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.

Regards,

Mark

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