Paid Membership Forums? Seriously?

by Alex Sol 56 replies
Hello, Warriors!
I keep on hearing people talking how great a paid membership forum could be! You charge the members $10-$20 a month and there you go - recurring income, most importantly it could be done in almost any niche!

... Well, I think of it now - what exactly does "almost every niche" mean?

I have a FREE Car forum and it's hard to get members...
So, honestly, who would pay for a forum where people talk about:
- Running Car on Water
- Learning a language
- Breading fish
- Training Dogs
- Getting Married...

Whatever... forum with these subjects are available for free, so who would pay for a membership?... All the information on these subjects could be found for free on the first page of Google... seriously...

What are your thoughts on paid membership forums?

Alex
#main internet marketing discussion forum #forums #membership #paid #paid membership forum
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  • Profile picture of the author TheRichJerksNet
    Well this could work but the huge difference would have to be the value that you are giving for that monthly fee..

    Example:

    Free dog training forum would offer discussions on dogs, breeds of dogs, type of trainers and etc ...

    A Paid Membership Forum on Dog Training would offer the above but offer higher quality content not found on the free forum + offer video instruction on how to train your dog, classified ads section for trainers, and etc ...

    The difference would be higher quality content not found anyplace else, that is when people pay for the membership..

    James
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  • Profile picture of the author matthewd
    It might not with every niche, but out of the examples you listed I could see it working in Dog Training and Getting Married.
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    • Profile picture of the author bryce
      The other way to possibly look at this, is that not necessarily does the entire forum have to present the value.

      It may be that one or two areas within the forum are the areas that you charge for. So as an example in Dog Training, it may be that you hook up with a couple of local professionals in "grooming" or "behavioural analysis" and you have them online for a couple of hours each every week or month, and members can access their immediate assistance for issues they may have.

      I am about to set up a horse racing forum, and although the main forum will be about horse racing in general (which I know very little about really), the paid sections will be for access to a selection service I have been privately providing to a few people for more than 10 years, and also for allwinnersPRO which is a new product I developed that guarantees winning every race a member puts money on, anywhere in the world.

      The point is that the members (free or otherwise) will drive their own topical discussion on the main forums, but they will have to pay to access the listed areas.

      Just my 2cents
      Bryce
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Sol
        Originally Posted by bryce View Post

        The other way to possibly look at this, is that not necessarily does the entire forum have to present the value.

        It may be that one or two areas within the forum are the areas that you charge for. So as an example in Dog Training, it may be that you hook up with a couple of local professionals in "grooming" or "behavioural analysis" and you have them online for a couple of hours each every week or month, and members can access their immediate assistance for issues they may have.

        I am about to set up a horse racing forum, and although the main forum will be about horse racing in general (which I know very little about really), the paid sections will be for access to a selection service I have been privately providing to a few people for more than 10 years, and also for allwinnersPRO which is a new product I developed that guarantees winning every race a member puts money on, anywhere in the world.

        The point is that the members (free or otherwise) will drive their own topical discussion on the main forums, but they will have to pay to access the listed areas.

        Just my 2cents
        Bryce
        Nice reply, Bryce - but once again, Betting on Horses, and well, Horses in general is for people who have money So I think it is a little easier to squeeze money from these folks, they have the $$$ and they are ready to spend it!

        Thanks for the link, Dave! I'll read it now!
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        Alex Sol, Full time online marketer since 2007
        The Extra Paycheck Blog | Extra Paycheck Podcast
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  • Profile picture of the author Dave777
    Hi Alex,

    It's all about brainstorming, offering Valuable & Time saving information and Not worrying about the competition...

    Great warrior example!
    http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...have-done.html

    Dave
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Sol
    Thanks for the replies...
    I know about the quality, but even Dog training - there are free training videos all over youtube and other free sites...

    But I guess providing high quality info will only work in a few niches (those that have LOTS of $$$ to spend, or that are really desperate)...

    I was also thinking about the "Quit Smoking" e-books... What would you put on a PAID MEMBERSHIP QUIT SMOKING Forum... since even the government offers free help and programs... or quitting smoking/drinking cannot be made into a paid membership site?


    Originally Posted by Dave777 View Post

    Hi Alex,

    It's all about brainstorming, offering Valuable & Time saving information and Not worrying about the competition...

