L'Orange is shutting its SmartGroups service at the end of the month.
But users are complaining that France Telecom's mobile division is not giving people enough time to get organised and move to other providers. Smartgroups were supposed to be a way to organise groups of people - they include group emailing and shared home page and calendar.
One group organiser told us: "Messages posted to groups (on the website or by email) have often taken a week or more to be delivered. Some of us have been concerned about the very apparent lack of commitment by Orange...The shock is how quickly they are shutting it down and the total lack of consideration they are showing for the administrators of the groups...Orange is offering no facility to save these messages other than viewing each message in turn and copy/paste!"
There is an administrators support list on Yahoo! here.
A member of the SmartGroups support team sent us this email: "I can confirm that the service will be closing on the 30th November and will not be returning. We have been running a service for several years and have tried to maintain a reliable facility for people to share there interests, pictures and to discuss important issues that concern them. However, it has proven difficult to sustain the quality of service within the financial constraints of a free service and the time has come where we have decided to close the service. We notified members on the 31st October to hopefully give Adequate time to transfer data or remove their groups."
Assuming L'Orange won't reverse its decision, administrators are asking the telco to leave the groups up as read-only content for a few week so they have a chance to archive them. ®