Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Alternatives To YahooGroups

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In this article:

1. KAOrg Collaborator
2. Groove Workspace

For the ones of you that have been looking for alternatives to the free facilities and services provided by YahooGroups some real alternatives have indeed started springing up in the market that are worth giving a look to.

YahooGroups (, formerly called eGroups, has been supporting millions of projects, mini-communities, newsletter publishers and dispersed collaborative teams work together efficiently through a well rounded set of integrated online services.

YahooGroups have been largely used to keep working teams in touch while providing them with the essential ability to share and archive project emails and files in password-protected area on the Web.

It has also been a godsend for newsletter publishers, threaded discussion lists needing a free vehicle for their content.

For the ones not familiar with YahooGroups, the service offers a free ad-supported access to a set of simple but highly effective and well integrated modules including:

a) Archiving and distribution of email messages (Max. 32 MB)
b) Links - Archive and comment selected links to online material
c) Group Calendar
d) Text chat
e) Files Upload Area (20 MB)
f) Photo Upload Area
g) Polling facility
h) Basic Database
i) Members management and access rights

A YahooGroup can be setup in less than three minutes by any person who has registered with Yahoo and obtained a proper ID.
YahooGroups can be set to be open to the public, restricted to selected members, or requesting a sign-up process to be joined.

I personally manage and run over 100 YahooGroups which cover projects that I have completed long ago, but of which I like to maintain an historical record, and a simple, though secure way of ease access from wherever I may be with an Internet connection.

As mentioned, the usefulness of starting an online YahooGroup stems from the need to have a facility that allows me easy sharing and public archiving of messages and files during the execution of a certain project.

On the other hand, while YahooGroups have become indispensable to me in my everyday work they have also become as annoying and evil as they could have due to their aggressive advertisement strategy and wish for control and use of users content and personal information.

When using YahooGroups users pay dues to such good offering by sacrificing over 25% of screen real estate to flashing banners and to a continuous array of pop-under windows that bring further junk on the screen.

Since 1998 I have been wishing that the service would start offering a paid and ads-free alternative which would allow groups not wishing to undergo the advertising brainwash to do so by having their private online eGroups with the ability to place their own logo and identity banner in place of the the YahooGroups one. While in the first year or two of eGroups existence a text announcement directed customers like me to hope for a future opportunity to subscribe to such an option, the special service many of us had dreamed about never came to be.

And so we are all locked into using a system that deep in the guts we do not like. I have been wondering what will happen when Yahoo will decide to charge me a fee to access all of the info I have up there (because they will, be sure about it). I have so much of it up there I wouldn't want that to happen ever.

And guess what, there is no easy way for YahooGroups users to backup, download or copy the content of any YahooGroup they own to a CD, downloadable file or other. Not even at a price. Why? Wouldn't be that the first thing any serious user would want to pay for?

For YahooGroups to keep me as a happy and evangelizing customer it would have to upgrade its service offering to:

a) offer to pay for a backup service, allowing me either to download a set of all or of personally selected folder/files containing all of my YahooGroup. Alternatively offer an option to order online a CD-master of the YahooGroups I want to backup.

b) allow to turn off all of the advertising, possibly for another small fee

c) allow to brand with my company logo or identity bar the look of all pages in any YahooGroup I manage.

I am sure many of us would have paid happily for these. But Yahoo has well and strategically banked on our grown dependency on the service, to the point where few of us would consider moving to another system.

In this light, since Yahoo prefers to persevere in a road of traditional advertising and highly ineffective and obtrusive interruption marketing, I will not stand anymore to support and praise their offering.

Recently YahooGroups has also imposed an unpopular limit to the amount of email archived in any specific YahooGroup (to 32 MB), while they have never increased the measly 20 MB of available space provided in each YahooGroups Files upload area.

Yahoo makes it also extremely difficult for new users to sign-up into the system, violating all of the most basic usability rules. Therefore it is a pain to get non-users of Yahoo (that is people who do not have a Yahoo ID) to register and gain access the first time around.

To counter some of this selfish attitude I have been searching and scouting for one or two alternative tools that would provide us the same facilities at a fair prices and with no strings attached.

And here is what I found:

A) KAOrg Collaborator
= interesting, promising
Server Software or Hosted Service
from USD $ 75

Targeted at small to medium businesses, associations, educational institutions and ISPs, KAOrg Collaborator runs on your company or organization servers or as a paid hosted service and provides and instant plug and play solution that is a true and very cost-effective alternative to YahooGroups.

The key modules integrated in KAOrg Collaborator offer access to:

Contacts, appointments, events, project notes, files and folders and links can all be easily shared among members of KAOrg Collaborator.

KAOrg scores well in providing some unique and advanced features not available when working with YahooGroups. Some of the most interesting ones include:

a) the ability to import contacts directly from Outlook, Outlook Express and from Time and Chaos address lists.

b) integration with your email client and ability to let check your other POP email accounts while on the road

c) Selective sharing of groups of contacts

d) Creation of mailing lists

e) Spell check integrated into Email, Project Notes and Diary modules

f) Send email with attachments

g) Automatic saving of email addresses to the Contacts list

h) Direct view of files uploaded and of thumbnails of image files

i) Configurable file upload space for each user

l) Selective sharing of folders

m) Can import directly Netscape and IE bookmarks/favourites into the Links area

As for Yahoogroups, user groups can be set to private or public.

