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  1. #1
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    Paid Membership Sites

    Hi, I was just wondering if anybody is having any success here with paid membership sites and what advice you can offer in this area for success.
    With the near collapse of Salon who were only able to convery less then just 1% of their readers, yet the overwelming success of say consumerreports that converted like a million plus....What do u think are the keys of why people would pay a membership fee?
    Im having some success on my sites...and having been thinking of converting them all to paid models next month.

  2. #2
    insert witty comment here
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    I would say it depends on the 'product' - both on the quality of what you offer and how widely available the same is for free.
    A lot of gaming sites are now converting to a system that offers enhanced services which are for subscribers only while keeping most of the regular stuff out front for free. I think this is a model we will be seeing more and more of in the next few years.

    Due to the lack of revenue from advertising and the cost of bandwidth etc IMO 'free' resources will become harder to find and so the market for pay services may increase -wether from pay-per-item or subscriber models. I know Microsoft sees things going this way

    Myros
    NeuralStudios.com
    Art, design, development and web management services.

  3. #3
    Online Dating Guru rawnet's Avatar
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    Microsoft

    Myros hints at what I believe will be the main decider here - Microsoft.

    Microsoft Passport could be phenomenal - it is the only system that has the user penetration to provide a viable source for payment.

    People will pay for unique content on a site - that is my view. If you provide qualitively superior content, that people will not get for free elsewhere, then you're on to a winner. I don't believe that general news sites will be very successful on the paid-subscription model. There are many other places where you can get the same news - yes, a different slant - but essentially the same news.

    How about a site like Sitepoint? How much is it worth? That's different for everyone - the site's audience consists of professional web developers who earn their entire income from the web, to amateurs who are keen to enhance their skills. Someone earning 100k+ per year from their web activities would be happy to pay a 5/year subscription to a site like Sitepoint - it's a fart in the wind for them. But young school and college kids have more to consider as that amount of money is more to invest.

    Think of other sites - one of my favourites for example is www.theregister.co.uk - I would pay for that if the quantity of relevant news stories relevant to me increased.

    But to pay for any of these is a hassle, a commitment, a behaviour process that requires me to think and pro-actively take action to subscribe to the site. I need to take out my credit card, fill out all the details and commit to my card possibly being rebilled.

    What if Passport could just pop up and say "Subscribe to this site?" - with the relevant security checks in place, of course (and let's keep the Microsoft security debate elsewhere for now please).

    Microsoft handle the transaction for a fee - we just pay a transaction fee and don't need a merchant account, etc. Easy for us. And Microsoft is now a bank. ARGH.

    It makes it EASY. I'm lazy by nature, and the more lazy I am, the more calories I conserve to keep me warm in winter and ensure my reproductive prowess.

    HEAR ME ROOOOAAAAARRR!!!

    Okay - point is, that visitors are lazy. Make it easy for them. Use a system that they're already familiar with. A system that they associate with fun things - with email and chatting with their friends.

    Their trusted buddy, Microsoft Passport.

    That will make all our lives easier. However much some people may dislike the corporation, they really are the best chance for subscription based sites.

    Just wish the b******s would pull their finger out, stop teasing us and get on with it.

    Cordially Yours,

    Ross Williams
    Last edited by rawnet; Jul 1, 2002 at 13:58.
    Ross Williams from WhiteLabelDating.com
    Webmasters - Add a dating channel to your website in minutes
    Earn 50% of all revenue generated - FREE SETUP

  4. #4
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Microsoft Passport costs $1000 per year for small scale solutions and $10000 for others.

    Microsoft will not be getting into the baking business - they have stated that themselves in this matter - if a micropayment solution comes from passport, it's probably going to be a third-party thing, or something close to it.
    Mattias Johansson
    Short, Swedish, Web Developer

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    FatStatement.com

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict jbradley's Avatar
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    Originally posted by M. Johansson
    Microsoft Passport costs $1000 per year for small scale solutions and $10000 for others.

    Microsoft will not be getting into the baking business - they have stated that themselves in this matter - if a micropayment solution comes from passport, it's probably going to be a third-party thing, or something close to it.
    Wouldn't that be scary if they did? They already do everything under the sun. Next thing you know, you'll be getting on a Boeing 777 and hear the pilot saying over the intercom system: "Where do you want to go today?"



    Jason
    Jason Bradley
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  6. #6
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    That's exactely why they won't be getting into it - it will make to many people nervous - stockholders included.

    However, I do love the idea of Passport, and I will most likely use it on some of my sites in the future. It's simplicity and convinience is just beautiful. One click, and you are signed up and signed in.
    Mattias Johansson
    Short, Swedish, Web Developer

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  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict w3exit's Avatar
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    Re: Paid Membership Sites

    Originally posted by subslavebrandon
    What do u think are the keys of why people would pay a membership fee?
    I believe the membership must offer something exclusive and unique that I cannot find some where else for free ... and I should need it and can afford it

  8. #8
    SitePoint Addict jbradley's Avatar
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    Re: Re: Paid Membership Sites

    Originally posted by w3exit


    I believe the membership must offer something exclusive and unique that I cannot find some where else for free ... and I should need it and can afford it
    I agree...uniqueness, or at least some aspect of it, is absolutely essential in order to be able to run a successful membership site.

    Jason
    Jason Bradley
    Post your project and receive FREE bids from professionals!
    naSnap Freelance Marketplace

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot
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    I haven't been to your site but what makes you think transforming it into a subscription modelled site would work?

    Have you done surveys that let you know exactly who your audience is?

    It's all about adding value to your site. I'm not ever going to be able to pull of a solely www based subscription model. For the £X you pay a year to join my site you get discounts at an ever increasing list of shops around the UK. That's adding clear value to the money invested in the subscription fee.

    Also, I will make my site slightly different for PPV members, features like removal of ad banners and premium listings in the classifieds section.

    This maybe isn't much help as I'm not a mentor but I'm speaking from my experiences.
    Last edited by veedee; Jul 3, 2002 at 00:35.

  10. #10
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Re: Re: Re: Paid Membership Sites

    Originally posted by jbradley


    I agree...uniqueness, or at least some aspect of it, is absolutely essential in order to be able to run a successful membership site.

    Jason
    OR, presenting already availiable material in a more convinient and/or cleaner way.
    Mattias Johansson
    Short, Swedish, Web Developer

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  11. #11
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Originally posted by jbradley

    Next thing you know, you'll be getting on a Boeing 777 and hear the pilot saying over the intercom system: "Where do you want to go today?"



    Jason

  12. #12
    Proud Mac User templates911's Avatar
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    We have over 500 members within 3 months at our site. So I think it has been a success so far.


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