Discuss Communities - Online Community Management Topics

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Shawn Gossman

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Jun 17, 2022
Has anyone ever ran a forum that was paid membership only?

Meaning you can't be a member unless you pay a fee.

If you've ran one, was it successful at all? Or do you think a forum like that could be successful? Why or why not?

Have you ever paid to be a member of one?
Not paid only. But I have run private forums, more like clubs for groups of people.

It is not easy. Setting boards with the right permission is always a challenge for such boards. And, if something leaks, that is not good either.
I think paid only could work if you have the right thing to offer and there is some kind of proof you can offer it to paid members.

But you really have to have expertise or reputation in order to do it.

A private forum concept is pretty interesting. You could keep the forum private and focus on blog content to increase SEO for the site. Then just make sure there is a CTA in all the content for the forum.

The same concept could be used for paid forums, too.
I have seen paid-only forums. Most of them were sharing movies and software.

I offer many premium stuff for free or at a small price. Mostly through open boards. I think I should start doing paid-only boards too. Not sure whether people would want them.
The paid forum concept could still work.

But you need to have a lot of expertise and be fairly well-known as someone who can provide excellent knowledge or whatnot.

Otherwise, why would anyone buy into what you have to offer?