Premium membership. What do you offer to your members?

Kathy

Tazmanian Veteran
Joined
Jan 1, 2004
Messages
9,030
Do you use the idea of upgraded membership for a fee/subscription payment?

What kind of benefits do you give to subscribers?

On my vb 2 board, we customized it so that some usergroups have avatars but normal registered members don't.

Payment provides: avatars, photopost gallery usage, Specialty forums, member badge, etc.

What has worked for you?

(On my site registering over 50 new members per day we only average about 2 subscribers per day)
 

raxafarian

Participant
Joined
Jan 7, 2004
Messages
50
free email.

An 'offtopic' lounge type forum (we severely limit offtopic posts in the normal forums).

We don't have subscribers... the above is given to donators.
 

Wayne Luke

Tazmanian
Joined
Jan 6, 2004
Messages
5,791
I have been thinking about getting a Hivemail license and offering free email to members who donate or subscribe. I might offer personal homepages and integrated blogs as well.

You see my server is very underutilized right now so this would fill it up and make a few bucks to cover its cost.
 

raxafarian

Participant
Joined
Jan 7, 2004
Messages
50
I offered basic webhosting to my members.... 70.00/year for 300MB and 5gig transfer. 125.00/year for 500MB and 10gig transfer.

I am hosting about 8 or 10 sites, which has covered a good chunk of the server. I believe donations have just about covered the rest. Plus, with 10 of us as 'founders', splitting any remaining cost is fairly trivial.

The email accounts I just create in cpanel: membername@thedecostop.com
 

dynamite

Participant
Joined
Jan 7, 2004
Messages
52
Well, I'm going to give this way a try also. I just dished out $180 for a HiveMail license, and am in the process of getting it implemented with vBulletin as well as determining what special features I am going to offer these special subscribers.
 

Joe

bikeforums.net
Joined
Jan 10, 2004
Messages
468
Right now, my donating members get an ad-free forum, larger avatar, more PM's, and a little red star. I ask for a minimum $25 donation, and the donating member status is set for life.
 

Anonymous

Habitué
Joined
Jan 6, 2004
Messages
1,319
I'm trying this at my new site ... http://www.riderinfo.com/thread.php?id=10

But someone on vb.com said it wouldn't work. Normal users can use the site fine, they just can't give their posts any personality. I hope to appeal to vanity to get their $20.

For advertisers I've thought of offering sub-domains for web pages if they don't have one already and of course just general ads.
 

Kathy

Tazmanian Veteran
Joined
Jan 1, 2004
Messages
9,030
When I began the idea of implementing subscriptions, I started first with basics on my forums: no avatars, shortened signatures and limited smilies. I knew that if I was going to add subscribers usergroup, I first had to start off with my members getting enough without getting the icing on the cake.

When I launched subscriptions, I offered avatars, a special title name (with a little icon), and special forums. rather than taking stuff away from any member group, I've tried to add new feautures.

Photopost integrated easily and is configurable with usergroup permissions. My subscribers get to use the photopost, registered members can't.

I also had phpmycard on my site and integrated it to use with just the subscribers. They can send postcards to members and friends....but registered members can't use them.

I've found that the extra goodies appeal to many but the main thing: they like to be recognized as donors/givers/supporters of the site first and foremost.

Which is why...when a person subscribes, their name goes on the top of my forums and on the main page as the latest subscribers.

Like the newest member only it says this:

Thank you to our newest subscribers who help keep this website free:

username, username2, username3.

They watch for their name to be up on the site. Usually stays for a day or less but they love it...along with the extra little icon they get on their profile and postbit for being a subscriber.
 

eva2000

Habitué
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Messages
1,819
i totally went off the idea of free email offerings, i had/have 4 free email domains with over 9,000 users - in 12 months 65% are invalid accounts - then again that is for public sign ups.. but if for subscribers might be nice but my forum audience are 80% most likely unable to even get a credit card until they're older lol
 

Regs

Aspirant
Joined
Jan 13, 2004
Messages
36
I've been running "Premium" memberships for awhile now on my site. Currently, supporters pay $35/yr (Canadian) for various forum perks such as custom avatars, increased PMs, custom user titles, access to hidden forums/picture galleries, more upload space for picture galleries, etc.

Other perks include monthly draws where the winner received over $250 worth of gift certificates to restaurants/bars/stores. They also "play" for larger prizes in some prediction competitions I hold, ie, the top Premium Member wins $100 where the top 'regular' member wins $20.

I also have a loyalty card program which I personally produce/laminate and mail out to each Premium Member. Aside from the coolness/geekiness factor of the card :p they can use the card at participating sponsors for discounts (for example 20% off of their food bill for groups of 4 or more at a certain pub).

I'm currently in the process of revamping certain aspects of the whole "program" which theoretically make things better for all involved. This includes splitting my monthly draws into bi-weekly draws... in effect, I will be doubling the number of 'happy' draw winners and at the same time, doubling the number of bodies going into my sponsor businesses to 'cash' in their winnings, so-to-speak.

