When discussing the 5 Types Of Private Forums, we noted that private forums with paid memberships require users to pay a monthly or annual fee to access some or all parts of the forum. However, there are several variations on this theme that create a spectrum of options for anyone wishing to launch a private forum with paid memberships. We offer three examples below.
The Walled Garden. First, we have sites where the main site requires a paid subscription, but the forum is one of several exclusive benefits that members can enjoy.
For example, Endurance Nation offers its subscribers access to training plans, resource libraries, equipment reviews, and robust online forums for input and feedback from other members. In essence, the forum is one of several benefits for paying subscribers.
Forum For Paying Members Only. In this scenario, the forum is not one of several perks; it is the perk. All content (or nearly all content) is restricted to paid subscribers. The forum is the main draw.
One example of this is RedIssue, a site for soccer fans (although they’d prefer I call it ‘football’). The forum provides a ‘teaser’ of 85 threads for public viewing, but the rest of its 30,000 threads are accessible to members only. This particular site provides a direct link to PayPal to facilitate sales of private memberships.
The Night Club. Finally, there are sites in which the forum is freely accessible to registered users and guests, but certain sections of the forum are for paying subscribers only. Very similar to the VIP section of a night club.
One example of this can be found on Simply Discus, in the sub-forum for hobbyists titled “Homesteader (It’s Your World Within Our World)”. In this particular case, content is visible to all users, but participation in discussions is limited to members paying a yearly subscription fee.