Grouply isn’t cool

[Someone complained that a link to this post was “dead.” I had unpublished it because, after some conversation with the folks at Grouply, I decided I was a bit harsh. I left the system and I wouldn’t recommend it, but they do seem be resolving some of the issues, and I have to take responsibility for my misinterpretation of their “offer” to contact other members of my Yahoo groups in my name. On the other hand, that’s not a great way to grow the network, and the offer I thought I was seeing – to facilitate connection to Yahoo group members already on Grouply – would make more sense and be less spammy. Whatever the case, I’m republishing this post “for the record.”]

Actually Grouply is a cool idea, but poorly implemented. An application where you can see and manage all your Yahoo and Google groups and friend other group members is a cool idea. A feature that offers to connect you with others who are in your groups that have already signed up could be a good thing, as well. But an application with a feature that looks like that, but that spams everybody in every group you’ve ever joined, is a botch. The application is otherwise wonky… e.g. every time I log in, it takes me through the same setup processes I’ve already stepped through.

I should have looked before I leapt. Grouply’s had issues for months. Search on “grouply spam” and you get 14,300 hits. (Maybe 14,301, after I post this.) There’s an anti-grouply site called “Ungrouply Behavior.”

Grouply does appear to be working with Yahoo users to fix its problems. There’s a Yahoo Group set up for that purpose, called GrouplyImprovements.

If you fall into Grouply and don’t want to be there, you can leave grouply (and I have). You should also change your Yahoo groups password, just in case.

Author: Jon Lebkowsky

Co-wrangler of Plutopia News Network, cohost Radio Free Plutopia. Podcaster, writer, dharma observer, enzyme. Former editor/publisher, FringeWare Review; associate editor at bOING bOING and Factsheet Five; writer at Mondo 2000, 21C, Wired, Whole Earth Review, Austin Chronicle; sub-editor at Millennium Whole Earth Catalog; blogger at Worldchanging. Digital culture maven, podcaster, writer, dharma observer, enzyme. On The WELL, Cohost of VC (virtual communities), Media, and Civil War (.ind) conferences.

5 thoughts on “Grouply isn’t cool”

  1. Hi Jon

    I just got your grouply invitation this morning! I recognized your name so I came here to investigate, but if I hadn’t, it would just have gone straight to the spam folder. Now I’ve read this and it’s gone straight to the spam folder ;)


  2. One other note: I did get a response from Grouply cofounder Mark Robins noting that “Grouply gives you the ability to send invitations to fellow group members — up to about 40 or so per group. Grouply doesn’t do anything automatically, though. You need to initiate this by clicking a button, such as ‘Invite to Grouply’ or ‘Send Invites’. Grouply typically shows you a confirmation box where you need to confirm that you want to send the invites.” He asked if I clicked the confirmation. My clear impression at the time was that I was not inviting nonmembers, but that I was getting an opportunity to connect with members of some of my Yahoo groups that were already on Grouply. Am I a clueless user, or is this a user experience issue? Maybe both… I’m a little too quick sometimes to try out new systems… and I’m finding that most new systems don’t offer anything I’m not already getting via various systems that are well-established and, because they’re popular platforms that have been around for a while, offer better ‘network effect.’ More than one acquaintance wrote me to say they’re already on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and don’t see the need to joint YASN (“yet another social network”).

    Web innovators, take note. This is not the platform to reinvent.

  3. You are sadly misguided. I was sent an invitation from someone who seemed to know me and know about the yahoo group I belonged to. When I replied that they never contact me again using a grouply email addy, they wrote back that they did not send the message. I forwarded the message to them and though this person did belong to grouply, she did not send the message. She promptly left grouply for using her yahoo/grouply email address to spam Yahoo group members. I promptly had to send a letter written by my legal-eagle neice for them to never send me an invite again in life or I would sue for unsolicited email messages.

  4. I guess you mean that I was misguided in that I believed that they were trying to fix the issues with their system, and you’re saying that hasn’t happened yet. I’m surprised they haven’t changed their ways. They could have built a successful Yahoo Groups aggregator if they’d been more patient (or less greedy).

Comments are closed.