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Making users pay for using our sites

 10:02 pm on Jun 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

We are considering turning sever sites with high user retention value into protected pay-for-play sites. What system would you put together to do it? What software? What's the key to making a subscription based site work?



 11:10 pm on Jun 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hi Brett,

Easiest systems for pay to play are one of two subscription based processors. One being ccbill.com a large company out of Arizona,
They have easy set up full client admin tools and a built in partnership system as well as the ability to except cehck and credit card. Then there is Ibill they have a bit steeper learning curve and are not quite as easy to set up .... You will need your own scripts or but them. With ccbill.com its pretty much add a .htaccess file and chmod there cgi script they provide. Both have weekly or biweekly payouts etc .... Are you thinking of making webmasters world and search engine world subscription based ? If so remember me if you use either one of these guys hahahaha
I think a years subscription would pay for my consulting fee hahahaha ; )


 4:00 pm on Jun 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

It seems like a lot of sites that convert to paid status lose a ton of traffic, and either go belly-up or switch back to free. My personal belief is that the key to making it work is to make the payment low enough that it isn't a barrier. As an extreme example of what NOT to do, IMO, is statsmarket.com. These guys used to provide free, useful web stats before converting to a paid model - with a subscription price of $10K per year! Sure, Microsoft, Amazon, and a few dozen or hundreds of other companies can justify this kind of expense, but 99% of the potential market can't. I think in their case, they should go with a bronze, silver, & gold subscriptions. Soak the biggies for the most complete and up to date stats, but at the lowest level give simple but useful stats for, say, $49.95 per year. They might be able to sign up tens of thousands at that level. Depending on the site and the traffic level, a $10 or $20 payment wouldn't deter too many people; as the price goes up, people will evaluate the cost/benefit ratio and fewer will sign up.

The other issue is competitition. If someone is offering similar services for free, even if they aren't quite as good, there is a possibility that the paid service will be perceived as a rip-off. Certainly, there are some people who won't pay for anything. These people will migrate to the free offering, potentially strengthening it in terms of traffic and user participation.


 4:09 pm on Jun 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

They also offer co-lo at OC13 speed [going to OC48]


 9:33 pm on Jun 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

The influence of WebmasterWorld reaches everywhere: A couple of days after making the above post complaining about their high prices, I got an e-mail from statmarket.com that began as follows:

Hello, Thanks for contacting us recently about StatMarket. We wanted to let you know that StatMarket is offering significant price reductions on reports and subscriptions from now through the end of June. To refresh your memory, StatMarket is the most accurate source of data on global Internet user trends. StatMarket provides data by country or industry on the market share of browsers, OS's, screen resolutions, and more. (For a detailed list of what is offered at StatMarket go to [statmarket.com...] We are also offering discounts on our MyStatMarket site audits and HitBox services, which allow you to get the same information StatMarket provides (and more) for individual Web sites. Again, this is a special offer for the month of June.

Well, maybe WebmasterWorld didn't REALLY cause this... it appears to be a reply to an e-mail i sent six months ago telling 'em they were doofuses. Timely nonetheless... ;)


 6:18 pm on Jul 1, 2001 (gmt 0)

I think one of the problems you would encounter with making webmasterworld (if that's the idea) PFP is this: You'll lose alot of the spontaneous posts and alienate people that have never had a chance to use it for free. There may be plenty of retention and the reason is content, and the content isn't just from a few people it's from a large group of people everywhere.

A good subscription based model would be to charge for your newsletter, assuming you have a steady base, but once you start charging it won't grow as quickly.

Another good model would be to hold back portions of the site that have all of the new methods of SEO that you come up with basically access to your methodology.

Don't know how much this helps, but I can say when content goes from free to paid you're bound to lose a few people in any business.


 3:33 am on Jul 3, 2001 (gmt 0)

>WMW reaches everywhere:

I think some people may faint dead away if they knew who was all reading here. I would bet that we are in the top 20 sites on the net for referral strings that come from secure sites (eg, people talking behind closed doors).

I've went to school on this whole issue of subscription based sites, and I've learned more than I realized was out there. Thanks to everyone for the feedback. This thread and other other ones on pfp, breed email like rabbits. This is a smoldering hot topic, I'm sure we will come back to it in the next year time and time again.


 2:50 am on Jul 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

I-sales and the related family of publications is grapling with the same issue of possible paid subscriptions. No matter how ya look at it, a paid subscription model changes everything. Not necessarily something that can be quantified, but the variety of posts narrows, the perspectives converge due to a narrower band of contributors.

If we assume that funding is needed ideally the best way to go IMHO should be the donation model. With the deal offered, 3x your donation credited to any future subscription fees, or a banner free view, ya can't lose. Think of it as insurance. That's a rather compelling value proposition to those who make regular use ofthe site. If there is a certain point that needs to be reached funding wise, maybe a thermometer type thing tracking contributions somewhere on the site.


 6:51 am on Jul 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

Well, I was actually talking in this thread more of some other sites (clients), but it does work in with what we are doing here Skibum.

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