Let’s take a trip down memory lane, and revisit the internet as it was in 2001.
Most of us were using Internet Explorer to browse the web.
Countless hours were spent chatting with friends on MSN Messenger.
If you wanted to search for something you were likely to go and Ask Jeeves.
And if you wanted to join an online discussion group with people who held similar interests, you joined Yahoo Groups.
A lot has changed in the last 22 years.
What happened to Yahoo Groups?
Yahoo Groups launched on 30th January 2001.
It combined the technology from a business called egroups.com which Yahoo! had recently acquired, with the active communities of Yahoo! Clubs.
It was an immediate success and provided users with an effective way to engage in online discussion groups. Yahoo Groups allowed users to have group chats, share files, share calendars, set up polls and receive regular updates from group members via email.
It was a great way for users across the world to collaborate and keep up with news and opinions on topics close to their hearts.
At the height of its success, it’s estimated that Yahoo Groups had over 115 million users worldwide.
But the world of digital media moves fast.
Consumers gradually moved away from Yahoo Groups and towards more modern alternatives for connecting with friends and sharing interests online.
In 2020, Yahoo! announced that Yahoo Groups would be discontinued. They cited a number of factors, including the costs of maintaining the platform, declining usage and the rise of newer, more popular social media and group messaging platforms.
The service officially shut down on 15th December 2020.
The Best Alternatives to Yahoo Groups
As one of the earliest platforms for building online communities, Yahoo Groups will always hold a special place in internet history.
The closure of the service was a sad occasion for the remaining loyal users. But it was hardly a surprise.
Many users had already migrated to more modern online community solutions.
Let’s run through some of the modern alternatives to Yahoo Groups and some other email-based solutions for building online communities.
Launched in 2010, Facebook Groups was one of the more modern solutions that users began to embrace instead of Yahoo Groups.
Facebook Groups allow any user to create and join groups around a particular interest or topic.
One of the major benefits of the platform is that it uses the standard Facebook interface that many of us are comfortable and familiar with. So there isn’t a huge learning curve to get started.
Facebook Groups also has a wide reach, with it being estimated that more than 1.8 billion people worldwide use the service every month.
But the wide reach and familiarity of the platform create their own disadvantages.
Anyone can set up their own group, and there are often multiple groups for one topic, many of them inactive. Due to the size of the platform, and the wide range of groups available, it can often be challenging for smaller groups to stand out or build a significant following.
Facebook also has an ad-based revenue model, which allows advertisers to target based on interest. So if you’re a member of multiple car enthusiast groups, you can expect to be targeted with more car-related content.
LinkedIn is a social networking platform that is designed for professionals.
LinkedIn Groups provide a space for people in the same industry or with the same interests to connect, share news and opinion pieces, and engage in discussions.
Participating in LinkedIn groups can be a great way to showcase your expertise and enthusiasm for a particular industry or topic, and can be particularly effective for making connections that are useful for your own professional development.
But some users find that some groups aren’t effectively moderated on LinkedIn, which can lead to spammers and certain members engaging in a one-way promotion.
At Simplelists, we make group email communication easy.
Our mission is to make it simple for anyone within an organisation to set up an effective group email list without any technical knowledge.
Our solution is simple to manage and maintain, with easy ways to import, move and copy contacts between lists. Setting up eye-catching emails is also a breeze.
There is a whole range of intuitive moderation and configuration options for your group email management, to ensure that you have the control you need over your email list and the messages your subscribers receive, and avoid landing in the spam folder.
Simplelists is also ad-free, so you don’t have to worry about your group emails being interrupted by unwanted ads or promotions.
Google Groups is a free service that has valuable functionality for both businesses and individuals.
From an individual perspective, you’re able to use Google Groups to join email groups and meet people with similar hobbies or interests. It’s a great solution for encouraging group discussions.
For businesses, you can embrace Google Groups to organise meetings and events and set up group mailing lists where you can email a number of people from a single email address.
Some organisations have concerns about the amount of data that Google holds on them, so may choose not to embrace Google Groups through worries over privacy.
Groups.io is an email-based group communication service.
It allows organisations to set up their own email lists for recipients to communicate and collaborate.
It also allows the members to access a comprehensive range of features including:
Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn and Google, Groups.io is a paid service, with rates starting from $20 per month based on the number of members within your group.
Groups.io prides itself on having no advertising throughout the platform, and no unnecessary tracking. This should reassure users who are concerned about privacy.
Groups.io also integrates with a lot of commonly used technology such as Zoom, Slack and Trello.
This is really a solution designed for organisations who want their teams or members to collaborate and work together over email. There aren’t currently many public groups.
