Recent years haven’t been kind to Yahoo. Once an undisputed world leader in online search, community-building and email, it has been in decline ever since the late 2000s. Yahoo Groups was once the world’s largest collection of online discussion boards but, from January 31, 2020, it will be gone for good, and all content posted permanently deleted. For most users of the platform, that’s reason enough to start looking for Yahoo groups alternatives if you’ve not done so already.

Whether you’re building a common interest group to further your personal branding or business, or you just want a way to keep your fan community informed, you’ll need to carefully evaluate the options and think about the long-term implications of your choices.

Why are brands looking for alternatives to Yahoo Groups?

Yahoo Groups was launched in 2001 to provide email relaying services, group directories and homepages, and private messaging. In its earlier days, it was a go-to resource for building an online community, before social networking entered the mainstream. However, with the rise of Facebook and other platforms, it started to decline, prompting many to look for alternatives.

Reason 1: Yahoo Groups was taken offline in 2019

Easily the most obvious reason for looking for an alternative to Yahoo Groups is the platform no longer exists as of December 2019. Moreover, all message archives and other content will be permanently deleted in the end of January 2020. Although the platform tried to emulate the look and feel of Facebook in 2010, it failed to revive itself as a viable alternative to the major online social and community channels.

Reason 2: There was too much advertising on the platform

As with most social platforms, creating an account and publishing content on Yahoo Groups didn’t cost a thing. But this also meant the platform was supported by advertising. Much like Facebook, Yahoo is primarily an advertising platform, which means it’s constantly trying lead attention away from organic content to sponsored ads. This model makes it much harder to maintain high engagement rates with your target audience.

 Reason 3: Message attachments were heavily limited

Being one of the earliest pioneers of free online services, Yahoo Groups always struggled to keep up with the rapid pace of change. Message attachments were limited to 750 kb, which isn’t nearly enough in today’s media-heavy world where more people are craving high-quality video content than anything else. Also, the message attachments weren’t even stored in the group, making it hard to keep track of everything.

Yahoo Groups alternatives

Yahoo Groups provided many important functions to online community builders as diverse as large brands and one-person ventures alike. So, in the light of it demise, it’s essential to act fast to avoid having to build your community all over again. Hopefully, you’ve already migrated your mailing list so you can get your fans to join your new platform!

Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups is the most obvious alternative to Yahoo Groups, simply because it offers a very similar feature set and look and feel. In many ways, it’s like a more modern version of its former competitor, and it’s also a platform that hundreds of millions of people already use.

Pros

  •       It’s by far the biggest platform of its kind with audiences in the billions.
  •       It provides an instantly familiar interface and set of functions.
  •       Users can create private, public, or secret groups.

Cons

  •       The ad-focussed business model makes it hard to engage your audience.
  •       It’s an extremely overcrowded marketplace with very low engagement rates.
  •       You’re at the mercy of whichever changes Facebook decides to make.

Website forums

Website forums are ultimately the modern equivalent of newsgroups and email groups, and they’re one of the best-established mediums for online communications. Forum software can be closed- or open-source, although it’s most often the latter. Both free and paid options exist.

Pros

  •       There are dozens of options to choose from.
  •       They’re highly customisable and can match the look and feel of your website.
  •       You have complete control, although hosted options also exist.

 Cons

  •       Forums can be difficult and expensive to implement and maintain.
  •       Many website forums don’t offer an optimal user experience on the small screen.
  •       It’s very difficult to migrate between different forum and group platforms.

Google Groups

Google Groups has been around for some 18 years, and it also provides a shared interface with Usenet newsgroups. It was originally based on the Deja News service, which launched in 1995 to offer a readily accessible archive of messages posted in Usenet discussion groups.

Pros

  •       It’s very similar to Yahoo Groups in terms of user experience and functionality.
  •       It’s based on email, so it’s very easy to use and highly compatible.
  •       It features a mobile-friendly version for the small screen.

 Cons

  •       It still runs off a dated concept. Who even uses newsgroups these days?
  •       Members need Gmail accounts to readily use the web interface.
  •       As with other major platforms, you’re at the mercy of any changes Google makes.

Gaggle Mail

Gaggle Mail is basically a more modern and user-friendly alternative to the old listservs, which people use to keep in touch with groups via email. It’s primarily marketed as an alternative to listserv, though it provides many similar features to Yahoo Groups.

Pros

  •       You can add users to your group using any email address.
  •       It provides delivery reports and message archiving.
  •       It is simple yet customisable with many optional features.

Cons

  •       It doesn’t enable real-time messaging.
  •       There are no features for monetising your online community.
  •       It’s entirely dependent on email and all the limitations that come with it.

LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn has long been the gold standard for professional social networking, whether you’re looking to advance your career or increase the reach of a B2B business. LinkedIn Groups lets users create and join communities based on common interests.

 Pros

  •       It has a far more professional focus than other social networks.
  •       There are very few barriers to entry for standard groups.
  •       Users can create unlisted groups if they need more control.

Cons

  •       Being a major network, it’s often difficult to get heard among the noise.
  •       The lack of an approval process for standard groups often means lots of spam.
  •       Creating an unlisted invite-only group might turn some people away.

Why a community app is the best alternative to Yahoo Groups

By far the biggest benefit of the mainstream social platforms is also the biggest drawback; they’re so large and full of distractions that it’s hard to obtain, let alone hold, people’s attention.

That’s why, for most online community builders, smaller is better. After all, it’s better to have a smaller community of engaged members than thousands of fake followers and others who don’t engage with your brand. Having a bespoke community mobile app can eliminate those shortcomings and take engagement to a whole new level.

Final thoughts

Disciple was created to help people overcome the limitations of the major community platforms by letting managers build and maintain their own communities. With a community mobile app, you’re the one in the driver’s seat. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more.