Additional plug-in offer the following extra functionalities:

1) KaTasks - supports task and project management tasks

2) KaForums - dedicated to provide threaded discussion forums with unlimited categories, and unlimited forums within each category. Forums also integrate spell check, use of attachments, search, thumbnail preview of image files and several viewing modes.

3) KaPhotoservice - provides an online photo-archiving facility and integration into online print ordering services.

If purchased for installation on one's own servers the software consists of a CGI executable utilizing ADO to access a database such as Microsoft Access or MS SQL Server, Oracle or Interbase.
One installation can be utilized to support multiple organizations/departments each one under its own look and feel.

The system is built with good security features, allows remote administration, and it is highly scaleable allowing unlimited users and unlimited instances.

As a hosted service for USD$25 / month KAOrg offers you all that other web hosting companies offer while including into their offering also:
a) Free installation of the KAOrg Collaborator.
b) Free installation of the KAPhotoservice application.
c) Free 2 hrs/month of support, backups, customization and other site related tasks
d) Free upgardes to the KAOrg Collaborator and KAPotoservice applications.


200 MB of diskspace
4 GB of network transfer
Unlimited Mailboxes
FTP Access
Support for ASP and CGI Executables
Unlimited Users

A small organization like mine could indeed install it and provide it as an ASP (hosted) service to final users as a true and working alternative to YahooGroups.

A fully functional download of KAOrg is available for immediate download. The trial is fully functional and full featured, but restricts you to a maximum of 5 users. The company behind KAOrg is also available to ship a less restricted version of the product upon request.

The purchase solutions available range from a very low cost three month hosted solution at USD $ 75, which allows you to fully test and try the product without committing a significant budget, to a license purchase for 20 ($ 75), 50 ($ 150) or unlimited users ($ 250).

More advanced offerings for medium and large organizations needing such kind of infrastructure service online include:

a) Premium Edition Unlimited Users. Single Installation License.
Includes KATasks and KAPhotoservice plug ins.
Comprehensive Support for one year. MS Access Backend. $500

b) Corporate Edition. Multiple Installations license. Unlimited users for each installation. Includes KATasks and KAPhotoservice plug ins.
Comprehensive Support for one year. MS Access Backend. $2500

c) Enterprise Edition. Just the same as the Corporate Edition plus MS SQL Server / Oracle / Interbase backend. $ 5000

Would be users of such a system would have to budget also for customization and coding of the KAOrg interface templates which are very basic. With some good design and preparation work all pages can be made to look and feel as part of any existing web site and can completely integrate your identity components, colours and specific formatting styles.

A live hosted demo version of the service can be accessed immediately at: collaborator.exe/getday?orgid=1


B) Groove Workspace
Software Tool (Win)
= breakthrough tool
from USD $ 49

Groove Workspace is a revolutionary concept in group collaboration as it allows teams to share, exchange and work together on office documents, along with live presentation and voice conference features.

See my review of this uniquely powerful tool called:
Peer-to-Peer Online Collaboration Killer App

Find the most effective SOHO Web conferencing and live presentation tools for online meetings, live showcases, and distance training classes.

Readers' Comments    
2010-02-25 19:38:13

danielle Scherman

I'm looking for a customizable alternative to yahoo groups. Has anyone found a good one yet?

2008-10-24 14:45:17


Wow, this is an old but relevant post. I found a couple of very cool sites that have come up that are great alternatives. pbwiki is great for collaboration and follows an easy-to-use wiki model. Another cool site is Qlubb ( which takes the ease of use 10x and it has group email.

Give them a whirl. I use both of them.

2008-10-09 20:02:30


You should also check out It's a great alternative to Yahoo! Groups. It's free and it has sub-groups, multiple forums, member profiles, classifieds, and more...

I'm a recent member and I'm loving it.

2008-08-20 06:44:09


There is an open source alternative to Yahoo Groups: TikiWiki, combined with Mailman. You can viw my installation and read how it works here:

I hope this will be of help for Asu and anyone else looking for some Yahoo Group alternative...

2008-06-04 14:07:06


Have you found any alternatives to Yahoo Groups yet? I'm looking for one after being with them for 10 years. Please let me know.

2004-03-29 20:56:07

Matt Barkau

"there is no easy way for YahooGroups users to backup, download or copy the content of any YahooGroup they own to a CD, downloadable file or other"

For smaller groups, you may find it helpful to save the web pages to your hard drive.

If you only need to view a site offline (not backup to CD), you can replicate a site to your hard drive with Internet Explorer's "Work Offline" feature.

2004-03-24 01:28:44

Lynn Camp

KaOrg are great additions to my intranet/extranet applications. In my 20 years of IT for a Fortune 100 company, I have never received such fast and knowledgable answers to my questions and requests. They definitely take a lot of pride in their product and have a "can-do" attitude.

2004-03-24 01:28:30

Lynn Camp

KaOrg are great additions to my intranet/extranet applications. In my 20 years of IT for a Fortune 100 company, I have never received such fast and knowledgable answers to my questions and requests. They definitely take a lot of pride in their product and have a "can-do" attitude.

2003-12-30 22:29:44


kaorg is very very slow and I don't think that Groove is quite like YahooGroups.

2003-09-15 16:31:58

Terry Cowan


I just found your page doing a search for an alternative to Yahoogroups. I've been trying to leave Yahoo for the past two years looking at Mailman, Web Crossing and everything else and have yet to find an alternative. I am currently looking at the two sustems you suggested. Thanks for putting them on your page.

posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, December 31 2002, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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