Another solution that focuses on group communication and collaboration via email, Gaggle Mail is a cloud-based Listserv alternative.
One of the things that makes Gaggle Mail attractive for smaller organisations is that it’s free to set up lists with fewer than 1000 recipients.
So if you’re looking for email-based group communication for your internal teams, you can get up and running with Gaggle Mail quickly and efficiently.
It has all the customisation functionality you’d expect from a comprehensive Listserv solution and seems to have good reports of email deliverability.
The costs do increase quite rapidly after you move past 1000 subscribers, which is something to be mindful of.
With the tool focusing on email group communication, it also doesn’t have chat or supporting functionality like calendars, event planners or polls.
The original Listserv technology that enables organisations to manage email discussion lists, email newsletters and email marketing campaigns.
L-Soft Listserv is a favourite of Ivy League schools in the USA, who create email groups for students to share information, resources and links when collaborating on a topic or subject.
All email messages are archived, so administrators can see exactly what is being discussed if needed.
With over 35 years of experience in the industry, the team at L-Soft certainly know their stuff about group communication via email.
The one reported downside of L-Soft Listserv is that it can require some technical knowledge to get set up correctly.
Ready to get started with your own groups?
The internet has come a long way since the launch of Yahoo Groups in 2001.
Yahoo! was once the place to go if you wanted to be an active part of an online community, but more modern and effective solutions have emerged over time.
Some of the best modern alternatives to Yahoo Groups include Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, Google Groups, Groups.io, Gaggle Mail, Listserv and Simplelists.
Each platform has its own set of features and benefits. It’s important that you take the time to make the decision that is right for you, based on the specific needs of your organisation.
As Simplelists, our mission is to make group email communication easy. We make it simple for anyone to set up and manage a group email list.
If this sounds like what you’re looking for you’d like to give Simplelists a try for yourself, we have a one-month free trial available.
Start your group email today!
Get Simplelists’ one-month free trial
If you’re running a business, sports club, charity or educational establishment, you’ll understand how important effective communication and collaboration is.
In the modern digital world it seems like there are countless ways to collaborate online, whether it’s via WhatsApp groups, Facebook groups, Slack channels or Discord servers.
But sometimes you want something that is affordable, professional, uses established technology that everyone has access to, and has the benefit of having all messages archived for future reference.
If this sounds like what you’re looking for, you might benefit from using a Listserv.
Listserv: your group communication ally
A listserv is a type of email service that allows a group of people to communicate via email.
By sending an email to one email address, it will automatically be sent to all the people who have signed up to be part of the Listserv.
This makes it a great way for groups of people to easily share information, collaborate, and stay connected.
LISTSERV® is actually a registered trademark of L-Soft, who created one of the earliest and most popular Listserv group email communication tools. But the term ‘Listserv’ is now synonymous with any list-based group email technology.
Think about it in the same way that people refer to a sticky note as a Post-it® note, or a hot tub as a Jacuzzi®.
When we’re talking about Listserv in this article, we’re referring to the commonly used term for the technology.
What are the major benefits of a Listserv?
Easy to set up
Listservs are relatively easy to set up.
Most modern Listserv software is user-friendly and doesn’t require advanced technical skills or development teams to get things up and running.
And once it’s set up, modern Listservs are typically simple to manage and maintain.
Easy to build a community amongst your subscribers
A Listserv provides an effective way for your subscribers to share their ideas and knowledge and collaborate on projects.
This can lead to a greater sense of community among group members.
Listservs are incredibly affordable. This is one of the things that makes the technology so attractive for small businesses, sports clubs and charities.
A Listserv can also be customised to suit the specific needs of each email group.
Some groups might benefit from receiving each individual message to the email address. Others might benefit from receiving a daily or weekly digest of the messages sent to the group.
Listservs automatically archive all messages. This makes it easy to search and retrieve important information at a later date if needed.
You’re able to set up a Listserv so that members can easily subscribe or unsubscribe themselves. This can make it easier to manage your email list.
Organically grow your email list
By providing a platform for discussion and collaboration, your subscribers may choose to forward messages from the Listserv with others that they think would be interested in the content.
Your engaged community can help you attract new subscribers.
Additionally, most Listserv technology can be easily integrated with your website. This can make it easy for people to sign up to your email list and begin receiving your content.
Who can benefit from using a Listserv?
Listserv technology is suitable for any organisation that wants to reach targeted groups of people with their message and potentially prompt a group email discussion.
We’ve put together a small list of the types of organisations that might benefit from Listserv and some ways they might use it.
Businesses: Collaborating with internal teams
Listservs can be a great way for businesses to keep their teams connected and aligned on important projects.
