Choosing The Right Membership Software | | Consultant & Copywriter

Until you’ve been dwelling beneath a rock these days…

You’ve in all probability already heard how profitable owning membership sites might be. You merely setup the membership website. Add content material. And sit again and watch your shopper listing develop month, after month, after month, ad infinitum with none additional work required of you.

Plus you may even package deal and profit from your distinctive information by selling your information to non-competing corporations by means of a membership website for giant income.

What could possibly be troublesome about that?

Establishing membership software program!

Establishing membership software may be very very time-consuming. And in the long run if finished mistaken, might end up costing you time and money. Not making you cash.

So I posted my evaluation of a handful of membership packages under.

Please take note these critiques are written from a ‘techie’s’ perspective. So what appeals to me (self-sufficiency and detachment from 3rd-party management as a serious objective), won’t attraction to you.

I lean strongly in the direction of self-sufficiency.

I really feel I’ve larger management and direct influence on the result of my enterprise. But that strategy brings with it some headaches. Principally having to take time away from advertising and building my corporations to place out fires and cope with technical difficulties when software stops working appropriately.  I understand this isn’t right for everybody. In these instances hosted membership providers, corporations that deal with all the setup, configuration, security updates, and so forth and so on can make sense too. The draw back is hosted providers all the time value extra money out of pocket in the long run than self-sufficiency. However what you surrender in cash, you achieve in freedom.

I wouldn’t have experience using the providers of any membership service providers. But my pal and joint venture mentor Habiba Abubakar, The Revenue Diva has. Once I get a link to her recommendations I will add them. For now although, in case you are just beginning out I recommend staying away from hosted providers. They set the choices for the path and efficiency of your company. Plus they value more.

There are loads of factors to think about when selecting a membership system. Listed here are just some:

  • Preliminary buy worth
  • Server compatibilities
  • Ongoing help
  • Who will handle install and setup i.e. you, your tech, or the vendor?
  • How you propose to market the location – search engine optimization, affiliates, hard-tp-refuse discounts presents, or some other advertising technique
  • Help for backend/one-time-offers
  • Supports Tier ranges
  • Shield product entry
  • Probability of constructive ROI

Since I don’t know your specific goals for establishing a membership website, nor have any concept how you propose to advertise your membership website, please don’t contact me asking which of these software packages is best for you. I can’t offer you particular recommendations in your circumstances. Contact the individual distributors as an alternative. That’s what they are getting paid for 🙂

The Products: also bought as (website now offline as of 9-28-2011)

At a glance: JUNK!!! Don’t purchase it!!

Worth: $37 WSO reseller. $20 retail purchase.

Evaluation: This can be a windows desktop app. It creates your website for you. Requires your ftp username and password.

Warning: the escape key closes the app with out confirmation. So in case you typed in half the small print and by accident hit escape you’ll get irritated. Also tabbing from one area to the subsequent didn’t work for me. Must use the mouse to go from subject to area. Lame for those who sort 80+ wpm and should cease to seize the mouse to move to the subsequent subject time and again.

Reduce and pasting, insert and delete have been disabled too. Backspace worked although. Annoyance that slows getting into knowledge shortly when information is equivalent.

No save function. Once you close the app your knowledge is gone.

“Create new” isn’t the hyperlink to click after you’ve entered all your details. That instantly clears the display w/o affirmation. One other annoyance. You should click on the ‘create membership site now’ button at the backside of the display when accomplished.

Should you block the app from connecting out to that ip tackle you get ‘the page cannot be displayed’ within the software program’s major display and it goes nowhere else. Just dies.

Oh. Should you get an error making an attempt to ftp into your software program there isn’t any function to go backwards and proper your mistakes. You need to click the ‘create new’ link and wipe all the fields and start over.

So what happens once you lastly do join?

You get a display saying ‘this software has been outdated’ and a hyperlink to upgrade to the most recent version at So, the writer regularly gets improve fees however the affiliate/reseller only will get entrance finish commission from promoting outdated software program that people will in all probability request a refund for purchasing outdated software. That’s lame 🙁

No clue if that’s by design or not but when so that is fairly scammy.

