Anybody here running "free" membership sites (users can pay for extras)?

Discussion in 'Membership Sites' started by DPatel304, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. DPatel304

    DPatel304 Regular Member

    Nov 11, 2009
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    I've been wanting to try my hand at a membership site. It's probably way off into the future for me, but was wondering if anyone here has a membership site that is free to join and you pay for extras. I guess similar to what BHW does where you can be a member for free, but if you pay you get extra benefits. A lot of sites do this and it definitely encourages more members.

    I don't really have a good niche in mind. I like the idea of a dating site, but it seems oversaturated. My niche would either be a a dating site for gay men (or maybe gay men and women) that focuses more on actual relationships and not just hook ups, or one for people into polygamy which also focuses more on actual relationships and not just hook ups. I know neither of them are original. The gay dating sites I've seen are full of people just wanted to hook up and I haven't seen any big sites for polygamy dating. Anyway, I have a lot of thinking to do when it comes to niche, but just wanted to hear opinions on free vs paid models.
  2. ches

    ches Newbie

    Feb 2, 2008
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    I have been creating a membership site, that is using a modified dating script but is actually for entrepreneurs who want to mastermind and brainstorm with each other, find people who are living in their local area or who are working on the same goals, etc. but the "free" members will be just to have a "sneak peak" of the site - they cannot interact with anyone whatsoever, but they can browse all the content, member profiles (except no access to any contact details, real names, etc.), and access some extra's that the general public cannot access without "sharing via social media". Then.. if they find the site valuable, they can upgrade to a Gold or Premium account.

    I chose this particular method because as a "solopreneur", I don't want to spend all my time deleting spammers accounts. I don't have time. Plus, I only want members who are serious about building their business, etc. Therefore, if they are serious about joining, they can see what they will get before they pay, and only start paying after they see that they will get value out of the site.

    This is also because any kind of script that spammers know about can be exploited.. and these lil work-a-holic spammers get told to "do a google search for "blah/footprint..".. login.. update profile.. spam anchor text links in the profile, spam a blog post.. get the email addresses of other users.. etc.. etc.. " a major headache for any site owner that I just want to avoid altogether from the beginning. The only people I'm giving a free "VIP" membership to is my beta testers, and only if they actually update their profile and participate in the site before launch.

    As far as your idea about the gay site for relationships.. I think, from working with a lot of gay people in a call centre a few years ago - they mostly just want the "hookups".. only 2 (in a room of 800 or so) were a "couple" in the entire call centre. I guess what I'm suggesting here is to make sure there is actually a market for the 'serious relationship' gay dating site before you spend a few months building it because even the major dating sites have room for gay couples now, so you're competing against the big boys - not impossible, but what a hard and expensive struggle it may be.. but if that's your passion... you'll find a way, but if you are just thinking of that niche because you think there is money in it.. I dunno - when I read the millionaire fastlane, I changed my perspective a bit on the online money chasing thing..... "stop chasing money and start chasing needs".

    That being said, I'm looking more for a lifestyle than the instant riches.. I want to wake up everyday and work on something that I love doing - where it doesn't feel like work. If I get rich "slower" that way, then I'm ok, because I'm too stressed out to deal with crap that I don't want to do anymore, and I just wanna do the things that I'm passionate about - "try that for a while and see how I go" :)
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  3. Rob Whisonant

    Rob Whisonant Junior Member

    Feb 25, 2011
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    I have several free/paid membership sites. What I do is only give teaser content on blog posts for non members. They have to get a free membership to read posts in there entirety. This gets them on my mailing list. I can then upsell them other services etc. Works very well.
  4. Blackhat Programmer

    Blackhat Programmer Newbie

    Mar 3, 2013
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    I'm actually starting to work on a membership site with a free and paid component. That's focused on Blackhat programming and tools