    Great warrior example!
    Thank You Warriors - I Have Done It...
    http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...have-done.html

    Dave
    The link doesn't work EDIT: Link is fixed!
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    Alex Sol, Full time online marketer since 2007
    The Extra Paycheck Blog | Extra Paycheck Podcast
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    • Profile picture of the author Dave777
      Originally Posted by kiev View Post

      Thanks for the replies...
      I know about the quality, but even Dog training - there are free training videos all over youtube and other free sites...

      But I guess providing high quality info will only work in a few niches (those that have LOTS of $$$ to spend, or that are really desperate)...

      I was also thinking about the "Quit Smoking" e-books... What would you put on a PAID MEMBERSHIP QUIT SMOKING Forum... since even the government offers free help and programs... or quitting smoking/drinking cannot be made into a paid membership site?




      The link doesn't work
      Fixed! Go duplicate the idea into a Gazillion other niche possibilities...

      Dave
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  • Profile picture of the author Eric Lorence
    Just curious, How many are actually making a decent income in relation to work by running a subscription forum?

    And if anyone is, how long did it take to become established?

    Another question, who would be the membership of a wedding forum, those in the wedding planning business?

    Just seems odd that someone planning to be married, would join and then continue to pay a fee for a wedding site. Since the process of planning a wedding would only be a couple of months.

    Best!
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Sol
      Originally Posted by Eric Lorence View Post

      Just curious, How many are actually making a decent income in relation to work by running a subscription forum?

      And if anyone is, how long did it take to become established?

      Another question, who would be the membership of a wedding forum, those in the wedding planning business?

      Just seems odd that someone planning to be married, would join and then continue to pay a fee for a wedding site. Since the process of planning a wedding would only be a couple of months.

      Best!
      Hey, Eric!
      I'd have to disagree... A while ago I wanted to get into the Wedding niche so I joined FREE forum... Oh My, these girl start getting ready 1 year in advance. A few that I remember had over 3000 posts within a year... that's almost 10 post per day - EVERY day!... A few months is a huge underestimation
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      • Profile picture of the author Eric Lorence
        Yes, come to think of it, my mother-n-law... (2 years planning)

        But anyway, I'm hearing that as a great niche, but couldn't decide on forum or minisite.

        Thanks for the thread!

        Best!
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      • Profile picture of the author bryce
        Originally Posted by kiev View Post

        Hey, Eric!
        I'd have to disagree... A while ago I wanted to get into the Wedding niche so I joined FREE forum... Oh My, these girl start getting ready 1 year in advance. A few that I remember had over 3000 posts within a year... that's almost 10 post per day - EVERY day!... A few months is a huge underestimation
        Totally agree with this. In my day job I control the venue management for a function centre that focuses primarily on weddings. Most of the clients would be confirming their venue booking at least a year in advance, and the venue is only one component of the wedding. Weddings are a creative experience and therefore ideas, particularly other peoples experiences are always used to pull off the final event. Most of our business would come from online sales, and word of mouth. Most of these people belong to forums, and Wedding sites.

        Bryce
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    • Profile picture of the author Tony M.
      Originally Posted by Eric Lorence View Post

      Another question, who would be the membership of a wedding forum, those in the wedding planning business?

      Just seems odd that someone planning to be married, would join and then continue to pay a fee for a wedding site. Since the process of planning a wedding would only be a couple of months.
      Sell a membership to other wedding planning businesses. Give them advice on how to get more couples and satisfy them.

      The law of marketing is as simple as :

      If you can do, do.
      If you can't do, teach.
      If you can't teach, teach the teachers.
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      • Profile picture of the author MaskedMarketer
        Originally Posted by ceejay77 View Post

        why use a paid forum when there are loads of free ones
        Do you see how much BS is on free forums? If you want to cut threw the BS then having a private membership site that your an expert in can benefit others. TIME is MONEY. If your wasting your time searching for stuff that doesn't work or is a waste of time, you are wasting money too.


        Originally Posted by getsmartt View Post

        hmmm....
        Why would anyone pay for IM products when 90%+ of what you need to know is freely available on the Warrior Forum (among other places).

        I don't know but I know I have a whole boat load of information that I have paid for.
        1- because its always good to see other peoples view on techniques. Sure, some products are BS, but some are also good. Also, sales letters are designed to get you to withdraw your CC

        2- As I stated above, you can save time buy purchasing and ebook or a coach. Time is money and if your wasting your time you are wasting money.


