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April 23, 2005


Hey Rick -

Thanks for the diligent post. My lapse in response (Insight #4) is because I took a few hours away from the computer to spend time with family for Passover. Please forgive my slowness here. Hilary jumped in on her own before I had a chance to respond. Nobody threw her under the bus...

I also apologize for the misinterpretation. Folks took the comment "Belly Achin'" the wrong way. It wasn't a put down. If you re-read the post on Meetup Watch, you'll see it's the *photo* I commented on... "According to a fun image on Make You Go Hmmm..."

It was merely an observation based on annotated photo #3 ( Where the ‘artist’ implied the following was being said:

"Meetup? Yeah, they suck"
"I could use the power of print to produce fliers that say Meetup Sucks"
"Meetup? Yeah, sounds kinda greedy"

If you ask me, these comments really comes across that there was a whole lot of belly achin' going down. So I called it.

Perhaps the harsh comments in that photo were off the mark? I hope so.

Thanks for calling me out on this Rick. As one who's been in the trenches with Meetup since before we launched, and as one who's helped tune Meetup's voice ever since, I appreciate the feedback and take it to heart.

So, again, I'm sorry if this offended anyone.



The idea that a start-up shouldn't give customers the idea that its products will always be free is good for most businesses. Companies that sell tangible goods, software, or services with a clear financial benefit need to say that "free" is a "limited time offer."

However, Web-based services that don't meet these criteria (e.g., Google) need to use a different business model. Linkedin is one of the best examples of offering a free service where the financial benefit is hazy (i.e., networking), then adding a fee for new services that have a clear financial benefit.

I was nurturing two Meetup groups when they announced their new fees, so, like other Meetup organizers, I'm moving these groups to a free service whose business model takes this into consideration.

Rick --

Very interesting analysis, and thank you saying, "She does pretty good, actually." That made my day. :)

Some minor corrections:

My name is Hilary Moon Murphy, not just Hilary Moon.

Matt Meeker, another VP and co-founder did send an apology note to Anita, and he apologized on Dylan's Blog too. The e-mail to Anita was literally written minutes after my first post on the board. She quotes from this e-mail in her "Belly-Achin' Blowout" post. (

Why was my post the first response? Because I was the first to see Anita's comment, and Anita is someone I have become friends with during our time together on the Meetup Message Board. I wanted her to hear first from someone she knew.

Final correction... On the message board of our site you can click any of the staff's usernames and see a little envelope in the profile. Click on the envelope and you can send us mail. Most of us have our e-mail set to accept mail from all Meetup members. I know I do.

I hope that this helps clarify things a little.

Hilary Moon Murphy

Hi Hilary,

Whoops, sorry about that, I got the name messed up, sorry.

With respect to the order of who posted when, the larger issue/point was really one of rank. I'm not a fan of titles and most people today will conclude that you got tossed under the bus even if you didn't. My policy point was simply don't allow it. If everybody is a team member, no big deal, but if people sign up for titles, you (lower title, not person) have to alert offending title and let them take first action.

Hearing from you was nice and I do understand but doing some private survey work confirmed what I said. People think you took one for the team regardless of the truth. That was the larger issue. I think you did a great job on the two places where you jumped on it.

The message board, yup, but not on the main website. There is no email contact and, not to be picky your note says "most" and members. Not sure I agree but again, my larger point is that you should play the odds and be as open as possible.

Thanks for stopping by,


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