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Seeking Advice for Choosing Best Business Model for Membership Site

Discussion in 'Membership Sites' started by Reevenstalker, Dec 3, 2014.

  1. Reevenstalker

    Reevenstalker Newbie

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    Greetings to the Black Hat World community! I'm a professional photographer and amateur web designer in the process of launching a membership site that will offer 100% original, exclusive content in a specific softcore fetish/niche that has very little North American competition. I will be offering mostly photosets with 100-150 images each and a limited selection of 5-10 minute videos. The only true competitors I have found are based in Japan or Russia. I am confident there is an audience that will pay for this content. I have the hopefully modest ambition of acquiring and maintaining between 300-500 members.

    I'm using the Divi 2 Wordpress theme with Digital Access Pass for controlling my member vs non-member options. These two systems together are extremely versatile, so I have a nearly unlimited number of options for how to structure the site.

    The problem is that even though I'm very good at producing high-quality content, I have dreadful business instincts and no salesmanship skills. I can create the site and supply the content with ease, but I'm lost when it comes to the Business Admin & Marketing side of things.

    I've done a lot of research into various sites of this nature and I have defined several seemingly successful business models, but I'm having a devil of a time making a final decision about which one to pursue. I'm going to list out the business models I've currently defined and I'd love to get any feedback or suggestions that the community may have:


    Model #1: Online-Only Galleries (This model is based on CosplayDeviants)
    -Members pay $10.00/month and get full access to all of the site's galleries instantly. However, you can only view the galleries on the web and cannot download them to your own hard drive. If your membership expires, you lose access to the content. New content is released every week. They also have a store that sells merchandise like T-shirts, coffee mugs and calendars.

    Model #2: Downloadable Galleries (This model is based on ShadowPlayers)
    -Members pay $29.95/month and get full access to all of the site's galleries instantly. Galleries can be downloaded via .zip and the member will own them forever. New content is added every month. This model seems to run a high risk of someone joining for a month, downloading all the content, then canceling their membership before it can renew.

    Model #3: Direct Buy Store (This model is based on Images4Sale and Clips4Sale.)
    -There is no monthly membership fees. Sign-up is free and members purchase videos or photosets directly for a one-time-only fee. Members own the content forever. A photoset with 100 photos might cost between $10-$15.

    Model #4: Content Dripping (This model is based on Zoo Books. Not an adult service by any means, but still a valid model)
    -Members pay a set price per month, such as $19.95, and receive 4 or 5 new photo-sets or videos per month for as long as there is content to supply. There is no way for members to access content that has not yet been dripped to them and they have no control over which sets they receive each month. This seems like a good way to ensure long-term membership, but I can imagine it being off-putting to users who want a specific set and don't want to wait an unknown number of months before it is delivered.

    Model #5: Hybrid Online Galleries + Store (This is the model I've defined after reviewing the others, but I'm not sure if it's a good plan or not)
    -Members pay $9.95/month for full access to online-only galleries that cannot be downloaded. In addition, there is a store where each photoset and video is available for direct purchase & download for about $14 each as well as other merchandise. Anyone paying the monthly membership fee will get a 75% discount for any purchase from at the store.


    That's it! Model #5 is currently what I'm leaning toward, but since I came up with this in a vacuum, I'd like to get some external thoughts and feedback before I fully commit to it. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Reevenstalker

    Reevenstalker Newbie

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    Any thoughts? Anyone out there trying any business model similar to one of these?
     
  3. jayki

    jayki Newbie

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    I'm sure you know the saying about opinions and assholes.

    That's why most business decisions should be based on data, not opinions. Data is gained by testing. So just take action and use your favorite business model, just to get started, and then make sure you do some A/B split testing. That will give you real numbers and real data to base your decisions on.

    Having said all that, I would use a Tiered system. Have a Free membership which gives access to only a few photosets for free, just to give people a taste. Then charge $10/mo for Basic membership (model#1), and allow the Free/Basic members to purchase content (model#3) and/or sign up for the $30/mo for Premium membership (model#2) to access your "premium" content photosets. So, basically your idea about the hybrid model. And I'm sure you can think up a few additional variations like maybe giving the Basic members only half the pictures from any photoset while the Premium members get all of the images, maybe in higher quality, etc etc etc.

    Again, this is just my opinion which is completely useless. Data and testing are needed.

    Now, if this was my website I would give all the photosets away for free to everyone. I wouldn't try to make any money because I believe in giving away 10x value up front and building relationships with your clients. I would position myself and my website as a media company and think much bigger. Get your subscriber base up and then get 15 of those hot models together for a private party and charge your client base $5000 a ticket and $10,000 for VIP. Limit each party to 50 clients maximum. It's been said that rich people don't want money, they want love. So give them love. Sell them the dream.

    (Quick side note for any newbies trying to make quick cash... Selling the dream is almost always a really great method of making money online, in any niche. It's difficult to get a $10/mo sale but it's pretty easy to sell the whole website idea to someone for $500 or $5000 or whatever price by telling them they can easily sign up 50 customers per month at $10/mo each. People do a little wishful math in their heads and figure they can have only 300 customers within a year = $3000 per month profit WOW!! with no work!!! and many part with their money. Sell the website, Sell the dream. Rinse and repeat. Sell more copies of the website, Sell the dream some more. This is for the young scammy newbs that are just getting started, and I won't judge you :p But eventually, real men offer real value. Side note over.)

    I hate $10 sales but I love $10,000 sales. I think too many people have hopes of getting rich at $10 a pop. Yes, it's possible. But it's kinda slow and difficult for most people. One of my small automated businesses makes me $4000 profit per day and I give away my products for free. That's with no branding, no sales team, no marketing, no social accounts, just a shitty website on shared hosting that runs itself. I make more money by giving my stuff away for free than I could make if I charged people $100/sale. Counter intuitive but true. The website didn't start out free. Back in the day I was charging for sales, but guess what?... Split testing! The data doesn't lie and I eventually ended up giving away more and more for free because that made me more profit. So over the years I've come to see that the whole "free" business model is valid. Now I believe in normally defaulting to Free and Open. Offer as much value as you can for free and the market will reward you later. Assuming of course that your content is actually good. Everyone thinks their pictures are the best and everyone thinks their baby is the cutest in the world. But there's a ton of free porn available nowadays. So make sure you're starting with an excellent product.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  4. hentaiixxx

    hentaiixxx Registered Member

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    Jayki,

    you deserve our thanks,
    here take it!

    can you elaborate more how you manage to monetize your free content?
    by using CPA? or CPL?

    Thanks