We (Brian, Steve, and I) provided hosting for SQL chapters going way back…maybe 2002 or 2003, on behalf of PASS. When we sold our interest in SQLServerCentral.com to Red Gate we had to move them off the SSC domain, and we just grabbed SQLGroups.com. We didn’t do much with it besides that, it was an ‘interim’ solution that lasted a long time. But PASS has matured and now has a free hosting solution (using DNN again) that works, so we’ve notified the few remaining chapters that they have until Sep 15 to relocate.
Hopefully many will host with PASS, it’s good for both sides. Groups get the tools and the proximity to PASS and other groups, PASS gets more chapters in a place where it’s easy to share news and logins and more. It’s not perfect of course. DNN is powerful and flexible – if you know your way around. Brian has been looking at other solutions for his Jacksonville group and I’ve been doing the same – not out of any problem with PASS, more because we just like to tinker! More on that soon I hope.
It’s interesting that the number one thing I’ve heard from chapters over the years has been that they just want an easy way to email to their list. Many groups out run the limits of a single Outlook message, and they also need a way to manage subscribers. Lots of ways to do that of course, just give them one that works! Some of those conversations lead to the features we’ve implemented in SQLSaturday – making it easy to email to a subset of the list, making it easy to inject the list of sponsors or the schedule. I’d like to see PASS put more effort into their hosting solution with that regard – work on the things chapter leaders use most.
So it’s the end of a small quiet era for us, but I’d like to think we earned some karma from it.