Okay. This is ‘officially’ probably the most ache within the butt software program to cope with of any sort I’ve ever come throughout to date — and I’ve been working with computer systems because the early 80’s!!

The lack of a save function, incapability to return to the setup display with out re-entering your knowledge from scratch many times, lack of ability to cut and paste your information into the fields (especially complicated ftp login mixtures), the lame ‘outdated software’ msg to get consumers of the reseller product to upgrade to a more moderen version that’s apparently NOT obtainable as a reseller or affiliate product, and the software’s refusal to login to any space aside from the basis of your server makes this a ache within the butt to cope with.

Meaning in case you get an ftp typo error you got to exit or create new and begin over from scratch retyping your information many times and again. grrr.!

I ultimately obtained it put in and limited to a selected folder on certainly one of my domains by creating a brand new ftp consumer account that was limited to a selected space and left the trail subject clean on this software program. That means it doesn’t achieve root degree access to my domain. You NEVER need anything that telephones residence to realize complete control of your domain. Even when the software developer is legit there’s no solution to know if future exploits will permit others to hack your website.

Oh. There’s a file named temp2007.cgi that gets uploaded to your server in the course of the set up which in flip makes use of to deal with knowledge processing at the server degree — out of your area. If this isn’t only a file the writer forgot to delete, this submit technique tells the writer exactly the place the software program is put in and provides the writer your consumer identify and full ftp account login, since that knowledge is parsed on his finish.

But, if this temp file was something left behind by mistake then no want to worry. However I doubt it.

I don’t advocate utilizing this software. Perhaps check a future version, as this product matures. However for now the security danger is simply too high. In case your server permissions are misconfigured anybody can sort www.yourdomain/cgi-bin/imsc/temp2007.cgi and get full access and see your admin settings. You could as nicely give your login details to the public as a result of hackers will exploit this.

Oh. It seems to be like this software had been bought as personal label rights underneath a number of names. Russ Reynolds and are two totally different individuals promoting the identical software program but totally different variations and with totally different product names. The degree of ‘sucky-ness’ is identical although.

At a look: of the paid merchandise, this one is the most cost effective when it comes to purchasing worth. However don’t let that idiot you. This product gives plenty of help despite the low worth. Why they do this, I do not know. However heck, why look a present horse within the mouth? Simply accept the help.

Worth: $7

Evaluate: Dust low cost worth. Has OTO function. Controls digital product delivery and protects non-buyers from reaching your downloads.

CONS: Not a true membership system. No inbuilt mailing listing or cms system. You’ll have to integrate your personal.

Additionally, may cause LOTS of issues when newer, undetected browsers are released. Sends automated “fraud” threats and threats of reporting your consumers to PayPal for fraud violations – even when there are not any fraud attempts. Actually ticks off legitimate users who’ve finished nothing aside from attempt to buy your merchandise or be a part of your membership program with a browser the software doesn’t detect properly. Dangerous. Dangerous. Dangerous. Dangerous. Dangerous.

Precise harassing e mail sent to legitimate purchasers:


Our system has caught your try and buy [product name] for [price] as an alternative of its actual purchase worth. Be assured that you will not be receiving a obtain hyperlink.

Also, the product owner has been notified of the fraud, and will very probably report you to PayPal’s fraud department.

When you really feel you will have acquired this message in error, reply to this e-mail stating your causes for believing this is not the case.

This message was auto-generated by $7 Secrets Safety”

These emails injury relationships massive time. I’d be irritated at being accused like that too.

This error has only happened to me umpteen occasions 🙁

To be truthful though, it has only happened after new browser releases or main upgrades to browsers. I hear this difficulty has now been fastened and gained’t occur again. Gained’t know for certain till a new model of internet explorer is launched. So for now, weigh the price of utilizing this your self. In case you are selling simple product entry and an oto (or a number of OTOs), it may be well worth the danger. Heck. It’s solely $7.  (website is lifeless)

Worth: Product not out there

Assessment: This was a nice plugin for WordPress. It allowed you to set-up your WordPress weblog as a very slick membership website using PayPal. The version to get is “WPB-PayPal 2.1″…for those who can even discover a copy anyplace. It’s the predecessor to the new product named ‘PayBox’ plugin.

