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Paid Membership vs. Free access

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by toasty, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. toasty

    toasty Newbie

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    ...Please move this to the right forum category if this is the wrong place to ask.

    I have a dilemna (alt. "dilemma") that I hope you can help me out with. My site was making $3000 average per month without any work besides the initial investment of some coding, graphics, and business supplies. However, with the availability of information from other sites at lower quality and at a free of charge for access, I am not sure how to proceed.

    With an upgrade being developed to refresh the site with a new design and better frontpage SEO, I still feel this won't be enough to make ranking and make sales for access if bots cannot spider membership pages that are blocked without first buying access to the forums.

    What is your view on try to make income from paid advertisers if they see high PR from high SERPS and page visits versus no paid advertisers because of low PR and lower page visits because of membership fees and low SERPS?
    When relying on thread titles to win the payment by site visitors was once working, I'm afraid this might need to change due to the "free" competition that is offering the same service at less service and quality.

    My goal is to maintain operating capital without doing all the work in a community driven space that has once been easy to maintain. I am willing to
    self-fund hosting if it comes to it for a short time - this is no problem, but my partner is against the idea of "free' access when contributions are nothing more than a member posting the same shit as another site that has "free" access.

    All responses appreciated.

    Thank you.
     
  2. blackhatttt

    blackhatttt Regular Member

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    I think you should go with free access if you have another source of income that will be better than your original.

    If not just stick to paid access but provide more value with better content and service.

    I don't feel like this statement is true. This is because it is possible to allow spider to index your membership pages. But you need to ask a coder to do this for you. I know this because one of my friends has also asked a coder to implement something like that. And it was implemented successfully.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  3. darklegion

    darklegion Regular Member

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    Offer more value for the cost of the membership. Have something that the free competition does not have in terms of 'secrets' thus forcing people to sign up to gain this knowledge.

    I don't know exactly what your site is so I do not know how to fully help.
     
  4. toasty

    toasty Newbie

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    At least there is more than a few that know this BH technique. I am using this already and have had it programmed already where bots are considered there own usergroup kind of equivalent to registered user. Works ok, but not the better than full blown free access for everyone to see.

    My plan now is the following:

    1) When the the upgraded site goes production and I am still firming up some other implementations that can only be done by myself, I will offer free access until complete.

    2) Once I'm ready I will begin to offer pay-per-view type access where you can purchase membership to one forum, two forums, three forums of choice. The fourth option at the premium membership is full access. Free membership will be included only for legacy data or that which shows low activity.

    3) Last option is full access for subscriptions per month, 3 month, 6 month or one year.

    Thanks for the feedback. I was wishing for some more from others.