        Its about creativeness and perceived value. Make the membership limited (sarcity) and make it exclusive (private or "invite only"). Make sure pereived value is high but also overdeliver. If this is a buying niche you should do well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    Set up the Wedding planning site... Charge $10 - $27 a month or $97 for 12 months and advertise on other wedding forums and blogs, etc..

    People who are planning a wedding will want info on a lot of stuff and you could also make a good buck on affiliate referrals too.

    Mike Hill
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  • Profile picture of the author Ben Roy
    Kiev, you seem to making one fatal assumption - that people won't pay for something that's available for free. Wrong!

    People pay for all kinds of content that they could get for free. Why? Because what's being sold to them is what they find first when they search. Because what's being sold to them is all wrapped up in a shiny package and screaming, "buy me, I'm easy and all that you need!"
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    • Profile picture of the author Eric Lorence
      Originally Posted by Ben Roy View Post

      Kiev, you seem to making one fatal assumption - that people won't pay for something that's available for free. Wrong!

      People pay for all kinds of content that they could get for free. Why? Because what's being sold to them is what they find first when they search. Because what's being sold to them is all wrapped up in a shiny package and screaming, "buy me, I'm easy and all that you need!"
      Agreed, subconsciously or whatever people perceive "free" as being "sub-quality".

      Many people, myself included will pay to get a premium service or product.

      Best!
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    • Profile picture of the author sylviad
      Originally Posted by Ben Roy View Post

      Kiev, you seem to making one fatal assumption - that people won't pay for something that's available for free. Wrong!

      People pay for all kinds of content that they could get for free. Why? Because what's being sold to them is what they find first when they search. Because what's being sold to them is all wrapped up in a shiny package and screaming, "buy me, I'm easy and all that you need!"
      Ben,
      Must be a Canadian thing... I, too, can't get by the fact that so much is free, why would people pay? In reading this thread, however, I see that there are benefits in a membership site that people won't get for free.

      1) Bonding with like-minded people (consider Warriors & the Forum) who share your experiences and concerns and can share them with you and help you resolve yours. A Forum membership is the ideal medium.

      2) First-hand feedback from a specialist in their area of interest, ie: a wedding planner, a wedding consultant, etc. for a wedding membership site.

      3) Everything they need in one place... from asking the big question to flying off on that long-awaited honeymoon. Advice every step of the way, including insight into potential problems they might encounter and how to handle them.

      If you choose to go with a forum membership site, you can add a series of reports dealing with each step of the wedding and honeymoon planning. Offer them to members at a huge discount before "releasing to the general public". Make your members feel privileged.

      As someone already stated, wedding planning lasts longer than a few months... yes, 2 years in some cases. You can always start a second membership site that provides a member forum and quality information products /articles for marriage issues, such as how to deal with certain aspects of married life - starting with Day 1 (after the honeymoon).

      The potential for a wedding-related membership is huge if done right.

      One consideration, however. If you're looking at a dog training membership site, check out the competition. There's a ton of information out there on this topic, including member sites. See what they're doing and whether you can add something unique. You might find it a little tough to compete on this topic.

      Sylvia
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      • Profile picture of the author Richard Tunnah
        Sorry forgot to mention a couple of important points about paid over free forums. The free football forums that I visit are supported by lots of ads but not enough to pay for bandwithe at busy times so sites do disappear for periods of time (sometimes hours) or can become very, very slow to load pages. My mates paid football forum is down very little over the last 10 years as he is hosted on dedicated servers.

        I think if you offer a premium service then you'll get people that will pay for it.


        Rich
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        • Profile picture of the author Alex Sol
          I am really starting to like this thread.

          I'll start a Wedding Forum ... and I will promote the new forum there: The Easy Way to a Successful divorce... okok, i'm joking...

          I understand many privileges/quality/privacy points, as I, myself am a paid member on 2 forums. One of them is free but I pay for the "Premium" access which gives me the right to:

          - Access and post in "Private Lounge" section
          - Use a bigger avatar
          - Not seeing Adsense or any other ads even on the FREE sections on the forum...

          ... and the funniest thing is, it is a car forum.

          But I would really appreciate of someone could give some opinions on a specific subject: Alcoholism...

