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some years ago, when i was head of product development of uboot.com, we conceived a cooperative pricing model for “uboot groups”, a product that for financial reasons unfortunately never went live. we were supported by johannes zeitelberger and simon reitze from leupold & leupold who helped us apply game theory and sociology to draft a model where a fixed group pricing could be freely split up among group members, awarding “sponsors” with social feedback and having freeloaders stand out as motivation momentum for the paying majority.

now i stumble accross this message by the founder of meetup.com:

who pays? the group’s organizer will pay the fee on behalf of the group. while the money initially comes out of the organizer’s pocket, we’re confident that when asked, the group members will reimburse the organizer each and every month. if you’re an organizer, and you’re hesitant to pay, why not talk it over with your group? you’ll be surprised how quickly people will be willing to pay their fair share.

nine dollars?! to some, $9 every month may sound like a lot for an organizer to pay, but remember, it’s a group fee, not per person. if the organizer splits the cost among the members who show up each month, it’s probably $1 – $2 per person.

reading their FAQs it sounds as if their cooperative model was very similar to the one we planned: fixed group pricing, features helping group members to pool money, etc. i’m very curious to see if they succeed with “our” model!

the first thing they are getting right already: an open and straight-forward communication strategy. reminds me of the move “from free to fee” uboot did in 2002, when the times of free web-based SMS were over. our open letter to the community started with “shit happens” in the german version and “all good things come to an end” in the english one. ;-)

update: typos fixed.


 

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