So far it's been an interesting endevour and if I ever got of my arse to promote it better to my current members, I might be able to turn a tidy profit :D

Cheers,

~Regs.
 

RedBox

Participant
Joined
Jan 12, 2004
Messages
60
We're just offering the forum without ad banners for subscribers. They hate the ads, we have a top and bottom banner, a skyscraper, and one pop per day.

We're giving them the forum ad free, but the rest of the website has ads. The fee for the ad-free forum is $1 for one week, $10 for 3 months, and $15 for 6 months.

We actually just started it a little more than 24 hours ago. So far, we've raised about $130. Time will tell if it is an overall success.

I thought about offering a private forum that could hold contest information, or other things that would encourage people to subscribe. By contest information, I mean that we would hold contests for small prizes and only subscribers could enter. I'm not sure if that is legal, though. It's something to look into.
 

Sal Collaziano

Womanizer
Joined
Jan 1, 2004
Messages
881
Kathy said:
On my site registering over 50 new members per day we only average about 2 subscribers per day

Hey. You're doing pretty good. I get about 50 new members per day and about 1 subscriber per month! The perks I do are similar to everyone elses.. I'm still in the red but that should eventually change...
 

heynurse

Big Board Admin
Joined
Jan 14, 2004
Messages
168
I am seriously considering implementing paid subscriptions, and I just wanted to say, I'm really glad to come across this discussion, a ton of great minds and ideas here. I'll be sure to post my results when we go forward with this setup.
 

Los

I have no home.
Joined
Jan 13, 2004
Messages
216
Offtopic.com does something like that, where people with avatars and signatures are people who paid a premium for them. A general rule is that people (like myself) who don't help support the site by paying a premium (which is weekly, monthly, or yearly) don't generally have a valid opinion.

No av, no care.

Its a popular line on that forum.
 
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
598
I'd like to hear from those that have paid/premium memberships regarding how well this is working for you?

What do you offer paid members? Do you have different levels of paid memberships? What % of your members upgrade to a paid membership?

Are there options other than paypal for accepting payment?
 

kilcher

Devotee
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
2,914
We charge $15 per year and this is what we give...

Advertisements are removed.
Private message storage increased from 50 to 200.
Photo album storage increased from 2 MB to 6 MB.
Attachment storage increased from 4 MB to 8 MB.
Member name in green.
Ability to go "invisible" on Who's Online.

I currently have 99 subscribers. Obviously I wish it were more but I'm pretty happy with that.

It looks like vBulletin supports PayPal, NoChex, WorldPay, and Authorize.net. You can really use whatever you'd like but then you'd have to add/remove users manually.
 

ViperAlley

PhotoPost Developer
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
496
We offer similiar options as kilcher, but I do it on "levels": Silver, Gold and Diamond each with a greater degree of flexibility and with terms ranging from $15 for 90 days for Silver to $100 for a year at Diamond. We have hundreds of members with 5+ new signs up a day at every level.

The biggest incentive that works for getting people to pay for higher levels is a visual indication of their donation amount. People on our site love to have DIAMOND SUPPORTER tags next to their names and so will pay the $100/year for that.
 

tagalongs

Participant
Joined
Jan 17, 2005
Messages
78
Did anyone find that it killed their site or hurt it in anyway?

I am thinking about going towards a paid membership and the main reason is that I have to many crap accounts everyday, people spamming etc.....and with all the mods and such it's a full time job and we feel that we are babysitting the site, since we always have to have a mod on 24/7 and I cannot keep it up.
 

ViperAlley

PhotoPost Developer
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
496
It depends - if you take away rights from nonsupporters, then you will probably have to deal with some backlash. I took alot of flack for taking avatars away from nonsupporters - however with 56,000 members I was hosting thousands of avatars which was using alot of bandwidth. When I took away nonsupporter avatars, my bandwidth dropped by 20%+. I made the case for the cost and probably lost a few members but not anything that I really noticed.

If you are simply adding benefits, then there is really no downside since people would only gain privs by becoming a supporter.
 

tagalongs

Participant
Joined
Jan 17, 2005
Messages
78
ViperAlley said:
It depends - if you take away rights from nonsupporters, then you will probably have to deal with some backlash. I took alot of flack for taking avatars away from nonsupporters - however with 56,000 members I was hosting thousands of avatars which was using alot of bandwidth. When I took away nonsupporter avatars, my bandwidth dropped by 20%+. I made the case for the cost and probably lost a few members but not anything that I really noticed.

If you are simply adding benefits, then there is really no downside since people would only gain privs by becoming a supporter.

Thanks for the reply.
My thoughts on it are to grandfather my current members into it and apply the membership to newer members. I don't want to take from the bread and butter of the site but to slow the growth down a bit. I am not sure what impact it would have on new members though and if it would be a slow death. It's good to hear from those who have had a good experience with it and to hear thier advice.
Thanks again
 
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