          What If I was to start a paid membership site or a forum, to help people with their drinking issue? It could be marketed to those who KNOW and ADMIT they have a drinking problem BUT it could also be marketed to friends and family of these folks...

          So far so good - right? However, I have a big competitor - the AA. So, why these people would PAY to access my forum when they could join a free government-provided program?

          Thanks,

          Alex
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          Alex Sol, Full time online marketer since 2007
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          • Profile picture of the author ShayB
            Originally Posted by kiev View Post

            I am really starting to like this thread.

            I'll start a Wedding Forum ... and I will promote the new forum there: The Easy Way to a Successful divorce... okok, i'm joking...

            I understand many privileges/quality/privacy points, as I, myself am a paid member on 2 forums. One of them is free but I pay for the "Premium" access which gives me the right to:

            - Access and post in "Private Lounge" section
            - Use a bigger avatar
            - Not seeing Adsense or any other ads even on the FREE sections on the forum...

            ... and the funniest thing is, it is a car forum.

            But I would really appreciate of someone could give some opinions on a specific subject: Alcoholism...

            What If I was to start a paid membership site or a forum, to help people with their drinking issue? It could be marketed to those who KNOW and ADMIT they have a drinking problem BUT it could also be marketed to friends and family of these folks...

            So far so good - right? However, I have a big competitor - the AA. So, why these people would PAY to access my forum when they could join a free government-provided program?

            Thanks,

            Alex
            The answer is simple - you have to provide something that AA doesn't.

            Now, the difficult part is, "What is the unique service I could provide to make this worth a membership fee?"

            I will post more in a moment - cookies are ready and I don't want them to burn.
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            • Profile picture of the author ShayB
              Originally Posted by Shay60654 View Post

              The answer is simple - you have to provide something that AA doesn't.

              Now, the difficult part is, "What is the unique service I could provide to make this worth a membership fee?"
              Okay. Let's put our thinking caps on. :rolleyes: <-----This is me concentrating really hard. If you try, you can smell the smoke.

              Anyway, I am not too familiar with AA, but I do know they offer support and anonymity.

              So, kiev, let's brainstorm. What can you offer that AA doesn't? Just toss out some ideas and we can work from there.
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              • Profile picture of the author Alex Sol
                Originally Posted by Shay60654 View Post

                Okay. Let's put our thinking caps on. :rolleyes: <-----This is me concentrating really hard. If you try, you can smell the smoke.

                Anyway, I am not too familiar with AA, but I do know they offer support and anonymity.

                So, kiev, let's brainstorm. What can you offer that AA doesn't? Just toss out some ideas and we can work from there.
                I like your replies, and what is your Paypal address? I'll transfer you some money so you could FedEx me some cookies

                Alright.

                Well I think the biggest issue with AA is that you still need to go see other people. I think it's easier to admit you have a drinking problem without showing your face... What if you come to a meeting and see your co-worker, brother, ex...? It would be embarrassing. On the internet, however, you can admit the same problem BUT without showing your face...

                Another important point (I believe it is important) - people get lazier and lazier... This is why online shopping got so popular, people don't want to spoil their Thursday afternoon going to the mall - let alone going to an AA meeting...

                These are the 2 things a forum could easily solve!

                Alex
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                • Profile picture of the author ShayB
                  Originally Posted by kiev View Post

                  I like your replies, and what is your Paypal address? I'll transfer you some money so you could FedEx me some cookies

                  Alright.

                  Well I think the biggest issue with AA is that you still need to go see other people. I think it's easier to admit you have a drinking problem without showing your face... What if you come to a meeting and see your co-worker, brother, ex...? It would be embarrassing. On the internet, however, you can admit the same problem BUT without showing your face...

                  Another important point (I believe it is important) - people get lazier and lazier... This is why online shopping got so popular, people don't want to spoil their Thursday afternoon going to the mall - let alone going to an AA meeting...

                  These are the 2 things a forum could easily solve!

                  Alex
                  LOL Do you prefer peanut butter or chocolate chip?

                  The issues you raise with AA are also issues with programs like Weight Watchers. WW offers both in-person and online options.

                  You can make the co-worker/brother/etc. issue a big selling point. "Accountability with true anonymity" or something similar.
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                  "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships called Enterprise." ~Commander Riker
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                  • Profile picture of the author ShayB
                    Kiev -

                    Why don't you find a free AA forum and simply ask the posters/members there what they wish the forum would offer?

