Paid Member Areas

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david63
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Paid Member Areas

Post by david63 » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:20 am

There seems to be a growing request from users to set up an area of a board for "paid" membership.

Personally I have difficulty in understanding the concept of why anybody would pay, in some cases, to access data that they have no knowledge of what is there but more so for data that can be found for free elsewhere on the Internet. In my experience there is very little, if any, information that is totally unique to one particular site on the Internet - the same information can usually, perhaps with a bit of effort, be found elsewhere.

I am not talking here about "closed" boards which I can understand, nor am I saying that paid for options should not exist.

I would be interested to know just how successful/profitable these paid for areas actually are, how many people would actually pay and the motives behind creating them.
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Restless Rancor
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Re: Paid Member Areas

Post by Restless Rancor » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:03 pm

When I first found phpBB (3.0.7) I set up a 'donators' group which provided the usual 'donator benefits' (a shiny username and rank, private forums, higher rate of forum points from Ultimate Points etc.) and it was surprisingly popular, but I think there are so many variables involved in measuring such a features 'success': My forum was mainly a group of friends who had met on Xbox Live, so I think people were more inclined to throw a few quid towards the cost of the hosting compared to other members who joined who were friends of friends or had found the forum through various links and advertisements.
david63 wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:20 am
...to access data that they have no knowledge of what is there but more so for data that can be found for free elsewhere on the Internet...
Honestly, I think that sums up the majority of paid memberships - but lets assume your forum is dedicated to graphics design: the paid membership option can grant access to licensed graphics, discounted rates from the graphics designers, tutorials for using various graphics design tools; the list could go on. I would see such a membership option being more successful than one which is there just for the sake of being there, which I think most are.

But, then this is also valid:
david63 wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:20 am
...In my experience there is very little, if any, information that is totally unique to one particular site on the Internet - the same information can usually, perhaps with a bit of effort, be found elsewhere...
... at the end of the day all of the membership options I listed for the graphics design forum can be found elsewhere for free.

Since my first forum I haven't had any measurable success in running a community and when I decided to start learning more than just tweaking HTML templates I almost didn't create my new forum for that reason, but I decided I could use it as a blog with the various snippets I've picked up over the years- as long as people find it useful that's what matters, if nobody registers I'm comfortable with that!
When I was setting everything up I came across a PayPal w/ autogroups extension which I immediately thought "oh great this will help pay for the server!" but with no real reason to have one I decided against it.

There are some forums dedicated to phpBB development, as mine is, which have a 'donators only snippets' area and I had to make the decision of whether or not I wanted to charge someone for access to something they could eventually be provided elsewhere (and that was assuming anybody even registered at the forum). I may add a feature at some point, as a few quid here and there can be helpful, but I'd rather build up a larger list of reasons to justify it.

I am honestly surprised it hasn't been written into the phpBB software yet though. Adding subscription/donation options with auto-groups would be a positive step to help administrators pay the costs of their hosting, but I'm sure there's a bunch of red tape I've not thought about which would make it a lot easier said than done.

Right, I didn't mean to write a wall of text, but words have been hard today, hopefully it all makes sense :lol:
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Re: Paid Member Areas

Post by GanstaZ » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:41 pm

I'm not against and I'm not for paid membership, but i'm for contribution. If one side is contributing with whatever it is (data, development, art and so on), then other side has an option to or not to contribute back. I see it as the best option, because it is based on free will.
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Re: Paid Member Areas

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Sun Nov 11, 2018 3:19 pm

paid membership sites are very profitable. if you provide information that people want or need and charge for that information it doesn't matter if it is a bulletin board or a blog or just a normal html site.

some of the most expensive membership sites are aimed at stock market investors for instance. they pay sometimes thousands of dollars for a membership to a bulletin board.

the fact that in some cases the information available can be found elsewhere really doesn't matter.

I will go looking for what info I want but many people will be perfectly happy to let others gather the info and pay them for it.


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Restless Rancor
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Re: Paid Member Areas

Post by Restless Rancor » Sun Nov 11, 2018 3:22 pm

Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 3:19 pm
...but many people will be perfectly happy to let others gather the info and pay them for it...
Hmm, I haven't looked at it that way.
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Dan Stylez
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Re: Paid Member Areas

Post by Dan Stylez » Sun Nov 11, 2018 5:18 pm

On one of my old car club forums we had paid membership for £10 per year, £3 of it went to me towards running costs, £2 into a pot for my 2 moderators, the other £5 went into a yearly raffle pot as each paying member had a free entry.

