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Meetup Logo.png
Meetup website screenshot.png
Type of site
Membership software
Available inEnglish-default, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Korean, Dutch, Thai, Russian and Turkish
Alexa rankNegative increase 872 (November 2018)[1]
RegistrationRequired to join a group
LaunchedJune 12, 2002; 16 years ago (2002-06-12)[2]

Meetup is a service used to organize online groups that host in-person events for people with similar interests. Meetup was founded in 2002 by CEO Scott Heiferman and four co-founders. It was popularized by Howard Dean’s 2004 political campaign. The company was acquired by WeWork in 2017 and remains headquartered in New York City.


Early history[edit]

Meetup was founded in June 2002[3][4] by Scott Heiferman and five co-founders.[5][6] The idea for Meetup came from Heiferman meeting his neighbors in New York City for the first time after the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers.[7][8] Heiferman was also influenced by the book Bowling Alone,[9] which is about the deterioration of community in American culture.[10] Some initial funding for the venture was raised from friends and family, which was followed by a funding round with angel investors.[11]

The early version of Meetup generated revenues by charging a fee to venues in exchange for bringing Meetup users to their business.[12] Once enough users added themselves to a group, Meetup would send the group members an email, asking them to vote on one of three sponsoring venues for the group to meet at.[12][13] Within a few months of Meetup launching, 56,000 users had joined the site.[4][9]

Meetup was originally intended to focus on hobbies and interests,[3] but it was popularized by Presidential hopeful Howard Dean.[14] Meetup developed paid services to help Dean campaign to Meetup users.[9] Dean also publicized Meetup groups of supporters in his speeches and on his website.[15] At the peak of Dean's campaign, 143,000 users had joined Meetup groups for Dean supporters.[3] Afterwards, Meetup became a routine part of internet campaigning for American politicians.[9][16]

Recent history[edit]

Meetup started charging a fee to group organizers in early 2005.[17] Initially, changes to the website had to be approved by two committees.[18] In 2009, Meetup started running hackathons, where employees came up with new features that would be implemented if their coworkers supported it.[18] The website was redesigned in 2013.[19] Meetup had 8 million users in 2010,[20] and 25.5 million users by 2013.[21]

In 2013, Meetup acquired a struggling email collaboration company called Dispatch.[22][23] In 2014, a hacker shut down Meetup with a DDoS attack the hacker claimed was funded by a competitor.[24] In 2017, Meetup created 1,000 #resist Meetup groups in response to the Trump travel ban.[25] This caused some Trump supporters to leave the site[25] or call for a boycott.[26] Meetup also partnered with a labor group to organize anti-trump protests.[25]

Meetup was acquired by WeWork in late 2017.[27] WeWork spaces are predominantly used during work hours, while Meetup events take place mostly on evenings and weekends.[28] Some former employees said there was a 10% layoff after the acquisition.[29]

In 2018, Scott Heiferman stepped down as CEO and former Investopedia CEO David Siegel took his place. Heiferman became Chairman of the company.[30][31]


Meetup is an online service used to create groups that host local in-person events.[32][33] As of 2017, there are about 35 million Meetup users.[34] Each user can be a member of multiple groups or RSVP for any number of events.[35] Users are usually using the website to find friends, share a hobby, or for professional networking.[35] Meetup users do not have "followers" or other direct connections with each other like on other social media sites.[35]

Meetup users self-organize into groups.[35] As of 2017, there are about 225,000 Meetup groups in 180 countries.[33] Each group has a different topic, size, and rules.[14][33] Groups are associated with one of 30+ categories and any number of more than 18,000 tags that identify the group's theme.[35] The most popular categories are "adventure and outdoor activities, career and business, and parents and family."[14] Most events are on a structured schedule each week or month at a local venue,[33] typically on evenings or weekends.[35]

Meetup groups are run by approximately 140,000 organizers.[33] Any Meetup user can be an organizer.[14] Organizers set up groups, organize events, and develop event content.[14] They also pay a fee to run the group, under the expectation of sharing the cost with members that attend events.[33] Meetup has policies against organizing meetups around a commercial interest, hate speech, or groups that do not meet in-person.[33] About 28% of organizers have sponsors that provide venues, drinks, and event content.[14][33]