                    Or ask AA members what drawbacks there are to the program that might be better online.
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                    "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships called Enterprise." ~Commander Riker
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                    • Profile picture of the author ShayB
                      Or do a Google search for "AA sucks" and see what problems people have had with AA.

                      If you can solve those issues, it might be a bazillion dollar idea for you.

                      (Please send me my share in small, unmarked bills, please. j/k)
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                      "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships called Enterprise." ~Commander Riker
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                      • Profile picture of the author Alex Sol
                        Originally Posted by Shay60654 View Post

                        Or do a Google search for "AA sucks" and see what problems people have had with AA.

                        If you can solve those issues, it might be a bazillion dollar idea for you.

                        (Please send me my share in small, unmarked bills, please. j/k)
                        LOL!

                        Well I actually did ask that question on the forum - but never got a reply...

                        The Google search is a good idea
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                        Alex Sol, Full time online marketer since 2007
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                        • Profile picture of the author ShayB
                          Originally Posted by kiev View Post

                          LOL!

                          Well I actually did ask that question on the forum - but never got a reply...

                          The Google search is a good idea
                          If you hang out on the forum long enough, you can probably get some ideas for what people want.
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                          "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships called Enterprise." ~Commander Riker
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                          • Profile picture of the author Alex Sol
                            Originally Posted by Shay60654 View Post

                            If you hang out on the forum long enough, you can probably get some ideas for what people want.
                            That's what I will do I guess I hope I won't start drinking like a mad man, reading these people's posts
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          • Profile picture of the author Kevin Caldbeck
            Originally Posted by kiev View Post

            I am really starting to like this thread.

            I'll start a Wedding Forum ... and I will promote the new forum there: The Easy Way to a Successful divorce... okok, i'm joking...
            With the Divorce rate being as high as it these days, you might want to re-think this. What is it, 50% or higher, so 50% of your original clients would be in need of your divorce services in the future.

            Maybe offer it as a OTO (Reserve Your Spot Now, Be Prepared For The Future) :rolleyes:


            Kevin
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  • Profile picture of the author ceejay77
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author trafficwave
      Originally Posted by ceejay77 View Post

      why use a paid forum when there are loads of free ones
      There are a ton of free weightloss boards, forums, etc...

      And there are an awful lot of paid weightloss forums.

      Why do people pay?

      Convenience
      Perceived credibility
      Community support
      Bonding
      Accountability
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  • Profile picture of the author jimjam
    this guy has over 28000 members at £10 ($18) a year! www.motorhomefacts.com
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    • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
      So, honestly, who would pay for a forum where people talk about:
      - Running Car on Water
      - Learning a language
      - Breading fish
      - Training Dogs
      - Getting Married...
      No one unless there are hundreds of other people telling them how great it is.
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      • Profile picture of the author David_Thompson
        Guys aren't we just talking about a membership site disguise as a forum?
        To me it seems like that and most forums can work like membership scripts
        but the main question is who would want to pay for a forum that doesn't
        have much content or members, Who delivers the content?

        --David
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        • Profile picture of the author jjpmarketing
          Kiev,

          While it may seem like noone would pay for content that is free on Google, YouTube, etc... there are people who would simply because you put A, and B, and C all in one location. Instead of them having to look on Google for A, YouTube for B, and elsewhere for C.
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          • Profile picture of the author Eric Lorence
            Originally Posted by jjpmarketing View Post

            Kiev,

            While it may seem like noone would pay for content that is free on Google, YouTube, etc... there are people who would simply because you put A, and B, and C all in one location. Instead of them having to look on Google for A, YouTube for B, and elsewhere for C.
            I think you just stated the foundation of IM, after all, as far as information, people can find everything they want or need for free.

            But they will be far more likely to pay if they can find everything they need in one place.

            So instead of selling "information" what your really selling is "time" and "convenience".

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            • Profile picture of the author ShayB
              There is one other reason I don't believe has been mentioned here: privacy.

              I know of some forums that offer a sort of privacy or seclusion to the members - not that it is a strict privacy, of course, but a sense that the entire world cannot see what you are saying/writing.

              This would be very useful in some niches - perhaps certain medical conditions or some other niche with a stigma attached.

              Some people would be willing to pay to join a membership site if there was value along with a certain amount of privacy.