The difference between the 2?

Nothing. Nicely, virtually nothing. The publishers decided to cost an annual license charge and rename the product to ‘PayBox’ (which incidentally, doesn’t work due to the junky licensing code they added to the pay-by-year model). Aside from the addition of annual licensing code and a brand new annual pricing, the product itself is identical.

The standalone gootix version labored high quality with WordPress running a blog system. WordPress is an awesome content material management system that the various search engines LOVE.

The new PayBox model is and HIGHLY DISCOURAGED. I’ve read many evaluations stating one thing in the ‘phone home’ membership script will take your whole website offline when this crazy plugin fails to hook up with their validation server. The stand alone product is the higher selection…if you will discover it. (not exists)

Worth: Too many costs to record

Evaluate: This has tons of nice features.

PROS: TONS of features. [database corruption error damaged article] a single price-point of I feel $67. I gave up making an attempt [database corruption error damaged article].xpensive in comparison with many different products as a stand-alone license. Not the costliest though.

Cons: Unfortunately though, inside the previous month or two the writer added multiple worth points, as an alternative of a single worth level — all for a similar product. A lot of people might be confused and as an alternative of shopping for, will doubtless purchase one thing with more straight-forward buying options.

This didn’t set up for me again when it was set as a single price-point of I feel $67. I gave up making an attempt. Wasn’t well worth the hassles of fighting it.

Worth: $37

Assessment: That is in all probability the simplest to setup and most simple to put in and use membership script out there.

Professional: Super super straightforward to setup.

Cons: There isn’t any actual safety to keep thieves from downloading and accessing your membership materials. As soon as anybody finds a legitimate login, they will simply share your whole personal content material with anyone else, with out the necessity for passing login information to the stealers. That’s as a result of this doesn’t ask for a username or password when somebody goes directly to net addreess of your membership supplies. As proof, I accessed the demo website, saved the obtain hyperlinks to notepad, logged out, opened firefox as an alternative of IE, pasted within the obtain hyperlinks into firefox– and gained complete entry to all of the content material regardless of not logging in. There’s absolutely no safety in any way to keep individuals from ‘sharing’ your stuff. 🙁

Additionally, the company just lately posted they are going out of enterprise utterly. So, in the event you need a simple membership system and you don’t need to guard your membership content material from thieves, this is in all probability the best choice of all.

Worth: FREE

Assessment: Disclose-Secret plugin for WordPress. The Disclose-Secret plugin only exhibits WordPress articles to customers if the consumer meets sure entry criteria.

Professional: FREE is nearly all the time appreciated 🙂

And it doesn’t harm that this plugin works with wordpress (my most popular cms).

Cons: Unfortunately you’ll doubtless have to undergo some ‘hoops’ to get this working. Listed here are the small print for you: downside to free is a scarcity of direct help. You’re on your own. Plus this isn’t a true cms system. It lacks a number of membership tiers, cost processing, and so forth. that you simply’d anticipate in an actual membership program. But in case you are keen on wordpress, you already know there are many free plugins to make up for the shortage that exists on this free plugin. (at present off the market)

Worth: $797 and rising…

Assessment What can I say? This was the leader of the OTO membership merchandise. Filsaime released the primary business membership product of its variety — and made tens of millions doing it!

That is the market chief. The trendsetter. The product everyone else is making an attempt to comply with — and knock off. Very small script. Takes up little or no room on the server. However is dear. Is likely one of the costliest of the bunch. And could be incredibly buggy. Latest version claims to repair earlier bugs. Not examined the newest to know if is true or not. In case you are trying to go together with a product leader and trendsetter this is the product to decide on. However in case you are on the lookout for probably the most secure software program of the lot, this isn’t the option to go together with. My most popular membership product is more secure.

