Introducing Groups.io

I’m not one to live in the past (well, except maybe for A-Team re-runs), but for many years now, I’ve felt like I’ve had unfinished business. I started the service ONElist in 1998. ONElist made it easy for people to create, manage, run and find email groups. As it grew over the next two and a half years, we expanded, changed our name to eGroups, and, in the summer of 2000, were acquired by Yahoo. The service was renamed Yahoo Groups, and I left the company to pursue other startups.

But really this story starts even further back, in the Winter of 1989, when in college I was introduced to mailing lists. I was instantly hooked. It was obvious that a mailing list was a great way to communicate with a group of people about a common interest. I started subscribing to lists dedicated to my favorite bands (’80’s Hair Metal, anyone?). I joined a list for a local running club. And, at every company I’ve worked at since graduating, there have been invaluable internal company mailing lists.

But that doesn’t mean that mailing lists can’t improve. And this is where we get back to the unfinished business. Because email groups (the modern version of mailing lists) have stagnated over the past decade. Yahoo Groups and Google Groups both exude the dank air of benign neglect. Google Groups hasn’t been updated in years, and some of Yahoo’s recent changes have actually made Yahoo Groups worse! And yet, millions of people put up with this uncertainty and neglect, because email groups are still one of the best ways to communicate with groups of people. And I have a plan to make them even better.

So today I’m launching Groups.io in beta, to bring email groups into the 21st Century. At launch, we have many features that those other services don’t have, including:

  • Integration with other services, including: Github, Google Hangouts, Dropbox, Instagram, Facebook Pages, and the ability to import Feeds into your groups.
  • Businesses and organizations can have their own private groups on their own subdomain.
  • Better archive organization, using hashtags.
  • Many more email delivery options.
  • The ability to mute threads or hashtags.
  • Fully searchable archives, including searching within attachments.

We’re just starting out; following the tradition of new startups everywhere, we’re in Beta. We’re working hard to squash the inevitable bugs and work to make the system even better (based on your feedback!).

I’m passionate about email groups. They are one of the very best things about the Internet and, with Groups.io, I’ve set out to make them even better. As John ‘Hannibal’ Smith, leader of the A-Team, liked to say, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

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Comments

  1. Nice. I love SOMEONE is picking this up.

  2. Paul Burns says:

    I spent much time searching over the last fortnight for an on-line facility to help a small and dispersed community group exchange ideas and documents. Some were far too complicated. Many had no way of summarising what was in a file or no way of creating folders. Some required loading an app. Group Io is way ahead in terms of what I was looking for. Many thanks.

  3. As someone who manages several yahoogroups now for over 16 years (started them on egroups before yahoo took egroups over, I’ve been disappointed with yahoogroups slow degeneration, flaky policies, (for example, can no longer directly enter a new member in my groups), impossibility of contacting a real human being at yahoogroups support, etc. So looking for an alternative. Groups.io looks great. My concern is longevity/survivability:
    Would hate to move over my 16 year old group with 1000 international members and 16,000 archived messages, then have group.io fold after 4 years.
    What can anyone tell me to address that concern?

    • Hi Alex,

      Thanks for your interest. We don’t plan on going anywhere. But all services will say that. What you should look for are ways to get your data out, should things go south. You can export both your complete user list as well as all your archives at any time, and we’ve had those functions since the beginning. We will also be adding functions to export the other aspects of your group as well (databases, photos, etc). If you have other questions about Groups.io, there are two groups there you may be interested in joining. The first, beta, is a group run by me, that discusses upcoming features. The other group, Group Managers Forum has many experienced group owners that should be able to answers any questions you might have.

      Hope this helps.
      Mark

      • Is there anything you can share about funding or financial backing to give us some comfort that you are not going anywhere? Like the service. Just nervous that you may run out of money and fold up.

      • Sanj, I am backing the service, which means that I can have a much longer timeframe than a VC-backed service. Also, that means that I’m not looking to sell the company. In terms of finances, the service already supports itself, and I don’t plan on going anywhere. Hope this helps!

  4. Darinda Tanner says:

    My Yorkshire Terrier group was started on onelist 17 years ago….then migrated to egroups and then yahoo. What a mess yahoo has been and I have been so disappointed. I find it so interesting that the same messages posted to onelist might be migrated back to groups.io Is this really possible? We still have some of our original members from 17 years ago. I’m looking serious at this option. Can we actually just port our group back to groups.io? We have about 880 members now. thanks

  5. Hi Mark. One more question. Reason we are looking to move from yahoogroups is the delays in email delivery. Can you share anything about how we won’t have that issue with you? Is it because of the software you are using, your hosting provider (assuming AWS?) or what? Thanks much.

    • Hi Sanj,

      We’re constantly monitoring email delivery and ensuring that there’s enough capacity to deliver messages. I think if you ask any Groups.io user, they’d say that we do a good job with speedy delivery.

      I don’t check here very often. If you have further questions, feel free to email support (at) groups.io.

      Cheers,
      Mark

  6. komradebob says:

    Mark, you state “the service already supports itself”. Can you explain how? Thanks!

  7. hey Mark, i have been experiencing members being removed for marking posts as spam at my Groups.io groups, and they promise me they had done no such thing. in the last 24 hours, i have had 2 members removed for the same reason, marking posts as spam. could there be a bug in the system that is removing members for no reason at all? i am becoming concerned as a few of these members refused my invite to rejoin the group, because they were falsely accused. any help you can offer in remedying the issue will be greatly appreciated. with love from Wes!! hugs!!!

  8. hey MArk, for most of the afternoon, i was at one of my Groups.io groups called MuscleManHeaven approving posts. then about 20 minutes ago, i went to my group to see if there were any posts to approve and all i got was a blank page. https://groups.io/g/MuscleManHeaven/pending is in the address bar, but there is no group to go to at this time!! i am hoping you might know something about it. thank you for your time, Wes Chambers!!

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