              JMHO
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              "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships called Enterprise." ~Commander Riker
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              • Profile picture of the author ShayB
                I will give an example of privacy being a selling point.

                There are online moms groups all over the place. There are even some that meet in person.

                However, some moms feel better paying a fee and joining a group that is private and the members are somewhat screened, even though they could get the same product (i.e. playdates, meet other moms) by joining a free group.
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                "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships called Enterprise." ~Commander Riker
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              • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
                Originally Posted by Shay60654 View Post

                There is one other reason I don't believe has been mentioned here: privacy.

                I know of some forums that offer a sort of privacy or seclusion to the members - not that it is a strict privacy, of course, but a sense that the entire world cannot see what you are saying/writing.

                This would be very useful in some niches - perhaps certain medical conditions or some other niche with a stigma attached.

                Some people would be willing to pay to join a membership site if there was value along with a certain amount of privacy.

                JMHO
                The desire for privacy can be quite differently motivated than embarrassment, as in the example of medical conditions or something with a stigma attached.

                It's also valuing a place where you can ask questions and receive help away from public scrutiny.

                For example, I have a paid membership forum where business owners pay $49 or $99 a month. They value the opportunity to get and give advice in a setting where people trust each other to keep the information confidential and where the cost of entry helps ensure that the other people offering or getting help are relatively serious in their business goals.

                It has nothing to do with stigma or shame and everything to do with wanting to zoom ahead with advice that's not searchable by their clients.

                The motive can also be the opportunity to get closer to a mentor. For example, I subscribe to Bill Myers' private site because he has such a wealth of wisdom on product marketing and I want to be able to know what's on his mind and on his workbench, so to speak.

                Marcia Yudkin
                Head Mentor, Marketing for More
                Marketing for More Mentoring Program
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                • Profile picture of the author ShayB
                  Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

                  The desire for privacy can be quite differently motivated than embarrassment, as in the example of medical conditions or something with a stigma attached.

                  It's also valuing a place where you can ask questions and receive help away from public scrutiny.

                  For example, I have a paid membership forum where business owners pay $49 or $99 a month. They value the opportunity to get and give advice in a setting where people trust each other to keep the information confidential and where the cost of entry helps ensure that the other people offering or getting help are relatively serious in their business goals.

                  It has nothing to do with stigma or shame and everything to do with wanting to zoom ahead with advice that's not searchable by their clients.

                  The motive can also be the opportunity to get closer to a mentor. For example, I subscribe to Bill Myers' private site because he has such a wealth of wisdom on product marketing and I want to be able to know what's on his mind and on his workbench, so to speak.

                  Marcia Yudkin
                  Head Mentor, Marketing for More
                  Marketing for More Mentoring Program
                  Marcia -

                  I inderstand it does not have to be shame - as I pointed out in the post right after the one you quoted.

                  The great thing about paid forums is that there are numerous reasons people will pay to belong to one!
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                  "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships called Enterprise." ~Commander Riker
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                  • Profile picture of the author Alex Sol
                    Originally Posted by Shay60654 View Post

                    Marcia -

                    I inderstand it does not have to be shame - as I pointed out in the post right after the one you quoted.

                    The great thing about paid forums is that there are numerous reasons people will pay to belong to one!
                    Sometimes those reasons are hard to figure out though... really hard/.
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                    Alex Sol, Full time online marketer since 2007
                    The Extra Paycheck Blog | Extra Paycheck Podcast
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                    • Profile picture of the author ShayB
                      Originally Posted by kiev View Post

                      Sometimes those reasons are hard to figure out though... really hard/.
                      It can be, but that is why you have forums like this one filled with priceless pearls of wisdom!
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                      "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships called Enterprise." ~Commander Riker
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                • Profile picture of the author Nonny
                  Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

                  For example, I have a paid membership forum where business owners pay $49 or $99 a month. They value the opportunity to get and give advice in a setting where people trust each other to keep the information confidential and where the cost of entry helps ensure that the other people offering or getting help are relatively serious in their business goals.
                  While it's nice that there are free forums on many topics, the low bar to join (usually only an email address) often results in low-quality discussion. I think there is an added value to professional or even hobby-related forums that have a membership fee that is high enough to discourage people who aren't serious about the topic in joining. If a forum can includes participating members who are experts on the topic at hand and who don't participate anywhere else, then I think it would be worth a fee to join.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Ricter
                    Originally Posted by Nonny View Post

