Was your group formerly part of a Yahoo Group? Are you wondering about alternatives to Yahoo Groups?
Originally, Yahoo Groups was a pretty good place for a community. It was a free, email-based discussion group host. Yahoo bought eGroups and ONElist, then started Groups in 2000. In the beginning, you could create and subscribe to groups with any email address. Plus, you could directly add members to your mailing list, making it easy to migrate an existing physical or virtual group to Yahoo Groups.
The Rules Changed and so did the Economy
Yahoo went through a lot of changes since 2000. Many groups were not happy with those changes. And then Yahoo had a huge revenue downturn in 2016. Sadly, they shut down the 20-year-old Groups on Dec. 15, 2020.
Since Yahoo Groups are no longer an option, what are the alternatives? Let’s look briefly at some similar community platforms with their pros and cons.
Alternatives to Yahoo Groups
Google Groups is similar to Yahoo Groups. It’s free. It’s email-based, so people would already be familiar with it. Plus, most people are familiar with Google and trust them.
You might run into similar problems as Yahoo Groups. If some members don’t have Gmail accounts, they may not be able to use the web interface. Plus, you’re at the mercy of any changes Google might decide to make, just the same as Yahoo Groups.
Facebook Groups are a popular alternative. They have quite a few useful tools, including file storage, image galleries, and the ability to schedule group events. A Facebook Group can be public, private (invite only but findable), or secret (hidden, invite only) so you have some choices for who can get in. It’s also on a platform that a lot of people already use.
On the other hand, similar to Google Groups and Yahoo Groups, you are still at the mercy of whatever changes or restrictions Facebook wants to make. You’ll also suffer from Facebook’s ad-focused business model. You may lose members during the transfer, whether they don’t have or don’t want a Facebook account…..or just because they get lost. And if you have a private or secret group, you’ll need to friend everyone in your group in order to invite them, which is annoying.
You could migrate to a forum/message board as one of many alternatives to Yahoo Groups. (What’s the difference between message boards and listservs?) Forums are a bit newer than email groups in internet time, but still an older form of community. They’re nice because they keep all the threads sorted and allow new people to easily catch up and join in.
They can also be installed on your own server space, letting you have fairly good control over them if you prefer. If you don’t want to host your own forum, ProBoards is a free, popular, and established forum hosting site.
Unlike groups, however, forums are a pull media. That means your members have to actively “pull” information from it. That’s a great way to lose members because sometimes, they just forget to “pull” the information. It’s possible to set up forums to send out new replies via email, which can help mitigate the “pull” problem.
You’ll also have a similar problem to Facebook Groups, since you can’t import your list. Everyone will have to re-register with the forum, and you’ll probably lose people in the process.
You could use a listserv, sometimes called a listserve, which is an email discussion group. Listserves are similar to Yahoo Groups in that they’re email-based. If you’re moving a similar group, your members will feel right at home. Plus, you can keep your member list intact. Listserves are typically hosted on private servers and can be free or paid to join, depending on your group.
Even if you don’t have an established community, listserves are useful for other reasons. No one will ever change the rules on you, because the listserve is YOURS to maintain. You don’t have ads, popups, or cookies. Emails aren’t put in public search engines, so a listserve is private. And you can expand your community as far as it can go. No limits!
Listservs aren’t for every community. They don’t have the same accessibility as forums or the tools of something like Facebook Groups. A good listserve host typically isn’t free like Google Groups. But, if you’re just looking for a stable, ad-free, easy-to-use alternative, listserves are worth checking out.
Listserv Hosts – both free and paid
Do you have any great alternatives to Yahoo Groups? Leave them in the comments!