You might set up a mailing list for each department or project team so they can share updates, discuss upcoming milestones or review current performance. This can help boost productivity and improve decision making.
Businesses: Email marketing
Listservs can also be a powerful tool for businesses to reach their customers and prospects.
By creating a mailing list of opted-in email addresses, businesses can send targeted messages, promotions and updates to a large number of people at once.
This can help increase brand awareness and drive sales.
Most modern Listserv solutions can support HTML email, so you can still send emails that look eye-catching and compelling.
Listservs can be a great low-cost solution for sports clubs to keep their members in the loop on upcoming events, practice schedules and team news. By allowing members to reply to the group and start discussions, it can really help foster a sense of community and bring the team together.
By using a Listserv, charities can keep their supporters informed about their work and upcoming events. They can also be used internally between volunteers and management to help co-ordinate events and discuss fundraising strategies.
A Listserv can provide an easy and effective way to send out announcements, assignments, and other information. They can also be used for class discussion, managing group projects, and sharing resources.
Listservs can be a great way for event planners to coordinate conferences, meetings, and workshops with their subscribed attendees.
How to create a Listserv in a few simple steps
Choose the right Listserv software
There are many different types of Listserv software available, each with their own different features and benefits.
We’d recommend making a list of the things that are important to you in your chosen software, whether that’s cost, ease of use, deliverability of emails or customer support.
By understanding what is most important to you, you’ll be able to choose the software that best meets your needs and has the features you require.
Complete a simple setup process
Once you’ve made your decision on the software you’re going to use, it’s time to set up your Listserv.
Every solution will have a slightly different set up process, but the typical steps will involve creating an account, choosing a name for your Listserv, and configuring your settings.
The settings that are most important are the level of moderation, the type of messages that are allowed, the subscription process, and what types of attachments (if any) are permitted.
With modern Listserv technology the setup process is easy and user-friendly, so don’t worry if you’re not tech-savvy.
Import your email contact list
Once your Listserv is set up and configured the way you want it, you can start adding members.
A common way to do this is by importing a CSV of your email contact list. Most Listserv software will need you to agree that the contacts have all opted-in to email communication, in line with relevant data privacy legislation.
You can also add your Listserv sign up to your website and other channels at this point, to help the organic growth of your subscriber list.
Send your content
Now that your Listserv is set up and has members, you can start creating content, sending messages, and setting up discussion threads.
It’s really that easy!
Interested in exploring the power of Listserv?
After reading this article, you’ll understand the potential applications of Listserv and you might even be excited by the ideas of how you might use Listserv within your organisation.
But the only way to truly appreciate the power of Listserv is to try it out for yourself.
At Simplelists, we offer all our customers a one-month free trial of our service.
By trying Simplelists for free, you can discover first-hand how Listserv email can benefit your organisation.
Curious? Sign up for free.
Sometimes, you need more than one email list. You may need separate lists for different businesses, groups or organisations, or different lists for groups within your organisation. For example, one list for employees and another for managers, or individual lists for different topics, such as one list for marketing and another for discussion. In this short post, we tell you how to set up multiple lists using Simplelists (or watch a short video if you prefer).
It is very straightforward to set up multiple lists. Simply go to simplelists.com, navigate to Products, select the blue 'Sign up free for a multiple list’ arrow and fill in your details. You’ll have the option to choose a subdomain for your list (if you own your own domain, you’ll be able to add this later). There is a free, one-month trial for multiple lists so that you can try before you buy.
Managing the lists
To manage your multiple lists, simply log in using your simplelists username and password and select your multiple lists account from the 'Account’ drop-down menu on the top right of the screen. On the next screen, verifying your account enables you to add members to your lists without needing them to confirm their email address (although you can still use the confirmation functionality to check that emails are valid). Simply enter the details of your organisation, what your list is used for, and how you obtained the emails (you can read another post about the rules around how people can opt-in to receiving your emails). Once you have done this, you can create a list by navigating to 'manage lists’ in the left-hand menu, type in the name of the list, and click 'Create’. This is where you could create a number of lists for your different groups (e.g. managers, employees and customers).
Adding members to your lists
Once you have created the lists, you can add some members. Select the address book from the left-hand navigation and choose to add members individually, in bulk, or by uploading a .csv file. If you choose to add them individually, you can enter their details and their email address and then select which list they will belong to. You can also add notes about the members if you wish.
To view the members of your list, select 'list members’ from the left-hand menu. The email address for your list can be seen at the top of this page. It is possible to use your own domain name for this email address and we will show you how to do this in an upcoming blog post, or you can view a short video that explains what to do).