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  2. ^ Jeffries, Adrianne (January 21, 2011). "The Long and Curious History of". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Sifry, Micah; CNN, Special to (November 7, 2011). "From Howard Dean to the tea party: The power of". CNN. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Cox, Jonathan (October 10, 2002). "Interest Grows in Raleigh, N.C., around Offline Social Gatherings". Knight Ridder Tribune Business News.
  5. ^ Review, MIT Technology. "Innovator Under 35: Scott Heiferman, 32". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  6. ^ Evans, Teri (June 7, 2011). "Meetup's Scott Heiferman on Connecting Communities". Entrepreneur. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  7. ^ Benz, Kate (January 23, 2014). "Pittsburgh Meetup members use the Internet to get off the Internet". Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  8. ^ Ramanathan, Lavanya (October 13, 2011). "One week of Meetups". Washington Post. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d Overfelt, Maggie (October 2003). "Taking America Offline". Fortune Small Business.
  10. ^ Gordinier, J. (2008). X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft But Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking. Viking. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-670-01858-1. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  11. ^ Jeffries, Adrianne (January 21, 2011). "The Long and Curious History of". Observer. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Oliviero, Helena (November 25, 2002). "Web Site Links up Like Minds". The Atlanta Journal. p. E.1.
  13. ^ Gilbert, Sarah (December 8, 2002). "I'm on the List: Virtual Communities: Not Just for Loners Anymore". The New York Post.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Toledano, Margalit; Maplesden, Alexander (May 24, 2016). "Facilitating community networks: Public relations skills and non-professional organizers" (PDF). Public Relations Review.
  15. ^ Gray, Chris (February 11, 2004). " Working to Become a Force in Local, State Politics". Knight Ridder Tribune.
  16. ^ "Candidates Hope Voters". Indianapolis Star. September 2003. p. B.1.
  17. ^ Troise, Damian J. (February 6, 2015). "Meetup Starts Charging Fee in Effort to Keep Users Involved". Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  18. ^ a b Taylor, Chris (May 6, 2009). "Meetup: An office where group anarchy works". CNNMoney. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  19. ^ Ong, Josh (September 12, 2013). "Meetup Simplifies Its Member Homepage As It Pursues A Unified Design". The Next Web. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  20. ^ Haupt, Angela (December 13, 2010). " Helps Connect Like-minded People". US News & World Report. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  21. ^ Lai, Chih-Hui; Katz, James E. (May 31, 2016). "Volunteer associations in the Internet age: Ecological approach to understanding collective action". The Information Society. Informa UK Limited. 32 (4): 241–255. doi:10.1080/01972243.2016.1177761. ISSN 0197-2243.
  22. ^ Farr, Christina (October 9, 2013). "How meta! Meetup just acquired Dispatch, which got its start at a meetup". VentureBeat. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  23. ^ Perez, Sarah (October 9, 2013). "Meetup Makes Its First Acquisition With Dispatch, Will Roll Out Improved Messaging & Communications In Early 2014". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  24. ^ Colón, Marcos (March 3, 2014). "Meetup battles prolonged DDoS attack". SC Media US. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  25. ^ a b c " takes risky leap into the Trump resistance". Associated Press. March 19, 2017. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  26. ^ Perez, Sarah (February 16, 2017). "Trump Supporters Boycott Meetup After Company Creates #Resist Groups, Makes its Politics Known". Techcrunch. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  27. ^ Hempel, Jessi (November 28, 2017). "WeWork is Buying Meetup Amid an Increasingly Disconnected World". WIRED. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  28. ^ Hufford, Austen (November 28, 2017). "WeWork to Buy Meetup, Targeting Off-Hours Gatherings". WSJ. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  29. ^ Conger, Kate (February 16, 2018). "The Mess at Meetup". Gizmodo. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  30. ^ "Meetup CEO Scott Heiferman moves into chairman role". TechCrunch. July 17, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  31. ^ "WeWork-owned Meetup brings on David Siegel as CEO". TechCrunch. October 30, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  32. ^ Weinberg, Bruce; Williams, Christine (July–September 2006). "The 2004 US Presidential campaign: Impact of hybrid offline and online 'meetup' communities". Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice. 8 (1): 46–57.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h Toledano, Margalit (2017). "Emergent methods: Using netnography in public relations research". Public Relations Review. Elsevier BV. 43 (3): 597–604. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2017.03.007. ISSN 0363-8111.
  34. ^ Vynck, Gerrit De (November 28, 2017). "WeWork Buys Meetup to Bring People Together Outside of Work". Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  35. ^ a b c d e f Zhang, Shuo; Lv, Qin (2018). "Hybrid EGU-based group event participation prediction in event-based social networks". Knowledge-Based Systems. Elsevier BV. 143: 19–29. doi:10.1016/j.knosys.2017.12.002. ISSN 0950-7051.

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