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Free forum to charging members subscriptions

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Hi all,

I am floating the idea of members now paying paid subscriptions to access about half of the current forum, a section that has been free and built up over the years.

Safe to say that majority of members arent happy with this and would rather leave than pay.

So looking for ideas on how to add value for our current VIP members and entice others to become a VIP as well.


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I offer perks for VIP members on my board...all the info on the forum is available to anyone but VIP's get extra PM storage, extra upload space, fancy VIP group badges and access to the VIP lounge as well as extra gallery and blog perks.  This way, no one is kept away from all of the forum knowledge but if they like the site and they appreciate the service that the forum offers, they are much happier to donate and get some perks of VIP membership.

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There must be a tangible benefit for people who you are requiring paying to access your site or certain parts of your site.  If there is no other benefit than access, then they will walk away.

It's tough asking people to pay, especially when there is so much on the Internet they can get for free with a little research and Googling.

Rather than asking them to pay to access the site, ask for donations to help pay for hosting costs and the cost of the software that they're using; people are generally more generous when they have something they like that may be lost through lack of funding. Some may even be more than generous, depending on their circumstances.  Always worth a try 🙂


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  • 1 month later...

The conversion is usually 2%. This number seems to be the case for many things.

Can you work with 2%?

You could keep previously free content free, and start new areas for supporters that are not – but you have to build and build.



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On 9/23/2020 at 11:23 AM, PoC2 said:

The conversion is usually 2%. This number seems to be the case for many things.

That's interesting. In the days when direct mail was the principle means of direct marketing, 2% was the expected response rate, immaterial of the offer. Conversion to a sold product was another matter, but 2% does seem to be a magic number in terms of initial response. 

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  • 4 weeks later...



I just introduced subscriptions for the first time ever on my site and wish I'd done it years ago!

I turned on subscriptions on the 16th so it's been less than a week 

So far I've got:
21 Monthly subscribers (£3 a month)
29 Annual subscribers (£30 a year)

I'm really happy with that

I offer:

1 month free trial to all subscribers before they pay anything
No ads - I turn off google ads so the experience is ad free (the biggest attraction of them all)

Change Username as/when they want
Unlimited upload space
Upload larger files
Bypass search flood control
Can log in anonymously
Can use signatures
Can edit their own posts for up to 5 mins after posting

Plus some other stuff


I run donations alongside this too and get donations very regularly

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