The Pros and Cons of Charging For Membership

November 4, 2009Comments Off on The Pros and Cons of Charging For Membership

I put together a quick table

Should you charge people to be a member of your online community?



  • Direct revenue. You’ll be the envy of all web 2.0 companies.
  • Focus on the few. You can stop focusing on reaching everybody and focus on a few members.
  • Wipe out the lurkers. It doesn’t pay to lurk.
  • Greater participation. Members will participate more often if they’re paying.
  • Change of mindset. You’re forced to serve your paying members.
  • Less members. Not useful if your marketing strategy is to reach as many people as possible.
  • Competition. A free community might replace you.
  • Charging for membership might be a very good idea. 

    It forces you to provide a level of service that reflects the price you charge. It also narrows your focus to fewer people (also good) and gives you a direct revenue. Direct revenue means either profit for your business (if you're hired to do this) or the chance of a full time job (if you build communities solo).

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