                    While it's nice that there are free forums on many topics, the low bar to join (usually only an email address) often results in low-quality discussion. I think there is an added value to professional or even hobby-related forums that have a membership fee that is high enough to discourage people who aren't serious about the topic in joining. If a forum can includes participating members who are experts on the topic at hand and who don't participate anywhere else, then I think it would be worth a fee to join.
                    You beat me to it: exclusivity. You know when you go to a $300 a plate dinner that the other guests won't be in a "let's pop into McDonald's tonight" state of mind, or clothing.
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  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    I think you have to partner with the members in a way that everyone sees the advantages of a coordinated effort to add value for everyone.
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  • Profile picture of the author getsmartt
    hmmm....
    Why would anyone pay for IM products when 90%+ of what you need to know is freely available on the Warrior Forum (among other places).

    I don't know but I know I have a whole boat load of information that I have paid for.
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    Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker

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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    Shay is so very correct...

    One of the great purposes of joining a membership site is to be able to aggregate "behind the wall". They can ask stupid questions without feeling embarrassed. They can ensure that they are surrounded by like minded people. They can avoid hostile flamers... And on an on.

    Whether or not those things are technically true is almost secondary (of course RETENTION has everything to do with staying congruent with that mental ideal).

    It is the picture they have painted in their own mind for "why" they would pay when they could join somewhere else for free.

    Furthermore, this barely scratches the surface of the "embarrasing" topics that people would rather discuss in protected privacy - all manner of personally humiliating conditions or perceptions at work there...

    Then, you have the "elite" ego at work... Remember, people do not buy what you sell, they buy an imagined experience BENEFITING from what you sell. When you help them feel superior by charging at the door - keeping out the riff raff - you reinforce the pleasure that the buyer receives doing "what others will not... and being what other are not..."

    Just wanted to chime in. Carry on...

    Brian
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  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    How about this. A 12 month long course you the GURU construct.
    At every juncture of progress each buyer is given a password
    to access a new private forum where you, the guru, hold court
    and answer advanced questions from the members, provide
    additional "hidden" resources, and an environment of secrecy
    and exclusivity.

    The forum becomes an "advantage" or even an upsell to the
    basic 12 month course. It allows buyers to better implement
    the course components and network with other advancing
    participants. If the course emphasizes networking with other
    "in the know" in order to receive maximim benefit, then making
    others "in the know" accessible would be a logical upsell.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Sol
    Thanks, guys and girls! Some great replies in here, and so of you really got me thinking
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    Alex Sol, Full time online marketer since 2007
    The Extra Paycheck Blog | Extra Paycheck Podcast
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    • Profile picture of the author Darrell Hagan
      Seems like adult forums in general do pretty well with charging for access to certain areas.
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  • Profile picture of the author Richard Tunnah
    My mate runs a successful paid football (soccer) forum and has done for nearly 10 years. There are a number of free websites that have sprung off it but he still makes a stable income (and a very good one at that) from his. Why? Well because he offers lots of stuff like news feeds in one place and a number of competitions. He charges $60 a year so not massive money but he has over 5,000 members paying this every year plus he gets extra money from betting companies he runs exclusive member only offers too.

    Rich
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Sol
    Well I did ask a specific question just 5 posts higher - no answer yet
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    Alex Sol, Full time online marketer since 2007
    The Extra Paycheck Blog | Extra Paycheck Podcast
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  • Profile picture of the author getsmartt
    AA atleast in the states is not provided by the goverment but privately funded through donations... but that is beside the point.

    Many people do not use AA because of it's religious connotations, you could supply a service that does not include religion.

    AA has meetings throughout the day in most places but in rural areas meetings are not as commonplace, you can supply 24 hour support and virtual meetings.

    Some people although they admit to be alcoholics still have trouble getting infront of people and admitting the problems, you can provide a more "private" forum.

    any or all of these may be reason enough for people to pay
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Sol
      Originally Posted by getsmartt View Post

      AA atleast in the states is not provided by the goverment but privately funded through donations... but that is beside the point.

      Many people do not use AA because of it's religious connotations, you could supply a service that does not include religion.

      AA has meetings throughout the day in most places but in rural areas meetings are not as commonplace, you can supply 24 hour support and virtual meetings.

