Meetup.com changes... oh my

Over the last couple of months, Meetup.com has seen quite a few changes. Sadly, though, I’ll have to focus on two of them for now that are not positive:

  1. The removal of the API key system
  2. An experimental new pricing model

No more API keys

For the last couple of years I’ve been running a little service for GoGraz that fetches all the signups for a particular event and displays them directly on GoGraz.org. For the longest time, you could simply go to https://secure.meetup.com/meetup_api/key/, grab/generate an API key and use it in your requests.

That changed on 15 August 2019 (after having been announced on 14 June 2019 on the mailinglist). Since then, only OAuth2 is available as authentication method agaist the API and you need to generate an OAuth2 consumer for your application. While the interface for registering such a consumer is available to all members, the FAQ basically states that only Pro subscribers can request new consumers (all others will be rejected right away) and even those are not guaranteed to be green-lit.

I do not have a Pro account yet I can request new OAuth consumers.

Luckily, for my use-case I don’t seem to need auth anymore, but waiting for 3-5 business days just to be reject because I don’t have a Pro account feels like a waste of time at best and just bad UI/UX. I shouldn’t even be able to fill out that form…

New price model?

Thanks to this recent post on the changelog I stumbled upon this page on meetup.com where they describe some upcoming changes to the payment system of a certain subset of groups. They clearly state that it is just an experiment right now and limited in scope but it’s hard to imagine any opensource-meetup being able to operate under these conditions:

  1. Meetup organizers pay only 2 USD per month for a pro account
  2. Attendees pay 2 USD each per event
Screenshot of www.meetup.com/lp/paymentchanges

Especially for smaller meetups that are just starting this would be a death-sentence. I also hadn’t realized that WeWork had acquired Meetup, but that explains a lot … That being said, Meetup clearly stated that they won’t do any pricing changes in the near term. Even having something like that on the table, though, sends a chilling effect down my neck.

The OSS community seems to be already working on multiple possible replacements for Meetup with the FreeCodeCamp folks just being the latest in that list with Chapter. To be honest, though, all I want is something like this:

  • As an organizer I create a new event “somehow”
  • Possible attendees get a simple form where they can enter their e-mail address and their RSVP status.
  • They receive a mail to confirm their signup.
  • That email also contains links with which they can change or even cancel their signup status.
  • A simple API will allow a website to render a simple widget with all the attendees.

The login-system at changelog.com was a big inspiration for those points. There is just something nice about getting one-time logins via e-mail. I don’t have time to work on something like that right now, though. Perhaps in December 🤣

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