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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
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    How much money can I make?

    Hi there,

    I operate a dating site (that used to be fairly popular until this year).

    However, this year, I decided I would try to make some money from it by charging users $10 for a membership -- which would last them the entire year. To my complete disappointment, things aren't working out so well. People are slightly cheaper than I anticipated. I've had maybe 20 people who have signed up for this.

    My question is this: I have the ability to make the site free again, and can pretty much guarantee about 2,000 - 3,000 memberships over the course of the year. Based on how I am doing now, obviously I would not be able to charge these users for an account.

    What kind of money (if anything) can I expect to make from these 2,000 or so users off different ad networks?

    Do you suggest I use pop-ups? FastClick? What if I had 100 people signing-on every day to check for new profiles? Is this repeat-visitor scenario more valuable?

    What do you think I should do?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Also, in the past people have pointed me in the direction of signing-up for dating-type affiliate programs. But these affiliate programs simply point my visitor in the direction of much larger dating sites, such as Match.com. So I don't see a point in advertising competition.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard maartenvr's Avatar
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    I think you would be better off keeping the free membership for them, but charge them a fee for a premium membership. that having extra features or something. Also, with that many users you could have a little advertising...but I stongly recommend to stay away from pop-ups!
    Maarten

  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot
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    How many daily page views does the site get? Unique visitors?

  5. #5
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Premium memberships are a good idea. I don't know how you run your site, but you could offer things like exclusive access to "hot" people. Or more profile options, etc.

    However I do think that affiliate programs are a good idea as well, just pick one that offers lifetime commission. That means every time the person renews their membership you get paid -- which basically is what you want anyways right? If you could refer a few thousand new members to one of these dating affiliate program per year you'd have a six figure income.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    but you could offer things like exclusive access to "hot" people
    that would be a great idea

  7. #7
    Online Dating Guru rawnet's Avatar
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    Agree with Aspen - you're better off building a mass membership based on a free service and choosing an affiliate system as a premium service. What's the URL of your dating site?
    Ross Williams from WhiteLabelDating.com
    Webmasters - Add a dating channel to your website in minutes
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  8. #8
    SitePoint Guru
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    I would keep the site completely free until I had a huge member base. That way I could compete with the big sites who charge for premium membership. You're not going to have many paid members when you run a site that obviously has much fewer members than the big dating networks - so until then, let the free membership be your edge.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Hi there,

    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    At this time I would prefer not to give the URL of my site, as it is in a market of its own, and I fear competition.

    I did offer the site completely free last year. I could easily build the member-base this year and attempt to offer an affiliate program as the 'premium' service, but I don't quite understand this. They would be signing-up and paying for a completely new web site, would they not? What's the point of this? If they're not going to pay $10 for the entire year on my web site (which is relatively cheap compared to other sites/not to mention - we have most of the same features), why would they pay $xx/month on another site?

    I also like the idea of offering better services, etc. to paying members, but unfortunately I really don't have time to make any more changes to the site.

    What should I do?

    Thanks.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Guru
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    Quote Originally Posted by HostingProf
    why would they pay $xx/month on another site?
    as I said before, the size of your user base is essential. Features don't matter as long as you have a very limited amount of members

  11. #11
    SitePoint Guru
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    Premium Memberships work out good for me, too in one of my projects. So, I'd add features and make sure that people can compare and understand why it is worth spending the extra money.

    Christoph
    The-USA dot net - PR4 Web Directory

  12. #12
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    If they're not going to pay $10 for the entire year on my web site (which is relatively cheap compared to other sites/not to mention - we have most of the same features), why would they pay $xx/month on another site?
    Many won't. You yourself discovered this when you moved from free to pay.

    However some will, and that will provide you with initial and residual income, all without jeopardizing your growing userbase, which is still free.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  13. #13
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    aspen:

    But does it make sense to make the 'premium membership' on a completely different web site all together -- that I have nothing to do with?

    Thanks.

  14. #14
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    I wouldn't necessarily call it "premium membership" its just another revenue source.

    There is no harm in recommending your free members to a paid service. If they want to pay for it, you get money like you want, if they don't want to pay for it, atleast you get to keep them as free members.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
    Featured Article: Free Comprehensive SEO Guide
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  15. #15
    SitePoint Addict
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    Quote Originally Posted by HostingProf
    What's the point of this? If they're not going to pay $10 for the entire year on my web site (which is relatively cheap compared to other sites/not to mention - we have most of the same features), why would they pay $xx/month on another site?
    It's all about size. They would rather pay $30 to be part of a 40,000 people network than pay $10 for a 2,000 people network. See what I mean?


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