      Some people although they admit to be alcoholics still have trouble getting infront of people and admitting the problems, you can provide a more "private" forum.

      any or all of these may be reason enough for people to pay
      It's not funded by the government?
      Involves religious connotations?

      Wow, I didn't know that! Thanks for the info
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      Alex Sol, Full time online marketer since 2007
      The Extra Paycheck Blog | Extra Paycheck Podcast
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  • It's only a matter of time before most forums will charge because look at all the advertising that we can get for free,always talking about our products,our life and ect.People know who we are and we make money.
    And Online Forums are looking at forums as a service now for you and me.

    The Internets going to change soon, and what better way to do it... than to get people hooked on a forum and then pull the rug out from underneath them by charging a few bucks a month.

    I bet that if long time users of this Warrior forum was to get charged or give up thier accounts, they'd pay a few bucks to stay here.
    Think about it. It's going to happen.
    Back in the 1990's all the search engines where building thier huge data based websites, and anyone could get backlinks for free. These HUge search engines needed people, but once they became huge they knew they had people hooked and could charged people to host thier business links.

    Of coarse many of us know how to get our websites linked and ranked on google for free, but the average guy online pays to get his website on google and the other search engines....and 99.9 % of the people are average and understand very little of the Internet and how to get sites ranked for free.

    Anyways.....The same thing will happen in the forum markets I have known this for years.

    This opportunty of being on a forum for free, will pass by soon.
    Yet while you can still take advantage of these forums you can build your own websites for free also, get high rankings on google. So we are still in the frontier days of the Internet, anyone can still make it big and get rich. If I were someone starting out today, I'd try and get at least 10 web sites started and hold on to them.
    Over the years I have had many number 1 ranked sites, from music to bodybuilding and how to make money online and many others.
    Some day the average ranked website could be worth tons of cash to those who have them, a real gold mine. So don't sell them all out people.

    But soon these free forum days will end.
    And just like land in the 1800's in the USA, their will be NO MORE online Markets to own. So get your's now .
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Sol
      Originally Posted by Cash Blasters Online View Post

      It's only a matter of time before most forums will charge because look at all the advertising that we can get for free,always talking about our products,our life and ect.People know who we are and we make money.
      And Online Forums are looking at forums as a service now for you and me.

      The Internets going to change soon, and what better way to do it... than to get people hooked on a forum and then pull the rug out from underneath them by charging a few bucks a month.

      I bet that if long time users of this Warrior forum was to get charged or give up thier accounts, they'd pay a few bucks to stay here.
      Think about it. It's going to happen.
      Back in the 1990's all the search engines where building thier huge data based websites, and anyone could get backlinks for free. These HUge search engines needed people, but once they became huge they knew they had people hooked and could charged people to host thier business links.

      Of coarse many of us know how to get our websites linked and ranked on google for free, but the average guy online pays to get his website on google and the other search engines....and 99.9 % of the people are average and understand very little of the Internet and how to get sites ranked for free.

      Anyways.....The same thing will happen in the forum markets I have known this for years.

      This opportunty of being on a forum for free, will pass by soon.
      Yet while you can still take advantage of these forums you can build your own websites for free also, get high rankings on google. So we are still in the frontier days of the Internet, anyone can still make it big and get rich. If I were someone starting out today, I'd try and get at least 10 web sites started and hold on to them.
      Over the years I have had many number 1 ranked sites, from music to bodybuilding and how to make money online and many others.
      Some day the average ranked website could be worth tons of cash to those who have them, a real gold mine. So don't sell them all out people.

      But soon these free forum days will end.
      And just like land in the 1800's in the USA, their will be NO MORE online Markets to own. So get your's now .
      Wow, so dramatic! Seriously... it scared me.
      ... however I don't see how there will be
      NO MORE online Markets to own...
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      Alex Sol, Full time online marketer since 2007
      The Extra Paycheck Blog | Extra Paycheck Podcast
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  • Profile picture of the author Louis Raven
    It's all about presentation. The War room for example and my own traffic 4 3 (december) are both elite products but they have the added benefit of allowing communication with others using that product.

    Of course, it doesn't depend on the niche/category but more on quality and value.

    I know some gurus who added a forum to their product and sold it as an upsell for $1000 as a "workshop".

    Louis
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