Community Building October 9, 2020

What is your opinion on paid communities/groups/membership sites? Poll.

Esteban Saa @steban

I see WP sites-enabled by membership plugins to protect some of the content are growing. What is your opinion on paid communities? Are you ok on paying a fee to join them?

For a while, Facebook was experimenting with paid groups, but I haven't found any recent news on that. Maybe a failed experiment.

People seem to be ok on paying $5 a month to receive a good newsletter. Would they be ok with paying $2 a month to be part of a good community?

We are preparing a community platform that allows you to create a community and receive 100% of the monthly subscription directly into your Paypal. Not cut taken by us, but a small fixed monthly fee. We plan to build on the open if we do get any traction.

Are you ok with paying a monthly fee to join a community?
  1. Yes, as long as there is value on it.
  2. No, prefer to find a similar community that is free.
  1. 7

    Biased as I'll be launching a paid community soon, but also because I've learned more from communities than any blog, ebook, or course:

    I think communities are comparatively a much better "deal" financially on information, connections, and feedback than literally any other digital product.

    My hypothesis is that you also attract people who are more serious and engaged, and it's generally better to have fewer people who're more active than a ton of lurkers who only pop around to promote themselves.

    So far, the free members of my community I've spoken to also support the move to paid, and believe it'll create an even better experience going forward. So let's see!

    1. 1

      I agree. Paid communities usually have higher quality content, and it weeds out spammers and self-promoters. Although I've never paid directly for access to a community, I've had a positive experience with private communities from paid courses.

      And looking forward to what that paid community is going to be like Monica :)

      1. 1

        Thanks Johnny! I'm looking forward to seeing what it's like too 😁

    2. 1

      I 100% agree with this! At IndieStack members are much more serious and the bonds are stronger. There’s much more value being built there.

      1. 2

        It makes sense, because you connect with people who are more serious and invested. And honestly the monthly fee for most communities is so low, it costs less than any course and the equivalent to like 2-3 ebooks a year lol.

        1. 1

          Agreed! Yet many people are hesitant to purchase. I think it may have to do with all of the free communities out there they are comparing it too. It’s worth the price. Need to figure out a way to show it thought 🤔

  2. 4

    I'm okay with paid communities as long as I can have long and detailed conversations.

    So many communities (free and paid) nowadays are mostly active on Slack or Discord and I find it so hard to get anything meaningful from it.

    Some communities have a chat and a forum. But in that case, most of the conversations happen in chats and forums feel a bit empty.

    The best communities I'm in have admins trying to engage their community with things like interesting questions.

  3. 2

    I feel you are looking at this the wrong way. People are not paying to be part of a community; they pay for something that enhances their lives by solving a problem, fixing a pain, or providing entertainment.

    How this solution is delivered may well be a paid community, but it could equally be a different system.

    For years, we paid for TV content by watching ads; today we are happy to pay Netflix for a different solution to the same problem.

    If you find a solution, people want and deliver in a way that makes sense; they'll pay.

  4. 2

    I'm pretty optimistic about Paid communities, like others in this thread I've definitely found a gap in slack/discord/telegram style communities. There's an "always on" feel to it that doesn't suite my learning style. I feel like I learn and grow more in communities that are of a long form discussion style. The one problem in private communities that I can foresee is getting a threshold-starting number of users to make the community feel useful.

    I have talked with my co-founders about maybe open sourcing our upcoming community ( into a spin-your-own model where we can provide support and hosting. But we will take that step only after WE can successfully build a strong community first.

    Overall like I said, I'm pretty bullish on communities as a learning model.

  5. 2

    I run a paid chat community and people pay to chat

    1. 1

      What's the name of your/this community?

      1. 1 - I actually just did a business merge with a bigger company with my community.

  6. 2

    I love them.

    I myself am part of private/paywalled community outside of Indie Hackers, and I love it. We often have weekly meets ups via zoom or hangouts.

    I thinks it’s important to find a support base of people you can turn to when you need help or motivation.

    For me those people are both here on Indie Hackers, as well as the folks over at IndieStack, and I have no regrets.

  7. 1

    sometimes we are looking for communities which we would love to contribute our services or skills via paying ,so that that money can used to actualize its Mission.

  8. 1

    I think your post is trying to speak to 2 different audiences that don't necessarily overlap:

    • producers: people looking for solutions for member-management (free or paid);
    • consumers: people who currently pay for access to a resource they consider valuable.

    Your first 3 paragraphs and poll dwell on the consumer perspective, but your most important paragraph—the last paragraph—dwells on the producer perspective. It is no surprise that the peculiar nature of the IH community has skewed most of your replies to be from (potential) producers rather than consumers, i.e. sampling bias.

    It sounds like you are, in essence, building a low-cost SaaS tool for member-management, right? Anyway, I will also comment from the producer perspective since it is something I have researched recently. There's quite some competition in this space:

    In my notes, I've penciled down a self-hosted Ghost instance with customization as a potential tool for member management, but I've not yet been able to test this thesis.

  9. 1

    My reply is more nuanced.

    Paid communities aren't close to the top of my paid content priorities. Communities require a time investment that many be larger than the monetary investment. And joining more communities, paid or otherwise, doesn't scale easily. So I have to evaluate on a case by case basis.

  10. 1

    Software Ideas is exploring a paid community that is included in a subscription. I'm hoping to make it a very serious community, focused primarily on founders who are committed to getting their products to market and want a place to be held accountable.

    In my opinion, people are willing to pay if something solves a problem for them, regardless of the format it's in. If a community helps someone out in a meaningful way, they'll pay accordingly!

    1. 1

      Thank you for your reply. What platforms are you considering for building your community?

      1. 1

        I'm still on the fence personally. I'm leaning towards Slack over something like a Forum software.

        1. 2

          Have you seen my previous post on chat vs threads? Few people prefer chat-based communities, simply people can't keep up with chat. There are a few open-source platforms, circle, and mighty networks if you want to host on your own .com.

          1. 1

            I would imagine that this depends on the size of the community, the type of community, and culture, no?

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