an email response from Mark Robins to my email sent Sunday May 9th and featured in Update 2 of my post "The Grouply Mess"

Mark Robins is the Co-founder/CEO of Grouply
Dear Zoe,

Let me start by offering my sincerest apologies for the negative experience you and your secondlifebloggers members had with Grouply.  I, myself, run several online communities and understand the time and effort required to build trust and engage your members in order to make a community successful.  If what happened to you were to happen to me with any of my communities, I, too, would be angry and upset. We are taking this incident very seriously.  I would like to offer a quick note of explanation as to what happened and to let you know what we are doing about it.

Our intention with the Grouply-to-Ning migration tool was to provide disenfranchised Ning Networks a quick and easy path to a new free home on Grouply.  In fact, Grouply has become the new home for many groups that originated on other systems, particularly Yahoo Groups and Google Groups.  As you may be aware, Yahoo and Google Groups are very email-centric, and most users receive all system updates and message postings as individual emails.  In fact, this is the default setting on Yahoo and Google Groups, and due to our history with these systems, it became the default setting for new groups on Grouply.

Of course, in retrospect, this default setting does not make sense for groups migrating from Ning, as Ning users are not accustomed to interacting with their networks via email.  As you know, when the first few people posted to the new secondlifebloggers group on Grouply, some members became upset with the emails, didn’t see the “unsubscribe” link in footer, and replied back to the “discussion” requesting to be unsubscribed, causing still more emails to go out.

Setting all users to receive all postings as individual emails by default was clearly a big mistake on our part.  We have now fixed the migration tool; members of migrated Ning networks will no longer receive individual emails by default.  We have also made it a lot easier to unsubscribe to such emails if you do decide to “opt in” and receive them.  The very first line of each email now reads “Click here to stop receiving these emails”.  Click the link and you are instantly unsubscribed.

I know these changes are of small consolation to you and your group members who already suffered through the “old” model.  However, I wanted you to be aware that we are treating this issue with the highest priority, that we learned from our mistakes, and that we have taken and will continue to take corrective actions.

There is one other item I wanted to address, Zoe.  In your email you mentioned that you couldn’t find a way to delete your groups from Grouply.  Actually, Grouply does provide a button to delete your group.  It’s on the Management Menu page on the far right of the “Your Group” section.  Click here for a screenshot.  Clearly we need to make this more obvious, though.  We are working on this now.

Zoe, I know the chances are slim, but if you are ever interested in giving Grouply another try, I would do everything I could to ensure your success.  I would personally help you get your groups up and running.  I would also offer you the full set of Grouply Pro premium features at no charge for the lifetime of your groups: http://blog.grouply.com/premium-tour/ .  If you check around, I believe you will find that Grouply’s feature set is unmatched by any other offerings.  Here’s our Feature Directory: http://blog.grouply.com/features/ .

Again, Zoe, I am terribly sorry for this incident.  If there’s anything I can do that will help to set things right, please let me know.  My cell is (cell number removed), and you can call anytime.

I wish you and your groups continued success.




Mark Robins
Co-founder/CEO, Grouply
(Contact information removed)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Grouply Mess

To all Second Life Bloggers.

I was horrified when I turned on my blackberry and read all the emails this morning. My deepest and sincerest apologies on the whole Grouply matter. I had no idea it would turn into a spam machine. My blackberry was loaded with spam as well as messages pleading for help and not a few angry ones, but rather cargo plane loads!

Obviously Grouply is NOT the solution.

For a temporary fix I've disabled ALL messages on all my Grouply groups until such time as I can delete all of them. Any help with how to delete a Grouply Group would be appreciated.

Again I'm so very sorry for the disruptions. I had no idea that Grouply would do this. It WAS very unprofessional of me. I did NOT do my usual Due Diligence on such things.

~ Zoe Connolly

Our best solution is just to use the inworld group version of Second Life Bloggers. I won't make any attempts to save the NING or migrate to another online site.

I've reset the inworld group to "Open enrollment"

My email to support@grouply.com

I'm writing you because there is no obvious or simple way for me to delete my Grouply groups similar to the way NING is able to immediately delete.

I had migrated content from my NING groups to Grouply and was horrified when I noticed email after email of very angry bloggers. Frankly I'm angry as well. I had no idea Grouply was "Opt-Out" and would start spamming members who had not even officially crossed-over to Grouply.

Please immediately delete the following groups


Your policy has irritated nearly 1500 bloggers, micro-bloggers and podcasters and I suggest you may want to take greater consideration toward privacy issues and website usability. Make your site easy to opt-in AND opt-out, including adding an easy way for group owners to delete entire groups.

As a final note, here's something I wrote on my blog to my own members of the Second Life Bloggers group. And there are MANY unflattering blog posts about Grouply out there now. It is unwise to poke a stick at such an animal ;)


Seeking a swift solution,

~ Zoe Connolly

A Call To Action!

Support me in my request to delete http://secondlifebloggers.grouply.com

send an email to support@grouply.com mention this post and express yourself.


I'm working on an inelegant but effective solution...

I'll delete all members from each group, make sure that the groups are closed and invitation only, then leave all 3 groups once I verify that all other members are gone and settings are setup to disallow anyone joining.


All member profiles have been deleted and the Grouply versions of SL Bloggers, RCAF, and TimeForce 10 have been set as invitation only. No invitations will be sent and no memberships will be accepted.

UPDATE 6 (10 May 2010):
Now satisfied that all member profiles have been deleted and the Grouply versions of SL Bloggers, RCAF, and TimeForce 10 have been set as invitation only - with no invitations sent and no memberships accepted - I deleted my own account today. Grouply... You're dead to me!

Response from Grouply...

Per your request, we have deleted your Grouply account, including all
personal information.

We constantly strive to improve our product. May we ask why you decided
to delete your Grouply account?

Please reply to this email if you have issues or questions.

Thanks for trying Grouply.

The Grouply Team