Meetup Sucks, Now What?
Event Platforms in 2024 got acquired and it sucks in several big ways. We're jumping ship to, and we love it!

In case you missed it, Meetup was acquired by Bending Spoons in January. Since then, they have begun “digesting” the acquisition — “enshittifying” the product by making features worse and raising prices.

Most of my community groups last year were on as our primary events platform. What are we doing now?


Since moving away from Meetup, my groups now use:

  1. as our events platform
  2. Cross-posting events, like usual (Eventbrite, Facebook, etc)
  3. Doing our own marketing

Who is this for?

Hi, I’m Casey! I help run a bunch of community groups.

This post may be helpful to you if you run similar groups to me:

Event Software Features:

What did I use for? These five things:

  1. Event Pages. All of these groups used as our primary events platform.
  2. Managing Membership. People can join the group and get updates, and we can contact them with updates.
  3. Event Marketing. has a great recommendations engine, and it’s a top hit on search engines (great SEO). Last year, literally 50% of our attendees for these events came from!
  4. Payments. Attendees want to be able to pay directly on the event page, of course.
  5. Grassroots/community vibe. For 10-15 years now, grassroots community groups went to by default, and it was a great place to find these! I don’t want my community events to feel too corporate/stuffy. Problems

We have trouble with ALL of those features now:

  1. Event Page Problems. The meetup interface is hard to use and overly complex. A lot of people try to RSVP right in front of us, but give up. A lot of people say “Oh, I don’t have a Meetup so I guess I can’t go”. It’s a big barrier

  2. Managing Membership Problems. We do NOT own the list of email addresses on Meetupcom. Meetup does NOT want you to have access to the emails of your members. They want you to be locked in. Other event platforms DO let you have access to email addresses, so you can move your operations elsewhere. It’s dangerous to depend on for this. You will likely lose your membership list if/when you leave. I’ve heard of some groups using the Pro Tier and API access to get it in a very roundabout way, and I’ve heard other people say it stopped working. I’m not sure if it works today or not. If it’s possible, it IS going to be difficult.

  3. Marketing Problems. Meetup USED TO send us a lot of people, but it’s really dried up! Steve Chen says for NYC Code and Coffee they’re down to 50% now - they used to get 300 joins/month, and it’s down to 150 joins/month. We’re seeing the same thing with our (much smaller) Zumba and Musical Improv - from ~10/month down to ~2/month. Marketing used to be’s BIGGEST strength, and they just aren’t doing that for us lately. You might still benefit from the reduced marketing, but that coupled with the hike in cost led us to jump ship.

  4. Payment Problems. I didn’t actually use the payments feature on Because I boycott Paypal/Venmo (their only integration), AND also because the tooling wasn’t flexible enough. People really want to pay IN the events platform, not to be sent out to a payment page. We also need pricing flexibility for our Zumba classes — it’s $10/class, or $8 if you pay early, and a $3 off coupon for your first time, etc — has some of these features, but not enough.

  5. Corporate Extraction. Now that it’s been acquired, it’s feeling more and more corporate and stuffy. New. features aren’t there to benefit the users, they’re there to extract maximum value. As far as event attendees are concernet maybe it still has a community reputation (for now) — but the product and team definitely have a different vibe if you’re watching closely. I don’t want to support a product like this, and I DO NOT expect them to change gears and start focusing on benefiting users all of a sudden (I expect the opposite! They are now extracting maximum value!).

Our 2024 Event Marketing Setup

ANYWAY — so what are my groups doing now?? We are not renewing once our year is up — it’s not worth it.

  1. Events + payments on has gorgeous event pages. Our attendees have no problem signing up for an event. The emails and RSVPs work great. There is no junk/cruft on the pages. The payment options are perfectly flexible. It’s great!! Check out our Zumba Calendar and Musical Improv Calendar.

  2. Cross-posting events. We have one “canonical” / most-used, most-updated event page for each event, the one we point people to the most. We also cross-post events to Facebook Events, Eventbrite, LinkedIn Events, etc — so we get the marketing benefits.

  3. Other Marketing. We do: word-of-mouth, in-person community groups, online community groups, Facebook Ads, Google Ads. Check out our Zumba Marketing Plan for an example of how we think about marketing.

Owning Your Audience

I encourage you all to make sure you have your members’ email addresses somewhere you control — somewhere that these software companies cannot take away from you.

How can you own your list? Some ideas:

  1. Do a regular csv export from Luma events (in case they lock it down, like Meetup did)
  2. Use a google form sign-in at events, etc
  3. Newsletter sign-up like or Mailchimp

Event Platform Alternatives

I do wish there were “an open-source self-hostable OR a nonprofit/worker-coop/b-corp events software that’s also very usable”, but that’s just a dream for now.

We did investigate some alternatives, you might like to consider these:

  • is our favorite!
  • still has a good free tier, and does provide advertising. For my groups it’s a secondary event-posting location (so we get the marketing benefits), and we mainly point people to as our canonical event location. We like better!
  • Mobilizion is an open-source self-hostable event platform. I hosted a demo version for myself via on a Digital Ocean droplet. Unfortunately for my use case, people had trouble RSVP-ing on this tool! It’s just not as streamlined.
  • A Google Group + Google Calendar setup can work for some groups! This is better for “internal” events, like if you have a group of members that pay dues and you already have their email addresses. This is less good for public event marketing.

Good Luck!

Good luck running your events 🙂

I’m sorry you have to spend time thinking about this lately instead of running your group. I hope this tool churn settles soon, so we can get back to focusing on our communities!

Liked this?
I also write about:
workplace culture
community building
Casey's headshot

Hi, I'm Casey!

I'm all about helping people be
happy and effective.