Meetup Replacement

It’s becoming more and more painfully obvious that Meetup has jumped the shark, we might as well start a group working on an open source alternative for WordPress users. Anyone interested in working on this?

36 thoughts on “Meetup Replacement

  1. Yep, absolutely. Please let me know if any help is needed on the front-end/look and feel/design side of things — I’d be more than happy to help out.

  2. Yep, absolutely. Please let me know if any help is needed on the front-end/look and feel/design side of things — I’d be more than happy to help out.

  3. “jump the shark” is a bit harsh, I think– If the choice came down to advertising vs. getting money from users, they might have made the right choice. Once a site accepts advertising, the advertiser becomes the customer and the users become the product to be delivered.

    There are worse things than depending on your users.

    Of course, this isn’t meant to discourage anyone from working on an open source alternative πŸ˜‰

  4. Is there a way that can be used as a Meetup replacement? Andy has done some great work with this lately, and I’d love to see it integrated with WordPress — in fact, it would be amazing and I would move multiple Meetup groups to it. I’m very interested in working on this.

  5. I think that they’re punishing their most valuable users. They could support advertising in a tasteful way, or they could introduce “premium” features that cost more, but charging for something that used to be free is a bad, bad idea.

  6. It would be easier to hack a system out of WP1.5 than to build one from the ground up. Future posts, categorized by location, different comment types for RSVPs and questions/comments, a ‘theme’ to handle it all… why not?

  7. +1 for

    The event plugins are mainly personal planning based, they’re a great tool for individuals (ie. things that should key off’s API).

    ‘More software’ is rarely the answer πŸ˜€

  8. Matt, seems to me that the way to truly build it open-source is to develop a system that small organizations can use on their own with minimal fuss.

    Alternately, just build something over XFN. πŸ˜‰

  9. Thinking more … if you really do distribute it, isn’t the best way to share data going to be some kind of XML/RDF format that can be easily indexed and shared? In the US, the easy way to do that is via ZIP [and at one point, I had pointers to lat/long data of centers of ZIP areas for this concert-finder app that never got off the ground], but if you also do a city/state/province RDF/XML, you have something that’s searchable.

    The key then is to create a toolset that’s good at creating data according to the specification, and then let the search market [Technorati, Google, Yahoo!] help end-users find what events are close to them.

    Or I could be just talking out my butt again.

  10. Well on we already have over 17,000 registered users, a good portion of them have links to their blog in their profile. We could spider for geotag data. We could also allow people to add lat/long or zip code information to their profile and then aggregate people based on that.

  11. Lat/long data is a great way to go [easy to calculate distances ;)], but it’s hard for people to find their lat/long without GPS or someone who knows. I had to do some digging to find mine here in town.

    Unless, of course, there’s some great tool I’m missing, or if Google Maps can do lat/long outputs for you and I’ve been missing that.

  12. You can extract your lat/long from a couple of the map services, that’s how I did it back when I first user GeoURL. If we could make it a wizard of some sort that’d be cool. Like opening Google Maps in a frame and then clicking a button when you find your house.

  13. Yeah, that kind of location extraction tool is truly needed, and it’s probably a key cog in making such an engine go. You could search for all coded events in your area, but that seems scattershot; the ideal way to do it is to index, but at that point, you’re running into storage, indexing, and money problems for open sourcers, I’d imagine…

    What do people need to know to use such a service?

    Where they are.
    What events are near them.
    What those events entail.

    The first two data points are easier to define than the third, because the third is a host-generated datapoint, and my idea of “cool party” and yours might be different, Matt.

    Hmmmmm … need sleep to ponder.

  14. Re: the lat/long question, you can actually get some of the way there via this kludge:
    1. Go to, and enter the address/ZIP of a place *near* where you want.
    2. Zoom as much as you can.
    3. Change to “satellite” view.
    4. Double-click just above/below (or wherever the actual address is) to re-center the map.

    At this point, you can copy the “link to this page”, which will be in the format:,+Washington,+D.C.&ll=38.899541,-77.036519&spn=0.015213,0.021329&t=k&hl=en

    Note the lat/long. The reason you have to double-click to re-center (and therefore use a slightly imprecise address) is because otherwise the link just uses the ‘spn’ reference, and I’m not sure how that corresponds to the actual lat/long. Of course, on the other hand, I don’t know if you really need 8 digits of precision for this sort of stuff anyway…

  15. Damn you Matt – I couldn’t sleep last night because my brain was buzzing over ideas for this thing!

    You’re right tho – needs to be original and OSS, either forked from WP or built from scratch.

    Google Maps isn’t the best choice – as its coverage outside North America is well… crap. Something like is much much better, but thats a debate for when its running, not now.

  16. Hmmm….if code is what you are looking for, I would be glad to help out.
    On the same note, this could be a GREAT starting point for the $500 prize for a community plugin for WordPress in the Plugin competition.

  17. I was discussing this with Adam Keys the other day (a fellow Dallas-ite) and he too pondered whether Upcoming could be made to do this — perhaps through a middle-man app which would automatically add new “Meetup” events to the Upcoming calendar each month and invite a set of people? And, FWIW, is another Meetup alternative which I came across. (It’s free but has limited support for countries outside of the US or Canada.)

  18. I prefer over It uses cookies, so you don’t have to register and log in to RSVP, though you can. As an organizer of a Meetup group and activist in my community, I’ve learned that you have to make things really easy for people. doesn’t make it very clear to people who are not logged in that they even can RSVP. also generates a script for you to add an event calendar to your website, though it posted events that I had deleted (experiments) when I tried it. For ideas like these, news of developments and more, check out my blog about free alternatives to at

  19. Look no further, write (almost) no code. WordPress *is* an alternative to Check out my site. Many other people are already using WordPress as a calendar for their group (by using future posts) and using the comments as a way to RSVP. You can even use the wordpress user registration to let new members join and post their own events.