Tuesday May 12, 2009

MySQL User Groups: Facebook is not mandatory

Several people commented on our last blog post or contacted us via our Twitter account, asking questions and raising concerns about migrating the MySQL user group organization to FaceBook. It seems like there is some confusion that we would like to address: you are not required to move to FaceBook. This was just a recommendation, you are of course free to choose whatever service you prefer to manage your MySQL user group. In fact, you are of course welcome to continue using Meetup.com for this! However, be advised that you will have to take care of any occurring fees by yourself from now on, as the sponsorship agreement between MySQL and Meetup.com was not renewed.

And if Facebook is not your cup of tea, there are other services that provide similar functionality. We've tried to document these on the MySQL Forge Wiki - please feel free to add your own suggestions and provide hints based on your experiences! Some of the other services that we know about include:

 In any case, wherever your user group's new home will be, please ensure to update the List of MySQL User Groups on the Forge Wiki! Thanks.

Monday May 11, 2009

MySQL User Groups : migrating event management to Facebook

Background

For several years, MySQL User Groups have been organizing their meetings with Meetup.com, a service that simplifies event management. However, MySQL User group organizers received a surprise message from Meetup.com a few days ago.

We were all taken by surprise by Meetup's sudden announcement and allegation that MySQL "did not want to sponsor" the users groups, because there is a valid agreement between MySQL and meetup.com. The agreement is still in effect, ending on June 10, 2009.

Apparently, there was some miscommunication inside Meetup.com, because the group organizers received a message stating that they should now pay for meetup services, which they used to get for free, thanks to MySQL sponsorship.

It took us a few days to track the origin of the misunderstanding, and when we thereafter got in touch with meetup.com, we learned that their business model has changed.

Moreover, they would no longer accept sponsorship agreements like the one we have had in place so far.

Current situation

Meetup.com's business model differs considerably from before.

This is the summary description of how the sponsorship works, as received from meetup.com:

"All organizers will need to pay their Meetup subscription fees and through sponsorship can receive financial support from participating in a sponsorship."

Without sponsoring, each MySQL User Group would end up spending 12 US dollars a month, or 144 dollars a year, for the ability to use Meetup.com's services.

What now?

MySQL User Groups are obviously free to use any service for event management and invitations. However, as Meetup.com has terminated our agreement, we in Sun's MySQL Community Team will no longer sponsor nor recommend the usage of Meetup.com for our User Groups. In this sense, while Meetup.com's announcement that MySQL did not want to sponsor the fees was originally not true, it has now become reality.

That said, we want to thank Meetup.com for graciously hosting MySQL groups so far. It's been a great service! We wish Meetup.com good luck with their new business model. And obviously, any user group that wishes to stay with Meetup.com is free to do so, but in that case, they will be responsible for the fees themselves.

The Community Team recommends the MySQL User Groups to manage from now on their user group invitations with Facebook. We've been in contact with Facebook on this, and they're thrilled at the idea of hosting MySQL groups.

And as you know, their service is free of charge.

We know such a migration is going to be a strain for many of you, and for this reason Colin has prepared an article to assist you in your migration (It's in Colin's blog ).

If your group has been inactive for a while, this might be a great time to re-invigorate your users with a change in scenery!

If you need a mailing list for your user group, we will gladly assist anyone who needs a dedicated list, like we've done for several groups before: http://lists.mysql.com/#ug.

The main point is to keep the groups working, and to keep meeting other users, regardless of the system used to spread the news.

If there are practical problems related to your migration, please let us know. If you would like to use different networks to organize your group, such as in particular Xing for German speaking MySQL User Groups, feel free, and let everyone know.

In particular, make sure to update your Group's whereabouts on the MySQL Forge Wiki.

Happy Meetings!

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