The forum only had a few ads on it, all car related, but paying members had the option to be ad free as the ads were also posted in an ad section for anyone to see at anytime. They also had access to pdf manuals and other programs, these were free to find online but a lot of the sites were malicious so paying members didn't have that risks of visiting them sites.

It worked well, the early problem was that some members who paid sort of talked down to free members - but that was fixed by having the same colour usernames for all groups. The categories were kept well organised compared to other similar forums, which was something a lot of free and paying members commented on - probably the reason we got any members in the first place.

If your content can help save people time or possibly money and you don't come across as charging just to make money people will go for it, the fact half of the fee went back into the raffle pot obviously helped.

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Re: Paid Member Areas

Post by Toxyy » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:31 pm

As a freelancer, paid membership is a very common request. Whether that be donator groups which leads to private forums, extra features, no ads, a colored/bolded username for cool points, more reputation power (if reputation is a feature of the board at all), etc. It's simply another way for the admin to get paid for having his forum besides something like amazon affiliates/ppd, selling space, ppc, selling stickies, whatever. It's a part of the reason why I asked dmzx if he was planning on adding custom events to his extension, because on some sites, members even want to buy awards that give them an extra little badge on their profile, and those could be sold on his store, perhaps with points earned through activity (I've seen that) or just straight cash (I've seen that too). Giving admins the power to monitize their forum in a variety of creative ways is a good idea IMO.

Unfortunately, I have had to go with other forum systems before, simply because they couldn't have the forum they envisioned, because their vision relied on monitizing it with paid memberships in some fashion.

I've said before that most other forum software already has a worked out solution for paid memberships, at least, since admins want to trust a worked out system, not simply a beta.

tldr: having a standardized and not beta way to make paid memberships is a much needed feature. Admins want to make money, and this is a common, long used way to do so. Having it integrated with the advertisement extension would be a great benefit. Any other ways that I've seen admins monetize their forum would require some sort of store which is out of the scope of the op, but still relevant to monitization.
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Re: Paid Member Areas

Post by AmigoJack » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:59 am

david63 wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:20 am
I have difficulty in understanding the concept of why anybody would pay, in some cases, to access data that they have no knowledge of what is there but more so for data that can be found for free elsewhere on the Internet. In my experience there is very little, if any, information that is totally unique to one particular site on the Internet - the same information can usually, perhaps with a bit of effort, be found elsewhere.
I encountered boards that were not about information in the first place, but (simply said) about downloads. Registration was needed to see more forums than guests, or to see actual download links (instead of "you have to register to view this" placeholders). And then a paid membership gives access to even more exclusive downloads. So far I never paid in any board to get more access, but I understand why paying is a thing people will do.

Toxyy wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:31 pm
having a standardized and not beta way to make paid memberships is a much needed feature
I never understood what the feature must provide - after all you can check for a payment and then assign another group to the user - that's all. That way I can even set up multiple "products" (i.e. different forums and groups, all based on what and how much was paid). Advertizing where to pay and how can be done thru a post as well. Can you guys enlighten me what's missing in a fresh installation?
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Re: Paid Member Areas

Post by GanstaZ » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:56 pm

AmigoJack wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:59 am
Can you guys enlighten me what's missing in a fresh installation?
As i see it, nothing is missing + extra can be done by expanding auto groups and using one of those paypal extensions. Only thing that is left is creativity (how, what, when and so on).
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Toxyy
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Re: Paid Member Areas

Post by Toxyy » Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:59 pm

AmigoJack wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:59 am
after all you can check for a payment and then assign another group to the user - that's all.
Yes, but having payments and group changes be automatic is doubly good for admins. Less time checking and rechecking payments and assigning groups, less time reading pms about "when will I receive my membership???!"
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Re: Paid Member Areas

Post by RMcGirr83 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:14 am

And then once the membership runs out? Member must be removed from paid status.
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Re: Paid Member Areas

Post by Toxyy » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:21 pm

RMcGirr83 wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:14 am
And then once the membership runs out? Member must be removed from paid status.
Could be integrated with autogroups based on a date
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