Worth: $297 when launched. Then shot as much as $997.. now has $2,000 retail price tag.

Assessment That is my second greatest suggestion. Every part the perfect product (talked about under) leaves out, this places in.

PROS: Tons of options. Straight-forward install. Almost the whole lot you’d need in a membership program is in right here.

Cons:Costly. Costlier than another reviewed product.

I don’t just like the admin interface. Too many screens to navigate to do easy issues.

Some customers have reported LFM just isn’t suitable with their webhost. Principally, if your net host uses a modified or non-standard php.ini configuration, you’ll get php errors when making an attempt to access LFM’s admin area. Solely approach round this is to both edit the php information of LFM, or move your website to a different host. Both options are a problem in case you are new to establishing membership packages or modifying php information.

If this membership system included help for low cost coupons it’d beat my most popular product, when it comes to an entire out-of-the-box membership system. If it weren’t for the steep worth, navigation annoyances (comments under), and lack of coupons…this may be my product of selection.

Largest unfavorable is… I didn’t grab my own copy when it was solely $297. Waaahhhh!!!!! 🙁 * * * * *

Worth: $179

Assessment: That is my beneficial membership software for critical membership websites. Secure. Secure (when put in appropriately). And quick. Anyone critical about operating a membership website should contemplate aMember as a primary choice. Plenty of features. Cost processors. Access management. Coupon control. And tons extra. See full listing of options here:

Ok, since I really like this product so much, what are a number of the negatives I’ve skilled? What don’t I like about it?

Cons: Costly. Requires separate license fore each website you own. At $179.95 a pop that may add up shortly. Particularly in case you have dozens or a whole lot of web sites. A work-around is to make use of a single, generic website of your personal to handle cost processing for all your sites. That isn’t a viable choice although if you want to handle access to content on the varied sites you own. Amember can’t control entry on domains aMember just isn’t installed on.

No inbuilt one-time-offers (yet). There are free Third-party solutions although that require modifying php information inside amember system. Should you can edit html you’ll be able to edit these modifications in aMember.

No membership tiers. Can’t set graduated,membership entry ranges resembling silver, gold, platinum, bronze, and so on. [there are additional plugins to add similar features]

Can’t set ‘trickled’ content on a month-to-month, weekly, or different time-based bases. It’s all or nothing. [there are additional plugins to add this feature]

No built-in blog or forum. You will have to integrate phpbb, WordPress, or some other content material administration system into aMember should you want to function a true membership website. There are several plugins to make the method seamless to your users. Each plugin requires further setup from you though — and often further pricing. [there are additional plugins to add this feature]

Should you want extra options than aMember gives, however are on a finances, buy aMember now. Then later upgrade to Puddy’s Launch Formulation Advertising after earning enough money by way of aMember to justify the $2,000 LFM expense. There’s much less danger of earning back your cash that means. $2,000 is a lot of money to shell out and danger on the frontend, in hopes of incomes the cash again later.

The New(est) Kid On The Block…

On a ultimate word…there is a new membership system that appears promising. It’s referred to as, John’s Little Script and is obtainable at

John’s Little Script guarantees secure member access, 30-days free help, and a simple password-protected membership system.

I’ve yet to check this one, so I can’t give my two cents on its performance. The one factor I don’t like is that the software program is protected with zend optimizer – a normal software program protection scheme.

What’s flawed with that? There isn’t any method to know what the software is doing behind the scenes whereas operating out of your server. A ‘smart’ programmer might use zend’ed software program to send or relay spam. Acquire confidential website efficiency knowledge. Steal identities of your consumers. And extra. All without your information.

Sure, this can be a bit paranoid. But in at this time’s world, sadly such paranoia is well-founded.

Still though, in case you are on the lookout for a simple password-protected membership website, this one could be well worth the effort. Heck. It’s only $47 for now, as an alternative of its $197 retail worth. Most people can afford the ‘loss’ to study if a easy password-protected membership website is what they are in search of or not. When you attempt it, let me know.